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…)
Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual Abuse’
[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…)
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…)
Though the term is a fairly familiar one within the context of the church and Christianity, few people really understand what spiritual idolatry is, meaning its true nature. In this article we are going to consider the matter of spiritual idolatry and what it is from a Biblical standpoint.
To merely call idolatry "sin," though it certainly is, somehow seems an extreme understatement, for it is the ultimate affront unto God. Yet, arguably, it is the most pervasive sin of all today among professing believers. Contributing to the prevalence of idolatry within Christendom, no doubt, is the common perception by many that idolatry is something that occurs only in underdeveloped, far-away, foreign lands, or that it is something relegated mostly to ancient civilizations of past ages, while nothing could be further from the truth. (more…)
For over thirty years, I have been doing all the Lord has allowed, anointed, and enabled me to do to set captives of spiritual authoritarian abuse free from the bonds of witchcraft, or the "yoke of slavery," in which they are ensnared.In the last few years, the Lord has kindled a fire in my belly for the State of Florida in particular. Not only to do what I can to set the captives residing in this State free, but also to be used of the Lord to ignite prophesied fires of revival and refinement in the humanly nicknamed "Sunshine State," but Heavenly named, "Sonshine State." (more…)
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…)
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 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 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…)
"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…)
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…)
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…)