Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 28th Show: Family Ties


 A recent blog article caught my attention the other day. It is called "The Monarchy of the Church" by an unknown author at The writer took issue at the abuse of nepotism in the church. He wrote in part:

"In a church that was built by the financial support of its members, a disturbing development of leadership or dictatorship has risen and taken over like that of an old Egyptian Pharaoh who has the power to pass on the throne to his heirs....In a church organization which promotes high standards of ethics and morality, is the practice of nepotism beneficial or used as means of protecting ones legacy.  Nepotism is not new in the church, in fact it gained its name in the Middle Ages when some Catholic Popes and Bishops who had taken vows of chastity and therefore usually had no children of their own would give their nephews positions of preference, as a father would a son...

The issue of passing on the Throne / Pastoral Leadership to a son of a pastor rather than considering more qualified associate pastors has been a practice that has gone unchallenged in congregations across this country.  The main question that has arisen is simply this; just because he is your son does that mean that God called him to pastor this congregation?

We have witnessed the passing of a church to “ Junior” on several other occasions and some have gone off without a hitch. Others have proven disastrous as the son has tried to continue the legacy of the father, but lacked the anointing that was vital to building that congregation. Such was the case with Pastor Robert H. Schuller.

Pastor Schuller attempted to pass on the Crystal Cathedral to his son Schuller Jr. and it sparked the beginning of a series of issues that has landed the church into bankruptcy. Despite the families attempt to downplay the decline of the ministry during the reign of Pastor Schuller’s son, it has become very apparent that the drop in membership and donations was accelerated once the torch was passed to Schuller Jr."

 For pastors to place their sons in the pulpit when God has called another member of the leadership into that position is arrogant and speaks volumes against the senior pastor. It is a sign of possible ego problem. it is symptomatic of a wrong view of church in the modern world, A pastorship is a calling and a trust. A pastor should be accountable to his congregation. When any pastor is replaced in a church without the approval of the members and board of elders, it has lost its way.

That doesn’t mean that the son of a pastor is disqualified just because he is related to the pastor either. There needs to be balance. For instance, Donnie Swaggart has proven to be a powerful preacher. Much as I do not care for Joel Osteen, since he took over after the death of his dad John Osteen, his church has exploded with goats - not sure what sort of professing Christians his father attracted.

God has no grandchildren. And it is wrong to look at an Old Testament patriarchal model of leadership for a pattern. Some point to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to say nepotism is biblical - but that was for the generational promises - not the priesthood. If you want to go back to the OT to justify nepotism, a better example would be Moses and Joshua. The choosing was up to God who did choose Moses’ brother Aaron for priestly duties - but that was God’s choice.

One messianic church in Philadelphia had a practice of only allowing those with Jewish blood to be in positions of leadership. If a gentile believer showed God’s call he was not acceptable, Certainly this does not please God.

What about in the case of para-church ministry? Christian television networks have become dynasties that are family owned and operated even though they have a Christian public trust since it was the millions donated by believers that paid for them. TBN and CBN are both family owned and operated. Time will tell if they survive after the demise of their founders when the sons take over the dynasty.

1 comment:

  1. One day the church will beat the Holy Ghost in these elections for leadership positions. Please may someone let the Holy Ghost lead HIS church? Please please......