Backslidden in the pulpit

by | May 9, 2018 | Christianity Today | 12 comments

Paul wrote his last letter to his spiritual son Timothy.  One warning stands out: The worst enemy Timothy will ever face is not devils, Roman tyrants, or barbarians.  It will be preachers who are backslidden in the pulpit.

2 Timothy 4: 3 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

Here it is again in the Living Translation: “For there is going to come a time when people won’t listen to the truth but will go around looking for teachers who will tell them just what they want to hear. They won’t listen to what the Bible says but will blithely follow their own misguided ideas.”

These preachers overrun the church today.  They are created by audiences with sensual desires.  They are the toast of a generation that never reads their Bibles.  They are the product of churches gone wild.

Why am I writing this?  The answer is in the prelude to Paul’s warning to Timothy in this final letter.  2 Timothy 4:1 says, “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”

These firm but loving words, are solemnly given.  Timothy you will stand before Christ.  He will judge fake preachers with great wrath and burn up their works.  Don’t be one of them.  Fight them.  Rebuke whenever it is needed.  Instruct with patience as often as is needed.  Don’t just do it when you feel like it.  Prove that you are one of the real ones.


But Mario, what real harm are these ministers doing?  More than anything or anyone else is doing to the church.  More than you can possible imagine.  They are not merely doing more harm than good—they are doing all harm, and no good.

Preachers who are backslidden in the pulpit are a clear and present danger to the church and to themselves.  Their messages create mutants—a huge number of Christian preemies—born in congenital compromise.  Lacking the essential nutrients to start a life with Christ as Lord.

How else do you think we lost marriage, gained late-term abortion, and headed down the path of Sodom and Gomorrah?  While the backslidden preacher didn’t cause our flood of immorality—they kept the army of God from rising up to stop it.

Because they are backslidden in the pulpit, churches are hostile to true saints.  The remnant of God is grieved.  They cry tears of sorrow and disbelief at what is pawned off as vessels of God.  They struggle to find a church with even a hint of reverence or the presence of God.

To their shame, they, and their followers, have discouraged sincere young preachers.

Do you see any difference between the following situations?

-Urban youth see the lifestyle of drug dealers and pimps and ask “what’s the use of flipping burgers for minimum wage?”

-Young preachers see the tricks, the flamboyance, and easy money of carnal preaching while they struggle to get partners for a righteous cause.

Lost in all of this is the definition of a real man and woman of God.  Let me remind you with these words from E.M. Bounds:

“The preacher must throw himself, with all the abandon of a perfect, self–emptying faith and a self–consuming zeal, into his work for the salvation of men. Hearty, heroic, compassionate, fearless martyrs must the men be who take hold of and shape a generation for God. If they be timid time servers, place seekers, if they be men pleasers or men fearers, if their faith has a weak hold on God or his Word, if their denial be broken by any phase of self or the world, they cannot take hold of the Church nor the world for God.”

I wrote this in direct obedience to God.  Judgement is coming on preachers who are backslidden in the pulpit.  Maybe Jesus can use this to save you before it’s too late.

I wrote this because we need to shout it from the rooftops that God will bless those who go after Him with a clean heart.  He will give them untold provision and power.  He will raise them up in true promotion.  He can still change the world through pure hearts and broken vessels.


  1. James McCusker

    Great word Mario. It’s hard to find the whole truth spoken in the pulpits these days.

  2. Evan. Roger Culwell

    big amen brother Mario preach it, the time is here this is now for sure, I back up every word with the word, and they accuse me night and day, your cruel, your mean, you don’t have any love, you preach the real truth of the word with out love, you would quit, because Love is the only thing that would make you keep preaching it, with all the thing’s they call you and accuse you of. Keep Preaching it Brother, at least when we stand before God we will be clear. God Bless

  3. Allen Sper

    Dear God, please forgive us and heal your church.

  4. Susan Hulstine

    “Most people don’t let the Bible get in the way of what they believe.” -Andrew Wommack. Thank you, Mario for being a voice of truth. We live in deceptive times.

