Category Archives: Christian Schools

An Exhortation for Preachers, Bible Teachers and Believers

Friday, July 21, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Ezekiel 31-36

Continuing our reading in Ezekiel, we noted in prior chapters God’s love and jealousy for Israel and Judah (Ezekiel 25-30).  The rebellion of His people invited His judgment; however, the pleasure the heathen nations took in Israel’s suffering provoked God’s wrath and He warned they would fall to Babylon.  Named among those nations is Egypt whose treasures would be taken by king Nebuchadnezzar (Ezekiel 29:1-21).

Ezekiel 31 continues God’s warning of judgment against Egypt.  Nebuchadnezzar and his Chaldean army’s devastating overthrow of ancient Assyria, likened in chapter 31 unto the great oaks of Lebanon, served as God’s warning to Egypt (31:1-18).

Ezekiel continues his prophecy of judgment against Egypt in chapter 32, prophesying that nation’s calamity would serve as a warning to other nations (32:1-10).   Giving no room for ambiguity, Egypt’s fall to Babylon is ascertained (32:11-15).   Picturing Hell for what it is, a place of death and torment for the lost who reject the LORD (32:17-32), the Egyptians are forewarned they will make their graves with those nations that have gone before them.

Ezekiel 33-35 moves the focus from Egypt’s imminent destruction to the prophet Ezekiel’s responsibility as God’s watchman.

The task of a prophet is not an enviable one and the message he delivers is often despised and rejected by his listeners.  While the message of an Old Testament prophet is often foretelling, his focus is never exclusively future events.  Ezekiel, like  Jeremiah, Isaiah and others, was to remind Israel of her glorious past, discern the present times and declare God’s judgment should the people continue in their sins (33:1-9).

It is the latter work of the preacher\prophet, the forth telling and unapologetic declaration of God’s Word, that has all but been silenced by the 21st century church.  I have heard of church boards and schools that purpose to depart from the Bible fundamental legacy of the church and court pastors and administrators who disavow the role of the watchman.   

Rather than confront the sins of the Church, the pulpiteers of our day offer up drops of honey and philosophical charm to a generation of professing believers given to sin.  Fearing noxious labels like legalist and mean-spirited, pastors are failing to serve as “watchmen”.  The sound of the trumpet warning the people of God’s judgment is silent and pastors and Bible teachers are guilty of soft-pedaling God’s call and command to be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).

Lest some take my observation to task, I remind you the duty of the New Testament pastor is to, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2).

Be forewarned my pastor peers; the blood of a generation will be on our heads should we fail as God’s watchman (Ezekiel 33:8).

Ezekiel, living as a captive in Babylon and far from Jerusalem, called His people to repent (33:1-20).  When the news of Jerusalem’s fall reached him, the LORD consoled him, though the people refuse to heed his warning, they would “know that a prophet hath been among them” (33:33).

Ezekiel rebukes unfaithful “shepherds” for their failure to lead the people (Ezekiel 34).  Failing to guide and nourish them, the “shepherds” took advantage of the weak and abused their roles as the spiritual caregivers of Israel (34:1-8).  Having failed in their duty, the LORD warned, “I am against the shepherds” (34:9-10).

In spite of the dire state of His people, the LORD assured His prophet that He would gather them together as a loving shepherd gathers His sheep (34:11-31).

I close today with a charge to ministers and Bible teachers who are faithful shepherds of God’s people.

Our task as preachers and teachers of Truth is not appreciated by many and some might say we are failures.  Be faithful friend and take solace in this; one day some will “know that a prophet hath been among them” (33:33)!

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

God’s Call to Holiness

Monday, July 17, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Leviticus 16-18

After addressing the issue of leprosy (Leviticus 13-14), the opening verse of Leviticus 16 reminds us of a tragedy that occurred in the priesthood when two sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, “offered strange [foreign] fire before the LORD, which He commanded [charged] them not” (Leviticus 10:1) and were slain for their sin against the LORD (Leviticus 10:2).

