This article is adapted from the book, CHARISMATIC CAPTIVATION, by Steven
Lambert. The book exposes the widespread problem of authoritarian
abuse in Neo-Pentecostal church-groups, and explains how it became infused into the
very fabric, foundation, and functions of the Neo-Pentecostal church arising out of
a false movement known as the Discipleship/Shepherding Movement
(1970-77). References to "Discipleship" or "Shepherding"
(and variables) doctrines, teachings, proponents and participants, and so forth,
allude to those pertinences that arose out of that "movement." The content of this
article is contextual to the entirety of the book, and is best understood by reading the
book. A small portion of the book's content is published in the posted articles listed and
linked at the end of this article.]
Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel,
but not of me; and that COVER with A COVERING, but not of my spirit, that
they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down into EGYPT [symbol of captivity
in Scripture], and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the
strength of Pharaoh [symbol of Satan and autocratic dictators in Scripture],
and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame,
and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your CONFUSION. For his princes were at Zoan
[aka, Goshen, where Pharaoh met with Moses and Aaron; Easton's Bible Dictionary], and his
ambassadors came to Hanes. They were all ashamed of a people that could not PROFIT them,
nor be an help nor PROFIT, but a shame, and also a reproach.
(Isaiah 30:1-5; KJV; emphases and parentheses added)
The second primary conceptual error on which the heretical hyper-authoritarian
Discipleship/Shepherding doctrines are established, is the matter of "spiritual covering."
Indeed, so-called "spiritual covering" is the very centerpiece of these wholly unBiblical
teachings and the authoritarian abuse they engender, which is absolutely endemic in Pentecostal
and Neo-Pentecostal sects.
Let me begin by stating plainly and directly: "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.
[For a detailed history of the Shepherding Movement, READ THIS CHAPTER.]
Indeed, what the Discipleship proponents refer to as "spiritual covering"
is really "spiritual control." However, even the use of the word
"spiritual" in this connection requires some qualification, because the
only thing "spiritual" about this unauthorized control is that it is inspired
by demon-spirits of deception and error. As we shall discuss later
in Chapter Nine, what the Discipleship version of "spiritual covering"
really is, is nothing less than witchcraft or sorcery. When
the myth has been thoroughly debunked, as it will be within these pages,
it will be clear that this doctrine of "spiritual covering," like all the
other aspects of the Shepherdship heresy, is a patently false "doctrine
of demons" being manifested in these last days precisely in accordance
with Holy Prophecy of Scripture which foretells of deception such as this
being promulgated by demons in the last days, leading to many falling away
from the Lord into apostasy:
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some
will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and
doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of LIARS seared in
their own conscience as with a branding iron.(1 Tim. 4:1,2)
Proofing the Proof-text
Discipleship proponents point to a particular Pauline dissertation found
in the Eleventh Chapter of First Corinthians as the primary purported proof-text
for their concept of "spiritual covering." It will soon be evident, however,
that, as is typical of the other aspects of Discipleship errors, the assertions
made on the basis of these verses are the product of blatant and overt
perversion, distortion, misrepresentation, and misapplication of the true
import and intent of the passage. The unfortunate effect of this corruption
of Canon is essentially the same as that which inured unto the Galatians,
which was that they became guilty of "deserting" Christ for a different
"christ" and a different gospel:
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you
by the grace of Christ; for a different gospel; which is really not another;
only there are some who are disturbing you, and who want to DISTORT
the gospel of Christ. (Gal. 1:6)
The following is the passage from which the concept of "spiritual covering,"
as well as several other assertions made by Discipleship proponents, is
extrapolated. Since it will be a basis for much of this discussion, it
has been set in verse format for easier reference. Also, I have added
some explanations which appear in italics and parentheses, to assist in
understanding the true import of these verses.
First Corinthians 11:2-16:
Now I don't want to be unkind, but in my opinion a person must be
totally brainwashed to read this text and in all sincerity and earnestness
conclude it says what Shepherdship proponents and adherents assert that
it says. Indeed, this text has been used as a premise for a number of pretty
silly and bizarre notions, ranging from the role of women in the church
all the way to the assertion that God is saying here that women are supposed
to wear little doilies on their heads when they attend church. So let's
examine this passage, and see what it really says and what it does not
2 Now I praise you because you remember me in everything,
and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered
them to you.
3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the Head
of every man, and the man (husband) is the head of a
(singular) woman (wife), and God is the Head of Christ.
4 Every MAN who has something on his Head (Christ)
while praying or prophesying, disgraces his Head (Christ).
5 But every woman who has her head uncovered (not
under the authority of her husband) while praying or prophesying, disgraces
her head (her husband); for she is one and the same with her
whose head is shaved (woman taken captive
from vanquished enemies and forced against her will to become an Israelite's
6 For if a woman does not cover her head
(allow the authority of her husband to cover and protect her from the
spiritual deception of the fallen angels), let her also have her hair
cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off
or her head shaved, let her cover her head.
