Hyper-authoritarian doctrines and practices have become cemented into the foundation, fabric, and functions of many churches and even whole denominations and church networks. The problem has become so widespread that it is almost pandemic in Pentecostal and Neo-Pentecostal churches. Hyper-authoritarian doctrines are not Biblical and they spawn practices and cultures within churches that amount to what some call "spiritual abuse," or perhaps more aptly, authoritarian abuse. One of the undergirding premises of these Hyper-authoritarian doctrines and the exploitative practices they engender is the pseudo-concept of "spiritual covering."
In Part 1, I painstakingly presented my case that "spiritual covering" as theorized by the Discipleship theosophy from which these doctrines and practices originally arose is an absolute MYTH, in that no semblance of the Shepherding teaching version of "spiritual covering" exists anywhere within the pages of Scripture. I stated my proposition plainly and directly, say that "Spiritual covering," in the vein it is presented by proponents and propagators of these hyper-authoritarian teachings, is an outright deception! It is a complete fabrication concocted by the originators of these fallacious doctrines as a supposed pretext for facilitation of entirely self-aggrandizing objectives of subjugation, domination, and control.
Further I said that what the Discipleship proponents refer to as "spiritual covering" is really "spiritual control." And, I expressed my belief based on years of observation that these teachings and practices are witchcraft of the highest order for the basest of motivations—mammon—the love of money and self-aggrandizement in the form of power, prestige, and prominence, because that is usually what is behind it.
Here in this portion, I will focus on some of the other aspects of these teachings that make them patently erroneous, unbiblical, and actually, "doctrines of demons."
The premise of absolute submission is predicated on the hypothesis that the spiritual leaders are in effect (though most Discipleship teaching adherents would emphatically deny the attribution) "spiritual mediators" between God and their followers, who assume the role of hearing from God on the behalf of their followers. According to the premise, the followers are spiritually deficient and inferior to the leaders, and thus basically incapable of seeking and hearing from God for themselves and cultivating on-going communion and fellowship with God, so they need a "mediator," someone who supposedly has a more elite status with God, to be a priestly "go-between" between them and God. The hypothesis is that the leaders are much more spiritual than the people, and therefore more capable of receiving from God what is best for their followers. By the way, if that premise sounds familiar to you, you are right, because in essence it is virtually identical to the theories upon which the surrogate priesthood and papal system of Catholicism were based, which, totally supplanted and negated the personal priesthood of believers in the Medieval Church.
This whole matter of "spiritual mediators" is so totally ludicrous and such a complete affront to the truth of the personal priesthood of believers that every knowledgeable believer should be thoroughly disgusted and totally outraged at such an idiotic, outlandish, and even blasphemous notion. The Bible explicitly says: "There is one God, and ONE mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all...." (1 Tim. 2:5). There is never, ever to be any "spiritual mediators" between God and men, except the Christ — Jesus Himself. The Man with the nail-prints in His hands is the only true spiritual mediator between God and Man. All the rest are pretentious impostors! Jesus is the only Man who ever lived a perfectly sinless life, which was the requisite enabling Him to become the Spotless Lamb of God, the propitiatory sacrifice, typified by the oblational sacrificial lambs, which the Jewish high priests offered up for the sins of the people century after century.
So also was Jesus the true Spiritual High Priest, who those centuries of natural high priests who offered up the sacrificial lambs year after year represented. Those which came before Him were the types and the shadows, the mere "eikons" (reflections) of the real. Jesus was the real, the source of the reflection. He was the Image that the types and shadows reflected. He was the true Sacrificial Lamb who took away the sins of the world. And, He was the true Spiritual High Priest (Heb. 3:1), who offered up the true Sacrificial Lamb—His own sinless life—as a ransom for all, once and for all.
- And the former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers, because they were prevented by death from continuing, but He (Christ Jesus), on the other hand, because He abides forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Hence, also, He is able to save completely those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting that we should have such a High Priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those (O.T. Jewish) high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did ONCE FOR ALL when He offered HIMSELF. (Heb. 7:23-28)...we have such a High Priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister in the sanctuary, and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. (Heb. 8:1,2)
But when CHRIST appeared as a High Priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (Heb. 9:11,12)
The point is that the true High Priest (i.e., Christ) has now entered into the true Holy of Holies into the actual presence of God as the ultimate and only effectual Mediator on our behalf (Heb. 9:23,24). He lives evermore in the presence of God as our Intercessor (Heb. 7:25), having appeased His righteous wrath, having taken upon Himself the punishment due us, and having canceled out our debt of transgressions which separated and disfellowshipped us from God. Hence, since Christ Jesus has accomplished the ultimate on our behalf before God, and perpetually lives in the presence of God as our spiritual High Priest and Intercessor, and since He has made peace for us between ourselves and God forevermore (Rom. 5:1), we hardly need human mediators between us and God.
His once-and-for-all sacrifice and entrance into the true Holy of Holies has granted us all equal access, free access, bold and confident access (Eph. 3:12), not only into the Holy Place, but also even behind the veil into the Holy of Holies, for each of us, even unto the very Throne of Grace itself, that is to say, the very Throne of "the God of all Grace" (1 Pet. 5:10). Of this access we are invited to avail ourselves freely, not coweringly but boldly, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16, KJV).
