Sins of the Fathers, Nepotism, and Apostasy in the Church

Commentary by Roger Oakland
Understand The Times International: Roger Oakland Ministries



There is an obvious pattern observed from a brief study of genealogies found in the Old Testament. When a father follows God and leads the people, overseeing in the right direction, there is absolutely no guarantee this virtue will carry over to the next generation. In other words, the saying “he is a chip off the old block” is not always the pattern we find when it comes to biblical history.

While there are many examples we could use to lay the foundation for this “father-son” relationship, I will quote God’s word regarding His promises that is found in 1 Kings chapter 9. We read:

And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do, that the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon. And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there forever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments: Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel forever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, there shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel. But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them: Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people. [1]

God’s warning to Solomon cannot be misunderstood. The Lord God made it clear in advance to Solomon what would happen if he strayed away from his father David’s legacy and worship the gods. While the Bible reveals that David had his own faults, he was “a man after God’s own heart” as the Bible describes. Unfortunately, Solomon, the son, while a wise man, disobeyed and rebelled.

There is another way of understanding this truth that is very simple. God stated that if a son follows his father, and the father follows God and His Word, then he will continue to be blessed. As the Scriptures clearly reveal, this was not what happened in Solomon’s life. He and the children of Israel suffered the consequences as they rebelled against God and ended up under judgment.

While this one example features the point I am trying to make in this commentary, a broader study of the Bible reveals the father-son rebellion pattern in repetitive detail. This happened over and over again, generation after generation. The lesson learned should be easily transferred to what often happens in the church today.



Another pattern found in the Bible equally as revealing is in regard to father-son relationships and relating to a term called nepotism. According to one definition, nepotism is defined as: “patronage bestowed or favoritism shown on the basis of a family relationship, as in business and politics.” [2]

However, nepotism is not limited to business and politics. It is more widely understood when describing spiritual leaders, both in the past and the present. Think of the number of mega-church pastors who have turned over the leadership of their churches in their golden years to their sons.

According to the Bible, ministry is a calling and cannot be inherited based on genetics. In fact, passing the ministry down to keep the family business intact, almost always proves to be a mistake. Here are some examples of Christian-leader fathers whose sons or son-in-laws have received the baton of ministry and have benefited from their fathers’ names and successes to build their own. Do your research and see whether these sons are following biblical Christianity or going down a slippery slope of apostasy and sadly taking many of their followers with them. Take some time and think about what I am saying. Two questions that should be asked: Did the fathers equip their sons properly through example and in the Word to have godly discernment and be aware of spiritual deception in the last days? Or, as many of these fathers are remaining silent today, were they silent on important issues then too?

·    Charles Stanley (father) and Andy Stanley (son) [3]

·    Jim Bakker (father) and Jay Bakker (son) [4]

·    Chuck Smith (father-in-law) and Brian Brodersen (son-in-law) [5]

·    Raul Reis (father) and Ryan Reis (son) [6]

·    Lee Strobel (father) and Kyle Strobel (son) [7]

·    Dr. Richard DeHaan (grandfather) and Mart DeHaan (grandson) [8]


The Slippery Slope

While the gospel found clearly in the Scriptures must remain biblically based or it is no longer the gospel, when the younger postmodern generation inherits the pulpit from their fathers who have been senior pastors or prominent leaders for years, all of this can change for the worse.

If you haven’t noticed what is happening, then here are some of the symptoms:

·    Truth becomes relative while mysticism opens the door to eastern spirituality.

·    There is ecumenical unity with Rome at any cost replacing the biblical theme that Jesus Christ is the narrow way and the only way to salvation.

·    Instead of the Bible remaining the Word of God, the Bible is replaced by the ideas of men who critique the Bible and look for ways to grow the church numerically.

·    Bible prophetic warnings that once warned about church apostasy are replaced by the idea that all religions contain truth and that there are many ways to God.  

·    When worship becomes noise for the sake of sensual stimulation, the Word of God has been forgotten and often totally ignored.

This description of the pathway to apostasy could be developed much further. For now, hopefully you will recognize what is happening to the present-day church. If you are wondering why I am writing this, there is a simple explanation. Someone has to stand up like the prophets of old and warn the sheep. Those who are doing this are scattered and few. Today, those who should be warning remain in their tight-knit fellowships refusing to speak out for fear of rocking the boat or losing numbers. Perhaps the ones who seem to say the least are the ones who have passed on the baton to their own sons.

Thus the reason for this commentary: “The Sins of the Fathers, Nepotism, and Apostasy in the Church.” Read it and share it with someone. Perhaps some will wakeup!


[1] I Kings 9: 1-7

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