“The love of money is the root of all evil….”
—I Timothy 6:10
In the past few decades the Apostolic movement as a whole has become far less than the paragon of virtue and holiness that it is supposed to be. In spite of all the organizations and fellowships and associations with all their manuals and bylaws and constitutions—ostensibly created to preserve and propagate the precious precepts of the Word of God, in many places the Oneness Pentecostal Apostolic Faith message simply isn’t being declared today in the manner that it most certainly was intended to be.
What many are now preaching as the gospel is at best only a travesty of Truth. Evidently, the fundamental law of economics—“supply and demand”—has supplanted the Apostolic charge to “preach the Word.” For what “the people” want, “the people” get; and what “the people” don’t want, “the people” don’t get.
He Who Pays The Fiddler…
“Laodicea”—as has been aptly pointed out by scholars, is an era when “the people” rule. What many refuse to acknowledge, however, is the method by which “the people” are ruling in this age. But the language of Scripture is clear and unmistakable: “Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing….” Laodicea’s power is in her ability to influence her leaders with her riches. And the preacher that won’t be bought by Laodicea will be broken by her, if she has her way.
It is absolutely certain that our Lord did not leave the governing of His Body, the Church, to “the people.” Yet, the modern hireling ministry of Laodicea receives its unction and anointing not from God, but from “the people.” The very ministry that was designed to represent God and His Word has taken upon itself the task of representing “the people.”
The Unholy Root
The Apostle Paul declares: “If the root be holy, so are the branches.” (Rom. 11:16) Thus, we may well reason that if the branches are evil, so, too, must be the root. For our Master has taught us that just as a good tree cannot bring forth corrupt fruit, a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit. It is obvious to us at least that the pandemic corruption among many so-called Apostolics today is a result of an evil root buried deep in the hearts and lives of many who are supposed to be leaders.
Never before in the history of the Church has the ministry been so sensitive to the feelings of “the people.” We are told not to preach the unmitigated Word, lest they should be offended. From whence comest this compassion? If the truth were known, such concern is motivated not by care for others, but by care for self. For they whose livelihoods depend upon the favor of “the people” must take great pains not to incur their wrath.
The Unholy Fruit
As a result of this self-serving attitude of the modern Laodicean ministry, Holiness standards and Bible-backed convictions have all but vanished from the ranks of orthodox Pentecost. Powerful men today are those with the largest, most affluent congregations—not the ones whose lives are characterized by devotion to prayer and fasting and studying the Word of God. A dynamic assembly is one that is growing by leaps and bounds—not the one that is clean and holy and pure. Popular preachers are the ones who know how to perform, who are masters of the stage—not those who will cry aloud and spare not, and lift up their voices like trumpets to denounce evil and iniquity and corruption.
At the end of the Apostle Paul’s first epistle to Timothy, he warned his son in the Faith that he would encounter “perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds” who were “destitute of the truth.” These men, he further stated, suppose “that gain is godliness.” What an indictment upon this generation! We have lived to see the day when any message that does not promote and patronize “the people” is rejected as “negative.”
Furthermore, it is just such a climate of perversion that has spawned the blatantly unscriptural entertainment “ministries” for which Pentecost has become notorious. For this is “the people” that has heaped to itself ear-tickling hirelings, whose very complacency belies their sheer and utter helplessness.
It is truly amazing to hear the “perverse disputings” that these rascals are producing nowadays. Jewelry, for instance, is no longer the sin that it once was, to hear some tell it. After they finish “justifying” their wedding bands and gold watches and pins and tie clasps and broaches and all the rest of their gold and silver and costly array, who would dare be so foolish to preach against jewelry?
Yet, it doesn’t take the intelligence of Einstein to perceive that wearing jewelry is a status symbol to the rich, and a sort of bourgeois façade to those who aren’t. And those who wear such trinkets must face the dilemma of either being wrongfully rich or pretensiously poor.
What cruel irony to behold those who claim to be The Bride bedecking themselves in the manner and attire of a harlot! But don’t expect anybody who carries any weight in the eyes of “the people” to say or do anything about it. After all, no good dog would ever bite the hand that feeds it.
What A Price To Pay
Many men, it seems, have discovered that they simply cannot afford to have strong convictions any more. And for the sake of “the organization” we are asked to sacrifice our conscience on the altar of “fellowship.” Forbid it, Almighty God! “From such withdraw thyself” is the Apostolic admonition by which we are guided. It is far better to dine alone, if need be, than to eat at the devil’s table.
Paroxysms Of Partiality
Was it not James, the brother of our Lord and bishop of the church at Jerusalem, who cautioned us against the perils of partiality? In these modern days of enlightenment, the man who comes into a Laodicean assembly with a gold ring and wearing expensive clothes will probably be the guest minister!
One of the most obvious evils of political religious organizations is the fact that they are financially dependent upon many men who do not believe in Holiness. Let men of courage and conviction stand up in their conferences and camp-meetings and preach against jewelry and television and Hollywood and adultery and homosexuality and perversion—and watch the fireworks! (“Alas, poor preacher; I knew him well.”) No, the “organized sector” as a whole has not the courage to preach against make-up, split skirts, pant suits, bobbed hair, etc., because too many of their affluent supporters are guilty of such things.
Greedy Of Filthy Lucre
Nevertheless, what saith the Scripture? “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil, which, while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things….” (I Tim. 6:9-11) “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers…. Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.” (Titus 1:10-11)
When the Lord found the moneychangers in the temple, he wasted not a moment in driving them out. The place that was to be a House of Prayer had been usurped by a band of cutthroats and transformed into a den of thieves.
It is somewhat less than amusing to notice that the same thing has happened to Laodicean Pentecost in our day. Any good shepherd knows the difference between shearing sheep and fleecing them. The Lord only knows how many poor sheep have mutely given their lives to support a crook who only cares about how much he can get out of them.
How tragic it is to see the lure of prominence draw men away from the solid rock of Truth into a veritable morass of trepidation. Where once the whole counsel of God was declared without fear or favor, now only a skeleton of this mighty message remains. As a result, any resemblance such assemblies bear to the Bride of Christ is remote, at best.
Thy Money Perish With Thee
Thankfully, there are still men around with enough courage to have strong Bible-based convictions—men who know what it means to refuse to be bought at any price. Yes, there are still some Apostolic preachers who would rather serve God than mammon.
To hear some of the limp-wristed Laodicean “dough-boys” tell it today, the Apostle Peter virtually blasphemed when he sternly rebuked Simon the Sorcerer. Yet, and please note this well, scarcely had a century elapsed before the ominous prophecy of the Apostle Paul was fulfilled: “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. And also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29-30)
Could it be that the “love of money” replaced the “first love” which the church of Ephesus was guilty of forsaking? Indeed, it is written that perilous times would characterize the last days—in which, among other things, men would be “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”
Sow Not Among Thorns
The horrible plague of carnality that has blighted the Apostolic movement in these last days is directly attributable to the fact that this modern Laodicean ministry has learned how to sow among thorns. But notice carefully the catastrophic results: “And that which fell among thorns are they who, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to perfection.” (Luke 8:14)
Why don’t we hear more men preaching Bible-based holiness messages today? The answer is simple and unadorned: The Love of Money. At the root of virtually every false doctrine may be found this same pernicious element.
Where Your Treasure Is
It is with a heavy heart that these words are written. Obviously, not everyone that is saying “Lord, Lord” is laying up treasures in Heaven. From the looks of things, many modern so-called Apostolics have their hearts set on having Heaven here on earth!
To some of us, however, a good name is worth more than all this world’s riches, which are soon to melt with fervent heat. For we have learned to trust in the simple words of the Apostle: “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19)
–Rev. Tim D. Cormier
Written in 1989. Reprinted from the November, 1999 issue of the Apostolic Standard.
(C) Copyright held by Tim D. Cormier. This document may not be reproduced in whole or in part, except for personal use, without the express written permission of the author.