A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

What is the basis for saying Christians must obey church elders?

Have you been told to submit to church elders? Have you heard the ‘rule’ that we must obey church leaders?

What is the basis for this ‘rule’ that you, as a professing Christian, must (must) obey church elders?

Definition of terms…so we all start on the same page.

I will be using the term ‘elders’ to refer to those who have been appointed to spiritual leadership positions: pastors, church elders, ministers, reverends, presbyters, moderators, bishops, archbishops…and you can add cardinals & popes to that list. Some translations of the bible use the word ‘overseers’. For the purpose of this article, all those titles are interchangeable.

Let us examine the two verses in Hebrews 13 which speak about obeying or submitting to elders. Most pastors focus on Hebrews 13:17 which says:

Obey those who have the oversight of you, and submit yourselves to them, for they watch for your souls even as those who must give accounts. Let them do it with joy, and not with grief. For that is an unprofitable thing for you.

However, verse 7 in the same chapter says:

Remember those who have the oversight of you, who have declared to you the word of God. See that you look upon the way they live out their life, and follow their faith.

The ones who have oversight over the congregation need to be able to rightly divide the word of truth: rightly explain and apply what the Bible teaches. If the elders do a poor job of that, if they twist, selectively hammer, and misapply the Word, they ought not be in the position of overseer!

It is not a sin to ponder whether the elders are rightly dividing the word of truth.

Verse 7 also tells us to look at the way the elders are living out their lives. In other words, use your brain, your capacity to think independently, and ask yourself:  Is what this elder says consistent with what he does?

If you have not been brainwashed…if you observe and are discerning and can think independently, you may notice gigantic inconsistencies between their rhetoric and their conduct.

Often these discrepancies are particularly obvious when it comes to the way elders deal with interpersonal abuse and oppression, i.e., injustice perpetrated by the more powerful onto the less powerful.

The conduct — the pattern of behaviour — of arrogant / prideful church leaders shows you that they are hypocrites and Pharisees. Instead of defending and vindicating the oppressed, they are ignoring or re-traumatizing the oppressed. One of the ways elders do this is to give the impression they support the abused…but when it comes to the crunch, they let them down.

It is clear from Hebrews 13:7 that every true Christian is urged to scrutinise and evaluate the pattern of conduct of church leaders.

You need not obey or follow a church leader whose pattern of conduct is glaringly inconsistent with the whole counsel of the Word.

How can you evaluate the pattern of conduct of elders?

James 1:27 is a good verse to use when evaluating the pattern of conduct of church elders. Pure devotion, and undefiled before God the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their adversity, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

If you think that women abused by their husbands are not widows, I encourage you to read this: The Widows and Orphans of Our Time.

Apart from Hebrews 13, there are only two other passages in the New Testament which allude to submitting to church elders

Here are those two passages in context. The ‘submit-to-elders’ parts are in purple.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-15
We beseech you, brethren, to recognize those who labour among you, and have the oversight of you in the Lord and give you exhortation – to have them the more in love for their work’s sake, and be at peace with them.
We desire you, brethren, to warn those who are unruly, comfort the faint-hearted, bear up the weak, and have continual patience toward all people. See that no one returns evil for evil to anyone, but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves and among all people.

1 Peter 5:1-7
The elders who are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the afflictions of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. See that you feed the flock of Christ that is among you, taking the oversight of them not as though you were compelled to it, but willingly; not for wrongful gain, but of a good mind; not as though you were lords over the parishes, but so that you are an example to the flock. And when the chief shepherd appears, you shall receive an incorruptible crown of glory.
Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to the elders. Submit yourselves everyone, one to another. Knit yourselves together in lowliness of mind. For God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you when the time is come. Cast all your care upon him, for he cares for you.

***

Scripture quotations are from the New Matthew Bible (NMB).

Further reading:

The abuse victim as widow

The widows and orphans of our time

A Sure Sign that Something is Wrong in a Church – Failure to Care for Widows and Orphans

16 Comments

  1. Paul

    In response to submission of Church leadership.

