“Woe to me if I preach not the gospel.”
NTCC uses the above sentiment from the Apostle Paul to excite an urgency among its members to become ministers, and an urgency among its ministers to be more active. But one must avoid the fatal mistake of equating the programs of men with the gospel of Christ. NTCC skews reality by changing the rules of vocabulary so that, when they say “the work of the Lord” they are referring to something that does not resemble the book of Acts so much as it resembles themselves.
Paul saw his responsibility very clearly, and indeed all Christians carry the charge as well as the impulse to bear witness to the message of Christ. Yet in the hands of an abusive and exploitative group like NTCC, this grave responsibility takes on a new twist, and becomes; Woe is unto me if I recruit not members to ntcc, woe is unto me if I attend not the ntcc seminary, woe is unto me if I maintain not strict loyalty to ntcc, woe is unto me if I grovel not before the Men of God of ntcc.
To carry the message of salvation is indeed precious. But there is a difference between this privilege and active participation/official membership in an organized movement that exults its leaders within a chain-of-command structure, maintains a position of exclusivity and a monopoly on the truth, and imposes heavily upon the personal lives of its devotees. Yet you are being led to believe that to stand behind the pulpit as a licensed representative of NTCC is the highest calling on earth, the fulfillment of which entitles your pastor to be treated like royalty. Thus the pressure to attend Bible College becomes a burden easily confused with, and attributed to, a sense of godly conviction and an invitation to a higher way of life.
Due to the military milieu of NTCC and its aggressive recruitment of the young, this monumental, life-changing decision is fequently placed into the hands of fledgling men and women who are novices in the Christian faith. Inexperienced in life, they are born aloft upon winds of enthusiasm. NTCC makes much use of the verse that reads, “…the gifts and callings of God are without repentence…”, deriving from it a very narrow meaning so that there is no room to think twice about your decision. God has ostensibly called you and directed you to a special place of His choosing, so you must go. And since all other places of training for Christian workers are doctrinally corrupt, sinful and compromised, NTCS is the only option open to you. Once you begin to look down such a narrow corridor, you become convinced there is no other way. This sort of mental programming renders you helpless. The decision is practically made for you, and once you begin to move forward it is made clear that “hell will be your home” should you turn back.
Should you make such a commitment, you will begin to find yourself squeezed by the vise in which so many others have been pinched through the years. On one side is brazen opportunism and ceaseless begging from the pulpit. If you are a “faithful” member of your local NTCC congregation, chances are you have been a major contributor to the financial well-being of the church and its pastor. In gratitude for your participation and giving, your pastor has probably rewarded you with a steady stream of further “opportunities to give”, making plain his belief that this is a blessing to you. It never seems to be enough. You cannot help but see this as the will of God, because you have been encouraged to expect no thanks, and to see yourself as an unprofitable servant who has merely done his or her duty. Therefore, in spite of ever-increasing obligations, you have provided no resistance to this trend.
You are probably reluctant to figure out the amount of money you give as a percentage of your income, because you do not want your left and right hands to know each what the other is doing. If you should undertake this exercise, you may be amazed at what you find. You give ten percent of your before-tax income (12-15% of net?). You do this supposedly because you love God, though it would not have occured to you had it not been taught vigorously by your pastor. The real reason you do it is because your pastor has erroneously taught you that this is a scriptural requirement, cordially inviting you to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire as punishment for non-compliance. In addition to this you have been giving a minimum of five dollars in the offering each service on top of the $10-$20 Sunday night budget offering. All told, if you do not count the various items you have purchased for the church, or for the pastor’s personal enjoyment, plus gas money, etc., you are spending 20% of your net income to promote this church program that you have been told is The Work of the Lord. Of course, the most evil thing you can do is to question this.
The other side of the vise is brought into play when you begin to plan your voyage to Graham. You should have saved your money, you should have been setting aside a portion of your income against this day, and yet you realize now that the trip will likely end on a few drops of fuel as you come limping onto the campus with very little to your name. You have no job, your car insurance expires in a few days, the kids have not been to the dentist in two years, and in spite of all you did to keep your local church afloat, you are about to be insulted. You will hear RW Davis teaching in his “leadership” courses that you are stupid because you came unprepared. Humorous descriptions of stereotypically stupid Bible College students will sound strangely familiar. Your brain will be screaming at you to remember the obligations under which you have been placed, and the urgency with which you packed up your family to depart. And now you are saddled with the expectation of success. You are told that you have nothing because you spent all your money, that you have been foolish, that sin and lust have brought you to this point, and that you will never amount to anything unless New Testament Christian Seminary makes a “leader” out of you. Most do not heed the screams of their brains, but simply submit to the browbeating and insults.
Before making the decision to attend this seminary, consider the scriptural reminder to let every man remain in the vocation wherein he was called. Ask yourself if the professional ministry is really where God demands your presence. God promised he would provide for us, but does He require you to place the well being of your family below the ambition to be a stage performer in a church somewhere? Can you really win more souls this way? To what end? To send those souls through the same process and perpetuate the cycle?
Think about it: you are about to sell your house, separate from the military even though your future plans were built around your military career, quit your job to start all over at entry level someplace else, forego all educational endeavors, take your children away from their friends, leave family behind, travel across the United States with no immediate prospects, put down first and last month’s rent on an apartment, pay tuition, go job hunting…and for what? To be told “you don’t have any money because you’ve spent it all.” Ask yourself; “Am I fulfilling God’s real plan for my life, or am I fulfilling someone else’s ambitions for the growth of their own corporation?”
This article is from a series entitled “What Can I Expect From New Testament Christian Seminary?”