Although the word may be repulsive, it stands as a near-perfect depiction of the surrogate role the modern church plays. Many, well-meaning Christians have only experienced the sensual gratification of “Pastorbation” while never experiencing the deeper joy of (as the Lord Jesus put it) “knowing”.
Jesus warned us that this lack of intimacy would endanger our eternal souls. Note that He warned men and women who were known by His name.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father … And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.Matthew 7
Do we really know Him? More importantly, does He know us?
Although it may be repulsive, the word “pastorbation” stands well as a near perfect representation of the surrogate role played by the modern church. The conventional church replaces a crucial part of the relationship between our God and us. Under the guise of “worship”, we have entered into a false and (what could only be described as an) instantaneous gratification of our true (and, indeed, God-given) desire for relationship.
Have you ever wondered about the difference in the goose bumps, the tears or the in emotional uplift felt when singing a patriotic song, reading a poem about home and family, as opposed to the modern worship services designed to evoke sensations of dedication, thankfulness or even worship with songs and “inspiring messages” The truth is, many times, there is no difference!
Many, well meaning Christians have only experienced the sensual gratification of this “Pastorbation” while never experiencing the deeper joy, as the Lord Jesus put it, of “knowing”.
The concept “to know” is used in the Old Testament to relate the sense of intimacy. In Genesis we read several accounts of this:
“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.”
“And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived…” (4:17)
“And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son…” (4:25)
Although a strange usage of this word, the message is clear; and not just clear but a beautiful concept and wonderful thought. More than familiarity (another definition of yada, the Hebrew word for “to know”) and more than merely to have knowledge of (yet another definition), this knowing suggests an intimacy of a marriage partner that results in the fruitful progeny of combined lives.
Marriages fail on this level more than any other. The lack of loving intimacy is diminished long before the adulterous affair, the financial strain or the mental cruelty becomes apparent. Sometimes it never existed. Just as people attempt to gratify themselves without the responsibility of maintenance, love, respect and some level of compatible behavior to engage in the joy of legitimate intercourse, selfish persons often resort to “self-sex” that remains entirely within their control. This behavior is detrimental to the relationship they neglect, and it drives further and further away the possibility of true intimacy with their marriage partner.
A RED-LETTER WARNING
Here we see an unavoidable parallel. When “worship” is mustered and manufactured we run the same risk of endangering our intimate relationship with our Father God. Jesus warned us about this lack of intimacy endangering our eternal souls. He even used the word we just defined. Listen for it:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils and in thy name done many wonderful works And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.Matthew 7:21-23
How is it that Jesus could say to anyone who calls on Him daily, “I never knew you“.
We have learned that the word “know” means more than to merely be aware. These men and women had done great works in the name of the Lord. There is no reason to believe they were Muslims, Buddhists, Satanists or Skin Heads. These people were “Christians” unKNOWn by Christ! How could this be? No doubt, they had had some sense of relationship. No doubt, they did not continue for the entirety of their lives without some sense of closeness to their Lord. Could it be that these who sensed a relationship were only involved in “Pastorbation”.
Isn’t the blame to be laid at organized religion? Aren’t the churches at fault? What responsibility do the people have? Why blame the pastors?
For years I have decried organized religion. It was (and still is) a popular fixation of my complaints; however, it ineffectively places blame on a non-entity which can be happily denounced by everyone…even by those who practice and proliferate it. (Sometimes they are the loudest!) AND note also that organized religion is defended by no one. Although it may be a good rant on the subject of “The Problem with the Church Today”, it makes no genuine reparations. Where does the blame really belong?
Let‘s look at a very popular verse of Scripture. In the book of Ephesians, we read, “And he [Christ Jesus] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”(4:11-12).
This Scripture is often given in defense of the dogma commonly known as the “Five-fold Ministry”. Have you ever heard of it? (Of course, you have!) So, if I were to put forward the idea that there are to be no Teachers, Pastors presiding over the “church”, you might expect this Scripture to be given in defense. (And you would be correct…but, at the risk of engaging of their fire-storm, I press on!)
