(1 Peter 2:2). As such they require, (as do natural babies), special attention, care and training from those who are called and sent by God to minister the knowledge of His word.
As an essential provision for the educational needs of the saint both young and old, God has established the ministry, which is a group of people within the local church who have been blessed by God with an understanding of His written word and called to minister the word to the body of Christ, and who have been anointed by God to function in one or more of the five main ministry offices listed in the fourth chapter of Ephesians, namely, Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher. (Eph.4:11).
According to the Apostle Paul, God has assigned to the ministry the responsibility of educating and nurturing the saints to a state of spiritual maturity and training them to function in the ministry themselves.
It is also apparent from Paul’s statement that such education and training should prevent them from being tossed to and fro and misguided by false doctrine and false teachers. (Eph. 4:11-15).
Obviously for such an important commission to be carried out successfully by the ministry, the attention and obedience of the believer is required.
Without the respect and co-operation of the laymen, it is impossible for the ministry to accomplish its responsibility to them. Thus, there is a mutual obligation on both parts.
This being the case, God has been careful to give specific instructions to the laymen concerning their relationship and obligation to church leadership.(Heb. 13:17).
While it is extremely important that the new convert and laymen be under the leadership of the ministry as God has established to train His people, it is also important that the laymen understand that not all ministries are set up by God, some are set up by men as mere money making scams, while others are satanically established in order to sow discord and to pervert and destroy souls and to discredit God and the Bible.
Such corrupt ministries as these abound in our society and in our own communities. Therefore, it is important that we as believers are able to distinguish the true from the false, and the good from the bad. (St. Matt. 7:15, Acts 20:26-30).
It is also important to understand that there are some ministries that have started out prematurely and now operate in a less than efficient manner as a result. These ministries, while harmful are not to be viewed as corrupt or satanic. They may be in error doctrinally on a few issues and their ministers may not live up to the biblical standard of good Christian character, there may even be clear signs of ego problems as well as moral weaknesses and strife among the clergy, all of which are serious flaws that carry serious consequences for the ministers and pose a serious threat to the souls under their spiritual care. Not to mention the reproach such bad conduct brings against the body of Christ. But it would not necessarily categorize then as satanic.
(We will be discussing the satanic ministries in another lesson).
Believers who find themselves under such poor examples of ministry should not remain there, and clergy who truly love God who find themselves involved with such ministries should make every effort to bring about change that conforms to God’s standard. And be clear about the method, only direct confrontation with the abuser/violator will do, there should be no beating around the bush.
Should such efforts fail they should withdraw themselves from associating with that group and fine others to associate with who are truly subject to God. We should also warn others about the misconduct going on in that ministry so that they can avoid it if they so choose.
Discerning false from true ministry can be difficult for new saints, therefore the following characteristics of a false or hazardous ministry is presented here to aid the believer. Understand however that the scope of this subject is much greater than can be covered in this brief work. The following is only a general outline of what characterizes false ministry.
Characteristics of bad or false ministriesIn addition to teaching false doctrine and insisting that they are right, other signs include:
A disregard for moral standards, (be warned, some talk morality while practicing immorality).
- Exploitation of members.
- Legalistic domination (forced submission through unbiblical threats).
- Pre-occupation with getting members to give money.
- False prophecy
- Mean spirited attitude towards the church members and other ministers who don’t cooperate.
- Cult or Occult practices
- An unwillingness to answer parishioner’s reasonable questions.
- Acknowledges another source of authority over the Bible.
- Manipulation of members.
- Betray confidences of members
- Flashy or flamboyant character and dress.
It must be remembered that a single violation of any of these points does not necessarily constitute false ministry. It is the “practice” of these things that should set off alarms in the mind of the believer.
In conclusion I would like to remind all that we are obligated to bless and support good leadership. Since Pastoring is one of if not the most important jobs a person can have, it is extremely important that the members do everything they can to make that job easier for the leader.
Making sure that he and his family is financially secure and medically protected and seeing to it that he or she is able to take regular vacations with their families will go a long way to make them happy and keep them well and able to function at top efficiency.
 Cults are often isolationist who follow un biblical teaching
Occultist practice witchcraft and mysticism etc.