Escaping the Subtle Abuse of Spiritual Authority – Wade Burleson’s Commentary

“True leaders in Christ’s kingdom see themselves as servants, not spiritual authorities. In the kingdom of Christ, leaders serve.”

Wade Burleson

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=4031&picture=holy-bible&large=1Holy Bible

Last week Wade Burleson delivered a thought-provoking sermon at Emmanuel Enid, which we featured in our most recent EChurch. In that message, Wade addressed those who have been burned by the church and explained how to escape the subtle abuse of spiritual authority.

The text for his message was Luke 20:1-8:

On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him, and they spoke, saying to Him, “Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority?” Jesus answered and said to them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell Me: Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?” They reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from. And Jesus said to them, “Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Wade began by putting these verses into context. After Jesus had entered Jerusalem, he drove out the money changers from the temple.

Then the ‘spiritual leaders’ challenged Jesus by asking him:

Who gave you the authority to do what you have done?

Here’s one more clip from the Jesus Film that depicts what happened in Luke 20:1-8.

Wade Burleson points out that it was after Jesus drove the money changers from the temple that He began teaching in the very temple He had cleansed. When Jesus taught Biblical truths, people hung on every word, much to the disdain of the spiritual authorities of His day.

Institutional religious leaders are always seeking authority over people, as Wade explains in his message. He then states their position:

Do what I say because of who I am. 

Wade remarks that these kinds of leaders will only recognize spiritual authority in those who are like them. He contends that there is a club of men that set the direction and tell everybody what to do. If you go against them, you’re in trouble.

For those who have not yet listened to Wade’s message, we hope you will take a few minutes to do so. We believe his commentary will be very beneficial to our reading audience, especially those who for one reason or another have found themselves without a church family.

Here are some of the important points Wade Burleson made in his sermon:

(1) A tale tell sign of abuse of spiritual authority is the desire for a large following.

(2) If you’re ever in a church where those who lead think that you’re either doing something or saying something that will lessen their influence and as a result people will begin leaving, they’re gonna come after you as they did Jesus.

(3) In a grace church, if somebody feels led to go to another church or say something that’s contrary to what the leader is saying, it’s O.K. We’re all part of His kingdom. He’s the only spiritual authority we have; follow the Spirit.

(4) Know where your spiritual authority comes from – Jesus Christ. He is you King.

(6) There will be those who come against you.

(7) Where does real authority come from? From God.

If you have taken the time to listen to Wade’s message, which of his remarks were most meaningful to you?


Comments

Escaping the Subtle Abuse of Spiritual Authority – Wade Burleson’s Commentary — 134 Comments

  1. So I used to attend a pretty conservative authoritarian church. A friend also attended and his marriage was very rocky, on the verge of physically dangerous. (He was not the physical one) The couple decided to live apart. In counseling with the pastor they were told if the do not move back in together they would be disfelllowshipped, which is exactly what happened. My friend and his wife eventually divorced and he moved out of state for a couple years for the dust to settle. My wife and I soon left that church and found a wonderful American Baptist church and became members.(No membership covenant!☺) My friend moved back to town and started at our new church. After few weeks of attendence he said he was not sure he could continue at church because he did not agree with the pastor about some doctrine. “So what” I said, “do you otherwise like it?” “Yeah, but don’t I have to agree to stay here?”
    He had been so brainwashed by previous church experiences that he never considered he could have his own understanding. He understood authority as coming from the pastor, even though he had a bad experience with them. He still holds a lot of resentment towards pastors as result of this experience.

  2. (7) Where does real authority come from? From God.

    Without twisting Hebrews 17, can someone cite passages where God grants authority over others in his church? I can cite a number of specific quotes from Jesus that to me indicates the contrary.
    “It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,”

  3. I’ll post them as i get to them.

    Wade talks about the religious leaders’ efforts to get a handle on exactly who Jesus is just before the 8 minute mark. They were saying; “Who are you and what are your intentions”. It was obvious that the emperor(s) bad no clothes, but Jesus refused to to cast his pearls before swine.

    I remember a place and time where people prayed for, acknowledged, and celebrated the unique movements of God in each other’s hearts and lives. People were accepted into the assembly with open hearts and minds. Each unique expression of God’s gifting made the assembly richer. There were individual attempts to invalidate the new guy, but these attempts were brother systemic or systematic.

    I haven’t seen that “Spirit” in years.

  4. Thersites wrote:

    (7) Where does real authority come from? From God.
    Without twisting Hebrews 17, can someone cite passages where God grants authority over others in his church? I can cite a number of specific quotes from Jesus that to me indicates the contrary.
    “It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,”

    The argument I’ve heard most often is that “elder” is an office in the church from 1 Tim. 3 and an office comes with authority. It’s cross-referenced with Hebrews 13:17. It’s not inherent in those verses at all, because Heb. 13 could refer to political leaders or other officials and there is no verse that says elders and pastors are an “office”.

    And from the people I hear those things, I hear a lot about how authority is important, but very little on the words of Jesus. There’s also nowhere in the NT where it says leaders are supposed to enforce their authority to anyone, at least, not that I’ve found. So even if there is some sort of authority, the choice doesn’t belong to leaders whether or not it’s followed.

  5. Thersites wrote:

    Without twisting Hebrews 17

    I know you meant Hebrews 13:17, but (whether deliberately or by typo), you picked the perfect example!

    The CEO of the Glasgow church we left told me that (his exact words) “you find the will of God for your life through spiritual authority”. This is straight out of Hebrews 17, which of course can be twisted to say literally anything.

  6. I’ve always understood elders and church leaders to have a position of responsibility because of their maturity. They don’t have any more authority spiritually speaking than anyone else does, and they certainly don’t have the right to control anyone or expect obedience. They are those in the church who have good fruit in their lives, have been faithful believers for a number of years, and therefore can be looked up to (in a limited sense, remembering always that Jesus is the only *necessary* example). They are not necessarily those with many impressive qualifications and endorsements from other church leaders, but those who are quietly faithful in serving and helping others, and who have been given the spiritual gifts by God which are necessary for that role.

    For example, my denomination ordains apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Some of those are seminary graduates or have theology degrees. But regardless of their education, they are picked out because of what they are already doing in the church. Ordination in our church is more about recognising gifts that are already there, rather than saying, okay you’ve done a nine month pastors’ college, now here’s “your” church of 600 people to be in charge of. Follow this formula and make sure they do too, and you’ll be fine. So in my church, my friend has been leading worship since he was a teenager. At first it was an occasional thing, then a more regular thing. Then he had opportunities to lead at bigger events. He went through a time of having some personal problems, and during that he stepped down – not because God has abandoned him, but because he knew he needed to sort that out before he could be mature enough to continue what he had been doing. And that has made him stronger and more humble, and more reliant on God for what he is called to do. Later on, he was given the opportunity to preach, and again it started as an occasional thing. Then it became more frequent, and a couple of years ago he was ordained/ recognised as an elder in the church – but as a result as 15 years of service. Not handing a diploma to a fresh-faced 19yo and telling him to get on with it. And if he ever does go on to be a pastor, it will be based on a track record of his service and character, not on academics or jumping certain hoops, or being friends with the right people.

  7. I was in leadership in a church that was a real community until it turned towards the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). It was heavily influenced by Bill Johnson of Bethel in Redding and Ché Ahn of HRock Church in Pasadena. When the entire elder board and much of the leadership confronted the lead pastor about ongoing sin in his life, one of the lead “apostles” from Ahn’s Ministry came in and said that the leadership weren’t Apostolic and therefore had no authority to confront the pastor and that the pastor was acting “Apostolic”. Almost the entire leadership team, including all of the elders, left the church. What I discovered during this time is that many people on the church WANT an authority other than Jesus. It doesn’t matter what the scriptures say, they will swallow the lie that “to be in alignment, they must have apostles and prophets in authority over them.” This lie was spread by C Peter Wagner and is impacting the church globally.

