Leadership and rebellion
In my last post, I went through a number of scriptural passages, and then my own conviction hit me pretty hard, to the point where I couldn't even finish the blog.
I've mentioned this passage a time or two:
“Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. 8 But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
Take note where is says that you are not to call a person a leader, and that the greatest among you shall be your servant. I would like to reconcile this with the fact that there is nothing new under the sun, and we see in many places of worship a priesthood set up as leadership.
When you hear a pastor or preacher delivering a message on leadership, they will undoubtedly mention Korah's rebellion. (Numbers 16) Pay attention to this subject in respect to your pastor, and how he handles the subject.
What I have seen with a majority of pastors is that when you bring something to them that you see as contrary to scripture, they're USUALLY pretty humble about it. Most of them won’t ( or shouldn't) boot you out the door or start calling you names, such as divisive or heretic, or saying that you're like Korah. However, I've seen both sides of the coin. I've seen pastors that take what you see as contrary to what they preach, or contrary to how they've handled a situation, and they'll humbly submit that they may have been wrong and repent. I love it when that goes down. Yet, there are those times where you may see a pastor get up there and slandering and slaying demons, saying that He's going to shake the gates of hell and that the devil is an idiot... you know, all those things that the book of Jude tells us not to do. So, you bring it up and sometimes, they might get a little self-righteous, and tell you that they're a warrior ( even though , you see several places in scripture saying they're supposed to be sheep), and they've got a revelation from God, and they're God's anointed, and how David killed the men that raised the sword to Saul and HOW DARE YOU LEVY AN ACCUSATION AGAINST THEM!!!
They generally start backing up in anticipation of some giant sinkhole opening to swallow you up.
We come back to that definition of discernment: knowing the difference between right, and almost right.
I've looked through the Bible and what I see from the mouth of the one who IS the proper definition of the Torah, we're to not to call people leaders. Why? Because we have one leader, and that is the Messiah, and honestly, thank God for that.
What about all that huffing and puffing and red-faced indignation? What about that?
The Bible does tell us that that there are overseers, and these are the qualifications of them:
"...appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it." - Titus 1
Now, if you're bringing something up that you see as a violation of the commands of God, directly from the Savior, and the response is hostility... There is a pretty solid chance that your "overseer" isn't as above reproach as they might like to think they are, especially if they're a little quick tempered in that "warrior" status. When they're telling you that YOU have no right to "bring an accusation" against them, they are drawing the comparison that they are Moses, and at the very least, a priest of God. How dare you challenge the word of a priest of God! That's some scary business.
I mean, I would not want to challenge a legitimate priest of God, performing their temple sacrifices and priestly duties. Isn't that kind of a straw man, though? It’s intimidating for a regular guy who kind of has his own “self” built up in his mind, in order to scare people into not confronting him with things he says or does that might not be in line with scripture? There is a lot of ego in play here, and it’s often not easy to recognize. After all, most of us come from the mindset that more knowledge of preachable, pulpit worthy stuff = way holier than you, because you're insignificant.
Funny thing about all that though, in a not so funny way…but still kind of funny if you think about it, if you squint maybe...IS that that kind of attitude, the self-righteous indignation of someone who thinks of himself as a priest, is the VERY attitude that time and time again the Savior pointed out as wrong.
“And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”- MARK 10
Take a moment and carefully evaluate what your church leaders are saying, because if they are specifically underscoring this without proper context:
As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
Then they condemn this guy from John, chapter seven:
The Savior is divisive. (v.43)
“So there was a division among the people over him.”
He is not warm and fuzzy. (v.7)
“The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.”
He tells it like it is. (vs.33-34)
“Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. 34 You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.”
He raises his voice. (vs.37-38).
“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
He is God and knows all things. (v.29).
“I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.”
He speaks the Father’s words, which are true. (vs.16-18).
“So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone's will is to do God'swill, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”
It is my sincerest hope that one might read this and be able to differentiate a place of spiritual accountability to those who are "overseers", and those who are spiritually abusive in their insistence in acting as your priest, the one who is sitting in the seat of Moses, being a hypocrite.
Spiritual abuse is, sadly, quite common in these circumstances, and I'll share some warning signs could mean mean you are in a spiritually abusive establishment.
Sited from another source:
In an unhealthy church, it is considered rebellion when someone questions decisions or statements made coming from the pulpit. Granted, there are those who constantly question the leadership in any church -- but often, such constant questioning comes from an individual's critical spirit. Pastors must learn to deal with such questioning in a compassionate, positive manner. However, in an unhealthy church, any and all questions are considered threats to the pastor's "God-ordained" authority. Members who do dare to question their leaders or who do not follow their directives often are confronted with severe consequences. "
"Everything you need can be found within the framework of our group," this spirit says, adding, "Everything you need to know, you will receive from the pastor and his teachings." Consequently, there is little respect, if any, for other denominations or church groups.
One individual, in speaking about the elitist attitude within his church, said, "Although we didn't come right out and say it, in our innermost hearts, we really felt there was no place like our assembly. We thought the rest of Christianity was out to lunch." Another man from the same church said, "When a well-known evangelical speaker was preaching at another local church, our leaders would discourage us from attending. Also, if the leaders found out that members were considering visiting another church for any reason, they were called in and chastised. 'You don't need to be going to those other churches,' they would tell us. 'The ministry here is rich enough. Isn't the Lord feeding you here?'" A healthy church respects and celebrates the other expressions of Christ's many-membered body. A Jesus-centered church realizes that no one denomination or local church can win a city, regardless of how large it is. Christ-centered leaders who are clothed with humility recognize that the small church is as significant as the large church, the Baptists are as vital as the Charismatics, and every racial group has a place at the Lord's table. A healthy church will promote other churches in the city, rather than simply promoting its own events and agendas all the time. A healthy church will promote spiritual renewal in all churches rather than further the idea that it has some kind of doctrinal superiority. A healthy church will exude the attitude described in Philippians 2:3-4:
"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also the interests of others.”
To read more about spirtual abuse Click here then here and then finally here
My editor ( a real one) added this comment:
The reason why this doesn’t happen is because there exists in our day payroll pastors, who’s only income comes from the church members paychecks themselves. Therefore, all other local churches are seen as competing businesses, rather than the body of Messiah. What you’re suggesting they do is like suggesting that one pizza place encourage people to try another pizza place. The whole structure of modern-day church needs to change, and payroll staff needs to be eliminated. I think money is the root of evil in the body.
I thought it was a worthy addition.