There is nothing sadder than a rudderless leader

There is nothing sadder than a rudderless leader September 23, 2014

I know I may make a few enemies by this post, but I am going to say it anyway:

There are many pastors who should not be leading God’s people because they are not conscious of being led by God themselves

1 Samuel 28 reveals a desperate King who no longer receives God’s guidance. Whatever makes us think we will fare any better than Saul if we are not led by God? The message of the Bible is that if we do things our own way we will fail dismally. If we listen to God and follow him we will succeed.  What that success looks like may be different than we expect of course, but that is kind of the point.  A leader has no business leading if he himself is not being lead.

Everything seems to be going wrong for Saul and he faces a terrible foe. God having withdrawn himself, Saul could have of course gone back to the sure word of Scripture where God’s voice can also be heard. But he didn’t.

In his desperation he turns from the worship of the one true God and seeks demonic power to help and guide him. And, perhaps for the first and only time in history, God allows him what he seeks. Even the medium seemed surpassed at the success of her attempts to summon the dead. Instead of the usual lying demon, she had somehow succeeded in calling out a prophet of God.

Saul’s attempts to take guidance from elsewhere are pitiful. And his terror at being told his worst fears are accurate is almost enough to make us feel sorry for him. How far has he come from the once humble origins. Having turned away from God, God finally turned away from him.

Oh leader, don’t allow yourself to become so impressed with yourself that you think your own wisdom is all you need. You need to hear from God. You need to be guided by God. You need him to show you the way.

And if you know that you are not hearing the voice of God, perhaps you should consider resigning and finding some other way to serve God.


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  • Dorfl

    I know I may make a few enemies by this post, but I am going to say it anyway

    If it helps, you have earned a bit of grudging respect from an atheist. I’ve been hoping that the evangelical subculture should develop more willingness to criticise unfit leaders.

  • Colin Mitchell

    Re the post below: ‘You have the respect of a theist too’

  • Benjamin Martin

    Pastors. Jesus specifically warned us “call no one your patre” (father, patriarch, elder,* shepherd, pastor.**) [MT 23.9]

    But nobody follows Jesus; they follow Paul instead. I suppose it makes a living for some.

    Jesus: Call no man your father. [MT 23.9]
    Paul: You have only one spiritual father. For I became your father…when I preached to you. [1CO 4.15]

    Jesus: Rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. [MK 10.42]
    Paul: So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us… [1CO 10.8]

    Jesus: Follow me. [MT 9.9, MK 2.14, LK 9.59, JN 1.43]
    Paul: Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me… [1CO 4.16]

    Jesus: You have received without payment, so give without payment. [MT 10.8]
    Paul: Those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. [1CO 9.14]

    * Strong’s 3962. patér
    Definition: father, (Heavenly) Father, ancestor, elder, senior.

    ** PATRE patr, sn. (Lat. pastor) herdsman, neatherd, shepherd.
    Leon Smith, Henry Hamilton, E. Legros, A. Fouraut (1901) The International English and French Dictionary: French-English. p. 665

    • lily

      Benjamin you really are splitting hairs aren’t you. You must be aware that the so-called contradictions you give are a shallow attempt to discredit Pauls’ teaching. It won’t wash those of us with a true understanding of scripture know what the Lord and Paul meant. Stop trying to cause division.

      • Benjamin Martin

        I’ve got the True Understanding® of scripture, and know precisely what Jesus and Paul meant. Because. Q.E.D.

      • Theodore A. Jones

        B. Martin has been infected with Jeffersonitus. This spiritual reasoning complex requires those who are affilicted with it to cut out the parts of the Bible that are reprehensible to their consciences. The outcome of the afflication is a very thin Bible and direct objections against the apostle Paul and what he teaches about the way to be saved. B. Martin is an extreem case and the reasoning defect is easily identifiable. Pastor Warnock is cautioning us of the shuttle aspect of Jeffersonitus that many many contemporary pastors have been infected with. Paul’s teaching of salvation is:
        “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Pastor Warnock is not in agreement with Paul’s statement and neither is any other contemporary church’s pastor that I am aware of.

        • bob+++


          • Theodore A. Jones

            According to the scripture Jesus is the only begotten son of God. He in compliance to his father’s will was murdered by crucifixion. After he was buried he escaped from the grave returned to his father and was installed as the high priest regarding the promise “You are a priest forever.” The law was also changed by adding a word to establish the gate into the kingdom of God. According to Jesus very few ever find out what the gate is. No naturally born person will be granted the grace of escape from the grave who does not have the faith to obey the law that had been added.
            Anything else?

          • Benjamin Martin

            Escape from the grave? Pipedream.

            Ecclesiastes 3:19 “Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals.”

        • Benjamin Martin

          Is not sadistic torture reprehensible to your conscience?

          P.S. I note you cannot even begin to address anything I wrote; you simply go into a vicious ad hominem. I guess you’re not too strong in the Bible.

  • ruanna (denise r. hopeman)

    Yes, and thank you!

  • Brandon Roberts

    i don’t feel sorry for him at all he’s an evil monster who made his subjects lives miserable. the world is a better off place without him. but i respect you for being able to be the bigger person

  • binahe

    There’s a need to address how we enable these leaders by conflating gifting with character. There is a new dynamic with pastors having national and international platforms these days via the internet. The wider community of writers, speakers, bloggers are often dismissive of concerns about these famous pastors raised at a local level. They show partiality toward these gifted, charismatic, vocal pastors, and therefore defend and enable these pastors in their lack of accountability and harming of others. This causes real damage in local churches and communities. We all we need to think about our quickness defend whom and why.