Reminding us the office of high priest was a holy office and Aaron’s ministry before the LORD on behalf of the people was a sacred duty; the LORD instructs Moses the high priest was only to enter the holy place, the “holy of holies”, once a year (16:2) on “the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month” (16:29).   The Day of Atonement, known as “Yom Kippur” and the “Sabbath of Sabbaths”, is the most holy day on the Jewish calendar and was the day the high priest offered sacrifices for nation’s sins against God.

The pattern of blood sacrifices was necessary to remind all sinners the penalty of sin is death and there is no forgiveness of sins apart from the shedding of blood, for “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).

Once a year and every year, the high priest offered sacrifices for the sins of the people.  Under the new covenant, this annual ritual is no longer needed following Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross for sin, His burial and resurrection from the dead. We read in the Book of Hebrews,

Hebrews 9:24-28 – “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25  Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26  For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28  So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

Leviticus 17 continues the LORD’s instructions to Moses concerning sacrifices the priests were to offer for the people before the door of the tabernacle.   Thirteen times in chapter 17 the centrality of blood sacrifices for sin is mentioned and explicit instructions are given regarding the offerings to the LORD, including the prohibition regarding the consumption of blood (17:10-14).   For those curious regarding the meaning of “Kosher” meats; they are meats derived from animals slaughtered and the blood drained according to Biblical guidelines.

Morality and the sanctity of marriage is the subject of Leviticus 18:1-30 and one that should be a subject of teaching in the 21st century church.   Several moral issues are addressed including the prohibition of incest (18:6-19), adultery (18:20; Exodus 20:14), homosexuality (18:22), and bestiality (18:23).

The wicked immoral practices the people might remember from Egypt and the immorality that might observe in the new land were prohibited.  In other words, the world was not to be the standard of God’s people in conduct and lifestyle.  Israel was to not follow in the ways of Egypt and Canaan (Leviticus 18:3; 24-29).  The LORD commanded His people, “Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God” (18:4).  Excommunication from fellowship and living among the people was the judgment against any who chose to walk contrary to the law and commandments (18:29).

Friend, there was a time the church and God’s people set the moral standard for these United States and defined a godly lifestyle according God’s Word, law and commandments.   It troubles me to observe the average Christian home in America has an appetite for the world and looks to society, politicians, judges, and liberal media for their moral judgments.  Our homes, churches and schools will not be blessed until we allow our consciences to be disciplined by God’s Word, law and commandments (18:30).

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Dismiss the warning of faithful men and you do so to your own demise.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Daily reading assignment – 1 Kings 19-22

I am posting two versions of today’s devotional commentary from 1 Kings 19-22.  This blog post is an abbreviated version of a longer one that will soon follow.

We conclude our study of 1 Kings with Jehoshaphat, the godly king of Judah allying himself with king Ahab against the king of Syria.  This final chapter records Ahab’s death on the battlefield against the king of Syria and the fulfillment of Elijah’s prophesy that the dogs would lick his blood as they had Naboth’s (22:37-40).  However, rather than focus on Ahab’s death, I draw your attention to the confrontation between Ahab and a prophet identified as “Micaiah the son of Imlah” (22:8).

Evidencing the nature of a godly king, Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, desired the LORD’s direction before going to battle (22:5).  Ahab complied with Jehoshaphat’s request and gathered nearly four hundred prophets who falsely prophesied the LORD would give Israel and Judah victory on the battlefield over the king of Syria (22:6).  In spite of the prophesies of nearly four hundred men, godly Jehoshaphat was not satisfied and enquired if there was not another prophet in Israel (22:7).

Now there was one prophet in Israel who had not received the invitation to prophesy before the kings, “Micaiah the son of Imlah” (22:8).  Ahab explained Micaiah had not been invited to prophesy saying, I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (22:8).