To suggest that any human could do this for us as a mediator between us and God is not only preposterous and absurd, but also an affront to Jesus Himself. It is blasphemy! Those who pose and interpose themselves as mediators between believers and God are fortunate that God has not struck them down dead! Indeed, I believe this very thing will happen in the days ahead. God is now issuing fair warning! If Uzza, the loyal friend and servant of David was struck dead by God for merely touching the religious icon of God's presence, and if Ananias and Sapphira were struck down dead by God for having lied to the Holy Spirit, how much severer punishment would one deserve who is so blatantly blasphemous as to purport to be the spiritual mediator between God and men?
Basis for Authoritarian Abuse and Licentiousness
Again, I must emphasize that the subject of this passage clearly is NOT Governmental Authority in the Church. Rather, the Divine dissertation is directed specifically to the matter of Domestic authority; that is, authority in the family unit. That is made evident in verse three, where the Apostle says: "But I want you to understand that Christ is the Head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the Head of Christ." As I have already pointed out, another way to characterize the subject of this passage, which the highlighted portions bring out, is: spiritual "headship." However, the spiritual headship that is being discussed here, contrary to the assertions made by many, is not some sort of "universal" ascendancy, in practice and attitude, of men over women; nor does it speak to any ilk of Governmental Authority within the "ranks" of the Church. Rather, the exclusive focus of this passage is "Domestic Authority," which is the order of authority within the FAMILY structure, in human households. And in the household, within the structure of the family unit, there is only one head — the husband; not some "spiritual" leader; not any other person. The husband is the unequivocal head in his OWN house, and not in any other.
Moreover, the misinterpretation and misapplication of the import of this passage to the specter of general interrelations between men and women itself is the basis for one aspect of error inherent in the Discipleship doctrines that is of no small consequence. Specifically, the more radical Discipleship proponents have interpolated these verses to mean that all women, married or unmarried, are supposed to be "submitted" and subservient to all men, and especially to the "spiritual leaders" of their church or group. Furthermore, they contend Scripture prescribes that the purview of authority of the spiritual leaders of a church extends also into the home, and takes precedence over the authority of the husband in the family unit. It is this totally false assertion that is a common basis for much authoritarian abuse that is taking place in many more church-groups than what any of us would care to imagine.
For many years, I have known by the revelation of the Spirit that there are at least scores of cases in which these doctrines of demons are being used as a pretext and license for authoritarian abuse involving just about every kind of illicit and immoral sexual involvement by compulsion and seduction under the color of clerical authority possible. I predict that very soon God is going to see to it that the unwitting and confused victims of these heinous atrocities are liberated from their captivity, and that the perverted perpetrators of these despicable crimes and irresponsible violations of trust are publicly exposed, expelled from the ministry, prosecuted, and duly punished for their deliberate debauchery and violation against the lives and consciences of their exploited victims. Jesus said that it would be better for such perverted heretics who misuse the trust of their clerical office for such immoral exploitation that a millstone be tied around their neck and they be cast into the sea to drown, than undergo the Divine punishment that awaits them for having caused one of His little ones who had believed in Him to be so violated by such authoritarian abuse.
Moreover, in the process of time, it is going to become very apparent that the specter of authoritarian abuse and licentiousness perpetrated by wayward spiritual leaders is far more prevalent than what has ever been recognized before. Likewise, it will become just as manifest that the subject matter of this book — the heretical Discipleship doctrines, which are concerned primarily with false and fallacious concepts of spiritual authority — has been a primary underlying premise for much of the authoritarian abuse that has taken place among Charismatic/Discipleship churches and groups especially.
The root-cause of the Discipleship heresy is the "spirit of error" (1 Jn. 4:6), which is a spirit of perversion, and the "spirit of error," unchecked, will eventually lead to a multiplicity of perversions in virtually every facet of the person's life in which this demon and its cohorts are manifest. In the process of time this spirit will manifest perversion, corruption, and convolution in the inhabitee's spirituality and every aspect and attitude indigenous to their natural life: their morality, marriage, ministry, message, methods, motives, and monetary matters.
In respect to this type of authoritarian abuse, one thing that needs to be pointed out, however, is that it is not just individuals who have been victimized by this spiritually lethal perverse spirit, but so also has the collective Body of Christ, in that Satan has been sowing these weeds of heresy and tares of heretics in God's Field, thereby polluting and severely denigrating its produce, which was precisely his objective.
You see, when taken to their fullest extent, what these false teachings culminate in, is an infringement upon the Biblical fact of ultimate accountability to God, which is to say that in the end everyone is accountable to God, and to God alone, for his conduct and for the substance of the life he or she lived. Ultimately, it is to an Almighty and All-Knowing God that we must give account for the totality of our lives. Ultimately, each believer is accountable only to the authority of God, and not to any supposed "spiritual authority" of men.
This Truth and its veracity is unequivocally and wholly supported by the preponderance of Scripture, and proof-texts corroborating this absolute fact are so numerous that to quote them all would require a separate volume of its own. But, there is one passage that states it about as directly and succinctly as it can be stated, which is, Romans 14:12: "So then EACH OF US shall GIVE ACCOUNT of HIMSELF to GOD."
Moreover, the verses that precede this particular passage are also extremely enlightening and germane to this point regarding ultimate accountability unto God. In verse four, Paul poses the consummate question to which every believer would be well-advised to give careful heed: "Who are you to judge the servant of another?"
To judge someone else, it is imperative to understand, by its very nature, means that the person who is sitting in the seat of the judge is of a greater status, standing, authority, and behavioral stature, than the one who is being judged. Yet, clearly an overwhelming preponderance of Scripture teaches that as Jesus stated, "You (all believers) are all on the same level as brothers" (Mat. 23:8; L.B.; parenthesis added by author). As established repeatedly throughout this book, in the Kingdom of God there is absolute parity among believers. There is no such a thing as "big me, little you" in the Kingdom of God. Oh, to be sure, in real life, demonstration of carnal attitudes of ascendency and arrogance over fellows is just as common among purporting believers as it is in the world. But, that is not the way it really is in the Kingdom of God and from God's perspective. Such fleshly attitudes are of the category of the "evil passions and desires" which every believer must crucify if he is going to show forth evidence or fruit that he has been genuinely Born Again and been made a bona fide partaker of the attributes of the Divine Nature (Gal. 5:24; 2 Pet. 2:4).
Notice also in the verse cited (Rom. 14:4) the phrase "servant of another." This makes it abundantly clear that every believer is a bond-servant of God, not of any man. Even when of our own volition we lay down our lives to serve others, we do so because in so doing the Person we are ultimately serving is God, not even the people we are serving, though they are the ostensible recipients of our service. The verse continues by saying: "To HIS OWN MASTER he stands or falls; and stand he will, for THE LORD is able to make him stand." In saying, " THE LORD is able to make him stand," the passage identifies the "master" of the believer as being the Lord Jesus Himself, and not any human.
Verses seven through nine of the same chapter in Romans go on to clearly indicate that every believer "belongs" ultimately to the Lord, and thus is not the subject of any human being in terms of ultimate accountability for his or her life:
For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live FOR THE LORD, or if we die, we die FOR THE LORD; therefore whether we live or die, WE ARE THE LORD'S. For to this end Christ died and lived, that HE might be LORD both of the dead and of the living.
But, the next verse, verse ten, really puts it all into proper perspective by reminding us that none of us have the right to take unto ourselves the status of judge over our fellows with regard to the final analysis, assessment, and adjudication of their lives, as well as the fact that none of us have attained unto the transcendent or elite status required to grant us the right to regard a fellow believer with contempt or condescension, or regard any fellow believer, who is also a joint-heir, that is, equal-heir, with Christ, as in any way inferior or "subjectable" to us so as to be their judges, because we are not the judges; rather, we all are the "judgees," being judged ourselves by "the righteous Judge" (2 Tim. 4:8):
But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? FOR WE SHALL ALL STAND BEFORE THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF GOD. (Rom. 14:10)
Hebrews 12:23 refers to "THE Judge of ALL," which is none other than God Himself. Hebrews 10:30 plainly tells us: "THE LORD will judge His people," which means that ultimate accounting and the final adjudication of our lives is relegated to the Lord alone. The reason for this is simple: perfect and perfectly righteous and just judgment requires omniscience and infinite knowledge and wisdom, which we, in our human estate of extremely finite knowledge, do not possess. Only God is capable of judging "the thoughts and intentions of the heart" with perfect knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, for it is to His eyes, the manifold eyes of the Spirit, alone that all that we are is "open and laid bare" (Heb. 4:12,13). He who knows us most is the one can judge us best. No one knows us, who we really are, the totality of our constitution and the reasons behind it, like God knows us.
Thus, we see the incontrovertible and unequivocal truth that ultimately every believer is accountable to God and not to any mere mortal. As I have said elsewhere in this volume, only the one with the nail prints in His hands is the one who has been found worthy to be our Lord, Master, and Savior. This is precisely the import of James' statement wherein speaking of Jesus He says: "There is ONLY ONE Lawgiver and Judge, THE ONE WHO IS ABLE TO SAVE and to destroy, but who are you to judge your neighbor?" (Jas. 4:12).
So, dear saint of God, the next time someone tries to "pull rank" on you, intimidate, or subjugate you with some humanly contrived, unsanctioned, ineffectual, and non-existent, brand of pseudo-authority, ask that person to stretch forth his or her hands, and look to see if there are nail-holes in those hands. If not, just have a little chuckle within yourself, turn, and walk away, and forget it! Because that person is not YOUR Lord or YOUR Master! He's just another pretender and imposter motivated by an antichrist spirit! PRAISE JESUS — the One who is able to save and destroy to the uttermost — FOREVER! HE ALONE is Lord!
CLICK HERE to read another very similar article, "Uncovering the Covering Doctrine," by another author that serves as affirmation/confirmation of the concepts in this article by Dr. Lambert.