  8. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    The CEO of the Glasgow church we left told me that (his exact words) “you find the will of God for your life through spiritual authority”

    Good night! These guys are deluded.

  9. @ Daisy:
    I saw this and I called it in my last post on him. His aggressive personality has always struck me as potentially abusive. In fact, his elder alluded to some real problems beyond alcohol. BTW-alcoholism is bad enough on its own.

  10. As I pondered the significance of the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation this week, I asked what major issue(s) does the church face today. Where is it that we need a prophetic voice calling out the religious establishment? I came to the conclusion that I agree with Wade when he says “I have become utterly convinced that the major problem in modern Christendom is authoritarianism”.

    http://www.wadeburleson.org/2012/01/our-problem-is-authoritarianism-and-not.html

  11. Loren Haas wrote:

    My friend moved back to town and started at our new church. After few weeks of attendence he said he was not sure he could continue at church because he did not agree with the pastor about some doctrine. “So what” I said, “do you otherwise like it?” “Yeah, but don’t I have to agree to stay here?”
    He had been so brainwashed by previous church experiences that he never considered he could have his own understanding

    That is so sad. I have spoken with many people who refuse to join a church unless everything they teach lines up with all of their previous tertiary doctrines. Those tertiary doctrines had been presented as practically salvific.

    The first church I attended after becoming a Christian was an American Baptist Church in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. I got married there as ell. The pastor was wonderful and helped me so much in my early years figuring things out. That is who I avoided a lot of the baloney out there.

  12. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    The CEO of the Glasgow church we left told me that (his exact words) “you find the will of God for your life through spiritual authority”.

    It seems to me that the term “spiritual authority” is the birthright of everyone who follows Jesus. It is the right to represent Christ in this world and is practically manifested in serving and ministering to others. Although some of the manifestations approximate formal authority, they are valid only within the context of “spiritual fellowship” and service. It is delivered via the “Holy Spirit” as we are obedient to the “Father” and serve in humility.

  13. Disclaimer: I have no problem with one person being in a position of spiritual authority over someone else, as long as I’m the one in authority.

    #Snark

  14. When a church is more concerned about church buildings rather than the care of its members Runnnnnnn!!!!!! Our former church a member needed funds for a Kidney operation in order to live. The church had over 300,000 in the bank which would have covered the need. Rather than help the family they said the funds were there for the new building which by the way was ready to open after Billy’s abuse occurred. Because heaven forbid should that have interfered with the opening of their new building. I late came to find that the family was denied the funds. Fortunately for them the funds came from somewhere else (Not the LBC). I guess the measure of a person life doesn’t compare to pieces of wood and fixtures!

    This is just one reason why the money changers were run out of the temple! The church isn’t about things and money, its about GODS PEOPLE!

  15. dee wrote:

    That is so sad. I have spoken with many people who refuse to join a church unless everything they teach lines up with all of their previous tertiary doctrines.

    I know of a local Bible Church that includes Premillennialism in their doctrinal statement and expects new members to sign a covenant. I presume the covenant includes agreeing to the doctrinal statement but it is hard to know for sure since that document is not online.

  16. Like most “Dones,” I have a series of Red Flags that tell me a church might not be safe. For example, if anyone quotes Piper, that’s a red flag. If it’s someone in leadership, big red flag.

    I just realized that the phrase, “The OFFICE of whatever” is a red flag. It’s usually someone who uses the KJV, and who wants to communicate the idea that authority goes with the title.

    It also gives me the mental image of a “church office,” a stark, white room with gray industrial carpet and a cheap WalMart desk, flatly lit by a florescent panel. Maybe with a cheap laptop on the desk. The sort of place where creative thinking could never take place. Or any sort of warmth.

    Another red flag happens whenever the words “authority” and “over” are used together. But I’ve been listening to a decent amount of Wade Burleson!

  17. FW Rez wrote:

    Disclaimer: I have no problem with one person being in a position of spiritual authority over someone else, as long as I’m the one in authority.

    #Snark

    I love it! My sentiments exactly!!!!

  18. I enjoyed the message, but think he left out one important step: Leave.

    Getting out from under their presence physically brings greater clarity to the destructive influence of their teaching. A lot of people do not see what is wrong because they are so close to it. Now that we are 4 months removed the Bible church, by way of example, my wife is just now starting to see what I have been talking about for the past 2-3 years.

    So, imo, your physical presence plays an important role in your ability to see through abusive authority.

  19. Great message! I so appreciate Wade Burleson’s perspective, and passion regarding the damage of spiritual abuse. I wonder if a consideration of the ways a church treats those who leave it might say more about the church than how it treats those it hopes to recruit into it. . .

  20. one of the little people wrote:

    What I discovered during this time is that many people on the church WANT an authority other than Jesus. It doesn’t matter what the scriptures say, they will swallow the lie that “to be in alignment, they must have apostles and prophets in authority over them.”

    I do think you are right. A lot of people don’t want responsibility for their own faith. And the people that do want to take over that “responsibility” for others usually do so because it comes with considerable personal benefits to them, including money and influence.

    I watched a recent Korean fictional drama called “Save Me” which was really disturbing, but it really highlighted this tendency. The father in the story who forced his family to join a cult did so because he made continual poor decisions and just didn’t want the responsibility of supporting his family any more. And what that did to his family was horrible. It was fiction, but I’ve known so many people like that. “Well, life is too hard, so I’m going to let somebody else run mine even if it costs too much for those I love.”

  21. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    “you find the will of God for your life through spiritual authority”. This is straight out of Hebrews 17, which of course can be twisted to say literally anything.

    As a spiritual authority myself, the only thing I like better than twisting real scribsher is twisting scribsher I personally despired– like Acts 29!

  22. ishy wrote:

    I do think you are right. A lot of people don’t want responsibility for their own faith.

    One of my favorite philosophers, Jim Davis, touched on this in a Garfield cartoon. Garfield, in his persona as a super-hero (cape and all), goes into the pet store and opens all the cages crying out “Be Free”. When all the animals remain in their cages, Garfield closes them back saying “Be Safe”.

  23. Oops truncated, Hebrews 13:17. I really don’t like that passage because of its misuse and abuse.

  24. (1) A tale tell sign of abuse of spiritual authority is the desire for a large following.

    Gigachurch — when Megachurch is too small for Lead Pastor/Apostle’s Ego.

  25. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    The CEO of the Glasgow church we left told me that (his exact words) “you find the will of God for your life through spiritual authority”. This is straight out of Hebrews 17, which of course can be twisted to say literally anything.

    I was going to say, every time I read your comments I hear them in Scottish — now I know why (that, and a few dialect words here and there).

    The college ministry at the church I used to go to (before a painful parting) would bring up Hebrews 13:17 like clockwork almost every second Sunday, most often just before the lead pastor would guilt/shame the students for not being good enough. Then he would outline a Church-Approved(tm) program to be good enough. Often dealing with submitting to his or others’ authority.

    I think that is changing, though, at least at that ministry. But it caused a little bit of an allergy in me when church people implore me to “submit to my spiritual elders” (“and betters,” it seemed was often the assumption)

  26. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    “you find the will of God for your life through spiritual authority”

    Also, I think you forgot to put a “my” before “spiritual authority”

  27. shauna wrote:

    Our former church a member needed funds for a Kidney operation in order to live. The church had over 300,000 in the bank which would have covered the need. Rather than help the family they said the funds were there for the new building which by the way was ready to open after Billy’s abuse occurred.