King Ahab complied with Jehoshaphat’s request and Micaiah was summoned to stand before the kings and prophesy (22:9-10).  Sitting in the “gate of Samaria”, the most public venue in the capital, Ahab’s prophets, led by one named Zedekiah, agreed in their prophesy that the LORD would give Israel and Judah victory over Syria (22:10b-12).  The servant Ahab sent to invite Micaiah to prophesy warned him the other prophets were of “one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good” (22:13).

In a moment of irony, Micaiah prophesied exactly what Ahab wanted to hear (22:15); however, the king rebuked him and demanded, “How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?” (22:16).

Micaiah answered, prophesying Ahab would die and Israel would be “scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd” (22:17).  Acknowledging his own self-fulfilling sentiment, Ahab said to the king of Judah, “Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?” (22:18).

Micaiah completed his task as God’s prophet, boldly confronting Zedekiah and the four hundred men who prophesied lies with him (22:19-23), declaring the true prophet would be revealed by whose prophesy came to pass (22:24-25).  As prophesied, Ahab died in battle and the people were scattered (22:36-40)

I close today’s devotional commentary noting Ahab’s disdain and reluctance to invite Micaiah to prophesy, because “I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (22:8), has become, in my opinion, the malady of Bible fundamental churches, schools, and institutional boards.

Is that not the nature of sinners?  Pulpits of what were once thriving Bible fundamental churches are being filled with preachers dedicated to soft-pedaling God’s Word, appeasing the masses and giving them what they want to hear.  Pulpit committees, deacon boards, and boards of Christian schools and institutions are dedicated to insuring the voices heard in boardrooms and pulpits are those that will “prophesy good” while they dismiss and silence pastors, administrators, and faculty who are willing to give a clarion call concerning the way of sin and compromise.  Like Micaiah, because their voices are not in harmony with the sentiment of the majority, they are undesirable and unwelcome.

While Jehoshaphat desired to hear a true word of prophecy; Ahab was committed to the prophets that would tell him what he wanted to hear and he and all Israel suffered failure.

The same is no less true of our churches, schools and institutions.  Dismiss the warning of faithful men and you do so to your own demise.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Malady of 21st Century Churches: Sissy Preachers and Starving Sheep

Friday, June 16, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Ezekiel 1-6

Our study of Old Testament prophets moves from Jeremiah prophesying to Judah in the years leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the people being taken captive to Babylon to Ezekiel prophesying to the Jews in Babylon in the midst of an exile that would last 70 years before they returned to rebuild their homes, the Temple, Jerusalem and the nation.

The opening verses of the Book of Ezekiel introduce us to Ezekiel, a 30-year-old man ministering as priest to the Jews “in the land of the Chaldeans” (Ezekiel 1:3).  The “hand of the LORD” (1:3) moved Ezekiel from the esteemed ministry of a priest to the prophet of God confronting the sins of the people and calling them to repentance.  The length of today’s scripture reading inhibits a thorough study of the prophecies; however, I will share a few highlights that I trust will be a blessing.

Ezekiel 1 records three visions that together gave Ezekiel an appreciation of “the likeness of the glory of the LORD” (1:28b).  Humbled by the majesty of the LORD, Ezekiel writes, “I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake” (1:28c).

Addressing Ezekiel as “Son of man”, chapter 2 records the prophet’s commission and the gravity of his ministry to the Jews living in Babylon (2:3-4).  Ezekiel’s calling would move him from the safe anonymity of one priest among many to a ministry that of necessity become confrontational as God commissioned and commanded him, “Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. 4  For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD. 5  And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them” (Ezekiel 2:3-5).

The Jews in captivity were “impudent children and stiffhearted” (2:4) and God’s response to their sin was to raise up a prophet among them.  Whether they would hear or reject the message of the prophet was the LORD’s business; however, God declared to Ezekiel, they will “know that there hath been a prophet among them” (2:5).

On a personal note, the same will not be said of this 21st century generation.  Fundamental churches, colleges and seminaries across our nation are in desperate need of preachers and evangelists who will stand in the pulpits and boldly declare the Word and Law of the Lord!  Sadly, like the Jews in Babylonian captivity, our churches have become carnal, spiritually cold institutions that demand to be catered to by silver-tongued orators and despise those who dare confront their sins.  While saints idle away their lives sitting in pews, timid preachers stand in pulpits… fearing offending a generation that has little passion for Truth or Holiness.

