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We have before us a spate of gross moral failures of high-profile black pastors, compounded by a slew of tabloid social-climbing low-rent YouTube pastors wasting their entire broadcasts pointing fingers at them instead of doing what they're supposed to be doing: preaching the Gospel. There is, frankly, not a huge percentage of high-profile preaching talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's all of this reveling in the shortcomings of others followed by fifteen minutes of advertisements of their next disingenuous hustle. If these men actually feared God, they'd tremble at the judgment each one of us must someday face.

There is a creed, written in huge, brushed-metal

letters in a foyer in Pastor Ricky Rush’s Inspiring Body of Christ church in Dallas, that reads: The Greatest Tragedy Next to Dying Without God and Without Hope Is To Stand At The Judgement Day Empty Handed Having Lived In A World Full of Sinners Without Winning One Person To Christ. The creed is signed by Rush himself and stands a reminder, perhaps first and foremost to the pastor himself, of the reason the ministry exists. I’ve not seen a more starkly sobering declaration from a black minister or church, focusing the minds of believers and seekers on the true nature of Kingdom Building, which is not Church Folk politicking but winning souls for Jesus Christ. Church building is not about competing for the most clueless, gullible Church Folk in town but in creating your own church membership from scratch by introducing people to Christ. That’s the biblical model for church growth, not fried chicken or bake sales or harassing people for money. Our love, and our uplifting the name of Jesus, is what pierces the hearts of men and women, drawing them nearer to the cross. I can only imagine the personal conduct of so many high profile pastors must make Pastor Rush’s challenge that much harder.

We have before us a spate of gross moral failures of high-profile black pastors, from Juanita Bynum’s bragging (sin) about spending “over a million” of her gullible and ignorant followers’ tithes and offerings on a gaudy, over-the-top pagan ritual “wedding” which served to glorify only her, to “Bishop” Paul Morton claiming he was, his words, “Stranded in New Jersey” during Hurricane Katrina even as we saw Bishop TD Jakes on the ground in New Orleans unloading boxes from a relief truck on CNN split screen, to “Bishop” Eddie Long using millions of his gullible and ignorant followers’ tithes and offerings to shower himself in riches and pay off boys he’d been having love affairs with, to “Bishop” Jamal Harrison Bryant preaching an apostate arrogant defiance ("I'm A Man!") in refusing to submit himself to any accountability after impregnating two women (so far that he's admitted to) outside of his marriage, one of whom is alleged to have been underage, to “Bishop” Wayne T. Jackson of Greater Faith International Ministries visibly humping a pair of hapless ordination candidates on a YouTube video, to “Bishop” Larry Trotter’s truly creepy bathtub photo of himself and his toddler granddaughter posted on Facebook.

To black seekers trolling the web, all of these guys are likely a serious turn-off to God and church. These leaders are destroying our tradition with their sin and making us a laughing stock to whites, believers and non-believers, who tune in to laugh at the monkey antics. These men are an embarrassment to the ministry. While they may once have accomplished great things in the name of the Lord, these guys are clearly well beyond their expiration date. The spirit of ego and self has replaced the Holy Spirit in their lives. It is now all about them and their money which is actually your money that you foolishly give to men and women who clearly and evidently do not know Christ.

All of which beggars the question: is there some expiration date on ministry? Is that the lesson the bible teaches us? Jesus ministered for only three years. He never traveled more than 100 miles from His home. In that time, without the benefit of social media or television, He changed the world. The Old Testament is full of stories of good men, righteous men of God who burned brightly for Him and accomplished great things in His name…for a while. At some point, they began substituting their judgment for God’s instructions. God’s instructions will not always be logical or even reasonable. They are, however, right. When we apply our limited reason and flawed logic to the often inexplicable will of God, we fall into sin. This was Moses, smashing the tablets in anger. Gideon putting God to the test on the threshing floor. Elijah fleeing the false prophets.

Is it possible the human psyche and the human ego can stand only but so much stimulation before even the best of us turn into self-serving narcissists? Is it possible that God’s divine anointing on our lives inevitably drives us into self? Is it possible that we all have a certain ministerial expiration date, beyond which we’re just clinging to a pulpit we likely should have vacated years before?

No. 393  |  Feb 10, 2013   DC RealTalk   Catechism   Faith 101   The Church   COVER   Keeping It Real   Sisters   Zion   Donate