Imposter in the Pulpit
by Ronald W Robey

The congregation was so happy to vote their new pastor in after their former pastor passed away.

The new pastor had come to the fellowship and delivered a heart-touching message on the immeasurable love of a crucified Saviour and the unmerited Grace of a risen Lord. Hearts that had seemed to grow cold to the hearing of the Word were moved to go to the altar in prayer. Souls who had never trusted Christ were compelled to fall on their knees and cry out for mercy.

It was because of this one sermon that the Church decided that Pastor Steele was the man that God had sent their way to replace Pastor Shepherd. And Pastor Steele was more than happy to accept the position when it was offered to him.
The following Sunday, as the pews began to fill up, Pastor Steele sat in a high-back chair on the platform, flipping through his notes slowly, as if attempting one last time to memorize key points that he wanted to stress in the morning’s message.

At 11:00 AM, the song director entered the Sanctuary, followed by the choir. The song director stepped to the pulpit and greeted the congregation. He then had them turn in their hymnals to page 233 and sing along with the choir that wonderful hymn, “Tell Me the Old, Old Story”.

After the opening song and prayer, the Sunday School Superintendent made the announcements of community needs and upcoming Church programs.

Pastor Steele then stood and announced that tithes and offerings would be received before he delivered his sermon. Ushers came forward with a somewhat puzzled look on their faces. The question on each one’s mind was “Tithes? What does he mean ‘tithes’? Pastor Shepherd never collected tithes.” The Congregation was equally confused.

The head usher prayed over this portion of the service and the offering was received.

After the Ushers disappeared from the Sanctuary with the offering plates, Pastor Steele stood and directed the congregation to turn in their Bibles to Malachi, the third chapter. Pastor Steele delivered a scathing sermon on how God’s House was robbed if one did not give ten percent of one’s income to the Church. He further used his main passage to drive the fear of a curse upon those who failed to comply with God’s decree.

Pastor Steele showed his new congregation how that God said in the book of Leviticus 27 that “the tithe is the Lord’s,” and, “it is holy unto the Lord.”
Why had Pastor Shepherd not taught the congregation this message in the eighteen years he had been pastoring? Had they been living under God’s curse all those years for not bringing tithes into God’s House as the Word clearly commanded?

What the congregation did not know was that their former pastor did not feel it necessary to teach his congregation on tithing because, as their spiritual leader, he knew that the tithe was for ancient Israel and not relevant to the New Testament Church directive on giving today.

While pastor Shepherd was right that tithing was not relevant for the Church today, he was wrong in not teaching the full counsel of God. Had he taught the passages from the Old Testament concerning tithing to his congregation, then they would not be confused by the message they now were hearing.

Little did they know that they had installed as their pastor, an imposter. Steele knew the Scriptures. He knew how to deliver a sermon that would muster up emotional responses from those he was preaching to. Unfortunately, because of their ignorance of what God’s true tithe was, who it was for, and why it was required at that time, the new pastor had managed to destroy thoughts of security for seasoned members of the congregation, and to train new converts to enter into an agreement that God never intended for them.

Though pastor Shepherd had been teaching truth to his congregation, his failure to teach the full counsel of God opened doors for them to fall prey to the hireling that now stood before them.

It is imperative that God’s children study the Word of God for themselves. Don’t believe the old lie that you cannot know what the Word of God is saying unless someone else tells you. You can know, if you study and rely on the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and your understanding. Don’t allow a Steele to deceive you into handing over your money through fear-mongering sermons. God doesn’t work like that.

Yes, God does want you to give. But He leaves the amount you give up to you. Give as you purpose in your hearts to give, not as an hireling dictates.

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