Preachers of Righteousness
Where are the “preachers of righteousness” today that Peter esteemed so highly in his day? (2 Peter 2:5) Where is balanced ministry, that touches a person at their TRUE points of need — rather than simply feeds the carnal nature of unsaved masses in order to appeal to their wallets?
There is much concern today about the sheer numbers falling away from the Christian faith as they “give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4). It seems as if God is truly using heretics for His purposes to:
- Purge the church,
- Reveal true preachers of righteousness,
- And to punish those who “love and believe a lie” with their own lust for error.
However, part of the blame regarding the sheer volume of such apostasy is the fact that there are many “hirelings” in the “ministry” who only desire to pad their own pockets and improve their own lifestyles. Others crave ecclesiastical authority to “lord it over God’s people.” Still others are vain narcissists who think only of their own conceits and “popularity” with people. Still others exhibit a combination of ALL of these worthless character traits.
There are just too few genuine ministers of God today who are willing to endure afflictions and minister God’s truth in righteousness, whether the people want to hear such good doctrine or not:
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing… (1 Timothy 6:6-14, NKJV)
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 3:16 – 4:5, NKJV)
Paul admonished his protege, Timothy, to be a TRUE preacher of righteousness. My purpose in this article is to see if I can encourage at least a few of the ministers who read this to strive for this same godly zeal and maturity in true ministry.
God’s True Remnant
Let me state for the record that I do believe in the modern existence of ALL FIVE of God’s five-fold ministry gifts today:
When He [Jesus Christ] ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men….
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ… (Ephesians 4:8-13, NKJV, note and emphasis added)
How long were these ministry gifts given? Until “we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect (or mature) man.” How mature is that? “To the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Have we achieved that even individually, much less corporately? No, we have not. Therefore, the Ephesians passage continues by explaining why these gifts are still needed even today:
…that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:14-16, NKJV, emphasis added)
God does have a true remnant of honest ministers who serve Him. However, let me also be clear that there are also the false ministers who with the “trickery of men” and “deceitful plotting” mentioned above, sow strange “winds of doctrine” within God’s Church. These false ministers actually work for the devil himself:
But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:12-15, NKJV, emphasis added)
So though there are true ministers of Christ functioning within the five ministry offices of the Church today, there are also counterfeits masquerading around as “ministers of righteousness” at the same time. Thus, the individual Christian needs to be aware of this fact, and pursue those true “preachers of righteousness” who will minister to them soul-searching rebukes and correction when needed — PLUS the encouragement and edification we all desire as well.
God has a remnant of such true ministers today. And we are calling attention to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ — while also confronting and exposing the false ministers lurking within the Body of Christ.
May the message of this article provoke and encourage many other ministers to join our ranks.
Where are the TRUE pastors and teachers who will tell their people what they NEED to hear, rather than what their “itching ears” want to hear? Such “hirelings” think they need to always have a “positive” message for their congregations so that people will come back to hear their sermon the next week. They want their “attendance” to grow, and their pews to stay full — but for what reason? If they do NOT give their people the truth of God’s Word —according to their hearers’ true needs — then they are completely worthless as ministers:
And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd [i.e. no true shepherd]; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.” (An excerpt from Ezekiel chapter 34, NKJV, emphasis and note added; see also Jeremiah chapter 23)
The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD ?’ Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols. (Jeremiah 2:8, NIV, emphasis added)
Too many “pastors” are not true shepherds of God’s flock. Instead of seeing that the “sick and broken” are properly ministered to, they simply want to “inspire” everyone. They will not “seek” after God’s lost sheep with genuine motives and concern for their souls (but might do so only if they think it will increase their offering size).