  5. Carolina

    Mario, The question I keep asking is…”Are these backslidden preachers even actually a part of the Beloved of Christ”? And, “Aren’t those who define themselves and their preaching habits by the world’s narrative and standards really just a part of the world system anyway?” Which places them squarely OUTSIDE of The Beloved household of faith.
    A current example;
    Beth Moore is at it again, only this time she has publicly rebuked and denounced (in a very PC Christianese way) most of the men in church leadership that she encountered while climbing her way up the corporate church ladder into Christian stardom. She even now after this LONG formal publicly posted rebuke to men in the general church assembly, tags her cause “METOO!” I mean “really”…what do the daughters of LIGHT have to do with the daughters of darkness? This attitude backed with action goes way beyond hypocrisy, Ms Moore has again adopted & identified herself with the secular humanistic mantra. When if she definitively cared about the souls of ‘those’ women she would preach to them fervently their need for a perfect Lord and Savior through acknowledging their own sinful nature in humility.
    In Ms Moore’s case I’m not holding my breath for that to occur.

  6. Laura Collins

    And don’t forget about backsliders in ministerial positions. Ghetto has a new term they call it, “fancy fornicators.”

  7. Paul Mountenay

    Replace the word “Preacher” with “Worship leader” and the same is true, if not worse.

  8. Thomas Koester

    The Minister & The Mistress – By Thomas Koester

    Do Not Worship the Anointing or Fall in Love with Your Calling…

    Remember, your desire to know God and abide in him must exceed your desire to serve him and abide in your giftedness. Too many well-meaning men and women of God have been taken out by this mistake.

    In simpler words and worth repeating: do not worship the anointing or fall in love with your calling.

    God wants a man or a woman to chase after Him, rather than chasing after ministry.

    Some might be tempted to say:

    “You can take my calling and…,” well, you get the meaning.

    This too is self-worship and idolatry. They find out that this god-business stuff is too much for them, and the energy of propping up a false pretense each week is exhausting. Duplicity, after all, is only fun until the real man becomes overpowered by the false man, and when you have lost your courage to be real.

    If you have to, take a vacation and pursue your First Love again, until you’ve become captivated with the Lover of your soul. Otherwise, what you call “light,” will become darkness; for then, how great will your darkness be!

    To be known by God and for you to intimately know his ways and his heart for you is your antidote against self-delusion and self-worship. In other words, check yourself before you wreck yourself and your family too. Stay humble by being transparent and honest with a few good men.

    Better to be known by your true humility then to be praised by thousands for your many talents and pride.

    Abase yourselves, even in front of your congregation, so that God’s people may know the way to true greatness, that is, through your true humility. I have seen it happen, and it is beautiful!

    It may be that you suffer from a lack of humanness. You know, your super-saint persona, how others perceive you in public may not match how you act in private. Maintaining a glittering image is costly, because it robs you of brokenness and being approachable. This is one of the reasons why so many pastors and ministers suffer from loneliness and why 7 out of 10 pastors secretly dabble in pornograpahy.

    Only you and God know how well you can fake it, well, maybe your wife too! But, all the while you can still bring God’s house down in applause, even with unconfessed sin in your heart, the anointing still flows. (And that’s pretty scary stuff!) But, if you’re not going to be true, but just sit there with your mouth opened and your heart hardened; then it will be your own house, which will be brought down, and how terrible its fall will be!

    Those that worship worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. Jonah 2:8

    Don’t forfeit God’s grace because of pride, trust in Him — in do time, He will lift you up. He is near the brokenhearted and will surely hear your cry for help.

    Repent now, and not later. Fall into grace or into hell. Decide now, while you still have a choice. I guarantee people will follow you to either place — after all, you are the Pastor!

    Break your love affair with ministry and become true to the Lover of your soul again. Everybody hurts, even you too. I know if you search with your whole heart, God’s grace and mercy can be found. Listen to this song,” Everybody Hurts,” and hold on, help is on the way, if you want it.

  9. Marian Martinez

    Thank you and Bless you!! Keep on keeping on !!

  10. John

    You are right on, that’s what Holy Ghost is been speaking to my heart… When Ezra was going back to build the walls the priest were backsliden and had to repent and cleanse the temple. When anyone or anything overshadowed Jesus, then then pride of satan will rise up and take over. All lights or smoke or laser beams is all they see, then they don see Jesus.. He said if I be lifted up I will I draw all men unto me.

  11. Lance Marchetti

    Ever since the early days of Resurrection City at Berkley…Mario has not let up with his passion for the Gospel. He will leave large shoes to fill when he leaves this world one day. I love you man.
    Lance Marchetti, South Africa.-26May2018



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