Indeed the Pastor is the problem. This self-proclaimed official is the source of the ear-tickling, goose bump, entertainment that shamelessly replaces true relationship. Some efforts are not so frivolous, and Bible teaching is not exempt from the list of diversions either. There will always be another subject to teach or another topic to discuss; however, there is no place in the mature membership of the body of Christ for human leadership! We have been made dependent upon those “smarter”, more articulate, more educated, more refined than we are; and we often refer to our teachers as “spiritual”. This is a gross error. Is it the fault of the people? NO! The hirelings themselves have led people to this state of hireling dependence, and people have trusted sinful, fallible men.
I will tell you what they will not dare. These pastors use the very same “Five-fold Ministry” verse to justify their office although it limits the same! Far less quoted is the portion of the verse that follows the colon. (You did notice the verse ended with a colon and not a period, didn’t you?) The very next word is the one with which they take umbrage as a limit upon their scope of “ministry”:
Ephesians 4:13-16, “…Till (until) we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect (complete, mature) man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
Notice how many words and phrases deal with maturity. The office of pastor/teacher continues UNTIL we mature; thereafter, we are to be taught of the Lord!
Are you immature in Christ? Are you a child? Some may honestly answer, “Yes!” and that’s okay. Stay in your congregation. Let your Pastor teach you – as long as he teaches you that you have NO other Shepherd, NO other Teacher, NO other Rabbi other than Christ Himself! This is a scriptural idea indeed! Let’s go to the RED WORDS:
Matthew 23:8-12, “But be not ye called Rabbi [From Hebrew -“Great One” and in English = Reverend]: for ONE is your Master [Leader, Guide], even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father [Pope, Church Fathers] upon the earth: for ONE is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters [Teachers, Leaders, Guides]: for ONE is your Master, even Christ.”
And just so we don’t begin here playing with words, defining and redefining our role of aggrandizement, He continues, “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.“
Leader – Follower? ALL OF US ARE BRETHREN!
Have you ever thought about the title, “Overseer”. This word (the word the Apostle Paul used) eliminates the “Leader – Follower” aspect altogether.
To everyone reading on a sixth grade level and above it is clear that Jesus Christ Himself intends to be our Leader and all of us are brethren. Anyone raising himself to a position of “leader” is OUTSIDE the boundaries set by this Scripture.
So, what is the problem? Leaders need followers. Churches need members. There is no profit in building the universal, body of Christ. The only profit comes in building congregations and clubs. If we cannot get people from the world by preaching to the lost, the church members will only come from other congregations as proselytes.
Of course, focus is placed upon “experiences” at church in hope to make proselytes and take converts from one congregation to another. Worthy of note is that Jesus concluded His speech above with another RED LETTER warning, “Woe unto you, [modern-day] scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.“ (Matthew 23:15)
Today we “compass sea and land” by hiring the best speakers and song leaders, promising the supernatural and citing so-called miraculous manifestations, implying that it is the church, doctrine or some special dispensation imparted to a particular man or denomination.
Preachers have become Pastors. Preaching to the world has become passe and distasteful. Preachers have turned to those who are not hostile to their message and called the resulting group “churches”. Now, because they make a living at it, the problem is multiplied. Soon they become teachers, fulfilling the ancient words of Paul who exhorted Timothy to, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 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; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)
Why become teachers when Jesus has clearly said that HE will be our Teacher? They must create the need for their profession. Because their profession has changed, evangelizing the lost is merely an invitation to church – with membership and attendance implying the end of a life-long search for regeneration. Then regeneration is simply replaced with Pastorbation (emotional gratification) the effects of which wear off, enforcing the habit of returning weekly for a “recharge”. Over and over again, the hungry and thirsty, attend church seeking to be filled.
Wouldn’t it be so much better to never again hunger or thirst? John promises, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.“ (4:14)
John 6:35, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.“
Yes, it is the fault of the Pastor. He could stop the cycle today by preaching these RED WORDS: (But, though they would be life to you, they would be suicide to his career!)
John 10:16, “And other sheep I have, …and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.“
And how rare is it to hear from the Old Testament Scriptures in church:
Jeremiah 12:10, “Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.”
Jeremiah 10:21, “For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD …”
Ezekiel 34:19-23, “And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD …Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey…And I will set up one shepherd over them, and HE shall feed them, even my servant David [this speaks of none other than Jesus Christ Himself]; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.”
Ezekiel 37:24, “And David my servant shall be king over them; [again, this is Christ] and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.“
So why, in modern Christianity, is Jesus NOT our only Shepherd? Why do we look to men to feed us, lead us, and guide us into truth? Why is He not our Pastor?
We already have one…