“Among the prophets of Samaria I saw this repulsive thing: They prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray. And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah. Therefore, this is what the LORD Almighty says concerning the prophets: I will make them eat bitter food and drink poisoned water, because from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land.” (Reference: Jeremiah 23:13-15 )
My resolve NOT to apply this to politicians is weakening. So I reminded myself these are supposed to be religious leaders that the writer of Jeremiah is referring to. So I ask myself, do I know of any religious leaders that are this bad? Ruling out the people who say they are religious but are actually pushing a political/social agenda. And in all my years of church going, I can only think of one. And the flaw in that person was moral and not ethical. So that would only politicians to speak about, and I truly want to avoid that.
The historic Anabaptist Menno Simons writes against minister, teachers and religious leaders who defame the name and lead people astray. He says,
“We are sure that the high and holy office which should be filled in the power of the Spirit can never be fulfilled by the avaricious; nor the proud and unrighteous, nor by the carnal and earthly minded, nor by drunken and sensuous persons whose God is their belly . . . The Spirit and Word of God do not know such shepherds and teachers, but the Scripture labels them with many terrible names, and calls them rogues, blind watchmen, dumb dogs, blind leaders, consumers of souls, false flatterers, fools who inquire not after the Lord . . . In a word, they are the teachers against whom the Word of the Lord has faithfully warned us, Jer. 23:13.
Kind reader, did you in all your life ever read in the Scriptures of proud, avaricious, impure, lying, drunken, and idolatrous prophets, apostles, and shepherds who were pleasing unto the Lord? Or of such who to please men have falsified, changed, and abused the Word, ordinances, and commandments of the Lord? . . . This never was nor ever will be the policy of holy prophets, apostles, or servants of Christ. Of this we may be sure.”
I suppose that the historic Anabaptists had many ministers, preachers, teachers and religious figureheads etc that they could point to and critique. But all the pastors and ministers etc that I know of are good people who are trying their best for God’s people. But perhaps it would be amiss to remind you, beloved, as I need when the theme was “Servant of God” that all people can be called to ministry and not just those who serve in a church setting. In that case it falls to all of us to be good examples for others and to represent God accurately in the world. Beware of the bad, but be the good! Selah!