Creative, Causative, Prophetic, Instructional

 A Google search for “church scandals” returns 16,000,000 hits in just .042 seconds. (Sure, there are a lot of duplicate; but 16 million?!) Most of these scandals can be traced to ego, money and/or sex.

A similar search for “megachurch scandals” pares down the return to just 321,000 hits in .029 seconds. (Wow. What a relief, right?)

There are excuses to be made, forgiveness to be offered, restarts occurring and plenty of cover-ups. But the cold hard fact of broken promises and shattered lives, shipwrecked faith, chaos, disillusionment and deceit remains:

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. The Words of Jesus, Matthew 6 :24.

Yeah, I know what many say. “I love and serve God, and He has given me the ability to make money and gain wealth, so I don’t see a problem”.  A lot of successful Christians say and believe that, and in many cases it may be true.

But whether you are a fully devoted follower of Jesus, and particularly if you are serving as a Pastor, Preacher, Elder or as a Bible Teacher, influencing others within God’s Church, please read these specific parts of these verses, again.

No one    can serve          two masters”.

You         cannot serve     God and money.

Please try to get this. “No one in the first half of this verse  = You, in the second half of the verse.

Serve = Serve

And, two masters in the first half of this verse  =  God and money”, in the second half of this verse.

Although, it is true that, as Christians, we are being justified, that is declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life as a gift by His precious, undeserved grace, through the redemption and the payment for our sin which is provided in Christ Jesus,

However, we should remain fully aware that it is written in the Holy Scriptures and forever remains written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, none that meets God’s standard, NOT EVEN ONE.  We, all, have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God.

With this in mind, the ‘sin flaw’ which is present in us, the ones who want to do good, is waging war against our mind, and making us a prisoner of the law of sin, which is in our body. What a wretched person! How will you be set me free from this? (On the one hand serving the law of God, but on the other, with your flesh, the law of sin.)

How can we be trusted with the two masters of God and money? And, why do you think Jesus offers this Prophetic Warning?

You can work hard to rationalize, redefine and justify your ability to safely work around Jesus’ warning of serving two masters, but you cannot do it. You will fail. You will fail as everyone else has failed – miserably and fatally, and you will take others with you.

Here are just a few big-named rock-star-status pastors and churches who have more recently ‘failed from grace’ trying to serve the two masters of God and money:

Hillsong Church: Brian Houston, Carl Lentz. Disgraced, disgusting, done.

Former Hillsong Church, The Australia-based religious institution, had previously released cherry-picked bits of an examination into its East Coast church branches under Carl Lentz’s leadership. Now, an audit conducted by an unaffiliated legal firm and launched shortly after Lentz was fired for adultery was released in November 2020. In an email to congregants in February 2021, now-disgraced church founder Brian Houston announced the investigation was complete and had unearthed “significant ways” the NYC operations had “failed to reflect Hillsong global culture” but offered little further information, The Post reported at the time.

A version of the 51-page report was leaked to the Christian Post, which published many of its most shocking allegations, including that working with Lentz “caused” many churchgoers “to suffer from mental illness,” that his wife Laura reportedly once punched a former nanny and current Hillsong pastor in the face “with a closed fist” and that, in addition to his alleged affair with fashion designer Ranin Karim, he reportedly had at least one more with a woman he met at a Brooklyn deli and saved in his phone contacts as “Germany.”

Harvest Bible Chapel: James MacDonald. Demeaning, disgraced, done.

James MacDonald founded the Harvest Bible Chapel in 1988, and the megachurch grew to seven locations in the Chicago area and one in Florida, the Daily Herald reported. His two sons were on the church’s executive leadership board.

The pastor’s leadership had come under scrutiny, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Former church members came forward to accuse Harvest Bible Chapel’s leadership of dishonesty and “financial mismanagement,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

MacDonald was fired “following several months of public revelations, indicating a pattern of abusive behavior towards subordinates and extensive financial mismanagement”, ​​​​WLS reported. The church was also reportedly $42 million in debt.

MacDonald, who was known to be a charismatic preacher, stepped down after the Access Hollywood tape was made public, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Willow Creek Church, Chicago, IL: Bill Hybels: Deceitful, disgusting, done.

An independent investigation has concluded that the sexual harassment allegations that led to Bill Hybels’s resignation last year are credible, based on a six-month investigation into the claims against the senior pastor and into Willow Creek Community Church (WCCC) and the Willow Creek Association.

The newly released 17-page report places the blame for such incidents on Hybels himself and not the broader culture at either organization, though it concludes that both the church and the association could benefit from more thorough written policies to address inappropriate behavior.

After fielding calls, conducting interviews, and reviewing forensics IT findings, the four-person Independent Advisory Group (IAG) investigating Hybels and Willow Creek found that the “collective testimony” of “allegations of sexually inappropriate words and actions” by the now-retired megachurch pastor proved reliable and would have been sufficient reason for church discipline had Hybels not left the church.

A series of allegations against the 67-year-old evangelical visionary became public in a report by the Chicago Tribune last March, where a group of former Willow Creek pastors and staff accused Hybels of a pattern of sexual harassment and misconduct, including suggestive remarks, invitations to his hotel rooms, prolonged hugs, and an unwanted kiss

How far back do you want to go? The list goes on for a very long time into the past. Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Mark Driscoll, Perry Noble, Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard, T, Robert Tilton, or even as far back as

King David, son of Jesse (‘A man after God’s own heart’, yet he failed under the weight of success and paid that awful price)?

Jesus called us to His Mission, not to some ‘vision a man has cast’ or ‘good works we have in mind’. Jesus said to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Collect no money except to make your journey. 


“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. – The Words of Jesus, Matthew 6 :24.


I ask again, how can we be trusted with “the two masters of God and money? And, why do you think Jesus offers this Prophetic Warning?

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

“And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.” (The Words of Jesus, Matthew 10:7-15)

Shipwrecked – Enemies Within the Church

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