7 For a man ought NOT to have his head covered,
since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman (wife) is
the glory of man (husband).
8 For man does not originate from woman, but woman
9 for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but
woman for the man's sake.
10 Therefore the woman ought to have
authority on her head, because of the (fallen)
11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of
man, nor is man independent of woman.
12 For as the woman originates from the man, so also the
man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.
13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray
to God with head uncovered?
14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man
has long hair (type for "covering"), it is a dishonor
15 but if a woman has long hair, it
is a glory to her? For her hair is given
to her for A COVERING (a protection).
16 But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have
no other practice, nor have the churches of God.
Pertinent Peculiarities of the Language
First of all, an extremely vital fact to keep in mind in all Bible study
and interpretation, and one which I must take a moment to point out here
at the very outset of our scrutiny of this text, is that the Greek language,
in which most of the New Testament was written originally, did not have
a specific word for "husband" and "wife" as in the English language. Instead,
the word for husband is the word for "man," and the word for "wife" is
the word for "woman." The only way to determine whether the reference is
to the male gender class or to the office of
husband, or likewise to the female gender class or
the office of wife, is by deciphering the intent of
the context. This fact is absolutely critical to the particular passage
we are examining here and to properly evaluating and understanding its
So, with this in mind, careful scrutiny of the context of these verses
on the backdrop of the whole of Scripture, leads to the unequivocal and
incontrovertible conclusion that the words used here which are translated
in many English versions as "man" and "woman" really should
be "husband" and "wife." Validation of that is inherent in
the fact that the principles evoked in this passage are limited in application
to the husband and wife relationship. They are NOT applicable in
the context of general interrelations between men and women, but rather
only apply in the sphere of the husband and wife relationship.
Identifying the Subject and Scope
Once these peculiarities of the language are understood, the next matter
of utmost importance is identifying the subject and scope of the passage
we are examining. For reasons that shall become evident, it is vital to
understand that the clear and unmistakable subject of this passage is the
matter of Domestic Divine Order, that is to say, the order of authority
existing among husbands and wives and their children, or to say it yet
another way, the government operable within the structure of the FAMILY
unit. "Domestic Authority" is the exclusive focus as well as the
limits of the scope of this passage. The aspects and applications of the
authority addressed in these verses are limited to the purview of that
particular ilk of authority, and cannot be universally applied to other
types of authority.
Recognizing the true focus and scope of this text is crucial to comprehending
its import. Not recognizing these parameters, or blatant disregard of them,
whichever may be the case, has been a primary factor resulting in the formulation
of the fallacious assertions adamantly proclaimed and staunchly defended
by Discipleship proponents supposedly based on this passage. To be specific,
the matter of "spiritual covering" is the heart of the issue. And indeed,
there is a type of spiritual covering that is addressed in these verses.
However, what is critical is that, as stated already, the spiritual covering
that is discussed in this context is NOT Ecclesiastical Authority,
that is to say, Governmental Authority within the Church. Rather, Domestic
Authority is the clear and unequivocal focus of Paul's dissertation here,
which the Apostle makes evident in verse three by specifically identifying
the topic of this portion of his letter and by expressing explicitly what
it is he wants the readers to understand: "But I want you to understand that
CHRIST is the Head of every man, and the MAN (HUSBAND)
is the head of a WOMAN (his WIFE), and GOD
is the Head of Christ."
Another way to characterize the focus of this passage, which the enbolded
portions of this verse bring out, is: "spiritual headship." However, the
propensity of some to "exceed that which is written"
has resulted in the misconstruction and misapplication of this perfectly
valid truth, and the manufacturing of a kind of so-called "headship" based
purely in human imagination without any Scriptural foundation whatsoever.
In point of fact, the only valid ilk of "spiritual headship" or
"spiritual covering" there is, and the only one which is supported by the
Word of God, is that which is being addressed here, which is the "spiritual
headship" and "spiritual covering" the husband provides for his
own wife as the God-appointed representative of Christ within the family
unit. In no way, however, does this passage contain any evidence or corroboration
of the sort of "spiritual covering" Discipleship proponents allege is provided
by a shepherd to his followers. To extrapolate from this passage
a pretext for some sort of "headship" interposable by "spiritual leaders"
over subordinate believers is an act of gross distortion, convolution,
and misrepresentation of the Word of God, as well as an act of blatant
and extreme irresponsibility.
CHRIST — the Only Spiritual Covering for Every Man
Now as I stated initially, ecclesiastical authority is decidedly not
the focus of this passage. Indeed, the only mention of the matter of ecclesiastical
authority occurs in oblique references in verses four and seven, which
actually state the very opposite of what the Discipleship/Shepherdship
proponents purport the verses say and the very opposite of the assertions
they cite the verses as a proof-text for:
4 Every MAN who has something on his Head (i.e.,
Christ) while praying or prophesying, disgraces his Head (Christ).
