“(Jesus) continued teaching. ‘Watch out for the religion scholars … all the time they are exploiting the weak and helpless. The longer their prayers, the worse they get. But they’ll pay for it in the end’”.
Mk 12:38, 40 EHP
During the last thirty to forty years there has been an explosion of independent church groups in many parts of the world. Many of them have been led by teachers who were trained in the more traditional churches and then after a few years have broken away, formed their own “churches”, taken large numbers from their previous congregations with them, and “set up shop” on their own. Sometimes they have broken away with the pretext of some doctrinal difference. In their independent situation they do not have to abide by the discipline the traditional churches have found to be necessary. Nor do they have to send financial “assessments” up to denominational headquarters. Often the new set-up is a much more profitable exercise for the minister. But the people have no way of knowing how sound is the teaching, how the community is going to recruit a new leader when the present one goes, nor whether the leader is upright in character. The large number of re- ported “swindles” perpetrated by the leaders of these breakaway groups suggests that some of the leaders are charlatans and are not interested in the spiritual development of their congregants one little bit. They take the gullible and less intelligent worshippers in and cause much “bad press” for religion generally. The traditional churches all suffer from the fallout from these breakaway groups .
One of the major problems in the New Testament churches was maintaining unity. It is still. And the Holy Spirit works for Christian unity and genuine Christian holiness.
Lord, enable your church to be guided aright by her leaders.