More Pastoral Misconduct: The Daycare Has to Close Because the Pastor is a Thief

Yet again…  a stalwart reminder that sin is never a private affair but that it affects everyone around it.

A Sevier County church is being forced to close its daycare just as police launch an investigation into allegations the church’s pastor stole church funds for his own personal use.  Gatlinburg Presbyterian Church spokesman Bill Ball says the daycare, which has been open since 1995, will close on Thursday.  Ball said the church daycare is being forced to close because it owes $40,000 in unpaid federal and state unemployment taxes and is unable to continue operating and also settle the debt.

Former pastor Ronald Lukat joined the church in February 2011. Shortly after his hire, the church treasurer resigned and Lukat offered to take over those responsibilities.  In December 2012, Ball said the church discovered that Lukat has been using the church’s business credit card for personal expenses, which he estimated to be roughly $3,600.  Around the same time, he also uncovered the unpaid taxes the daycare center owed.  Church officials confronted Lukat about the charges and taxes and he confessed on both accounts and resigned from his post.

Come on people- the Pastor should NEVER have charge of the checkbook.  NEVER.  It’s basic common sense and for the same reason that Pastors should never visit the homes of women younger than their Grandmother alone:  temptation is real and even the appearance of impropriety (not to mention the actual practice of depravity) is completely destructive.

I feel complete empathy for the Church and those undone by Pastor Greedy.

Christianity Without Christ Isn’t Christianity at All

At “Miracle-Seed Sunday” in Singapore’s New Creation Church last month, the pastor’s sermon was preceded by PowerPoint and video presentations, and donations were overseen by auditors.

[ Singaporeans] are flocking to a new species of churches making appeals more in common with “Material Girl” pop-singer Madonna…

Wearing a white leather jacket and jeans, Senior Pastor Joseph Prince asked God to reward a crowd of about 1,200 with houses, cars, jobs, pay raises and holidays if they contributed to New Creation’s multimillion-dollar funding drive.

Prince’s 24,000-strong flock belongs to a flourishing breed of churches from Houston to Sydney winning followers with a focus on personal well-being. As the rise of so-called mega churches helps make Christians the fastest-growing religious group.

Perversity and damnable heresy.  May they, along with Simon Magus, in the words of Peter, go to hell – and take their money and their false gospel with them. There’s more here, just in case you survived the vein bursting in your brain.

A Pastor’s Sunday Prayer

Dearest Lord,

It’s almost 10 and time is short before I have to stand before your people and deliver your word. I’ve toyed with the idea of preaching on repentance, but I have seen too often the stony face of the unrepentant adulterer staring back blankly without ever seeing a Christian glimmer of repentance in his eyes. I’ve seen the tax cheat glibly grin at such urgings, and never seen him walk the aisle. I’ve seen the fornicating teen unmoved by all such calls and that same girl rush out after they’ve been uttered to the arms of her fornicating teen partner.

I’ve also, gracious Father, played around with once more calling your congregation to constancy and faithfulness in worship only to be greeted at the exit with encouraging words of ‘that was a great sermon, pastor’ followed by empty pews on Sunday night and emptier on Wednesday. Knowing, full well, by the look in their eyes, that they’ve already planned their evening delights.

Love, too, came to mind, dear Father but when I read such texts I see the smirking face of the man who would prefer to see my decomposing corpse hanging from the Bell Tower and I can hardly utter them without feeling sick to my stomach – knowing that they, along with all the others, will descend on ears closed and deaf and hearts hard and necks unbendable.

So what should I preach, dear Lord- that your people may actually heed?

And then I heard a voice from heaven, answering my prayer!

Preacher, go, ascend your pulpit with boldness and greet my sheep in my name. And then tell them, if you truly wish a hearing and a positive response, to rush from this place and follow their favorite sporting team. Attend every game and buy every trinket and spend every free moment talking with your friends and families about that team. Center your life in that team, and the game it plays. Make haste, tell them, to their child’s every extra-church activity and then take their rest when the hour of worship comes. They must, after all, be well rested for the sporting contest which consumes their every day. And the lesson they must teach their young ones is that all must precede devotion to me.

Deliver this message, simply and plainly put: ‘live for yourself’ and all will applaud you. Except, of course, me. I, for my part, will condemn you for bowing the knee to Ba’al and feeding the sheep the poison they prefer instead of the bread of Life which I have myself delivered to you.

