A Baptist pastor and founder of the G3 Conference believes there are three main types of pastors who hinder, rather than help the Christian church. He recently outlined the characteristics of pastors that believers should be wary of.
Josh Buice, senior pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church in Douglasville, Georgia, and founder and director of the theological G3 Conference, first identified "the entertainer" as someone who is "a hindrance to the local church's sanctification and growth in grace."
"The entertainer is really a pragmatist at heart. Whatever the people want, they will get it under the leadership of an entertainer," Buice said Thursday on his DeliveredByGrace blog.
"Today it's not at all uncommon to have pastors dressing up in costumes to "perform" their sermon rather than preaching the text. This approach to ministry will often be very successful, but it's not spiritually profitable," he added, without naming names.
He explained that while this type of pastor may leave people excited about the sermon, it doesn't leave them knowing God in a better way.
"In most cases, the entertainer is paralyzed by the need to be liked by his congregation, and sadly he places more emphasis on pleasing people rather than pleasing God. Paul warned Timothy that his people would soon leave him for such preachers who would tickle the ears of the immature causing them to wander off into myths (2 Tim. 4:3-4)," he pointed out.
Next, Buice warned about "unbalanced" teachers who do not allow their ministry to be text-driven, but "camp out in one theme."
The Baptist warned that such a teacher "often camps on eschatology, the doctrines of grace, evangelism, or whatever he is passionate or knowledgeable about while there is much remaining in God's Word that needs to be expounded."
"Such a teacher is often consumed with a specific topic such as eschatology. In such cases, the unbalanced teacher finds a way to get to eschatology from the strangest texts in the Bible — or he never leaves Daniel or Revelation in fear that he will focus on something other than end times prophecy," he explained.
The third type of pastor Buice warned about is the "lover of this world," namely prosperity gospel preachers.
"The pastor who loves this present world is not qualified to lead a local church — or God's Word for that matter. Pastors should love people in the world and point them to their hope and joy in Christ, but the preacher who loves the world demonstrates that his heart is mastered by money and materialism rather than by Christ," he wrote.
"Far too many leaders fit this category. They preach a message of health, wealth, and prosperity — demanding that people have enough faith in God and he will provide them with riches and material possessions. The lover of this world is self condemned and self deceived," he continued.
"The god of this world has blinded their minds so that they cannot see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). The lover of this world spends most of their time emphasizing how it's possible to have your best life now — rather than focusing on the eternal reward (Heb. 11:10)."
Buice attended The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is the editor of The New Calvinism, "a book designed to compliment and critique the New Calvinism movement."
He also recently blogged about the importance of Christians picking the right church, and warned in February that one thing parents should not do is allow their children to choose where the family attends worship.
"Could it be that parents are capitulating on a serious minded approach to the faith and a serious minded approach to the local church because they want to make their children happy? Why is this a dangerous idea?" he posed, pointing out that some children may not be converted.
"An overwhelming percentage of youth who attend church every Sunday are in fact — unconverted. Will you make your choice of church based on what your child desires, when in all reality, those desires are selfish, carnal, and not exactly God-honoring?" he asked parents.