Thus, they are actually being cruel to their congregations because they couldn’t care less if their listeners go to Hell or not. They refuse to preach soul-searching messages that will reveal the sin and error in people’s lives because that is “not popular.” But Paul certainly knew where that will lead:
Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. (Acts 20:25-27, NKJV, emphasis added)
Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. (Ezekiel 3:17-19, NKJV, emphasis added)
Paul knew that God would hold him accountable for his ministry upon the earth, and he exercised himself to “always have a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16). When I pastored within the various churches in which my wife and I were called to serve, I poured my heart out to the people in true ministry from both the pulpit and in person. My wife spent many a time pouring out her soul in anointed ministry in counseling sessions by my side, as well. Those who have true pastor’s hearts for the people God entrusts to them will prove it by giving themselves for the lives of God’s sheep:
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. (John 10:11-13, NKJV, emphasis added)
The epitome of a “good shepherd” is Jesus, of course; He alone “owns” the sheep. Yet, this passage clearly sets the STANDARD for all true pastors before God. Jesus Himself explained this fact to Peter:
Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”…
And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” (An excerpt from John chapter 21, NKJV, emphasis added)
True “shepherds” know that they are not the “owners” of the sheep. They understand that they are responsible to their True Owner, the “Great Shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20). They also realize that if they truly love Him, and want His commendation of “well done thou good and faithful servant” when their service is done, then they must give their lives for God’s sheep also:
Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:17, NKJV, emphasis added)
And any “shepherd” unwilling to bring strong correction to God’s sheep, and to turn them from the error of their ways, is NOT a true pastor in the eyes of God:
Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20, NKJV, emphasis added)
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth….As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” (Jesus talking to one of His churches; an excerpt from Revelation chapter 3, NKJV, emphasis added)
True Ministers of Righteousness
Thus, not only true pastors and teachers, but ALL true ministers of righteousness tell people what they NEED to hear. All true ministers know that they MUST speak what the Lord directs, whether their message is refused or not:
Then He said to me: “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them. For you are not sent to a people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, but to the house of Israel, not to many people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, had I sent you to them, they would have listened to you. But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to Me; for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted. [Sounds like many professing "Christians" today, does it not? So what is God's prescription for this hard headed people?]
Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads. Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.”
Moreover He said to me: “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears. And go, get to the captives, to the children of your people, and speak to them and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ whether they hear, or whether they refuse.” (Ezekiel 3:4-11, NKJV, emphasis and note added)
Of course, the above passage would apply to ANY true minister of God, and not to prophets alone. But since we are on the subject of the prophetic office…
Where are the TRUE prophets who will confront sin and call God’s people to repentance; rather than merely “white washing” their transgressions and giving them “positive words” that merely increase their sin and pending judgment? Such false and “Balaamic” prophets merely want to feed their own bank accounts rather than God’s sheep:
Then the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for this people, for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence” [i.e. as a reward for their multiplied sins].
Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’”
And the LORD said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who prophesy in My name, whom I did not send, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not be in this land’—‘By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed! And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; they will have no one to bury them—them nor their wives, their sons nor their daughters—for I will pour their wickedness on them.’ (An excerpt from Jeremiah chapter 14, NKJV, note and emphasis added)
They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet. (2 Peter 2:14-16, NKJV, emphasis added)
” ‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign LORD. My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of the house of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.
” ‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, “Where is the whitewash you covered it with?” (Ezekiel 13:9-12, NIV, emphasis added)
Note in the Ezekiel passage above that the “prophets” were spreading “whitewash” on the “walls” built by the people. Isaiah tells us, “God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks” (26:1) and, “you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise” (60:18).
So in the light of Isaiah’s clarifications, the Lord through Ezekiel was rebuking the money-minded “feel good” prophets of the land for NOT rebuking the obvious sins of the people. Instead of righteous ministry and faithful adherence to God’s Word, these worthless “prophets” were “white washing” the people’s sins with false messages — that left their hearers bereft of any true salvation. This same thing is happening today!
The world is on the verge of the largest economic collapse in history — a financial “earthquake” which will have its destructive epicenter within the United States of America — and all these so-called “prophets” can do is tickle people’s ears with words of “comfort” and “prosperity”?
As the Lord said through Ezekiel in the passage above, “They lead my people astray, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall.” In a similar manner, these errant “prophets” are actually distracting people from the ONE THING that will benefit them during the massive economic calamity to come: Righteousness!
Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. (Proverbs 11:4, NKJV, emphasis added)
When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous have a refuge. (Proverbs 14:32, NIV, emphasis added)
For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity. (Proverbs 24:16, NKJV, emphasis added)
My sincere counsel is that my readers turn a “deaf ear” to such erroneous ministry, and run to the Living God Who can and will prepare His righteous saints for the coming times of economic despair.
Again, the false and Balaamic prophets are feeding their hearers pure lies, “lying visions,” and “false divination,” and not true counsel from God. As Peter warned in the quote from his second epistle above; and as Jude warned within his epistle also; false “prophets” (some of whom may have once been on-track and true to their ministries) are proliferating within the Body of Christ today.
All the “well-known” prophets in the USA (that I am aware of) are propagating various false teachings such as “dominion theology” and “manifest sons of God,” and even promoting a secular “patriotism” instead of God’s true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let me help clarify something for all my readers, and any ministers in particular:
- Unsaved people and sin-ridden “Christians” will NOT receive ANY “dominion” from God. Thus, such sermons are not only wrong when presented to unrepentant people…they are also quite STUPID within such a unsuitable context:
“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:12-14, NKJV, emphasis added)
- So unsaved people and sin-ridden “Christians” are NOT “manifest sons of God,” nor will they ever be so — unless they repent (see also Matthew 7:18-28).
