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“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” Matthew 24:11 (KJV)
Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Jeremiah 23:1 (KJV)
And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. Jeremiah 3:15 (KJV)
Ironically I start this edition of The Critical Thinker quoting from the Bible given the impetus of the post being the threatened Koran/Quran burning by Terry Jones, a Gainesville, Florida “pastor.” I place the word pastor in quotations because my goal was to not draw any more attention to Mr. Jones than need be and at the same time help us to understand that we really must be careful who we follow and call pastor. As a result of Mr. Jones’ threat to burn Qurans on the anniversary of 9/11, several news agencies investigated his history and allegedly, Mr. Jones is a Jim Jones wannabee. James Warren "Jim" Jones was the founder and leader of the Peoples Temple, which is best known for the November 18, 1978 death of more than 900 Temple members in Jonestown, Guyana along with the deaths of five other people at a nearby airstrip in Georgetown, Guyana.
If we were to look in the dictionary to define pastor, it states as follows:
1. (noun) pastor - a shepherd; one who has the care of flocks and herds
2. (noun) pastor - a guardian; a keeper; specifically (Eccl.), a minister having the charge of a church and parish
Now let’s juxtapose our dictionary definitions with the Biblical passages I quoted above. In Jeremiah 3:15 God says that He will give us pastors according to His heart which are to feed us with knowledge and understanding. God also said in Jeremiah 23:1 that there will be woe unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep in my pasture. According to news reports Mr. Jones had 50 plus members in his church in Gainesville and 30 of them scattered upon learning of his idea to have a Quran burning day. I don't know about you but I have yet to see the knowledge or the understanding that any of us would get from burning the Quran, the central religious verbal text of Islam,
Let’s face it, there are preachers, pastors, ministers, etc.who are truly “sent,” and there are others who just “went.” There is a difference. We must be very careful who we allow to have spiritual charge over our lives. It could cost you your spiritual and your physical life. Ask the 900 Temple members in Jonestown, Guyana. Everyone who hangs out the shingle with the title “pastor” is not a pastor. As Matthew 24:11 makes clear to us many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. Please do not become one of the many who will be deceived. Pray for discernment because the life you save may be your own. Something to critically think about and as always I welcome your commentary.