    One word: CORBAN.

  28. Daisy wrote:

    Pastor Perry Noble Announces Divorce From Wife
    https://www.christianpost.com/news/newspring-church-founder-perry-noble-announces-divorce-wife-17-years-asks-for-prayers-205087/

    Popular founder of NewSpring Church in South Carolina, Perry Noble, who was fired in July 2016 for alcohol abuse and other “unfortunate choices and decisions,” announced Wednesday that after 17 years of marriage he is getting a divorce from his wife, Lucretia.

    Today on “Pastor Pee — The Continuing Reality Show”…

  29. one of the little people wrote:

    I was in leadership in a church that was a real community until it turned towards the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

    Did any of their Apostles climb Mount Everest to go mano-a-mano with the Queen of Heaven?
    Or kill Mother Teresa and Princess Di through their Imprecatory Prayers/Hexes?

  30. Yep! and it’s funny how so much information comes out once you leave the cult!!! I don’t get it, how can all these things go on right under our noses and yet with so many attending who do know about the abuses could it be the rest of us on the outs don’t even know. Then once we step out all of a sudden everyone wants to talk? I seriously wished I would have known so much sooner. At least then if Billy went through the abuse I could have been prepared to fight the enemy with scripture and could have left sooner after the abuse rather than stay 5 MONTHS longer than I needed to because I thought they actually gave two craps!. Nope, they didn’t what I found was agenda after agenda after agenda and I still can not figure out what those true agenda’s are because it did not happen at the church! I’m a bit miffed at some of the current and former members know yet refuse to warn the rest.
    Billy and I took a big leap of faith by telling our story. As a result we were rejected, put out, slandered, and shamed which still go’s on today. Praise God we no longer believe anything they say nor does it affect us like it did. There is power in freedom and even more in Christ Jesus who is my only authority. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    shauna wrote:

    Our former church a member needed funds for a Kidney operation in order to live. The church had over 300,000 in the bank which would have covered the need. Rather than help the family they said the funds were there for the new building which by the way was ready to open after Billy’s abuse occurred.

    One word: CORBAN.

  31. Also because we took that leap we faced rejection and ridicule because it was right! Not because we loved losing what we lost! It was a double whammy so if we can choose to do it so can the rest. However I guess some Christians rather have their church building, their coffee dates, their play dates, friendships, business relationships and a nice community standing on lies rather than truth!

    I loved all that to but we chose the hard road. It would have been easy to let them sweep it all under the rug and just follow suit. However not so easy when the deep sense of justice burns from with in which can not be shoved down into silence. I am so glad to be filled with the Holy Ghost that we choose Christ rather than men.

  32. Thersites wrote:

    Oops truncated, Hebrews 13:17. I really don’t like that passage because of its misuse and abuse.

    However, Hebrews 13:1 — the reference in your Freudian typo and one of the shortest verses in the Bible–Let Brotherly Love Continue– is more often ignored than misused.

  33. “Institutional religious leaders are always seeking authority over people, as Wade explains in his message. He then states their position:

    Always? It doesn’t say some so am I to take from this that any and all Institutional religious leaders are “always” seeking authority? If they are not to have authority then would this make every Institutional religious leader a spiritual abuser?

  34. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Today on “Pastor Pee — The Continuing Reality Show”…

    I confess I’ve been checking in regularly on Pastor P’s Facebook– mostly to read the comments. He’s been doing a college football show with his secretary er executive assistant, a young lady named Logan. Sometimes a commenter will ask “Where’s your wife?” On last week’s show, someone pointed out that Logan appears to be drinking a beer. Several fans think she’s “hot”.
    Back to the subtle abuse of spiritual authority– several very recent comments on the Pastor P Facebook are examples of how this works. Official membership and 9Marx covenants are unneeded so long as the subtle spiritual abuser can mount a literal or electronic stage and entertain. “Pastor Perry will always be my pastor”
    “Hoping the thoughts of you starting Second Church will give you comfort” “Do you have any job openings? I would love to work with you! You are an amazing speaker!”

  35. shauna wrote:

    However I guess some Christians rather have their church building, their coffee dates, their play dates, friendships, business relationships and a nice community standing on lies rather than truth!

    “A lie, repeated often enough, becomes the Truth.”
    — Reichsminister Josef Goebbels

  36. Dave A A wrote:

    I confess I’ve been checking in regularly on Pastor P’s Facebook– mostly to read the comments. He’s been doing a college football show with his secretary er executive assistant, a young lady named Logan. Sometimes a commenter will ask “Where’s your wife?” On last week’s show, someone pointed out that Logan appears to be drinking a beer. Several fans think she’s “hot”.

    Think we know who’s his SOULMATE(TM) on the side?

    “Pastor Perry will always be my pastor”
    “Hoping the thoughts of you starting Second Church will give you comfort”
    “Do you have any job openings? I would love to work with you! You are an amazing speaker!”

    “I WANT TO HAVE HIS CHILD! SPARKLE SPARKLE SPARKLE SQUEEEEEEEEEEE!!!”

  37. Loren Haas wrote:

    First to congratuate the Astros!

    51 inches of rain to last night’s 5-1 victory..We needed this so badly, I do not think y’all understand.

  38. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Think we know who’s his SOULMATE(TM) on the side?

    If Logan actually is his SOULMATE, Pastor P should write a book and offer speaking engagements detailing his secrets. The title of his book could be, “How did he do it?” I think there his a huge market among 47 year old out of shape men for this information.

  39. Jesus warns us of “hired hands” who masquerade as pastors/shepherds (John 10). We can spot them by comparing them to the Good Shepherd. Jesus, as the true shepherd, knows each of his sheep individually by name… he leads them, he protects them from the enemy, he provides for them, he lays down his life for them.
    There are “hired hands” out there who are not true shepherds and they “care nothing for the sheep” (10:13). Some of them function as pastors and leaders in evangelical churches today. They say they care for the sheep… but what they really care about is that the sheep blindly follow THEIR rules and submit to THEIR authority so that THEY will look good! These “hired hands” think that THEY own the sheep and have a right to control them and a right throw them out of the pen if they don’t listen to THEIR voice!
    We have experienced this personally and it is a relief to know we don’t have to follow the “hired hands”. The only voice we need to listen to is the voice of Jesus (10:3). We can trust the Good Shepherd himself to care for us!

  40. I think the problem with the commenters here is that you’re all looking for the perfect church.

    What I would say is, if you ever find the perfect church, don’t join it – you’ll spoil it.

    Yours sincerely,

    Arnold Smartarse

  41. I don’t get what the problem is here. Didn’t Jesus say that actually the scribes and the Pharisees were voted in to Moses’ seat and that we should do what they said?

    Personally, I like to simply take God at His Word and obey God’s Word instead of arrogantly thinking I know better than God’s Word. But each to his own.

    God bless,

    Arnold Dummarse

  42. @ one of the little people:

    “When the entire elder board and much of the leadership confronted the lead pastor about ongoing sin in his life, one of the lead “apostles” from Ahn’s Ministry came in and said that the leadership weren’t Apostolic and therefore had no authority to confront the pastor and that the pastor was acting “Apostolic”.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    it’s just so…. apostolic. in fact, on Saturday i’m going to The Cheesecake Factory because it’s so apostolic. my friend said, “let’s get dressed up and order fancy drinks!” and i said, “Apostolic!”

    i say we make “Apostolic” the new “radical”. i remember in 8th grade everything was “radical”, “rad”.