- Some “patriotism” is good within limits (and I am a former member of the U.S. Marine Corps myself). However, Christians are actually — and PRIMARILY — “citizens of Heaven.” So our surpassing allegiance is owned there in service to the Lord; and only in a minor way here in service to any earthly government or country (Philippians 3:20).
So in reference to these points above, let me point out that “ministers” who continually propagate these errors are either:
- Very ignorant, or…
- Very devious and self-serving, for they know it is wrong, but do it anyway.
In either case, you would do well to avoid such “ministers” like the plague. Unless they preach strong messages that encourage repentance from sin BEFORE teaching such things, they are in serious error.
False and “Balaamic” Prophets
Keep in mind that false and Balaamic prophets NEVER address the sin, apostasy, and heresy, all around them (or they do so only superficially for appearance sake). They prefer to run around talking about false “prophetic words,” “angelic visitations,” and bizarre supernatural events that do NOT encourage repentance and holiness among their hearers. Paul warned about such miscreants:
Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. (Colossians 2:18-19, NKJV, emphasis added)
So what can we conclude about Chuck Pierce, Kim Clement, Rick Joyner, Patricia King, and all the other “feel good” prophets, who refuse to STRONGLY rebuke and confront the sin, heresy, and apostasy, so widespread today within the Church in America and many of the Western nations? I think we can conclude that they have sin, heresy, and apostasy, within their own lives too.
For example, most of these same “prophets” named above endorsed the now-defunct ministry of Todd Bentley. This strange man ran around preaching that an angel named “Emma” was regularly visiting him and giving him new “insights” (i.e. doctrines of demons); and all the while, he was adding tattoos all over his body in “honor” of this angel — and these so-called “prophets” could not discern there was a problem here? Not only that, several of them wholeheartedly endorsed Bentley only a few months before it was revealed publicly that he was committing adultery with female members of his “ministry” team.
So what does this gross error in judgment by such “famous prophets” say about their “prophetic discernment” capabilities? As a hint to the answer of that question, let me show you what type of apostles and prophets the God of the Bible chooses to reveal things to:
As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have been since the world began… (Luke 1:70, NKJV, emphasis added)
…whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:21, NKJV, emphasis added)
…which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets… (Ephesians 3:5, NKJV, emphasis added)
…that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior… (2 Peter 3:2, NKJV, emphasis added)
Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place. (Revelation 22:6, NKJV, emphasis added)
Could we conclude that they perhaps are NOT holy? What would that make them then? Either Balaamic prophets who “love the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Peter 2:14-16) and prophesy out of their own warped imaginations (e.g. Jeremiah 23:16 and Ezekiel 13:2); or they are false prophets, who speak by demonic spirits (e.g. see Deuteronomy 13 and 1 John 4:1-6). There is no third alternative that I can see in Scripture for such grievous error.
Why did these errant “prophets” endorse Todd Bentley anyway? Primarily because he had unusual “supernatural” manifestations within his “services,” and thus, they approved a demoniac as a “man of God” on those terms instead of the biblical terms declared by God (e.g. 1 Timothy 3). These people obviously love “gold dust” appearing on their pulpits and “anointing oil” flowing supernaturally (i.e. demonically) out of their hands…but for WHAT purpose? If these things are merely dazzling the masses while NOT convicting them of their multiplied sins, then can we conclude that GOD is perhaps NOT behind these Balaamic and false prophets and their “supernatural manifestations”? I think we can.
Let me note that I do believe in modern supernatural manifestations by God’s Spirit — and have experienced quite a few under my own ministry as well. However, “lying signs and wonders” are also discussed within the Bible, and people need to be very cautious about anything “supernatural” that does not clearly:
- Exalt the Savior,
- Transform and biblically edify the saints,
- And lead sinners to repentance.
A Final Word of Exhortation
In closing, let me suggest to all ministers reading this article that you check your own hearts and ministry practices, and examine your doctrine to see if you are truly pleasing to the Lord… or merely awaiting His judgment.
To all my other readers, please prayerfully consider the content herein and examine the ministers in your life more closely. I admonish you all to ONLY listen to those who will minister ALL the truth of God’s Word to you, with sincere motives and hearts of love toward both God and you.
For related teaching, I suggest these following additional articles of mine (some of which link to articles written by others):
- Prophets-Come-Lately (And Their Inept Counsel)
- How God Uses Heretics
- Two Good Messages About Today’s Apostasy
- The REAL Gospel
Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. (Ephesians 6:24, NKJV)
Always in Jesus,