Now, Cassandra, stand up and go. Prepare to plow the seashore. Deliver my word to them and then go in peace. You have done your part; if the sheep refuse to heed the Chief Shepherd, why do you imagine they will give any thought to you, a mere underling?

More Megachurch Misconduct

The First Baptist Church of Hammond has dismissed Jack Schaap as its pastor in the wake of a Lake County police investigation.  A press release issued Tuesday afternoon states Schaap committed “a sin that has caused him to forfeit his right to be our pastor.” The release states church representatives are cooperating with police in the matter.  Sheriff John Buncich said Tuesday afternoon, his department began a criminal investigation Tuesday morning after talking with high-ranking church representatives.  The sheriff said the investigation involves the church and Hyles Anderson College, which is operated by the church.  He declined to identify the target’s name or the investigation’s subject matter.  “The impact its going to make is that everybody is searching for leadership. Its shakes your faith a little bit.

CBS reports that the sin was an inappropriate relationship with a girl.  The police haven’t released the girls age but she has to be a minor or the police wouldn’t be involved in an investigation. They don’t investigate marital infidelity when both parties are adults.  There isn’t sufficient manpower to do so even if it were a crime.

The announcement comes 19 years after the church was rocked by the conviction of a deacon, A.V. Ballenger, for fondling a 7-year-old girl in the summer of 1991 in her Sunday school class.

Sick and sad and counterproductive and evil.  I feel bad for the church.  Not, however, the ‘Pastor’ who has indeed forfeited his office.

The True Shepherd

Writes Zwingli-

Behold the grandeur of the Christian shepherd! He feeds the flock with painstaking watchfulness; does not use constraint except so far as the word itself constrains; looks not at profit, but does all things of a ready mind, i.e., with faith and love of God; claims no lordship for himself, but aims at this one thing, to be a blameless example to the flock.

It’s a shame more Pastors haven’t understood things so clearly.

Answering Your Letters

Shortly after the previous post, this arrived:

Dear Jim,

First, let me thank you for your blog. I love it. I do have a question. What is your definition of a mega church?

Thank You,

Hi Duane,

That’s actually an easy question to answer- a mega-church is any church which is so large that the Pastor doesn’t know the names of every person who regularly attends.  Such Pastors aren’t truly pastors – they are merely functionaries, public speakers.  Pastors know their flock just as shepherds know their sheep.  It is no accident at all that the early Church seized on the analogy of the Pastor as shepherd.

For that reason a church which is so big that the Pastor can’t or doesn’t know those who come is no longer a Church as such but a group, an ‘audience’, nothing more.

With all best wishes,


Iran’s War Against Christianity Continues

After detaining 33-year-old Christian pastor Farshid Fathi for 16 months without indictment, judicial authorities finally sentenced him to six years in prison in April 2012. Fathi’s indictment is part of a continuing pattern of discrimination and persecution of Christian converts in Iran.

Authorities allegedly kept him in solitary confinement the vast majority of his detention, and according to one family friend, beat him. Behnam Irani, a Christian pastor whose prison sentence was extended by five years just before his October 2011 release, is reportedly in dire physical condition. Irani and Fathi have both appealed their sentences.

In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, a source close to Farshid Fathi and his family said that all of Fathi’s alleged “crimes” were simply his work as a pastor: “The Bibles we brought to the country were seen as a crime, having more than one Bible or distributing Bibles were seen as a crime, having Christian literature was part of the crime …”

May the good Christians suffering persecution merely because they’re Christians in Iran and elsewhere find freedom and peace.

Pastors, The True Measure of Your ‘Success’…

… isn’t determined by the size of your church but rather by the depth of your fidelity to Christ’s calling.

Some of the country’s biggest heretics are also pastors of the largest churches.  But they have long since abandoned service to Christ and now serve Mammon or Fame.  Such will not hear ‘well done, thou good and faithful servant’ when they meet their Maker.  But if you, humble Minister of the Divine Word, remain steadfast; a good shepherd under the Lordship of the Good Shepherd, you will.  And at the end of the day, that’s the only ‘success’ that matters.

If You’re Considering Entering the Pastorate, Take Heed…

As Hebrews 13:17 notes

Πείθεσθε τοῖς ἡγουμένοις ὑμῶν καὶ ὑπείκετε, αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἀγρυπνοῦσιν ὑπὲρ τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμῶν ὡς λόγον ἀποδώσοντες, ἵνα μετὰ χαρᾶς τοῦτο ποιῶσιν καὶ μὴ στενάζοντες· ἀλυσιτελὲς γὰρ ὑμῖν τοῦτο.

