Distinguishing True Servants of God from Charlatans, part 2
I recently heard about a Baptist pastor who was exposed for living a double life. At the same time he was serving as the pastor of a church, he was also parading around as a drag queen.
Pastor F. L. “Bubba” Copeland of the First Baptist Church of Phenix City, AL, recently was exposed as a cross-dressing Internet model. After being found out, he told his church that he had ‘nothing to be ashamed of,’ and some people in his church supported him. But shortly after that news came out, he took his own life, apparently unable to bear the embarrassment, shame, and hypocrisy of it.
I find it hard to believe that no one at the First Baptist Church or Phenix City, AL suspected anything about their pastor’s double life. He was both pastor of a church and mayor of the town. He was posting pictures of himself in drag and writing lewd stories about people in the town. He was a deeply perverted man, a wolf in sheep’s clothing if there ever was one. And no one knew about it? Hard to believe.
That’s perhaps an extreme example, but similar cases of frauds and phonies within the church are all too common. People in ministry are exposed as hypocrites and charlatans regularly. Bubba Copeland is just one in a long line of people who appear to be angels of light, but who in reality are deceitful workers, satanic imposters.
The Bible repeatedly warns us about false teachers and their harmful influence within the church. We have to be on guard, discerning, and vigilant to make sure that false teachers have no influence on us.
In today’s passage, Paul distinguishes himself from the false teachers who had infiltrated the church in Corinth. He wants his readers to see the differences between him and them. This passage shows us what distinguishes true servants of God from charlatans and frauds. We must make sure that those serving the church are honest, faithful, and qualified.