Look at Jeremiah 18:18 (here @ Bible Gateway) for a minute – note that if you haven’t been with Jeremiah for a while, I would recommend spending some time with him. It was a privilege a couple of years ago to be able to study the book four times in succession. On one of the overviews as I was reading the book for the second or third time, I began to weep. It seemed I was reading a commentary on the current state of the Church.
In 18:18 (here @ Bible Gateway) notice the list, priest, sage, and prophet. That is a partial list, a subset of a longer list that includes kings, rulers, princes, priests, prophets, sages, and the people. Some form of that combination appears about 25 times in the book. In all but one or two cases the reference to the group is negative. It is negative in the sense that the leaders of the people, the first six on that list, have abandoned the Word of God for their own ideas, visions, and dreams. Chapter 23 (here @ Bible Gateway) is God’s analysis and unfiltered opinion of their behavior.
Back to 18:18 (here @ Bible Gateway), these leaders are plotting together to discredit the one person in the book who is holding fast to God’s Word. They are sure that they are right that they have the law, the appropriate counsel, and the divine Word. However, we know from the rest of the book, they do not. They have substituted their ideas or perhaps read their prejudice into God’s Word.
The result? When the people are called to repentance, there is no foundation for repentance because their leaders have fed them on lies and not the Word of God.
We are starting a new year. But we are dealing with this old problem still. There are many in leadership who have abandoned the Word of God for their own agenda. I am not thinking primarily of secular leaders but of those who are identified as Christian leaders.
Issues on which the Bible is clear have been called into question and we see churches embracing the world’s view rather than staying with what the Bible says. Sure, it makes them more acceptable to their communities, but having compromised on one issue, it becomes much easier to abandon the next. So we see ordained homosexuals, churches are embracing more than one gender, translation committees are changing the translation of Greek and Hebrew to be more acceptable to non-Christians, Churches and Christian organizations are placing women in authority over men, the list could go on…
One of the ways one can tell that there is a problem with a position is the amount of ink that it takes to explain why the Bible doesn’t really mean what the words say. The more books, articles, blogs, etc. that are written explaining away, say 1 Timothy 2:12 (here @ Bible Gateway), you can bet there is an agenda driving that volume.
The other sign is the same thing that happened to Jeremiah. Those who have taken a position counter to the Word of God attack, attempt to discredit, and get people to ignore those who still hold positions that are stated in the Bible that they don’t like.
Some things do not change.