IS IT BIBLICAL TO SUBMIT BLINDLY TO CHURCH AUTHORITY?......................................................... . . . . . . . . . . 1 HOW DOES ONE IDENTIFY ABUSIVE LEADERS?................................................................................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 WE MUST OBEY LEGITIMATE CHURCH AUTHORITY........................................................................................ 2 PREPARE FOR PERSECUTION.................................................................................................................................. 3
Abusive, deceitful and hypocritical Christian leaders often teach an authoritarian message to try to obtain absolute unquestioning obedience. Once obtained they can manipulate other for their own benefit (for example in the accumulation of power or money or covering up an immoral lifestyle) rather than that of service Christ or the flock. Disobeying or opposing the leader is considered as if it were disobedience to God.
2CO 11:13 "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of
Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not
surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what
their actions deserve..... 19 You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20 In fact, you even
put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself
forward or slaps you in the face. 21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!"
REV 2:2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot
tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have
found them false.
Never claimed such absolute authority. When accused of wrong, he defended himself based
on rational argument based on scripture - not just by pulling rank and demanding
Never used church money to enrich himself to live a lifestyle far above his congregation.
Rather he supported himself by tent making and encouraged money to be given to the poor.
2CO 2:17 "Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in
Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God."
How does one know if a leader is habitually abusive? Every leader will make a few mistakes in
dealing with people and at times be too harsh. Nevertheless, a Godly leader will usually apologise
after he makes a mistake. An abusive hypocrite will not apologise unless forced to do so and he
will keep on doing the same thing again and again to other people. If a leader treats you in a way
that is totally unreasonable and disregarding due biblical process, find out if they have a history of
such behaviour with others. If so, then get a group to go challenge the abusive leader together.
How does one know if money is or has been greedily wasted? Ask some questions from your
church or Christian organisation financial advisory board? Look at the lifestyle of the leader. If
you don't get straight answers to your questions, why trust them with your money?
Why is abusiveness often linked to hypocrisy? Answer: Because a hypocritical person is insecure and needs to make people fear him so that they will be afraid to challenge him and ask questions about his behaviour. A Godly man who has nothing to hide will not be afraid of honest sincere question or challenge - he will in fact welcome correction.
Why is a leaders greediness with church money often linked to hypocrisy and abusiveness.
Answer: Because in order to hide his backslidden state, the abusive and hypocritical Christian
leader needs to make everyone else think he more important than them - so they won't question
him. To do this, he need lots of status symbols: e.g. a bigger car, a bigger house, a bigger office
etc. These cost money. That doesn't mean that such symbols are always a sign of sin, but when
combined with a hyper-elitist infallible image they are often an indication that something is wrong.
Also, abusive hypocrites tend to get a sense of entitlement, that they are so important, they are entitled to anything they want - whether money, power or sex. Thus they fall deeper and deeper into sin. Nevertheless, not every problem leader has all of these problems.
Rather, than spirituality, these characteristics are indications that a leader is at best spiritually
immature or at worst false and should not be followed. You are going to get no reward in heaven
for giving money to a religious con-man who promises that God will make you rich if you help
make him rich. You are going to get no reward in heaven for tolerating the abusiveness of some
leader who goes around bullying and trying to intimidate people, while he himself is not properly
accountable to others. You will get no reward in heaven for helping to cover up and protect leaders
who are immoral, deceptive or abusive.
That is false Christianity. It is a waste of time. It is not serving Christ. If your leader behaves in
such a way and is unapproachable, elitist, above question, instills fear - then don't follow him. You
have a limited number of years on earth to serve Christ. You have a limited amount of money to
give. Supporting such leaders is not following Christ. Find someone else to follow. Support
disciplinary action against such leaders. Encourage them to resign and find other jobs. If they have
not backslidden too far, then perhaps lend them a book or tape on spiritual abusiveness.
Jesus Christ did not blindly submit to the religious authorities of his day - the Pharisees and
Saducees. He publicly rebuked them for deception, abusiveness, manipulation, love of money etc
HEB 13:17 "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men
who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would
be of no advantage to you."
We should obey leaders within the sphere of their legitimate authority in church governance, within the constraints set out in scripture. The leader must follow due process of discipline (Matthew 18) and must himself also obey scripture.
Nevertheless, when such a leader has either committed some scandalous sin or alternatively is
repeatedly behaving in a manner that is unChristian such as abusing their authority and/or the
money of the church, then one must challenge them according to due biblical process (Matthew 18)
and have them disciplined. When a leader simply condemns any legitimate challenge on an ethical
issue as a sin and disobedience to God, then he is out of line and needs to be challenged even more
forcefully so that he is not able to do so again.
What of a Godly leader who starts down the path of abusiveness and hypocrisy. Do you help him by ignoring such sin? No. If you love them many, you need to challenge him and steer him back towards the straight and narrow path. Get him to repent of whatever he has done wrong.
Is an abusive ministry actually part of God's kingdom - or is it just a human enterprise designed to
advance the power and ego of a few arrogant, deceitful and abusive men? Sadly, it is often a
mixture of both. The church is often includes God's kingdom at work, whilst also ungodly human
empires at the same time. Try to see that your effort in time and money goes to best build up God's
kingdom rather than just human empires. Your tithe money belongs to God - not automatically to
the church to which you attend. If your church isn't using that money to employ Godly men who
serve God - then you are wasting God's money by giving to them.
Friends, please don't con yourselves into thinking that God is pleased with unquestioning obedience and donation of money towards hypocritical and abusive leaders. Don't expect to get any reward in heaven for such things. How does it help God's kingdom to keep an abusive hypocrite in office? Now there may be people who don't know that their leader is an abusive hypocrite - and still give to and serve his ministry faithfully. In such cases, God will reward the faithful intention, even if it is misdirected.
MT 5:11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil
against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in
the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. MT 5:13 "You are the salt of the
earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for
anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men." JN 16:2 They will put you out of the
synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?