    “Radical!”

    “You’re so rad”.

    “….and i think it will be very rad because…”

    Now, we just have to figure out what “apostolic” is going to mean. Then we have to figure out how to seed American lingo with our new word….

  43. elastigirl wrote:

    Now, we just have to figure out what “apostolic” is going to mean. Then we have to figure out how to seed American lingo with our new word….

    I think if you want to seed the language with this neologism, the last thing it should do is actually mean anything. Just start using it.

    You’ll need a good abbreviation. Radical => rad; maybe apostolic can become “ap”, “stol” or “stolic”. Or even just “sent” (as an apostle is, literally, one who is sent).

  44. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Gigachurch — when Megachurch is too small for Lead Pastor/Apostle’s Ego.

    I find it hard to fathom that some of these guys are now claiming apostleship. Who started it? Was it the chuckling one (Mahaney)?

  45. @ Muff Potter:

    Well, I doubt whether there is one single source for this. It goes back at least as far as the 1970’s, in the UK at least. Around that time, a number of men (and yes, they were all men) began to find one another (not sure entirely how that worked in practice) and discuss the possibility that apostles still exist today; and if so, what does an apostle do, how do you spot one, and what should you do if you spot one.

    More could be said, but it’s bedtime in Scotland. I’ll see if emdy’s interested when I come to my GMFS broadcast tomorrow.

  46. Dennis Hulick wrote:

    If they are not to have authority then would this make every Institutional religious leader a spiritual abuser?

    What would you say is the significance of the torn veil?

  47. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    You’ll need a good abbreviation. Radical => rad; maybe apostolic can become “ap”, “stol” or “stolic”. Or even just “sent” (as an apostle is, literally, one who is sent).

    “Stoli?” “ap’lic?” “Postol?”

    “Sent” isn’t bad. Sorta like “woke” in being really rad 😀

  48. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    You’ll need a good abbreviation. Radical => rad; maybe apostolic can become “ap”, “stol” or “stolic”. Or even just “sent” (as an apostle is, literally, one who is sent).

    “Stoli?” “ap’lic?” “Postol?”

    “Sent” isn’t bad. Sorta like “woke” in being really rad 😀

  49. This is an excellent post! Thanks for sharing Wade’s teaching. Having been a member of legalistic churches for many years, it is hard for me sometimes to separate the good/truth from the bad/lies. The subtle aspect of spiritual abusers is they twist the truth into a lie.

    For example, in PDI/SGM, serving was emphasized a lot. If you didn’t serve, you were being selfish. The pastors “served” by teaching. But that wasn’t really serving in the volunteer sense that members did. The pastors were getting paid for using their teaching gifts.

    In this context, the concept of serving was twisted. If you didn’t serve, you were condemned, but that shouldn’t have been the case because it’s voluntary. The pastors had a different level of “service,” but it wasn’t really serving because they were getting paid.

    I have struggled with the concept of authority all my life, not in the rebellious sense, but in the overly compliant sense. I have a hard time knowing when it’s okay or justified to say “no” to authority, whether in the church, work, or society at large. Can anyone point me to any resources (book, websites, etc.) that could help me in this area? Thanks for your help.

    P.S. I love it that the Astros won their first World Series!!! MVP George Springer is from a town not too far away from me.

  50. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    More could be said, but it’s bedtime in Scotland. I’ll see if emdy’s interested when I come to my GMFS broadcast tomorrow.

    I’m interested on your take, Nick. Or Arnold, if he’s around.

  51. The only spiritual authority over we believers is, the Holy Spirit.

    Especially necessary for women to remember…..no male has the divine right to exercise spiritual authority over us.

    Once had a pastor who tried to use his position as a weapon for securing allegiance and authority. We left that church.We now have a beloved pastor who is our brother in Christ.

  52. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    Are you sure you want to wade into the concepts (as variously understood) of apostolic succession? If anybody can do it here you certainly can, but wow what a topic. Or was that what you were saying a bit earlier?

  53. Wade seems to be saying that the way to escape the ‘abuse’ is to escape the ‘authority’. That is one way to look at it. Another way would be to escape the ‘abuse’ but not the ‘authority’. This issue hinges on the concepts regarding whether or not there is authority in the church in the first place and if so whether it can be abused. To determine that one would have to look at both scripture and history; scripture as to the basic idea authority and history as to the evidence of abuses. Or not.

    I do not think that we will come to a resolution of this issue, except to agree that abuse is a really bad thing and should not be tolerated be it linked to authority or be it linked to whatever.

  54. @ Juulie Downs:

    i kind of like Apostol’, with an accent on Ap and stol. in time, i can hear it morphing into p’stol.

    but we still need to decide on what it means. Does it mean Cool, or That sucks, or sort of an all-purpose word for Intense (could be good, could be bad)?

  55. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    “..discuss the possibility that apostles still exist today; and if so, what does an apostle do, how do you spot one, and what should you do if you spot one.”
    +++++++++++

    well, get it on film, for starters!

    (no one will believe you, though, and the footage will be deemed a fake, so you’ll have to start your own cryptotheology website forum)

  56. Their apostles are involved in all areas of church activity including discipline – see the section on structure

  57. OK, sorry about the delay here; I’ve had some important new-job-related stuff to finish this morning. Thanks to those of you who expressed an interest in apostolicity in the UK…

    In response to @ okrapod’s question on apostolic succession: no, I’m not going anywhere near it! For one thing I’ve only a passing acquaintance with it, and other Wartburgers would be better placed than I. But also, the recent emergence of putative (and, perhaps, genuine) apostles in the UK has been completely separate from most ideas of apostolic succession

    The following is mainly an outline of the thinking behind the main apostle-based movements and organisations arising since the 1970’s and 80’s in the UK. They’re not necessarily my own views; where I AM stating my own theology I’ll try to make that clear. I.e., please read twice before shooting the messenger. 😉

    Point 1 of 3: The UK charismatic renewal

    During the 1960’s and early 70’s, roughly speaking, significant numbers of Christians in mainstream, non-pentecostal UK denominations personally experienced events resembling those described in Acts, where folk were filled with the Holy Spirit. There’s been a lot of debate about terminology and more besides, but for “brevity”, I’ll ignore that here. The point is that these experiences, which revolutionised their Christian lives, did not always sit well with their prior experience of organised Christianity and, indeed, many of them were forced out of their churches one way or another.

    Point 2 of 3: What next?

    So, if you love God, but aren’t welcome in church, what do you do? Well, in practice, these folk found one another and met together in what gradually became known as the House Church Movement (I’ll use HCM for short). Again, it’s complicated and I don’t want to get bogged down, but I think it IS fair to say that the HCM didn’t just come from people getting bored with traditional religion. In many cases, it came from a spiritual experience that they hadn’t expected and would probably have opposed had they not experienced it themselves. But a common factor generally reported is that people WERE moved from a hunger for more of God, and I believe that hunger was usually genuine. I’ve experienced that much myself, certainly.

    Point 3 of 3: What else might need revisiting?

    So if tongues and all that didn’t cease centuries ago, what else that is described in the NT, but not widely evident in church life, might God want us to revisit? During the 1970’s, a group of men from various denominational backgrounds, who had met in various circumstances, began to gather together regularly and deliberately around what they’ve usually described as a sense of God’s calling to re-examine some long-held assumptions about the gifts described in Ephesians 4: that is, the ascended Jesus gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some shepherds and teachers.

    Their conclusion was that ALL of these gifts are still being given to the church, by Jesus himself and not by any form of human decision. A bit like Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus from his mother’s womb. In which case, these gifts are necessary and you should build church around them.

