Ok, I Submit! Now Please Pass the Kool-Aid.
Hbr 13:17Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.
King James Version (KJV)
1 Timothy – Chapter 3
This [is] a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Likewise [must] the deacons [be] grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being [found] blameless.
Even so [must their] wives [be] grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Before you can submit to a pastor, the pastor needs to demonstrate that he is qualified to be a pastor according to 1 Timothy chapter 3.
Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and there are a lot of pastors who thrive off making people feel like if they don’t submit to every word they say, that they are the equivalent of the devil himself.
Submission is a word that is thrown about haphazardly and is used to manipulate and control countless of Christians, many without them ever realizing it. I will get straight to the point here, and state something that needs to be said in the Christian church.
Pastors do not have the right to demand absolute loyalty from church members!
There, I said it, phew that felt good. You have no idea how much of a relief that was. “Excuse me, what was that you said?” “No, thank you. I don’t feel like drinking Kool Aid today, I thrive on the everlasting waters given to me by Jesus Christ alone.”
Ok, let me explain. It is very simple really, here it goes.
Pastors are human, they make mistakes, they are infallible, they are not God, yes, they may hear God’s voice, they have been given great authority to guard the sheep, but they are not God, and they never will be, therefore they do not deserve 100% submission from anyone, anytime, anyplace. You know why?
Because when pastors take 100% submission, they exalt themselves to God’s status. The only person who is to be worshipped, the only person who deserves 100% submission from any human on the planet, is Jesus Christ and Him alone. He alone is worthy of the honor, the glory, and the submission from his church, not the pastor.
“What?” “I’m sorry, I said no thank you. I really don’t feel like drinking any Kool Aid.”
If a pastor can not humble himself, and say to his church, “I am wrong.” Then he has already crossed the line and is walking a very dangerous path. How can any pastor really believe that he is shepherding the sheep, while expecting that he will never make an error. How is demanding 100% submission from followers an example of the Christian church?
A lot of what happens in the church is really neither an issue or rebellion or submission, the majority of it is simply miscommunication. However, it is important to realize that when someone is demanding 100% submission from another person that there can never truly be open communication.
Listen, I will support your ministry, I will join my faith with yours, I will yoke with you, I will serve Christ with you, even under you, I will honor Christ and worship Him with you, I will respect your role as leadership, but I will not put you in the place of Christ and worship you instead of Jesus.
You want to know why?
I will not surrender my will to yours 100%, because you did not die on the cross for me. And I am very offended that another human would expect me, or even ask me to do that. If any relationship is going to work, there has to be compromise, but it has to be on both parties. That means, in a healthy marriage, I give a little, my husband gives a little. We work at it, we strive at it, we fight, and we disagree; yet because we love each other, we work it out. We come to a resolution; we come to a new understanding. And you know what? Each time we butt heads and work it out, we have overcome another obstacle that is no longer a problem. We gain victory, and we move on.
Oh, if only Pastors could work that way. If only pastors could come to a place where they would listen to their congregations, and actually hear what they are saying. They don’t have to agree, but acknowledge that they were listening. If only pastors could come to a place where they didn’t feel that the whole church revolved around them, their vision, their purpose, their plans, their ideas, their notions, but would give it up and say, There is a bigger purpose here. It is much bigger than me, and when I am gone, the purpose will tarry. How can I demand these people bow down to me? For, I am not their God. There is only one God, and one God alone.
Remember Moses, pastors*. Remember what happened when Moses made the mistake of thinking that he was the one getting the water from the rock! How many pastors make that same fatal mistake with their congregations? Yes, we will respect you pastors, we will reverence the reverends, but we should never, under any circumstances, be asked or expected to put you in the place of Jesus Christ, and when you demand 100% submission, that is what you are doing.
So, what do you do when you go to a church that you love and your pastor is in error, yet he demands your unfailing loyalty? Do you stay? Do you pray? Do you leave? Do you believe that God will fix it? If you leave, then you’ll be labeled a traitor, unsubmissive, rebellious. That’s the question, now isn’t it?
You see, God tells us to have faith in Him. We are never to doubt our faith in God. We know that doubting God displeases Him. Therefore, we transfer that relationship to our pastors. If we doubt our pastors, we know that we are displeasing them, and we think that we are in sin.
If you are afraid that you will be in sin to question what your pastor says, then you are already a victim of the “S” word. Trust me, God wants you to study His Word, He says, test the spirits, and see where they come from. God has no problem with you questioning your pastor. The only person who doesn’t like it is the pastor and any other people who are operating on his absolute word.
A true pastor will not demand 100% submission from you. A true pastor will not be afraid to say, “I’m sorry.” A true pastor will listen to you and take the time to counsel you. Jesus is the perfect example of a pastor who always made time to answer the questions of His sheep. Sincere, heartfelt questions, Jesus always answered. If you are in a church, and are riddled with questions, confusion, and doubt yet are scared to approach anyone, or know that you don’t have the right to question the “heads” of the church, then watch out. It won’t be long before that church comes down. Do you want to know why?
Because Jesus Christ is the head of the church and He will share His glory with no one. No pastor, prophet, teacher, apostle, or evangelist will take the glory that is due His name. You are to serve God and God alone. You are not to live your life 100% under any man’s authority. You do not need a pastor to be a mediator between you and God. Jesus is your mediator.
A pastor who runs his church with the expectations that whatever he does will never be questioned or challenged is headed for a crash.
Titus – Chapter 1
Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
To Titus, [mine] own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy,
For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.
One of themselves, [even] a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians
This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
Unto the pure all things
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny [him], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Numbers 20: 7-12 (back)
*Num 20:7 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Num 20:8Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.
Num 20:9And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as He commanded him.
Num 20:10And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock,
and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
Num 20:11And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts
Num 20:12¶And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.