Do I agree with Hodges? You know, I'm starting to lean that direction. Though, before two years ago I never would have even entertained learning more about the subject.
I was saved and sealed with the Holy Spirit in the spring of 2003. So, I haven't really been a Christian all that long. It seems silly to confess that back then I really trusted that pastors were the good guys. I hope that most of them really are. But, there are sons of perdition in the robes of priests as well.
I ran into this headlong starting in January 2012. The Holy Spirit prodded me to become involved with a local ministry that helps homeless and hurting youth. My pastor advised me against this because my "first priority" should be mothering my children and being involved with this organization would risk exposing my children to "those kind of people." Heaven help us that our bastions of purity might become aware that other children in our neighborhood suffer in terrible circumstances.
I chose to volunteer for this organization anyhow. The result, this pastor publicly derided me for months. At some point in July, I sent a prayer request to a few friends of mine at the church. I also included some praises. One of the praises was that I really enjoyed the sermon the previous Sunday given by the associate pastor. The lead pastor informed me that I needed to come to his office to be "gently rebuked in love." He and the women's ministry leader spent over an hour detailing how my email was destructive in that it hurt the lead pastor's feelings. I explained that as a person with Asperger's, I state things plainly. If I enjoyed the associate pastor's sermon, I'm going to say, "I sure enjoyed his sermon." My mind just does not know how to go through the mental gymnastics of trying to figure out how to avoid offending anyone in the known universe. And really, what kind of mentally healthy pastor gets his feelings hurt if his associate pastor is doing a good job?
As a result of my disability (which I don't agree that it IS a disability), the lead pastor decided that I could not be trusted to email any member of the church. Yep, he asked me to give up my First Amendment rights so he wouldn't have to risk becoming uncomfortable with anything I might say.
At this point, my husband mentioned that he also really enjoyed the associate pastor's sermon and would actually like to hear him preach more than twice a year when the lead pastor was on vacation. Well, this set the lead pastor off on a diatribe on how he's God's anointed and how that particular community church is his church (with a lower-case "h"). He rattled off how he makes the rules in his church and informed us that if we didn't like it, we could go elsewhere. Gosh darn, you know we did.
And so, by the mercy of God, my naiveté was shattered. When I realized that some pastors are actually bad guys, I also started waking up to the notion that there might be bad guys in other trusted positions, such as government (gasp!). Therein is the reason why I have a "Liberty" category on my blog.
How does this relate to thirty pieces of silver? Well, I suspect that if we were a wealthy family, the church could have endured my honesty. For example, the lead pastor refused to confront the lead elder's allegiance to Satan as a 33rd degree Mason. That man was very wealthy and powerful. In fact, he donated the land that the church sits on. Praise God that the associate pastor took it upon himself to quietly go meet with this man near the end of his life to encourage him to recant his membership in the Masons, which he did.
This man has recently died. Can you imagine how different his fate might have been if he had not turned away from Masonry? These are the kinds of choices made by pastors who have sold out. And what are the consequences? Eternal damnation for the sheep under their care.