    Point 4 of 3: The false step

    Consider Ephesians 4:

    And [Jesus] gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 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.

    AWWBA, the word “authority” is absent from that passage.

    But in the HCM, which quickly adopted pyramid-like structures and, in turn, the ideas and practice of the Shepherding Movement, authority was at the heart of their understanding of the “Ephesians 4 Ministries”: these are men whom God has appointed to positions of rule and authority in his church, to ensure that the saints employ themselves properly in serving the vision that God has given to the Apostles.

    Point 5 of 3: Epilogue

    That’ll do for the noo, as this comment is long enough already.

  58. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Nick Bulbeck:
    “..discuss the possibility that apostles still exist today; and if so, what does an apostle do, how do you spot one, and what should you do if you spot one.”
    +++++++++++
    well, get it on film, for starters!

    Group photo with Bigfoot and Mothman!

  59. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    I’m beginning to realise just how old I am! Douglas McBain (my former minister), Thomas Smail, Michael Harper, Jean Darnell,Gerald Coates, David Pawson, Terry Virgo – I’ve travelled with them all at various times. For a good history of the interaction between the Baptists in Scotland and the wider UK Charismatic Movement, I can recommend this book.

    A Distinctive People: A Thematic Study of Aspects of the Witness of Baptists inScotland in the 20th century.
    By Brian Talbot

  60. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    But in the HCM, which quickly adopted pyramid-like structures and, in turn, the ideas and practice of the Shepherding Movement, authority was at the heart of their understanding of the “Ephesians 4 Ministries”: these are men whom God has appointed to positions of rule and authority in his church, to ensure that the saints employ themselves properly in serving the vision that God has given to the Apostles.

    Yes,the movement very quickly went authoritarian. It is sad because was not much different from the institutional churches that they had left.

  61. Following up on the topic which Nick and others have mentioned:

    That issue of what about the apostles, what authority if any did they have, did they appoint successors and if so did any authority pass to the successors and/or to the church, did the ‘sign gifts’ cease to exist with the death of the last apostle, is there any ‘authority’ vested in the church in any manner at all and if so what is it, and what relationship does the current idea of apostolic ministry/ office relate to adherence to the teachings of the apostles or is it merely about the laying on of hands or being voted into office or having some religious experience or what–all that is very important and is a basic difference of opinion which seems to me to be part of the issues we keep talking about here on TWW.

    I think this issue goes all the way back to the pre-Nicene era and is still with us today.

    And, no, I am not preaching any particular viewpoint but rather just saying that this is a new presentation of an old idea showing itself in slightly different ways.

    And it seems to me that right much of what we discuss from time to time is a resurgence of older ideas except in newer and slightly modified terms-one example being ESS of course, but that is not part of this current discussion.

  62. Bridget wrote:

    Yes,the movement very quickly went authoritarian. It is sad because was not much different from the institutional churches that they had left.

    Hmm… I can’t speak for what the mainstream denominations were like in the 1960’s, but I haven’t read that they were particularly authoritarian. In which, case, you might say that the new movements became just like any other man-made institution, only more so.

  63. @ Lowlandseer:

    These are an interesting group. The brief summary of their history does read very similar to the restoration movement, as it became known. It’s a shame they split so early over who had control of the money.

    Flying off for a moment on exactly that tangent, there’s a religious CEO here in Scotland who’s apparently telling the members of his organisation that they should bring their financial gifts to him in particular, as the apostle, and not fritter them away on anybody else’s vision. Because in Acts, the people brought their money and laid it at the apostle’s feet to use as he saw fit. He has overlooked the facts that
     In Acts, “Apostle” was plural, and
     They distributed money to whoever was in need, not as a no-strings investment in their spiritual business portfolio.

  64. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Hmm… I can’t speak for what the mainstream denominations were like in the 1960’s, but I haven’t read that they were particularly authoritarian. In which, case, you might say that the new movements became just like any other man-made institution, only more so.

    I don’t know what it takes to call something authoritarian, but I do know that the hyper-individualism (my derogatory term) which seems to be an issue now caught fire over here during the cultural revolution which came front and center by the early 60s and then thereafter. Before that the ideas of authority, and permission, and conformity and obedience were not exactly dirty words, and the idea that churches and denoms had identifying doctrines and practices which their adherents learned and believed and practiced and preached was basically just how things were done.

    Secular example: In 1960 when I was a first year med student (you heard me-1960 and female) the school did not permit female students, of which there were extremely few, to wear slacks. We thought this was silly to not wear slacks, but nobody that I knew of would have denied the right of the school to write its own dress code.

    Religious example: Fundamentalist baptists did not permit ‘mixed bathing’ which would be male and female at the swimming pool at the same time, while SBC did permit it. We may have thought the rules themselves were silly but we did not deny the right of churches to have their own behavior codes.

    So is that authoritarian? I guess. Heck, I don’t know how people define stuff any more. The Catholics had Friday night teen dances (oh the shame) but did not allow hot dogs on Friday (silly we thought) but we accepted that different groups had different rules and we expected that rules would be present of one sort or another for everybody. Is that authoritarian by today’s standards? Probably.

    So were Baptists and Catholics main-line at the time? Maybe. But certainly Lutherans and Methodists and Presbyterians were main-line and they have hierarchical structures.

    I think that the extent to which moderns are aghast at authoritarian structures is largely political and cultural and recent. Now, this shift in thinking may or may not be better, or may or may not be excessive, but for sure the larger culture has shifted in an anti-authoritarian direction.

  65. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Flying off for a moment on exactly that tangent, there’s a religious CEO here in Scotland who’s apparently telling the members of his organisation that they should bring their financial gifts to him in particular, as the apostle, and not fritter them away on anybody else’s vision. Because in Acts, the people brought their money and laid it at the apostle’s feet to use as he saw fit.

    Easy to see where this is going…

  66. P.S. My writing partner (the burned-out preacher) told me once “If you ever encounter a preacher who titles himself “Apostle” or “Prophet”, RUN!”

  67. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    P.S. My writing partner (the burned-out preacher) told me once “If you ever encounter a preacher who titles himself “Apostle” or “Prophet”, RUN!”

    I do agree with that. But and also it is rather a usurpation of the titles:

    Vicar of Jesus Christ, aka Vicar of Christ. …
    Successor of the Prince of the Apostles. …
    Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church. …

    not to mention various other titles which are locale specific and and not applicable to the current discussion.

    I think that having apostles spring up here and there is really iffy, regardless of the scripture which Nick quoted, but the idea of having a succession passed down could be consistent with scripture and the idea of some sort of authority passed down to bishops, presbyters and deacons in that order with ordination is within reasonable limits of consideration.

    And speaking broadly I might add that not only Catholics and Orthodox and some Anglicans might agree with that on general principle there are also some Lutherans and Moravians who think so, and I don’t know who else. That makes it the most common position for the majority of Christians.

    So, if we are all headed straight to perdition for even considering the idea plausible, that seriously limits the number in the kingdom and may delay the second coming or something. Okay, that was not funny, but I tried.

    None the less I do think that this sort of idea regarding ‘authority’ has been around from the get go and whether true or not true is certainly not new.

  68. Lowlandseer wrote:

    It’s not the church where you can phone “****** angels” for help is it?

    That would be since my time, but yes, I believe it is.

    The same as hosted the aptly-named Mr Dollar last year, about which I notice you posted on the blog of the Wee Flea * himself, David Robertson. Unless there’s another Lowlandseer, which would be greedy of us.

