"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water'." (John 7:38)

"Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual." (1Cor. 2:12-13)


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Pastoral Oppression

An angry response to my recent discovery of yet another effort of the leaders of the church to ensure their despotic position.

The latest wind of doctrine: Multi, or Tri-perspectivalism leadership
While this trend has been recently entertained by the Reformed Church, it has long been an infectious arrogance found in many superficial, man-ruled fellowships and institutions of religion. I address the broad scope of leadership prevalent in today's Christian church.


NOTE: In the mention of spiritual gifts, I by no means attach them to a 'prosperity gospel' or 'name-it, claim-it' religion. It is soundly the means by which the Holy Spirit works in and through the body of Christ, "...for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4:12,13)

What causes church leaders to think the greater gifts and functions uniquely rest in their hands? Can there not be a prophet, an evangelist, a teacher, a pastor among the flock without a coronation of some special office? For that matter, why are there such categories as 'ordained' and 'lay'? Are we not all ambassadors of Christ? Consider the following: "As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:4,5)

This in no way admonishes men to build a priesthood in order to build a spiritual house. Furthermore, the leaders are not to be the all-containing, all-sustaining spiritual commandant of the church. He is but one member of the body by which the gifts of the Spirit have been shed abroad.

"But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge." (1 John 2:20)

"But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him." (1 John 2:27)

Pastors, elders, priests, deacons, bishops, et al. -is it not enough you have made yourselves over-lords, rather than over those, in the Lord? Or that you have successfully oppressed congregations into a group of ignorant followers, by way of omitting the complete and accurate exercise of spiritual gifts that is designed for the whole body? Do you now have to misinterpret scriptures, concluding that the greater gifts you perhaps once had trouble even believing were prevalent for this age, now actually belong exclusively to your leadership, but not the general congregation? Have you ever invited other gifts within the congregation to participate, that you would become a complete body, nourished, held together by the joints, unified in the Spirit?

"What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up." (1 Corinthians 14:26)

"If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." (Mark 9:35; 10:42-45; Luke 22:26) Have you not as well, disregarded this clear message, in order that you maintain a dictatorship in lieu of the head, which is Christ? Can you not see how the secular ideals of leadership have infiltrated the church? What in the world is an executive pastor? An associate pastor? I hear you say that Jesus is the Lord of the church, the head of the body and the one you worship, but your true desire is to glorify your own position. What you don't see is that you are exalting the realm of leadership to such a deified, educated, untouchable plateau of elders that the congregation can't help but feel subordinate, ineffective, and unworthy of the Spirit of God that you leaders have stolen from them by way of positional intimidation. You have now conjured up yet another scheme of leadership, taking on such endowments as Prophet, Priest, and King, and bestow them upon church leaders. This is nothing less than self glorification.

You say you believe in the all the gifts of the Spirit. But believing and doing belong to true faith. Without calling on the ones you have pressed down, that they may rise up with their spiritual gifts (as is appropriate for a healthy body), but rather allotting practical positions of service to keep them content, your words fall flat with unbelief about spiritual gifts. You are an idol of your own making, built and sustained by nothing more than natural gifts, i.e., natural leadership skills, type-a personalities, excellent oration, a degree from a seminary school, etc. If these were to be accompanied by true Spiritual humility, recognizing you have nothing except what God has given you, you would not spend so much time building up and maintaining such an intricately woven, secular mirrored structure of leadership for the church. Efforts like this occur when we get bored with being empty for the cause of serving the body the way the Lord sees it. It is especially difficult for the intelligent who have been through a rigorous format of formal education. Much like the rich young ruler, most of us have a very powerful, natural gift whereby Jesus says, "You lack one thing..." That one thing is sacrificing our covetousness.

You say the Spirit is present in your church, and so He is; and God longs jealously for the Spirit He has caused to dwell in us. The hierarchical government of today's church, and for some reason established and reserved for intelligent of mind, rather than the Spiritually mature in Christ, can only emulate that of the secular world; humanistic and thus divided...as-it-so-is. Think not? Count the number of different denominations, non denominations, all following some scheme of doctrine devised by man through his own interpretation of scripture. Is the Holy Spirit divided on truth? You say, " We get along. We have agreed to disagree." This is not unity. It is agreeing to find peace while remaining divided. Why then is there so much division? Because church leaders and congregants have not been encouraged how to live by the Spirit. So, rather than asking God for wisdom, man, the label-maker, sets his mind to the task of compiling some parallel scriptures that will satisfy the carnal mind's desire for the rationalization of difficult truths: truths, that if genuinely sought after, would bankrupt the present day religious institutions.

"There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures." (2 Peter 3:16)

Here is the bottom line: when strong minded leadership exists, there will inevitably be mindless followers. This natural law is as prevalent as gravity. However, allow the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to lead and you will find the true church. All of the frivolous and superficial functions and activities most churches entertain will be exposed for what they are. Worldliness will be easily recognized and intolerable, leaving only the purity of that which is of the Spirit of God, thereby creating true unity in the body of Christ by which we worship in spirit and truth alone, and apart from the guidance of man made offices.

May there be fear and trembling in all that we work out within our own salvation.


"'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." (Mark 7:7-8)

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