Archive for the ‘Domination & Control’ Category

Examining Biblical Authority

There is no matter more central and critical to spiritual knowledge and understanding than the matter of authority. That fact becomes even more apparent when one considers that the very term “Kingdom of God” actually connotes the Domain, Authority, or Government of God (cf., Rev. 12:10). The word, “kingdom,” in fact, is a compound word composed of two derivatives, king and domain, thus it connotes the domain of a king—in this case, the Kingdom of God or Christ. One cannot even begin to have a proper understanding of the realm of the Kingdom of God as well as the genuine Gospel of the Kingdom, which the Gospel writers expressly indicated Jesus preached during His fleshly ministry, without having an understanding of the matter of authority. (more…)

Bishops and Apostolic Succession

In the 1980s a spiritually perilous trend began developing in the Neo-Pentecostal realm, which was the human appointments of certain leaders into the supposed office of "bishop" by groups claiming " Petrine apostolic succession." This vogue has become especially popular and common in an increasing number of so-called Neo-Pentecostal "networks" that have emerged since the 1980s, comprised of affiliated though purportedly autonomous churches. One prominent Neo-Pentecostal organization1 in 1982 formed what it called "The International College of Bishops," comprised of ecclesiastical leaders upon whom the organization had conferred the title of "Bishop," which they purported positioned the conferees in the bimillenial hierarchical system of bishops of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) supposedly leading back in unbroken "succession" to the Apostle Peter, who the RCC regards as the first "Pope."

This trend has developed despite the irrefutable fact that no such "office" or "position" is established anywhere in Holy Writ (The Bible), but rather in fact is undeniably antithetical and subversive to the governmental offices God has established in His Word, namely, the Fivefold Ministry Offices (Eph. 4:11). Nowhere does Scripture establish or even vaguely support the notion of a spiritually efficacious "office" of bishop or hierarchical lineage of ecclesiastical surrogates appointed by Christ, the supreme Head of the Church. (more…)

The False Doctrine of Absolute Submission

Dr. Steven Lambert, author of Charismatic Captivation

At the zenith of the Charismatic Movement in the 1970s, a pseudo-movement that came to be known as the Discipleship or Shepherding Movement emerged. That purely humanly-devised campaign was led by an alliance of five ministers who employed their influence to rapidly proliferate in the emerging Charismatic Church a collection of doctrines related to authority that were patently hyper-authoritarian. In sum, the unscriptural teachings posited and promoted a multi-tiered, pyramid-shaped system of governance that conveniently positioned these five ministers at the apex of the pyramid. Coincidentally or not, the multi-level paradigm these teachers proposed mirrored the multi-level marketing models that were exploding upon the scene across the nation at the time in the business world. (more…)

Nicolaitanism In The Church (Part 2)

[CLICK HERE to read Part 1 of this article.]

In the Revelation He communicated by the Holy Spirit to the Apostle John, Jesus issued a terse but severe warning to the Early Apostolic churches expressed His utter disdain for both the deeds and the doctrines of the Nicolaitans. He commended the Ephesian Church for being in accord with His own hatred for the deeds of the Nicolaitans: “Yet this you do have, that you hate the DEEDS of the Nicolaitans, WHICH I ALSO HATE” (Rev. 2:6). Conversely, the Pergamum Church Jesus condemned for the fact that, "you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans." Further demonstrating His contempt for the Nicolaitan false teaching, He followed this indictment with the command, "Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth." (more…)

Nicolaitanism In The Church (Part 1)

One of the common denominators of false cults, false religions, and the occult is that their doctrines and practices are predicated upon the “isms” of vain, humanly invented philosophies. The same is true of the heretical hyper-authoritarian Discipleship/Shepherding doctrines, dogmas, and practices that were infused into the fabric and foundation of the Neo-Pentecostal church, which fact is further corroboration that they are all of the aforementioned characterization: cultic, false, and occult. One of the most significant “isms” of the Discipleship heresy is one that is specifically mentioned and condemned in the Bible—Nicolaitanism. (more…)

The Thin Line of Leadership (Part 2)

The main focus of the initial installment of our discussion was the matter of hyper-authoritarianism in general and how easy it is for the most principled spiritual leaders to cross over the "thin line of leadership" between leading and lording, discipling and dominating, coaching and coercing, to operate in "foul ground" without even realizing it. In this part, we begin turning our attention to some of the whys and wherefors of ecclesiastical predominance.

Of course, as was pointed out in Part 1, there is nothing new about authoritarian abuse by spiritual leaders. In any age, there is no shortage of unscrupulous religious dictators bent on self-aggrandizement facilitated through personal kingdom-building purportedly "in the name of the Lord." Nevertheless, while it is not indigenous exclusively to our time, due perhaps to the move toward organizational ecumenicism commonly referred to today as "networking," there is little doubt that it is more widespread than ever before, to the point that sadly the term, "ubiquitous," now applies. Unfortunately, today there is little difference between the ecclesiastical and the secular realm with respect to corruption. And, after no small number of years of studying this phenomenon, I have concluded that the primary cause is nothing more sophisticated than base greed fueled by the oldest and most powerful human propensity which God Himself testifies is the ROOT of ALL evil — "the love of money." (more…)

The Thin Line of Leadership (Part 1)

There is a very thin line between leading and lording, discipling and dominating, coaching and coercing. So thin is the line, it is at times and in certain scenarios nearly indistinguishable.