    * Note to Wartburgers unfamiliar with the laddie in question: I’m not being rude, that’s the title – albeit ironic – he gives his own blog. It’s funny if you remember what he means.

  69. okrapod wrote:

    We thought this was silly to not wear slacks, but nobody that I knew of would have denied the right of the school to write its own dress code. [etc]

    I’m not sure I’d consider this to be authoritarian per se, since presumably, the rule was culturally defined rather than decreed by one powerful individual? What was authoritarian about the HCM in the UK, in many (though certainly not all) cases, was the micro-managing of the lives and behaviour of individuals .

  70. rks wrote:

    What does it mean?

    Translated into Southern, it means “Don’t be a knothead, listen up, don’t be a pain, and you will be better off for it.”

    There is absolutely nothing in there about an office or authority. There is stuff about attitudes on the part of the one learning and the one leading and teaching.

  71. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    I was going to say, every time I read your comments I hear them in Scottish

    I rather like this thought! But I don’t sound remotely Scottish in real life – cannae soond like a Weegie tae save masel. I grew up in Sutton Coldfield and my accent was frozen in.

  72. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:
    I was going to say, every time I read your comments I hear them in Scottish
    I rather like this thought! But I don’t sound remotely Scottish in real life – cannae soond like a Weegie tae save masel. I grew up in Sutton Coldfield and my accent was frozen in.

    But you do have a bit of BBC Received Pronunciation in there as well. I did hear you speak a long time ago.
    Again, all the best, you’re doing a good work.

  73. @ okrapod:
    I think you’re right in what you say. There are functions or offices in the church that were instituted in apostolic times and which continue until today. The big “A” apostles belonged to a specific time and had specific qualifications – they had seen and heard Jesus. The lower case apostles were folk like us, believers, deemed to have a particular gift to be exercised for the good of the Church. Not the type of “look at me” apostles we currently see.

  74. Dennis Hulick wrote:

    If you could answer my question I’d be glad to address yours. Thank you.

    Anyone in the business of repairing the veil commits spiritual abuse. Once you grasp the significance of the torn veil, there will be no need to answer, “What if there are only 50 righteous institutional leaders?” I’m not sure about everyone else here, but I’m glad that I finally experienced that one leader who viewed his role as a ridiculous caricature of the real thing. I still look for and find some good things in the unmanaged recesses of the institutions, but I never go there looking for leadership. I pray that I am wrong.

  75. @ Dennis Hulick:

    ““Institutional religious leaders are always seeking authority over people, as Wade explains in his message. He then states their position:

    Always? It doesn’t say some so am I to take from this that any and all Institutional religious leaders are “always” seeking authority? If they are not to have authority then would this make every Institutional religious leader a spiritual abuser?”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    i read this as ‘a good many religious leaders will always be seeking authority over people”.

    it’s one thing for people to defer to a team leader in getting a job done, in the hopes of it being done well and efficiently.

    however, most religious leaders i’ve encountered adopt an authority that is light years away from what i just described. they become absolute leaders — and people behave accordingly (absolute followers)

    i observed a pastor and associate pastor both taking their families to disneyworld. the associate pastor meekly let the senior pastor call all the shots throughout the day — where to go first, what to do next, do we split up or stay together, what time to meet up, where to have lunch, what parades, shows to watch, when to call it a day, etc.

    i was amazed at how it was assumed, by the senior pastor and the associate pastor, that it was the senior’s right or duty to make all the decisions, and everyone else’s duty to follow.

    ridiculous.

  76. Lowlandseer wrote:

    But you do have a bit of BBC Received Pronunciation in there as well. I did hear you speak a long time ago.
    Again, all the best, you’re doing a good work.

    2) Thankyou for your kind words, and
    1) I’ve obviously got to ask..?

  77. I liked the example Wade gave of when someone else in a class(or group) at his church was teaching a different view than Wades he was ok with it and didnt feel it necessary to do anything about it. His congregation knew his views and the other persons views and it was ok to have differing views instead of everyone having to only believe the Pastor on everything. This also reminded me that when a person knows their authority comes from Jesus and they follow Jesus with humility they dont have to push or pull people into following them. A person with real authority doesnt have to coerce or convince people of it. Jesus said ‘feed my sheep’ not ‘beat my sheep’. I also think pastors/elders too often forget that there is only ONE shepherd.

  78. I found this really great list of quotes about leadership, and thought that you all might like this.

    There is a vast difference in the attitudes of the quotes as to what constitutes great leadership. I am thinking that this difference may be one thing that contributes to our own differences of opinion about and different experiences with various leaders.

    http://sourcesofinsight.com/leadership-quotes/

    1) I’ve obviously got to ask..?

  79. @ okrapod:

    That is weird. I deleted that thing to Nick and yet it printed.

    I hate computers. I hate them at the doctors’ offices (and mostly so do the docs) and I hate them for kids’ homework, and I hate them now that so much stuff has to be ordered online, each with it’s own different format, and I hate the money I spend on printer ink, and I hate what I have become now that I spend so much time and anger pureT yelling at somebody to put down that blasted computer and listen to me when I am trying to talk to you.

  80. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    1) I’ve obviously got to ask..?

    Now about that thing to Nick.

    You think you gotta ask..

    Who are you anyhow, and what do you do that Lowlandseer is calling a good work?

    And are you being obtuse for your own safety or just for fun?

    If you are a computer engineer you need not reply. I will pray for your soul.

  81. We lost the Central Piedmont 4A Conference title game last night. By 3 points. We had come from a recent history of could not win a donut in a free give away to a so-far unbeaten season, and then lost by 3 points.

    If you cannot survive losing then you ought not play. I got that, but it is woeful none the less.

  82. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    I heard you in Kelvinside or Patrick – not sure which – when you were speaking about CAP. CAP and the Trussel Trust do a great job.

  83. @ okrapod:

    Well, that’s partly what I’m curious about. Lesley and I are both involved with Christians Against Poverty, whose particular subset of the gospel (that is, news that genuinely is good) is to help people get out of unmanageable debt. I did at one point visit various congregations speaking on CAP’s behalf, and I’m guessing that it was at some point during that period that I happened upon a congregation wherein lurked, unbeknownst to me, a Lowland Seer.

    BTW: loosely speaking, Scotland is divided geographically into three areas:
     the Southern Uplands, the range of hills that roughly follow The Border with Englandshire;
     the Lowlands or Central Belt comprising the Forth and Clyde valleys, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the majority of the population;
     the Highlands and Islands, the area north (and occasionally west) of Glasgow/Edinburgh in which pretty much all of the good hills are located

    I’ve always assumed that “Lowland” is set in this context.

  84. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    I was going to say, every time I read your comments I hear them in Scottish

    I rather like this thought! But I don’t sound remotely Scottish in real life – cannae soond like a Weegie tae save masel. I grew up in Sutton Coldfield and my accent was frozen in.

    I think it was the intermittent dialect words in your posts that gave them that accent. But accents and dialects make life interesting — otherwise we’d all be the same, and then it’d be pretty boring. (I ain’t from the South, but I’ve been accused of developing a southern twang when I jaw)

    I wish I was more familiar with the plethora of English accents (seems like there’s one for every town, village, and hamlet), but my language studies took me to the Continent, and much as I would like to learn more Englishes, I don’t get much opportunity — gotta focus on one language at a time, not to mention trying to decipher dialects spoken at the speed of light.

    Are you familiar with the linguist David Crystal? He’s Welsh, but lived in London, Liverpool, and then Norfolk (or Suffolk, or maybe both. I forget), and he does a lot of stuff on accents and dialects. He’s devoted his life to writing a “dialect dictionary,” but he’ll never finish it — and he realizes that. He has some interesting views on the future of “Englishes,” as well as Original Pronunciation of Shakespeare — which apparently sounds like a mix between Midlands, Welsh, and Western (I hope I got those right).