There’s no more burdensome, taxing, life draining responsibility than the responsibility for the soul of another. If you can stay out of the ministry, stay out. If you must be in the ministry, you’ve been forewarned.  And if you teach future Pastors, you owe them the truth.

Pastors Have No Business ‘Endorsing’ ANY Politician. Period.

But evidently some do- to their eternal shame.  And apparently politicians crave it.

Howard Fineman tweets

Bachman people privately complain that some pastors would not endorse her cuz of her gender

Again, pastors have no business endorsing politicians.  Pastors serve a prophetic role in that they are assigned by God the task of insisting on righteousness in society.

Preaching the gospel has NOTHING to do with climbing into bed with politicians of ANY stripe, flavor, or gender.  When pastors foolishly and ignorantly ignore their primary calling simply to dabble in political nonsense for the sake of public notice (and let’s admit it- that’s all in the world that endorsements are), they FAIL.

It was that damnable heretic Constantine who taught preachers to be agents of the state instead of Prophets of the Lord.  Curse him.  He single handedly managed to corrupt the church more than any other of history’s heretics.

When pastors become tools of the state, they abandon their purpose, calling, and right-function.

One can’t confront the state with the prophetic message of God out of one side of the mouth while out of the other congratulating it for its actions.  One can’t excoriate injustice and endorse the proponents of injustice- the very policy makers who systematically oppress the poor while enriching the coffers of their rich brethren.

Pastors should be like Nathan- pointing their finger in the face of power, and denouncing it!  Not like toadying sycophants who lap up the drippings of popularity from the drool-buckets of the politicos.

So, pastor, go ahead, endorse away.  But as soon as the words ‘I endorse…’ fly from your lips, the Spirit and calling of God fly from your life.

More Pastoral Misconduct: Roger Glenn Ball

The Washington County Sheriff’s Department arrested Roger Glenn Ball after a juveniles parents’ approached investigators. The alleged victim said Ball sent inappropriate messages via Facebook and cell phone. Investigators said ball confessed. They charged him with 2 counts of solicitation of a minor.

11 Connects spoke with deacons at Greene Hill Baptist Church, where pastor Ball formerly worked. They had plans to tell their congregation of the allegations Wednesday night at their regular 7:00pm service. They say this all comes a huge shock to them, saying pastor Ball did nothing but good for the church.

… coach with the Tennessee Co-op Home School support group


‘Preacher, Pray For Me’

She must have been in her 70’s and she was laid up in a hospital bed, terminally ill, when the village Pastor paid her a visit.

‘Preacher, pray for me’.

‘Certainly Madam.  Certainly.  And what would you like me to pray for you concerning?’

‘Oh Pastor, that God would heal me.  I know I’ve not lived a single day for Him and I’ve frittered away my entire life on the lake, fishing every Saturday and avoiding worship every Sunday, but I really want God to heal me.’


‘Whatever do you mean, Pastor??? [her tone was that of a person annoyed]  Why shouldn’t you pray for me to be well?’

‘Frankly, Madam, as a conscientious reader of Scripture I’m aware of that little saying of Jesus which, if memory serves, runs something like this: do not cast your pearls before the swine.  Given that, I have to wonder if your prayer request isn’t based on selfish motives.’

‘Pastor, if that’s what you are, no one has ever spoken to me like that.  I will certainly never visit your church’.

‘Madam, I’m only here to help.  So, if I pray that God make you well, what will you do with your remaining time?  Will you live for yourself, serving yourself, caring only for yourself, and returning to your ways of forgetting God and ignoring him completely?’

‘Why I never.  You’re so rude!’

“But that’s certainly no answer to the question is it?  Why should I pray that God lengthen a life that will contribute not one bit to the betterment of humanity?  Why litter the world with another selfish soul?  Wouldn’t I really be doing our community a disservice if I were to ask God that he allow you to consume resources whilst never caring for anyone or anything beyond the length of your own nose?  We Christians are responsible for more than just ourselves.  The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.’

‘You have to be the worst Pastor in the world’.

‘I’m certain that you’re correct, Miss, and I refuse to become worse simply to salve your anguished soul.  In my opinion, until you are right with God, you should be restless.  As Augustine put it so rightly so long ago- ‘Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee’.

‘So, Madam, I will indeed pray for you’.  But it won’t be your will that I’ll be seeking, it will be God’s.  And my prayer will be that your heart is restless and you have no peace of soul or mind until you find in Him your refuge.’  “Praying that you enjoy a longer life wherein you simply ignore him… that, I cannot, I will not do.’