No wonder God commanded Ezekiel, “be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words… son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee” (2:6-8).

The laments and woes of the LORD concerning Israel appears in Ezekiel 2:9-10 and the prophet is commanded to “eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel” (3:1).  Ezekiel described the taste of the words written on the roll as “honey for sweetness” (3:3).  God commanded the prophet to speak plainly and boldly to the people leaving no doubt the words and the meaning (2:4-6).   The LORD warned Ezekiel, the people “will not hearken unto thee” (3:7).

No doubt Ezekiel was given a difficult task and the message he was to deliver the people would find hard to hear; however, should the prophet be tempted to fail in his duty, God warned, “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand” (3:18).

Should 21st century preachers not fear the same?  I have observed trends in churches for nearly 40 years that magnify everything except the most important thing…Preaching “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27)!   In the 1980’s we promoted Christian schools as the answer to America’s troubles.  In the 1990’s “Nouthetic Counseling” became trendy.  The 2000’s introduced an emphasis on “The Gospel…the Gospel…the Gospel”.  The 2010’s decade has suggested the answer is Discipleship.

Before you take me to task…I am not suggesting the above do not have their place…Christian schools, Nouthetic Counseling, “The Gospel” and Discipleship all have important roles; however, where is the clarion call for the man of God to do what God has called him to do… “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2)?

In his farewell message to the churches, Paul declared with conviction, “I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27).  I assure you that declaration embodied more than preaching the “Gospel” to the churches.  Paul exhorted the pastors, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (20:28).

Believer and pastor friend, the devil is content with shallow preaching and pastors doing all manner of “good things” at the neglect of the most important thing that preachers alone are called to do…Preach the Word!

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

“A Reason To Be Wary Of Liberties Some Leaders Champion”

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Proverbs 2-3

Today’s scripture reading is Proverbs 2-3; however, the focus for this devotional commentary is limited to Proverbs 2:12-13.

In today’s devotional, Solomon advises his son that godly wisdom will induce him to be wary of two enemies of youthWicked men and their influence (Proverbs 2:12-15) and the Adulterous woman and her ways (Proverbs 2:16-19).  For the sake of brevity, I will focus on two of the four proverbs that serve as warnings concerning wicked men.

Proverbs 2:12-13 – “To deliver [rescue; save] thee from the way [path; course of life] of the evil man [wicked], from the man that speaketh [tell; say] froward things [lies and perverseness]; 13 Who leave [forsake; abandon; depart from; loosen] the paths [way; manner; race; troop] of uprightness, to walk in the ways [path; course of life] of darkness [i.e. ignorance; sorrow];”

Preparing his son who will one day serve the nation as king, Solomon exhorts him to embrace godly wisdom and allow righteous discernment to set the course of his life.  Godly wisdom, the wisdom God alone imparts from His Word, directs youth to not only recognize the character of the ungodly, but turn from their counsel [i.e. “froward things”].

Wicked counsel often comes from those who, to borrow an old expression, “should know better”.  Solomon exhorts his son, be cautious of those who once knew and appeared to follow the “paths of uprightness” but have departed (2:13).  The Apostle Paul challenged Timothy with a similar admonition when he wrote that the last days would be “perilous” because there would be some who have “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5).

A personal observation: Our churches, Bible colleges and seminaries are heavily influenced by a host of men and women who hurl the “legalist” label at those who choose to take what I define as the “higher road”.

This generation of Christian leaders has focused on “Liberty” to indulge “grey areas” previous generations of Christians steered from out of concern for passions they might induce and the influence they carried.  In their pursuit of the more “enlightened life”, many Christian leaders have become advocates of driving near the cliff edge as opposed to steering far from danger.  They have become what Solomon cautioned—those who have forsaken the paths of the upright only to “walk in the way of darkness” (2:13).