    Totally unrelated to the post, but you might find his work interesting.

  85. okrapod wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Hmm… I can’t speak for what the mainstream denominations were like in the 1960’s, but I haven’t read that they were particularly authoritarian. In which, case, you might say that the new movements became just like any other man-made institution, only more so.

    I don’t know what it takes to call something authoritarian, but I do know that the hyper-individualism (my derogatory term) which seems to be an issue now caught fire over here during the cultural revolution which came front and center by the early 60s and then thereafter. Before that the ideas of authority, and permission, and conformity and obedience were not exactly dirty words, and the idea that churches and denoms had identifying doctrines and practices which their adherents learned and believed and practiced and preached was basically just how things were done.

    I think that the extent to which moderns are aghast at authoritarian structures is largely political and cultural and recent. Now, this shift in thinking may or may not be better, or may or may not be excessive, but for sure the larger culture has shifted in an anti-authoritarian direction.

    We all know that the late 60s was the time when major cultural changes began to appear in Western societies and institutions and norms began to break down with the results being good in part and bad in part. What you are describing is not authoritarianism in the sense that one individual or small group of individuals was making up or enforcing the rules. They were long standing cultural ways of thinking and acting, norms. Institutions supported them but in a diffuse way. As they broke down we got largely hyper-individualism and new forms of intentionally created authoritarianism. They are inter-related in many ways. The new authoritarianism is a response to the anime that hyper-individualism produces in many people. The solution, even on a personal level, is hard to find.

  86. @ sandy c:

    That is an excellent point about real authority. Of every good leader I have known personally, their most important — yet never mentioned — trait was humility, and the desire to serve others.

    That certainly didn’t make them pushovers — but they were quite gentle most of the time simply because they were confident in their strength, and when they weren’t gentle, it was only because someone else was trying to “beat the sheep.” Kind of like, “Soft on sheep, Tough on wolves.” (Or was that a laundry detergent add…?)

    Also demonstrated in Jesus’ authority: he didn’t lord it over people, and even let them kill him, because he knew he didn’t have to crush them. (But I guess some influential theologians believe God is all about lording it over people and crushing them into submission…)

  87. @ okrapod:

    You’re preaching to the choir here okrapod. I go back far enough to remember when computers were a tool to be used like any other. Now they’ve become an end in themselves.
    Try suggesting that young minds be introduced to geometric construction using nothing more than grey matter, compass, and straightedge with no units or graduations of any kind.
    Marvel at the blank stares you’ll get.

  88. rks wrote:

    What does it mean?

    What Hebrews 13:17 does not mean: Christians must submit unquestioningly to spiritual leaders, especially those who are self proclaimed. It does mean to allow yourself to be persuaded by those with more experience and understanding, don’t be stubborn and bull headed.

  89. The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday wrote:

    Totally unrelated to the post, but you might find his work interesting.

    Many interesting tangents here at TWW – it wouldn’t be Wartburg otherwise!

    Not heard of the laddie whereof you spake, but accents are interesting. Oddly, there are some I can do and some I can’t no matter how hard I try. All Scottish accents fall into the latter category, ironically.

  90. @ The Man Who Wasn’t Thursday:
    Love the comment and i think that is exactly what Jesus showed when He was teaching on earth. He encouraged and comforted and taught and when necessary reproved the disciples but when the pharisees made accusations against the disciples Jesus defended them even in picking corn on the sabbath. Soft on sheep, tough on wolves! I think real sheep are vulnerable and so wanting to please God that they are like Peter who saw the calming of the sea and he said, depart from me Lord for i am a sinful man…Just being in the Lords presence and seeing His power was sufficient for Peter to see himself honestly and humbly. I also think that real sheep go to churches that abuse this vulnerability and the result is often sheep that get brainwashed, or leave the abusive church and start covering their vulnerability with hardness or anger or a resolve to never be vulnerable again, some go through this unscathed but i have met very few, if any. The authority wielded by churches has caused people to forget that we are only answerable to God, even in church. In my opinion.
    Some people leave church and start their own small groups but the authority thing often goes there also.

  91. The man who wasnt Thursday said: “Also demonstrated in Jesus’ authority: he didn’t lord it over people, and even let them kill him, because he knew he didn’t have to crush them.”
    This is such a good point!
    Jesus said unless we pick up our cross and follow Him we cannot be His disciples. Like Jesus, willing to die and also willing to heal people that never followed Him, people that were only following Him for the free food, and being able to call your betrayer ‘friend’being ridiculed and scorned and unjustly charged and not answering back!
    This is such an unamerican concept and i struggle all the time with this.
    When i moved into this latest apartment there was an obvious problem with the kitchen sink leaking profusely which it hadnt when i first saw the apartment. I called the property management and they promptly sent the owner of the apartment over to check it out. I was tired from the move and have had a sucession of cruddy apartments in the past that had cost me so much and knowing that i had to suffer slumlords or be homeless again and said something like ‘it is obviously leaking and i cant see how anyone could have missed that!!’
    The guy said, “i am very sorry, i have no excuse for missing that, i will fix it right now” i was shocked, its been 20 years since i had heard anyone admit they were wrong and apologize!! I want to be like that guy!

  92. Thersites wrote:

    What Hebrews 13:17 does not mean: Christians must submit unquestioningly to spiritual leaders, especially those who are self proclaimed. It does mean to allow yourself to be persuaded by those with more experience and understanding, don’t be stubborn and bull headed.

    Here is something on Hebrews 13:17 that someone commented on a long time ago I believe on Survivors:

    Words have power. They have meaning, and they represent ideas which have effects that can be seen in our lives. As Christians, we know this better than anyone. So let’s take a look at the words in Hebrews 13:17, which were originally written in Greek:

    In Greek, the word translated here as Obey (pietho) is actually in the passive voice and simply means “be persuaded.”

    (”Peitho: To persuade, i.e. to induce one by words to believe. To make friends of, to win one’s favour, gain one’s good will, or to seek to win one, strive to please one. Be persuaded. To be persuaded, to suffer one’s self to be persuaded; to be induced to believe: to have faith: in a thing. To believe.” -Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon”)

    Consider the following verses. In none of them would the translation “obey” or “cause to obey” make any sense:

    Acts13:43: Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded (pietho) them to continue in the grace of God.

    Acts14:19: And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded (pietho) the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.

    “For I am persuaded (pietho), that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. (Romans 8:38-39)

    The word translated in many English translations as “leaders” is the Greek hegeomai which means “to go before”. In the context of what the writer is speaking about, the “leaders” are those who have gone before, as guides or forerunners of the 1st-century Christians, those that have laid down their lives for the Gospel.

    There are similar differences in the word “submit” -which in Greek is hupeiko (meaning “to yield”).

    With the Greek original in mind, here is a translation of Hebrews 13:17 that conforms to the original language (from a respected translation):
    “Be persuaded by your leaders, and be deferring to them, for they are vigilant for the sake of your souls, as having to render an account, that they may be doing this with joy, and not with groaning, for this is disadvantageous for you.” (Hebrews 13:17 – Concordant Literal New Testament)

    Notice how the original Greek lacks the tone of authoritarianism that many translations have. This is not by accident, as most English translations rely heavily on the traditional meanings imbued by the King James Version, which was translated under the direction of a king in a time when it was important politically to reinforce the King’s power over the church.