Indeed, church leaders commonly cross the divide without even realizing it, and are much chagrined upon discovery of their transgression. Moreover, many find themselves alternately on one side or the other of the line at different times. For the majority of sincere, upstanding, and ethical ministers, transversing — or transgressing, as it may be — the line is altogether unintentional, and when they suddenly find themselves on the wrong side, they cannot remember when, how, or even why the misstep occurred. Unfortunately there are also ministers not of this upright ilk, who intentionally and indeed unabashedly leap over the boundary line to operate in "foul territory" as their habitual modus operandi. (more…)

The Fallacy of Personal Pastors (Part 2)

The adulterated concept of "spiritual covering" itself is problematic enough. Yet, its negative effect is increased by the fact that it is the predicate for several other, related elements of error comprising the heretical Discipleship/Shepherding doctrines and practices, one of which is the matter of "personal pastors." Indeed, this element has been the basis for at least as much excess, errancy, and authoritarian abuse as the others discussed in this series of articles concerning those doctrines and practices. To those who employ these practices for sordid purposes or with less than pure motives, the perverted concept of "spiritual covering" is sanction for a most insidious kind of unauthorized personal domination and control of their subjects under the auspices of this very delusive and destructive version of "personal shepherding." (more…)

The Fallacy of Personal Pastors (Part 1)

The adulterated concept of "spiritual covering" itself is problematic enough (for more on that subject, read the previous two posts). Yet, its negative effect is increased by the fact that it is the predicate for several other, related elements of error comprising the heretical Discipleship/Shepherding doctrines and practices, one of which is the matter of "personal pastors." Indeed, this element has been the basis for at least as much excess, errancy, and authoritarian abuse as the others discussed in this series of articles concerning those doctrines and practices. To those who employ these practices for sordid purposes or with less than pure motives, the perverted concept of "spiritual covering" is license for a most insidious kind of unauthorized personal domination and control of their subjects under the auspices of this very delusive and destructive version of "personal shepherding." (more…)

The Myth of Spiritual Covering (Part 1)

"Spiritual covering" as theorized by the Discipleship theosophy is an absolute MYTH. No semblance of the Shepherding teaching version of "spiritual covering" exists anywhere within the pages of Scripture. "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. (more…)

The Signs of Spiritual Abuse

Charismatic Captivation -- Authoritarian Abuse & Psychological Enslavement in Neo-Pentecostal Churches, by Dr. Steven Lambert -- Available at: www.charismatic-captivation.com

Wholesale abuse and misuse of authority is an integral part of the very foundation, fabric, and functions of an ever increasing number of church groups today who are engaging in the most insidious form of hyper-authoritarianism by which they are dominating, controlling, and manipulating their followers for personal gain and private kingdom-building. Being able to readily identify the signs and symptoms of authoritarian abuse and psychological enslavement is absolutely essential for every believer in their quest to know and be personally related to the Great Shepherd, who is the Prince of Peace and the true "Guardian of our souls," rather than the thousands of counterfeit  shepherds claiming to be the proxies of Christ. (more…)

Identifying Hyper-authoritarian Doctrines and Practices

Hyper-authoritarian doctrines and practices have become cemented into the foundation, fabric, and functions of many churches and even whole denominations or networks of churches. The problem has become so widespread that it is almost pandemic in Pentecostal and Neo-Pentecostal churches. But, the reason these scripturally-condemned doctrines and practices have been able to proliferate and endure is that they have been going on so long that the present generations of church-goers in these ecclesiastical groupings have been reared in these cultures where domination and control by church leaders is the norm and are accepted as being normal. The purpose of this article is to define hyper-authoritarianism and identify the practices that are hyper-authoritarian in nature.

Hyper-authoritarianism is predominance or psychological control imposed by spiritual leaders upon their followers or congregants with respect to not only their involvements within the church or ministry, but also regarding the personal and private matters of their lives. Ministries and church-groups practicing this illegitimate domination employ various means and degrees of psychological indoctrination and coercion to compel congregants to subject and conform their personal activities, behavior, and affairs of their lives with the leadership-prescribed standards, rules, expectations, and corporate goals of the church or ministry. The purported pretext for the imposition of this scripturally-prohibited religious governance is an adulterated concept of ecclesiastical authority. Promulgators and practitioners adamantly claim that the mechanisms of manipulation they employ are a perfectly Scriptural system of "discipleship" in fulfillment of the role and responsibility of spiritual leaders to "make disciples." (more…)

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