Be careful my friend; the tantalizing “Liberties” you trifle with today can enslave and traumatize your children tomorrow.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Hijacked: You can lose your church while sleeping in the pew!

* The following blog is a repost of an article I first penned July 2015.  I am burdened more than ever that conservative, traditional Bible-believing churches, colleges and Universities across America are falling prey to a generation of pastors and Christian leaders that are pragmatic, rather than Biblical in their philosophy.  Our churches need Revival and Bible-believers should demand the pulpits be occupied by pastors of conviction.  

Warning: Continue placating the carnality of your members and you do so at the loss not only of your integrity, but the risk of the ministry itself!

“He stole our church out from under us!” is a statement I hear too often these days from both Independent Baptist and conservative Southern Baptist church members.

The typical scenario is a trusting, aging church calls a young, dynamic pastor to take the helm of their church ministries following a faithful veteran pastor who retired, moved on or was pushed out by church members who wanted a change.   Reasoning the young pastor would bring new ideas and the church would be blessed with an influx of youth, the trusting church settled into a familiar rut of “watch and wait” unaware they were setting a course that would inevitably abandon the legacy and heritage of the church, its traditional worship services and often its own membership.

Before I am misunderstood and taken to task, allow me to state emphatically I am not arguing against change.  Change is an inevitable dynamic with the passing of time, membership and new leadership who bring different skills, spiritual gifts and their own strengths and weaknesses.  It is impossible for a ministry to experience a change in leadership and not face the reality of changes within the body of that organization. [Let’s face it; some people oppose change regardless of how inevitable, necessary or valid the change.]church

The changes I want to address are at first subtle, pragmatic and sometimes deceptive.  The doctrine begins a subtle shift, the music style begins to drift, and inevitably unrest takes hold in the body of the church.  Several examples come to mind where young pastors who, lacking an appreciation for the heritage of the church and its godly legacy, reasoned if a new generation is reached the church must “Change or Die”.  Because the congregation dutifully followed the previous pastor for a generation, church members fail to question the young pastor.  Church leaders participate in the changes without asking for the guiding principles behind the young pastor’s “Change or Die” narrative and what those changes might be.

In fairness to the young pastor, his youth, inexperience and the pressure to be successful sends him searching for the keys to a successful ministry.  Seminars, conferences, headliner national speakers, peers and “Ministry for Dummies” books and blogs soon become his fare at the sacrifice of prayer, Bible study, and the counsel of older, experienced mentors.  Like Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, the young preacher rejects the counsel and cautions of his elders and embraces the counsel and example of his peers (1 Kings 12:6-8) who flatter his ego and inflame his pride.

preachToo often the exodus of disavowed saints who were the pillars of the church and the failed influx of youth spells doom not only for the young pastor, but also the church.   I close today’s blog with Paul’s challenge to Timothy that is both timely and prophetic.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 – “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith

* The above is a brief diagnosis of the “Change or Die” narrative that many pastors and churches are following, often to their demise.

A Second Appeal From Outside the Bubble (part 2)

* Unlike my first appeal “From Outside the Bubble” that I addressed primarily to Bible fundamental churches and graduates of Bob Jones University living in Greenville, SC, this article goes well-beyond the borders of Greenville to the breadth of Bible fundamental pastors, churches, and administrators of fundamental Bible colleges and institutions.

I have pondered the root cause for a lack of vitality in Bible fundamentalism that is contributing not only to the failings of our institutions, but also more importantly, the weakening of our churches (understanding the weaknesses observed in fundamental institutions once hailed as citadels of the faith are symptomatic of compromises within our local churches).   As much as it pains me to state it, I have observed a near universal characteristic in the senior leadership of our churches, schools, Bible colleges and seminaries that is the catalyst to compromise:

God’s Men Have Failed to Stand on Immutable Principles

Twenty-first century Bible fundamentalism is facing a moral crisis in leadership giving rise to a tolerance of sin and pervasive carnality in our churches, Bible colleges and seminaries.  Taking a lesson from the life of King David, I suggest the failures and shortcomings of historical flagship ministries in fundamentalism reveal a pattern of compromise among Christian leaders who, facing the duress of their children’s sinful choices, have become pragmatic and weak.  A tolerance of sin has emerged in our homes, pulpits and chapel platforms that is leading our youth, churches, and schools down a path of ruin.

