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There’s a strange kind of Christian that is very much like the strange kind of Jews that Jesus railed at.
You know which Jews I’m talking about – the lipservers, the ones who considered themselves dyed-in-the-wool descendents of Abraham and who thought they had a guaranteed ticket to Heaven based on this heritage.
Jesus let them know that their expectations were in vain, and they hated him for it.
Jesus never railed against heathens and unbelievers. Not once. But he did rail a good deal against his own followers and against those who considered their salvation a done deal (sort of like the “once saved, always saved” crowd). The strange Christians of today spend a lot of time railing against the 21st century versions of heathens and unbelievers (Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, etc.) without seeming to realize that they are not the enemy. They are spiritually sick and demon-enslaved, yes, but they’re not the enemy.
Just like in Jesus’ day, our enemies are those who say they know God and are doing his will, when in fact they don’t know God and are doing the devil’s dirty work. Remember the parable of the ten virgins? Remember the parable of the goats that were shocked at being sent to Hell instead of Heaven?
These are strange Christians.
I went to school with a former atheist who became a strange Christian. He ‘converted’ in his late teens and since then has preached in various churches. He now has a full-time job as a pastor at a small local church. He records his sermons and uploads them onto the church’s website.
When I was born again, I wanted to go see this guy. He claimed to be born again, so I figured we must now be spiritual kin. But for one reason or another, God kept me from contacting him. After listening to a few of his sermons, I realized why: He isn’t really born again. He’s a professional preacher and strange Christian. He’s legalistic and (not surprising) a cheerleader for pressure-tithing into the church’s coffers, but he’s not born again. To God, he’s still a stranger.
Even worse, he thinks you should be paid for preaching the Word, just like you would for any other job. But preaching God’s Word is a privilege, not a job, and payment is in God’s blessings, not in money.
This is how you know a real Christian from a strange one: a real Christian does not demand financial remuneration for preaching the Word, whether as a pastor or a writer or a musician. A strange Christian, on the other hand, not only expects to be paid, but demands it and bases his or her “success” as a preacher on how much money he or she makes for selling God.
And regardless of their asking price, the actual amount is always the same: 30 pieces of silver.
Don’t be a strange Christian. Be like Jesus. Get to know and love God as your Dad. Never request or demand money for preaching the Word. Ditch the donation button.
And remember: The most bizarre phrase in all of Christendom is “retired minister”.
No real Christian ever retires.
We preach for free until we fall down dead.