In verse four, Paul specifically states that, juxtaposed to the married
woman, who must have a covering of spiritual authority, i.e., a
spiritual "head," which role is fulfilled by her husband, any man
who covers his Head with a "spiritual covering" — a human, surrogate,
intermediary "head" — is bringing reproach, dishonor, and disgrace to
his Head, because, as Paul indicates repeatedly in this text, the man's
Head is Christ Himself. Thus, to characterize the import of the text in
another, forthright fashion: in this passage, the Spirit is expressly
prohibiting human, surrogate, intermediary spiritual "headship" in the
case of MEN, in that Christ Himself is the Head, or "spiritual
covering" "of every man" who is truly Born Again and has truly
submitted to the Lordship of Christ over his life.
7 For a MAN ought NOT to have his head covered,
since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman (wife) is
the glory of man (husband).
Notice also the phrase "while praying or prophesying." Praying
and prophesying are the spiritual activities and functions
in which believers are to engage. This phrase gives qualification to this
statement, making its import to be that it is in the realm of
spiritual activities and endeavors in particular
that a man is NOT to have another human being as his "head,"
or as a "covering," for that role and function is to be fulfilled by the
Lord Jesus alone. Christ alone is qualified and capable of fulfilling that
crucial role and function.
This is vital to the matter of the Discipleship error, because this
has been one of the areas of greatest excess and abuse, in that many so-called
"spiritual leaders" (especially laymen) in these in-house "chains of command"
became extremely caught up in their newly acquired (albeit, illegitimate)
authority, for which they were not properly grounded or adequately developed
or sufficiently mature spiritually to properly handle, but which they nonetheless
began to wield and intrusively interpose into the lives of their "subordinates,"
including their most private, personal, and even intimate choices and decisions.
The outlandish and totally false hypothesis was that each of the multi-levels
of "spiritual leaders" over the peonic, subjugated, and supposedly inferior
believer were his "spiritual heads" and "spiritual coverings," and whatever
communication or correction God desired to relate to the believer, He would
relay through one of these surrogate "heads," and so-called "confirmation"
of the validity and veracity of the communication would manifest in the
form of unanimous "agreement" among all these "heads." Theoretically, if
just one of the "heads" in the chain of "heads" did not have "a witness"
for the matter, that meant the communication was not from or of God.
This "no witness" nonsense became a primary mechanism of control, manipulation,
domination, and other more nefarious activities, in an array of circumstances
ranging from preventing members from leaving the church or group, to sexually-oriented
abuse under the color of spiritual authority. The gravely damaging effect
of this absurd and wholly false theosophy and system of religious enslavement
is well captured in the quoted impassioned complaint of a former member
of the Discipleship Movement responding to Bob Mumford's attempted conciliation
with disjoined former followers:
"Saying I'm sorry wasn't enough....We had been taught that the men
who led us somehow heard from God better than we did. Even after we left
the movement there was that hidden fear that they might be right and we were
somehow less of a Christian and had failed God by not being
totally obedient to them." (Mumford Repents of Discipleship
Errors, Charisma & Life, February 1990, pp. 15,16)
Though we are certainly to avail ourselves of the ministry God disseminates
through Fivefold ministers, and though we are to maintain a compliant
and cooperative attitude toward them, and treat them with due honor and
respect, no mere human is ever the "head" or "spiritual covering" of any
other man, especially; or woman, for that matter, because "spiritual
covering" exists and is effectual only in the relationship of the
husband to his own WIFE — no other woman. In other
words, even a Fivefold minister — apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor,
teacher — is the spiritual "head" of only ONE woman
on this planet — his own WIFE (if he is married)! That,
my friend, is it! FURTHERMORE, a Fivefold minister is the spiritual
"head" of absolutely NO MAN! I cannot state it any
more succinctly or directly than that.
[For more on the detrimental effects of submitting yourself under the spiritual coverings
of men, I urge you to read The
Curses of Unauthorized Covenants.]
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
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.
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
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?"
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!
Next article in series:
The Fallacy of
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Captivation — Get Print Book or Ebook (Immediate Download)
Deliverance: If you have been a victim of authoritarian abuse perpetrated
through church leaders, you will likely need specialized Christian Counseling and
Deliverance through a qualified Christian Counselor who has experience and expertise
in dealing with the profound effects this particular form of abuse can wreak upon its
victims. Concinnity Counseling
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This article is adapted
from the book, Charismatic
Captivation, by Steven Lambert,
ThD. An abridged version of this book in the booklet form, entitled,
Charismatic Control is also
available. You can read more about this book and booklet, as well as all the other
writings and publications of Dr. Lambert on the Real Truth Publications
Online Catalog at: http://www.slm.org/pubs/index.html.
Publications may also be ordered by writing Real Truth Publications, P.O. Box 911, Jupiter, FL