Consider the consequences of David’s failed leadership after his moral failures left him enfeebled and unwilling to address the sins and moral failures of his adult children.

David’s adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, was a scandalous sin that forever damaged his reign as king (2 Samuel 11).  His notorious sins gave cause for his enemies and members of his own household to disdain him.  Confronting David with the words, “Thou art the man” (2 Samuel 12:7), the prophet Nathan warned, “the sword shall never depart from thine house” (2 Samuel 12:10).  The sins David had committed in secret eventually bore the bitter fruit of public humiliation “before all Israel” (2 Samuel 12:11-12).  Weakened by his own failures, David’s leadership faltered and he failed to address the sins of his sons.

When Amnon, a son of David, raped his half-sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13:1-19), we read the morally compromised king’s response was merely, “he was very angry” (2 Samuel 13:21).  David’s failure to confront Amnon’s sin gave cause to Absalom to revenge his sister’s disgrace and plot the murder of his half-brother (2 Samuel 13:20-29).   Fearing the consequences for murdering his half-brother Amnon, Absalom fled Israel and dwelt as an exile in Geshur for three years (2 Samuel 13:34, 37).

In spite of Amnon’s death, we read, “king David longed to go forth unto Absalom” (2 Samuel 13:30).   Every loving parent understands David’s longing for his prodigal son; however, there were issues greater than paternal affections in question.  Would the king be a man of integrity?  Would he rule his kingdom judiciously, knowing his own son was a fugitive from justice and guilty of murder?

Such is the dilemma of spiritual leadership: When our sons and daughters turn from the LORD and the instructions of their youth, we may long for peace and their love and affection, but we should not compromise our principles and convictions.

Among the qualifications of a pastor is he is to “ruleth [preside over] well his own house, having his children in subjection [under control] with all gravity [dignity; respect]” (1 Timothy 3:4).   Why is it important for Christian leaders to evidence an ability to manage the children in their households? Paul’s answer: “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” (1 Timothy 3:5).

Pastor’s with children “in their households” is the topic of 1 Timothy 3:4; however, the principle found in 1 Timothy 3:5 serves as a warning to churches and Christian institutions:  Be wary of spiritual leaders who fail to rule their households for they will invariably fail to “take care of the church”.   Adult sons and daughters are no longer children under the management or rule of their parents, and as much as we are pained to accept it, they bear their choices and associated consequences.   As it was for David, so it is for all who are spiritually minded parents:

Will we be men and women of integrity if our adult children walk contrary to the Word of the LORD and spiritual principles?

For those in spiritual leadership, the cost of compromise extends far beyond our family relationships and affects our churches, schools and institutions.   I need not enumerate the tragedy that followed David’s failure to be a man of integrity and conviction.  His weak response to his son’s sins incited Absalom to lead a rebellion against David (2 Samuel 14:23-24, 33; 15:1-6), fulfilling Nathan’s prophecy and humiliating his father in front of the nation (2 Samuel 15:7-16:23). Twenty thousand men perished in battle before David took back his throne; however, even then David’s heart was such toward his son he commanded his men to, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom” (2 Samuel 18:5).

Such is the way of spiritual leaders when they promote paternal affections over eternal principles.  My generation, my peers who are pastors, administrators, and professors in Bible fundamental colleges and seminaries have, under duress, compromised immutable spiritual principles because our children and grandchildren have rejected the guiding principles of God’s Word.

Make no mistake, our compromises have become mortal wounds for our churches and institutions, and if pastors, churches, and the spiritual leaders and boards of our Bible colleges and seminaries do not soon repent, the demise of Bible fundamentalism is sure.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith