Ministry Integrity (2 Cor 4:1-2)

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:1–2, KJV)

There is an old expression, “anything for a buck.” A similar idea is, “whatever is necessary.” These expressions in and of themselves can be used in a good sense. However, they are one step from something very bad. They can go to the sentiment, “the ends justify the means.” These are worldly philosophies. The problem with these is that one can cross the boundaries of what is good all too easily. They can lead to moral compromise to achieve a desired end.

When I worked in engineering, I ran into a businessman who was in charge of a company making high-pressure vessels. These were tanks that needed to withhold very high internal pressures without rupturing. The tanks needed to be pressure tested and certified prior to delivering them to the end customer. However, the pressure testing was never done. The businessman fudged the paperwork to show that the vessels were tested and passed the inspection. This is an example of what can go wrong with an “anything for a buck” mentality.

The problem with this attitude is that things can go terribly wrong. As it turns out, I heard that one or more of the tanks did have failures. No one was hurt, but the possibility was there. Moreover, the business that did the fabrication, lost credibility, and ultimately it cost them money.

This same problem occurs in many churches today. There are pastors who will compromise virtue to grow a congregation. Some are in it for the money, while others are in it for the prestige. This is not something new. It occurred in Paul’s day also. Here he pointed this out to the church at Corinth. There were many itinerant preachers going about who were dishonest, walking in craftiness, and who handled the word of God deceitfully. Paul indicated that he and his team sought to maintain the highest level of integrity in the ministry. Paul was not going to follow a philosophy of the “ends justify the means.”

Instead, Paul sought to glorify God. He renounced such practices. Moreover, he was serous about preaching the truth of God’s word. He could never manipulate or twist the word of God to tickle the itching ears of people for sordid gain or to have a large following. His motive was to build others up in the truth so that God would be glorified.

Today, there are too many charlatans walking around with so called credentials, twisting the word to gather a following. They are building huge congregations, but to what end? Now, do not get me wrong, not all large congregations are built this way, but many are. The preachers of these groups tickle the ears of people. Some will not preach on sin and judgment. Others teach all sorts of heresy. Some teach or condone moral compromise. What is the problem with this? Those who listen to these false teachers are not hearing the truth, and very many of their adherents may never get a clear understanding of the gospel.

In our lives, as living letters of God’s grace, let us consider how integrity will look in our lives. People are watching us and we have a message. However, a lack of integrity in life and word will destroy our testimony as well. Walk by faith, Stand firm in the truth. Never compromise.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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