    My conviction is that the doctrine of unconditional submission to Church leadership as well as all and any God-ordained authority is a false Gospel and doctrine of devils. It’s 100 percent cultish and is a form of manipulation and control. It in short is witchcraft. It is sinful and Satanic.

    Please continue to read before you react to this.

    The Bible teaches that we are called to conditionally submit as is fitting in the Lord to all forms of God-ordained authority including Church leadership. The only unconditional submission we are called to is to Jesus himself. Not any human being.

    Those who teach unconditional submission are acting like antichrists as this is antichrist. This is the result of people who wrongly divide the word of truth and those who deceitfully handle it. It empowers abusers who are grace-perverting wolves and wolves in sheep clothing; it empowers them to live in sinful acts of abuse all in the name of Jesus. The Church is full of financial abuse, material abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse and spiritual abuse.

    The BIBLE teaches we are called to conditionally submit to all forms of God-ordained authority and that includes all in God-ordained authority in mutual submission and accountability. We should respect the office but do not have to respect the actions of those who hold the office. We have corrupt Police men and law abiding Police men. Those in authority which includes church leaders who deny people their fundamental human democratic and Christian rights are in sin and are teaching a false doctrine of devils. They are Lording it over those Christ died for and should be exposed for their sin.

    Daniel did not submit to the power and was not in sin. The disciples in Acts did not submit to the rulers and were not in sin and said Judge for yourselves is it better to obey God or man. The Tribulation Saints will not submit to antichrist who will be the power-to-be; they will not be in sin.

    Church leaders who teach the unconditional-submission doctrine need to repent and are not fit to hold such office. Run: they are false teachers. If I tell my wife she is to unconditionally submit to me then I too am a false teacher of abuse.

    [Minor airbrushing for protection, a few paragraph breaks added to ensure clarity. Editors.]

    • Finding Answers

      Paul commented (18TH APRIL 2020 – 9:05 AM) “My conviction is that the doctrine of unconditional submission to Church leadership as well as all and any God ordained-authority is a false Gospel and doctrine of devils. It’s 100 percent cultish and is a form of manipulation and control…..”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, Paul commented “The Bible teaches that we are called to conditionally submit as is fitting in the Lord to all forms of God-ordained authority including Church leadership. The only unconditional submission we are called to is to Jesus himself. Not any human being.”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, Paul commented “……The Church is full of financial abuse, material abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse and spiritual abuse.”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, Paul commented “The BIBLE teaches we are called to conditionally submit to all forms of God-ordained authority and that includes all in God-ordained authority in mutual submission and accountability. We should respect the office but do not have to respect the actions of those who hold the office…..”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, Paul commented “Church leaders who teach the unconditional-submission doctrine need to repent and are not fit to hold such office. Run: they are false teachers……”

      ^That.

      And I am profoundly grateful to you, Paul, for providing me with so many quotable parts of your comment to make into my own comment. 🙂 🙂

    • Thank you Paul 🙂 Great comment!

      I hope you don’t mind, I changed some of your punctuation to make it more easy to comprehend.

      I really liked the point you made about the tribulation saints.

      I agree that the institutional church — i.e., the visible church — is full of financial abuse, material abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse and spiritual abuse.

      Again, thank you for your comment. It always encourages me to keep blogging, when people write thoughtful comments on this blog.

    • Helovesme

      Thank you so much for that comment, Paul! I got a LOT out of Barb’s comment and just as much out of yours (it was the first one after reading the post so that helped!)

      I think one of the main tools of spiritual abuse is using “absolutes,” which can and does confuse already complicated situations in which there is abuse and / or toxicity at work.

      Example: Submission to a husband (abusive or not) must be absolute. Submission to church leaders (abusive or not) must be absolute.

      The “absolute” submission notion does tend to lean harder on females, but that is not the absolute truth (pun intended). Children, male or female, can be told that submission to adults must be absolute. And adult males have been victims of abuse as well.

      The argument for absolute submission tends to be justified by cherry picking Bible verses and claiming the Lord Himself has “endowed” them with their authority. So to disobey or challenge them is on par with disobeying and challenging the Lord.

      The fear of man is carelessly swept into the fear of the Lord, making them nearly one and the same, or at least indistinguishable enough to deceive the flock.

      You rightly brought up the “antichrist” aspect. It’s vital to remember that no one that embraces such evil will even appear to be embracing such evil. They will be so good at appearing to be authentic Christians that this is how they will be able to deceive many. Here are some verses to look at that help put it in perspective: 1 John 4:3, 1 John 2:18-19 and 22, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10.

      You rightly brought up that expecting and demanding “unconditional submission” is a key aspect of the antichrist spirit, because the antichrist dares to believe he is not just IN authority, he IS the absolute authority—having no fear of God since he believes he is to be feared as IF he is god. He believes he is owed the worship that only belongs to the Lord.

      However, I liked YOUR manner of using “absolutes” in order to care for the flock, not control the flock:

      “It’s 100 percent cultish and is a form of manipulation and control.”

      The “100 percent” is what stood out to me, and I very much personally appreciated it. It’s not easy to put that foot down and keep it down. There are no exceptions to this.

      And also understanding this crucial fact in an “absolute” way:

      “The only unconditional submission we are called to is to Jesus himself. Not any human being.”

      I once commented in another place that the only person we are commanded to trust is the Lord Himself. Anyone that tells you different is not dividing the Word properly.

      We are actually discouraged from excessive trust in humanity. Jeremiah 17:5:

      “Cursed is the man who trusts in man
      And makes flesh his strength,
      Whose heart departs from the Lord”

      If humanity is your “strength,” your heart has departed from Him. Elders that truly fear the Lord will understand this well.

      I do think there is a time and place to trust human beings—-but only up to a certain point and by NO means should your trust be coerced out of you. We call that being “conned”: your trust was purposefully drawn out of you in order to purposefully exploit you.

      Submission is one of the most powerful expressions of trust. We are commanded to unconditionally submit to Him because He is 100% worthy of our unconditional trust. No human being can claim that, even under the best and most sincere of circumstances. Human beings are simply not capable of handling 100% unconditional submission because they are not capable of handling it with the 100% respect it deserves.

      If your submission is not 100% willfully, freely given—-we call that a form of slavery. One of the main reasons why slavery (as was practiced in America) is so evil is because no human being should EVER have or be given the right to own another human being. No one should be given that level of power, and no one should be told that someone has the right to have that level of power over you. It crosses a line that should never be crossed, no matter how many attempts are made to try to justify it. And there have been many.

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme commented (26TH APRIL 2020 – 12:29 PM) “I think one of the main tools of spiritual abuse is using “absolutes,” which can and does confuse already complicated situations in which there is abuse and / or toxicity at work.”

        ^That.

        “Absolutes” are sometimes referred to as black-and-white thinking.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented “You rightly brought up that expecting and demanding “unconditional submission” is a key aspect of the antichrist spirit, because the antichrist dares to believe he is not just IN authority, he IS the absolute authority—having no fear of God since he believes he is to be feared as IF he is god. He believes he is owed the worship that only belongs to the Lord.”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented “We are actually discouraged from excessive trust in humanity. Jeremiah 17:5:

        “Cursed is the man who trusts in man
        And makes flesh his strength,
        Whose heart departs from the Lord””

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented “Submission is one of the most powerful expressions of trust. We are commanded to unconditionally submit to Him because He is 100% worthy of our unconditional trust. No human being can claim that, even under the best and most sincere of circumstances. Human beings are simply not capable of handling 100% unconditional submission because they are not capable of handling it with the 100% respect it deserves.”

        ^That.

    • Helovesme

      At first I couldn’t quite figure out why this part of Paul’s comment struck a chord in me:

      “The Church is full of financial abuse, material abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse and spiritual abuse.”

      Something about how he mentioned BOTH financial and material abuse (which I understood to mean materialism) was interesting to me.

      I consider financial abuse to be the using of money as a form of control and to victimize. So, you might have a pastor, or a domestic partner who maintains such tight control over the bank accounts that the church or the family members are nearly powerless to provide for the needs at hand. Parents or guardians can do this as well since children are especially powerless to be able to feed or clothe themselves.

      I consider material abuse to be focused on accumulating material goods as a source of power. The more property and material goods you accumulate, the more power over others you can have. It certainly is about money (or else how can you buy things).

      BUT can this possibly also apply to treating people as if they are products and / or property? And the more people you “own” (abusers are known to gather up as many “allies” as possible) the more “people power” you have?

      One of the biggest sins the church is often guilty of is casting aside the Bible’s clear list of what to look for in potential church leadership. Characteristics like: popular, funny, charismatic, good looking, young or well dressed or even well spoken are NOT be found on that list, yet so often those are the ones that get their foot in door.

      Having the power to “charm” a congregation, and therefore able to win their trust and loyalty is not what the Bible commands us to aim for. Making jokes and telling anecdotes might amuse and keep their attention, but it will not feed the flock.

      I remember reading testimonies of church leaders who were taken to court on charges of abuse, and “allies” from their churches often took the stand to vouch for them. If you can imagine such people, defending their beloved leader, not realizing that he is only using them as mere tools for his personal agenda. The power to abuse is much more ensured if you have a fair majority of people who are under your thumb.

      Barb wrote: “One of the ways elders do this is to give the impression they support the abused…but when it comes to the crunch, they let them down.”

      I remembered testimonies where the victims really thought they were supported when they first came forward, but they realized, when it came to “crunch time, do or die time,” they were left unprotected, unsupported, and the claws fully came out. I can’t recall their exact words, but I can only imagine that they regretted ever coming forward at all. They were given false hope, false information and / or false promises.

      Mocking and minimizing a victim is about as low as one can go. I don’t think every single person who sides with an abuser is aware that they are deceived, and their trust is being exploited in the name of love. I know for myself I have needed real time and distance from professing Christians that I now believe are in deep denial and deception.

      In my personal life, the worst part of this is that even IF others agreed with me and wanted to side with me—they wouldn’t do it. They’d remain silent, aloof, distant or worst of all—try to say they were “sorry” to me, but usually all the talking was going on behind my back. This is how those “allied” bonds are strengthened. Trash the victim when he or she is not around, and a sort of united “mob” mentality is borne and shared.

      Their reasons are likely varied, but at the root is that paying a price for His righteousness, if applied to the “wrong” persons—is not worth the price. Therein we have Paul’s observation of a “cult-like” mentality when too much submission is expected (it doesn’t have to be unconditional, absolute submission to be dangerous).

      • Finding Answers

        Helovesme commented (26TH APRIL 2020 – 6:39 PM), “BUT can this possibly also apply to treating people as if they are products and / or property? And the more people you “own” (abusers are known to gather up as many “allies” as possible) the more “people power” you have?”

        (Strikethrough added by me.)

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented “…leaders who….” AND “…. “allies” from their churches often took the stand to vouch for them. If you can imagine such people, defending their beloved leader, not realizing that he is only using them as mere tools for his personal agenda. The power to abuse is much more ensured if you have a fair majority of people who are under your thumb.”

        (Strikethrough added by me.)

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented “I remembered testimonies where the victims really thought they were supported when they first came forward, but they realized, when it came to “crunch time, do or die time,” they were left unprotected, unsupported….”

        ^That.

        In the same comment, Helovesme commented “Mocking and minimizing a victim is about as low as one can go….”

        ^That.

      • Kind of Anonymous

        I’ve noticed this also HeLovesMe, that most churches I’ve been in outright ignore what the bible says about leadership roles. When I was still with my ex, we were asked to be worship leaders in a church that hardly knew us even after I begged them to stop asking because I knew our house was not in order, there was uncontrolled sin and a total lack of spiritual maturity. One church, the moment they found out we had lead worship in another church just went berserk trying to pressure us to attend their church.

        I know worship leader isn’t listed in the bible per se in NT verses about leadership roles; but it is a semi pastoral role and requires a great deal of sensitivity to the Holy Spirit as well as personal holiness in one’s life. Someone who has ongoing sin going on in their life like outbursts of rage and verbal abuse or extreme selfishness, put in that position, would be mixing the holy with the profane I would think. But it didn’t matter. It mattered that we could sing and play and were professing believers.

        I’ve even known of at least two pastors who asked unbelievers to come and lead worship in the church because they thought this was a way to evangelize the person; the pastor wanted to be able to make use of that person’s musical talents and justified it by saying he wanted him to get saved and even offered him a paid position when he had a very serious Christian couple who loved the Lord and lead worship who were willing to do it unpaid just to serve. Arrrgggh. This is carnality to the max. The lack of faith in God is disturbing and disappointing. It’s the same as using church growth gimmicks to get people in the door.

  2. Hope

    This article / lesson is a blessing and Paul’s comment a second blessing! It took me a long time to figure this out, and I mean a really long time – I have an abusive father and many here understand what that means. But God is good, He is faithful, and I did learn. Thank you Barb and Paul.

  3. Gany T.

    Wonderful post. And I, too, especially appreciated Paul’s comment.

  4. Helovesme

    Thank you so much for writing this. It’s one of the hardest but most needed topics to tackle.

    It’s hard because no one would say that there is no need for church leadership. But in laying down necessary parameters and boundaries, daring to limit how far and how high authority should and should not go, and daring to realize the NEED for that—-it can and does ruffle a lot of feathers.

    Especially those who crave power only to enrich their own lives and egos—-they don’t WANT to be told what they can and can’t do. Ironically, those that want to do just that to others (give the orders) tend to bristle at the idea that anyone should give THEM any orders, especially ones that limit their ability to give those orders.

    Recognizing that those in power can and will be tempted to abuse that power—-is precisely why that should be included in the “job description” before they are actually given that job.

    The majority of us are told as children to listen to the adults and obey them. Don’t rebel, don’t challenge them and don’t cause or make trouble. When is it right and even necessary, however, to say “no” to an adult who is obviously abusing that power? I was never told there might be such situations, so I was usually very afraid of authority figures.

    This fear didn’t always apply to adults. There is usually a sort of peer-power structure as well. This can and does transcend your school years, right into adulthood—-and potentially right into marriage, if the case applies.

    From the original post:

    “If you have not been brainwashed…if you observe and are discerning and can think independently, you may notice gigantic inconsistencies between their rhetoric and their conduct.”

    I am usually wary of oversimplification (Barb didn’t do that by the way; stay with me!). But I believe you CAN simplify spotting at least a warning sign, or a red flag even if you are not fully versed in how the Bible does and doesn’t describe submission to authority, This includes the spectrum of relationships, including marriage. The topic of submission penetrates every facet and aspect of humanity, IMO:

    Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

    Anything that aims for less than this is aiming too low, and anyone that doesn’t aim for the fullness of this is aiming for too little.

    I have been used a lot by others, many of them professing Christians. They did unto me as they would not want done unto themselves. I was not allowed to take their treatment of me personally, or offensively react. They somehow convinced themselves that they were entitled to exercise a power and authority over me that was one sided and one way.

    I don’t believe that someone that uses others as I was, is absolutely an abuser. But all abusers ARE users—they treat their victims in ways that would be intolerable to them, if reversed.

    Look for those that aim to be “do unto others” as we are commanded. This isn’t a suggestion, it’s not optional and God doesn’t really care if you agree or approve of it.

    And the word “aim” is especially important. No one will be a finished product on this side of eternity. But everyone who abides in Him, and He in us—-will never stop aiming to grow and mature in this department.

    The hardest part of me in this area is to consider the other persons’s worth as 100% equal to yours—-before opening your mouth or taking a certain action. When the Bible speaks of being slow to speak, slow to get angry and a ready listener, I realized how much I needed this in order to treat others as I would want to be treated.

    Church leaders are not exempt from this commandment—-in fact, I think there should be a certain level of maturity and understanding of “doing unto others” BEFORE putting them into positions of power. And the sheep have every right to want and expect leaders like that.

    Elders do not have to 100% understand what it is like to be abused in order to minister to the abused. Nor do they have to have been abused themselves—-in order to aim to fulfill James 1:27 (Barb referenced this verse). They should aim to personalize the sufferings of others even if it hasn’t happened to them personally. This is a work of the Holy Spirit in us, and it cannot be done apart from Him. He is indispensable in this work, and it is indefensible if any church leader is dismissive of this.

    I noticed this in my own life. If I wasn’t intentionally aiming to “do unto others,” I was unintentionally aiming to be a “user of others.” You don’t have to be in leadership to be guilty of abusing power—although leaders have more power, more opportunities and therefore more accountability. But every believer will be held accountable for how they lived.

    My abuser was my father, and when I saw myself imitating his example, I saw myself doing unto others what he had done unto me, and what I did NOT want to do to others. It had so badly hurt me; I had no right to so badly hurt others like that.

    But it’s an aim, not a full achievement, and a work in progress that takes a lot more work than I had ever imagined. However, I can’t stress how rewarding it is. There is everything joyous in this aim, and nothing to be regretted. There are nothing but blessings in this endeavor, and everything to be gained as well.

    It a generous, gracious work of the Lord in you and through you. It is only realized when you rest in His finished work on the cross for you, because only by being born again in Him THROUGH His finished work, can you truly be and become what He intends for you.

    I went a bit off track in speaking about leaders and then traversing to non-leaders; hope the comment still came together all right!

    • Finding Answers

      Helovesme commented (26TH APRIL 2020 – 2:22 PM), “….in laying down necessary parameters and boundaries, daring to limit how far and how high authority should and should not go, and daring to realize the NEED for that—-it can and does ruffle a lot of feathers.”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, Helovesme commented “Especially those who crave power only to enrich their own lives and egos—-they don’t WANT to be told what they can and can’t do. Ironically, those that want to do just that to others (give the orders) tend to bristle at the idea that anyone should give THEM any orders, especially ones that limit their ability to give those orders.”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, Helovesme commented “I have been used a lot by others, many of them professing Christians. They did unto me as they would not want done unto themselves. I was not allowed to take their treatment of me personally, or offensively react. They somehow convinced themselves that they were entitled to exercise a power and authority over me that was one sided and one way.”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, Helovesme commented “And the word “aim” is especially important. No one will be a finished product on this side of eternity. But everyone who abides in Him, and He in us—-will never stop aiming to grow and mature in this department.”

      ^That.

      In the same comment, Helovesme commented “….personalize the sufferings of others even if it hasn’t happened to them personally. This is a work of the Holy Spirit in us, and it cannot be done apart from Him. He is indispensable in this work….”

      ^That.

  5. Gany T.

    Kind Of Anonymous’ 28TH APRIL 2020 – 7:39 PM comment about worship leadership (musicians / worship leaders) so resonates with me. As a former church musician, and as someone in the pews, I’ve seen some of these disturbing issues and scenarios played out repeatedly, at various churches. It’s one thing about not attending a brick and mortar church which I don’t miss.

    • Finding Answers

      Gany T. commented (29TH APRIL 2020 – 5:06 AM) “Kind Of Anonymous’ 28TH APRIL 2020 – 7:39 PM comment about worship leadership (musicians / worship leaders) so resonates with me…..”

      (Bold added by me.)

      Pardon the pun. 🙂

  6. Helovesme

    Reply to Kind Of Anonymous
    28TH APRIL 2020 – 7:39 PM

    (Sorry for the late reply!)

    Wow our minds really DO seem to run on the same tracks! Before I read your comment, I was recalling my early days as a new or semi-new believer. I now think that I was either put into or sought out too many responsibilities too soon. I now wonder if I was over-eager or over-focused on trying to prove myself. Those around me may have been so jazzed by my conversion, giving it too much weight. A powerful testimony does NOT equate to having a more powerful relationship with Him. I stumbled and bumbled through my first few years with Him; it was HIS power that held me together and kept enabling me to not give up.

    The Bible warns of putting new converts into certain positions too quickly, NOT because they’re flawed, but because they’re not ready.

    You don’t put a newborn baby behind the wheel of car, for example. No fault on the part of the baby; he or she just needs to literally grow in height and in cognitive ability to operate such a powerful machine!

    I have heard more and more testimonies about putting the unsaved to work in a church, attempting to “minister” or “witness” to them, which really and truly does shock me. It is interesting how quickly we will believe a person who simply says they are a Christian (which is dangerous enough) and therefore assume they are safe to put into leadership, or have access to the vulnerable without properly vetting them.

    But even if we KNOW they are not a Christian—-we’ll put them in questionable positions in the church? That’s a whole new level of danger.

    Oh, I agree with you about worship leading!! You put it fantastically:

    “it is a semi pastoral role and requires a great deal of sensitivity to the Holy Spirit as well as personal holiness in one’s life.”

    I can’t imagine thinking of it in any other way, honestly. You have a way with words. Being trained in an instrument doesn’t mean you are trained to worship God with that instrument.

    Good for you resisting being put in positions you knew you were not equipped for (at least at that time in your life). Pride, and courted so zealously, could have easily blinded you—-much like the Galatians struggled with, as Paul described.

    If you ever felt led, and if the keepers of this site ever felt led as well, some of your writings might make great posts.

    I liked this part very much from your comment:

    “The lack of faith in God is disturbing and disappointing. It’s the same as using church growth gimmicks to get people in the door.”

    As a non-Christian (I was in college) and I went to the meetings and mostly sat there, but did fellowship with them in a social sense. I would have resented being “put to work,” simply to try to convert me. Even if it was work I wanted or needed or got paid for—-if some “agenda” was at work to try to mess with my soul, that would have confirmed everything I already believed about “religion.” It’s just a gimmick!

    So there’s a good chance it would have the opposite intended effect; putting the unsaved where they don’t belong in the first place.

    • Finding Answers

      Helovesme,

      In your comment (MAY 2020 – 12:44 PM), you wrote: “….I now think that I was either put into or sought out too many responsibilities too soon. I now wonder if I was over-eager or over-focused on trying to prove myself……”

      ^That. (Omitting details for my safety and protection.)

      You also wrote: “….it was HIS power that held me together and kept enabling me to not give up.”

      ^That.

      You also wrote: “…..warns of putting new converts folks into certain positions too quickly, NOT because they’re flawed, but because they’re not ready.”

      (Strikethrough and the word to “folks” added by me.)

      ^That.

      You also wrote: “You don’t put a newborn baby behind the wheel of car, for example. No fault on the part of the baby; he or she just needs to literally grow in height and in cognitive ability to operate such a powerful machine!”

      ^That.

      Combining your words with mine: “I have heard more and more testimonies about putting….” folks to work, assuming “….they are safe to put into leadership, or [to] have access to the vulnerable without properly vetting them.”

      (The word “to” added in square brackets by me.)

      ^That.

      You also wrote: “…we’ll put them in questionable positions in the church? That’s a whole new level of danger.”

      (Strikethrough added by me.)

      ^That.

      You also wrote: “…..I went to the meetings and mostly sat there, but did fellowship with them in a social sense. I would have resented being “put to work,” simply to try to convert me. Even if it was work I wanted or needed or got paid for—-if some “agenda” was at work to try to mess with my soul, that would have confirmed everything I already believed about “religion.” It’s just a gimmick!”

      For me, ^That, when work was treated as a “religion”.

      You also wrote: “So there’s a good chance it would have the opposite intended effect; putting the unsaved folks where they don’t belong in the first place.”

      (Strikethrough and the word “folks” added by me.)

      ^That.

Leave a comment. It's ok to use a made up name (e.g Anon37). For safety tips read 'New Users Info' (top menu). Tick the box if you want to be notified of new comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: