Imagine for a moment, a doctor who simply tells his patients what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear, or else softens any news rather than the truth, as dire as it might be. Imagine that he denies the reality of diseases and prescribes narcotics simply because this is what many of his patients like about him. No doubt this man would be held accountable and have his medical license taken away from him—and rightly so!
When I was in Bible college, one of my professors wrote an article stating that preachers are like physicians of the soul. Our studies and training were to be treated no less serious that those in medical schools studying anatomy and medicine.
Today, we watch the news and are concerned about what’s happening. I often hear people say things like, “The world has lost its mind!” Or “Where are we headed?” Regardless of our religious or political beliefs, we know something is amiss. There is an honest diagnosis, as well as a cure, but many so-called physicians of the soul are guilty of religious malpractice. And just as bad, many congregants are fine with this. They’d rather have the narcotics rather than deal with the unpleasant reality of the disease.
The grave pandemic of the world, far more severe than covid, is sin—the rebellion against, and dismissal of, God and His ways. Sin is the diagnosis, and our selfishness, pride, greed, lusts, nastiness, violence, and the like are all symptoms. All of these contribute to the mess our world is in. So then, what is the cure? Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the Cross, along with repentance and faith in Him. This is what physicians of the soul need to be preaching, but we are facing a major problem today as in Jeremiah’s day.
And the Lord said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although I did not send them, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not come upon this land’: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed.” ~ Jeremiah 14:14-15
We have all kinds of people, today, behind pulpits and writing books, claiming to be God’s spokespersons, despite the fact their teachings are contrary to the Scriptures. The Scriptures are to be used to test the teachings of people. Just because a person has a title like Dr., prophet, pastor, or whatever does not mean God has sent him. There are many liars and deceivers, and this should be upsetting. Sadly, some things don’t change.
An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes? ~ Jeremiah 5:30-31
Being lied to doesn’t bother many people today. Instead, they’re upset if one speaks the truth. This is considered hateful, divisive, and negative in the same way the evil king Ahab accused the prophet Elijah as being the troublemaker in Israel.
We should be alarmed at witnessing Paul’s prophetic words concerning the last days:
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. ~ 2 Timothy 4:3-4
Is the man of God, then, to compromise God’s message to appease the masses? No, Paul writes,
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. ~ 2 Timothy 4:1-2
A person “of the cloth” doesn’t do anyone with rotten hearts and bleeding souls, poisoned by sin, any good by denying their dire situation and telling them their poisons are not toxic. Neither is their any honor for persons “of the cloth” when they willfully deny, twist, or are “selective” in what they’re willing to teach from God’s Word for the sake of living like parasites on parishioners. Still, what’s there to say about congregations when they delight in lies and being feasted upon, like rotten meat feeding maggots, because the truth of God is “offensive,” not realizing the Word of God and the offensiveness of the Cross are the very things which can bring healing to their hearts and souls?
Religious malpractice is not a “mistake” nor is it mere human imperfection. Such malpractice is inexcusable, and in the eyes of God it is sheer wickedness on a grand scale. Religious malpractice should be shunned and despised as much as medical malpractice—even more so by those who profess to be people of God.