    So why do the widely accepted translations of pietho, hegeomai, and hupeiko persist? Because it fits nicely in the structure that we’ve come to expect in a “church.”

    Thus this passage scripture that leaders like to quote to support their demand for submission is not what the author intended.

  93. On the Healing Journey wrote:

    I have struggled with the concept of authority all my life, not in the rebellious sense, but in the overly compliant sense. I have a hard time knowing when it’s okay or justified to say “no” to authority, whether in the church, work, or society at large. Can anyone point me to any resources (book, websites, etc.) that could help me in this area?

    Hi On The Healing Journey,

    That’s a great question. Here’s some good resources on that topic:

    Ten Christian Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy by Dr Cloud and Dr Townsend
    Boundaries (same authors)
    Ten Lies The Church Tells Women By J. Lee Grady

    Hope this helps 🙂

  94. Steve240 wrote:

    In Greek, the word translated here as Obey (pietho) is actually in the passive voice and simply means “be persuaded.”

    Wow your post makes alot of sense! Thanks!

  95. Steve240 wrote:

    In Greek, the word translated here as Obey (pietho) is actually in the passive voice and simply means “be persuaded.”

    Wow your post makes alot of sense! Thanks!What Happened wrote:

    Anyone in the business of repairing the veil commits spiritual abuse. Once you grasp the significance of the torn veil,

    What a great reminder! A great leveler of the playing field also…anyone and everone that enters into the Holiest of Holies through Jesus sacrifice on the cross is equal. When i read this i got a picture of lots of people going right through that torn veil and realised i will never be better than any of them…and the good news that i dont have to be is real freedom!

  96. @ Lowlandseer:

    I’ve been trying to think of where it would’ve been. I definitely remember doing a talk in the West End, but I can’t remember which congregation were hosting it. At any rate, it was before my days as a Wartburger. I’d have introduced myself if I’d known!

  97. @ Muff Potter:
    I resonate with all of this comment and the okrapod one you responded to. While I made a career out of computing, mostly software, my first and only formal education in computing was six one hour lectures (that is class room hours, not credit hours) on the use of FORTRAN on the then mighty main frame IBM 709 accessed from decks of punched cards during the fall semester of my senior year, (1962) at the UofF. Yes, a computer implemented with vacuum tubes that some of us still remember, although not fondly.

    One aspect of computing seared into my consciousness (by the old fashioned school of hard knocks) is a computer program is guilty until proven innocent, that is adequately debugged. Generalizing, the guilty until proven innocent attitude, serious skepticism about any computer delivered result, seems to be completely lost on the present younger set. Anything put up on a display, especially with creative graphics, is accepted as valid. The GIGO* acronym seems to have been forgotten. Echos from last years presidential election show how dangerous this attitude is. How can a proper questioning of what comes to us via our computers be cultivated? How do we choose between differing answers to the same question? Too much of established religion seems to have accepted and purposely used this unquestioning attitude towards computer delivered information as authoritative.

    Sadly, I don’t have an answer to my concerns.

    * Garbage In Garbage Out

  98. @ OldJohnJ:

    I hear you, and I don’t have answers either.

    Some neuroscience research is coming up about staring at the screen and dopamine, I think they said. Anyhow, I have not looked into it, but there is that, and it will be interesting to see what is next.

    The other thing is that people who cannot read, or cannot read well, have visual access to stuff and that somewhat shifts the demographics of access to information to a degree, just as blogs shift the demographics of who has access to being heard. This has both good and bad possibilities.

    There are sociological opinions that electronics are contributing to individual social isolation-which I certainly can believe. Here again this would be interesting to read up on.

    And I think that electronics can function in the same was as a closed door for people who cannot or will not deal with issues face on-an available escape. Maybe like popping a pill can be an escape.

    Then too we must not forget the money spent on electronics, which for some of us can get to be a problem. How much electronics needs to be in one house when one or more of the kids have computer necessary homework at the same time that one or more of the adults has brought home work stuff to be done ‘for free’ on the home computer. At the same time just who always cleans up the kitchen when everybody else is tied to the computer by school or work requirements?

    So, now we have at the school house increasing information from the powers that be to the faculty about how much progress is being made and now required for more and more transfer of time and power to the computer based curriculum and how the clock is ticking on some education jobs. On line college can be good. My DIL teaches business law at the local community college-from home. But online high school is going to give us a lot of unsupervised adolescents while both parents are at work.

    And online church-which has its uses but carries with it certain limitations.

    So, when we get thoroughly adapted to the screen as necessary, and perhaps tend to forget how to utilize other options which may or may not be available by then, what happens when the lights go out? They say we are not ready for that.

    We do, I mean do, electronics at my house. That is one of the reasons I used to hang out in the back 40 and commune with the vegetation, ivy and all. To feel alive again.

  99. okrapod wrote:

    There are sociological opinions that electronics are contributing to individual social isolation

    Is there a word yet for cell phone impaired? I’ve read of all types of injuries and deaths because someone is so focused on their phone as to be oblivious of their danger.

  100. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Thersites wrote:
    Is there a word yet for cell phone impaired?

    In Germany the word is “Smombie” – short for “smart-phone zombie”. It even has a wiki entry.

    Last week, there was a news filler item that Salzburg, Austria was wrapping its lampposts in “airbags” because so many Smombies were walking into them.

    And Smombies are one of the big reasons for the push behind Autonomous Vehicles (self-driving cards); having to drive (even DWT) takes away from Screen Time.

  101. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Just went down that link.

    Augsburg, Bodegraven, and Koln have even embedded traffic lights in the sidewalk to be more visible to what Hong Kongers call “The Head Down Tribe”.

    From classic Peanuts, circa 1960s:

    CHARLIE BROWN: Your name is “5”?
    5: Yes, it’s short for 555-12345-9876. My dad said that everybody’s becoming just a number, so he changed all our names to numbers.
    CHARLIE BROWN: And this is his way of protesting?
    5: No, it’s his way of giving in.

  102. Thersites wrote:

    I’ve read of all types of injuries and deaths because someone is so focused on their phone as to be oblivious of their danger.

    That’s the reason I only drive well-lit main surface streets after dark. In my area, dressing entirely in black (hoodie and all) and smartphone shuffling out across a dark backstreet oblivion to the oncoming car has become the latest Extreme Sport. I’ve gotten very good at picking out silhouettes against oncoming headlights, but sometimes the only way I’ve been able to stop in time is seeing the glow of the phone screen or the flashing lights of those gimmick sneakers.

  103. Muff Potter wrote:

    Try suggesting that young minds be introduced to geometric construction using nothing more than grey matter, compass, and straightedge with no units or graduations of any kind.
    Marvel at the blank stares you’ll get.

    “WHAT’S THE APP FOR THAT?”

  104. OldJohnJ wrote:

    Anything put up on a display, especially with creative graphics, is accepted as valid. The GIGO* acronym seems to have been forgotten.

    I spent 30+ years in the Aerospace Industry as an NC Programmer. I started out using the APT language (Fortran based) on the old IBM system 370 mainframe and TSO terminals. From there I went to CATIA (3-D graphics) when it was on UNIX-based workstations.

    When they migrated CATIA to windows-based platforms, it lost all of its former elegance and simplicity. It became a Byzantine quagmire of feature-bloat, needless duplication, and glitzy pop-ups.

    Not only has GIGO been forgotten, the KISS (keep it simple stupid) rule has also been abandoned. And it’s getting worse.

  105. Muff Potter wrote:

    the KISS (keep it simple stupid) rule has also been abandoned

    This also seems to be forgotten in our Christian world. There is only one mark of a healthy church, Matthew 7:12, the Golden Rule.

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