‘Take your prayers and go’ she spat.  And he did.

She died that night- only God knowing if she had found eternal solace or not.  No one else could tell.

Hell Itself Looks on in Horror…


A love triangle involving a minister, his son and the mistress they shared ended with one woman dead — and the trio facing murder charges.

Tracy Bernard Burleson, a 44-year-old Houston pastor, is facing capital murder charges for the 2010 slaying of his wife, Pauletta Burleson. The pastor’s wife was shot execution style in the back of the head while sitting in the family’s garage, allegedly by her stepson, William Fuller, according to ABC13.

Fuller, who is also charged with murder, insists his father hired him to commit the killing, the Houston Chronicle reports.

But it’s much more complicated than that.

It seems both the pastor and his son were in love with the same woman, 32-year-old Tyonne Palmer.

Fuller had previously been living with Palmer, who was taking care of him after he was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. However investigators have uncovered evidence indicating she was actually dating both Fuller and Burleson at the same time.

Hell stands aghast, it’s mouth wide open in shocked wonderment at the complete depravity of these ‘people’.

Pastors Really Shouldn’t Get in Fights, after Weddings (Or Ever)

Police say a Tennessee man died after hitting his head in a scuffle with the pastor who presided at his daughter’s wedding.  Decatur County District Attorney Hansel McCadams says police were called twice to a dispute between 58-year-old Joseph Tucsnak and Pastor Chris Warren at the wedding on Saturday.   Then on Monday, the prosecutor says Tucsnak returned to the church in Parsons, about 100 miles southwest of Nashville. McCadams said Tucsnak went to his vehicle and came back with a hand in his pocket and lunged at the pastor.  Police say the pastor then pushed Tucsnak, who fell and hit his head on the pavement. He died Tuesday.

Pastor Warren must have skipped class the day they covered the Sermon on the Mount.   You know, Reverend, that whole ‘turn the other cheek’ thing?

That Dead Megachurch Pastor: They Found Drugs

Because 40 something’s don’t generally just drop over dead,

The Florida megachurch pastor discovered dead in a Times Square hotel room was found with a white powdery substance believed to be narcotics, police sources have told several newspapers. Zachery Tims, founder of Orlando’s 8,000-member New Destiny Christian Center, was discovered by hotel workmen lying on his back between the bedroom and living area of his Manhattan room. A glassine envelope of white powder was found in the pocket of the shorts he was wearing, a source told the Wall Street Journal. Police are awaiting autopsy results and tests on the powder. There were no signs of trauma on the body of the 42-year-old pastor, and no indications of a robbery, according to police.

It seems he turned back to his old ways.  He was, before his megachurch pastoring, a drug addict.  Sad.

More Pastoral Misconduct

A ‘Pastor’ in South Carolina has been arrested for stealing over $253,000 from the church.

A former pastor of Elmwood Avenue Church of God is charged with stealing $253,827 in church donations over a 10-year-period, according to Columbia police.  Investigators arrested 53-year-old Charles Edward Ledford on Tuesday and charged him with multiple counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent.  Police opened the investigation in April after the church’s new pastor, Byron E. Powers, told police that “several members of the church complained” early this year about their personal donation records from 2010 not matching the church’s records, according to the report.  Powers started investigating the church’s bank accounts, and discovered a bank account the church was not aware of named “CHURCH OF GOD MINISTRY ACCOUNT.” According to the report, $253,827.46 had been deposited and withdrawn through the hidden account since it was opened in 2001.

Unaided by the grace of God, persons are slaves of total depravity.

Investigators arrested Ledford Tuesday morning and booked him into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. A judge set Ledford’s bond at $100,000 Tuesday afternoon and released him on his word that he’ll show for his court dates.


More Pastoral Misconduct

Arrest warrants reveal more an Asheville pastor is accused of child abuse.  49-year-old Greg Metcalf, is the Pastor of Westwood Baptist Church. He’s charged with assault on a child, contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and child abuse.  Asheville police arrested Metcalf at the church after a DSS investigation.  According to arrest warrants the victim is Metcalf’s daughter.  The warrants say he sprayed his daughter in the face with water and stuffed a wash rag in her mouth.  Warrants also say Metcalf neglected the daughter who needed medical care.

Boy that name sounds familiar… I wonder if he was in Seminary when I was…  Anyway, what goes on in these guy’s minds?