* A parody of this article in Christianity Today, inspired by a tweet from Thomas Horrocks (@thomaslhorrocks).
The rise of church doors in the early 1500s has yielded the genre of the “church reformer.” From the comfort of their studies, these heretical monks can pen lengthy criticisms of Catholicism and affix them to church doors for any passing peasant to see. This advent of literacy, printing and architecture has created a crisis of authority that we haven’t hitherto seen before.
One of the most prominent examples of this crisis involves the popular Martin Luther, who last year announced his opposition to selling indulgences for the absolution of sin. He was cheered by some and denounced by others. The Pope has called for his writings to be burned. Aside from the debate about faith vs. works, broader questions have emerged: Where do scholars like Luther derive their authority to speak and teach? And who holds them accountable for their teaching? How can the average peasant know whom to trust?
You may be wondering why I chose to reference Galatians 6:7 in the title of my series. Here is why:
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Those that sow to the flesh reap corruption. In other words, corruption is proof that someone is ignoring the Spirit and indulging the flesh. And it seems that day by day, more corruption is coming to light in America’s churches. Ministries under investigation for tax fraud. Prominent pastors accused of sexual harassment and assault. Elders exposed for turning a blind eye to pedophiles in the pews. Church discipline that has been flagged as damaging and discriminatory. The scandals continue to pile up.
For decades, many of the leaders embroiled in these scandals have written hundreds of books and preached countless sermons on “spiritual authority.” They have presented themselves as being near the top of a “God-ordained” hierarchy that requires lay believers to submit—unquestioningly—to their direction. They have then used their subsequent success in ministry to “prove” that they have God’s blessing and approval in this system of power and control.
But God is not mocked. The laws of sowing and reaping cannot be subverted. Sowing unto unbiblical authority is sowing unto pride, and pride always reaps corruption. Always. As the Bible says, a good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bears bad fruit (Matthew 7:17). Unbiblical church authority is churning out bad fruit by the bushels. It is not God’s will for His Church. Continue reading →
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. ~ Galatians 6:7-8
There have been some disturbing things going on in our country in the past few years. I’ve tried to ignore it, but nearly every day for the past couple of weeks, I’ve come across another report in the news of people rejecting God’s decree and indulging their pride and arrogance to the detriment of the Church and her believers, and I cannot remain silent about it anymore. Cannot and will not.
Oh, there were many times I went along to get along. For a while, I accepted the argument that this is the way things are now and God approves of them. I bought into the hype. I went to the big conferences and gatherings, waved the colorful flags, bawled my eyes out. But I was deceived. God does not approve of this arrangement. Scripture says so. And the reports I’ve been hearing are proof that this heretical doctrine is endangering Christ’s Church.
I’m speaking, of course, about the controlling system of church authority. Continue reading →
This is Part 6 in my series on the Biblical Counseling Movement (BCM). Go here for all the posts in the series.
**Content Note: Victim blaming, ignorance of trauma and description of sexual abuse.**
If you’ve been following all the posts in this series, you’ve probably seen how Biblical Counseling would be damaging to people suffering from mental illness. Today, though, I want to show you how biblical counselors view sexual assault and abuse, and how this type of counseling is particularly devastating for sexual abuse survivors. Being a survivor myself, this issue is particularly close to my heart.
If you want something that will keep you awake at night and possibly cause you to hurl your electronic device across the room, reading the G.R.A.C.E. report on Bob Jones University should do the trick. For those unaware of the reference, BJU was recently investigated for their inappropriate ‘biblical’ counseling of sexual assault victims. For the really retch-inducing stuff, I suggest starting around page 70 and reading through page 100. The amount of ignorance and victim blaming these counselors have displayed over the years is almost beyond comprehension. And they have the gall to justify it.Continue reading →
Walken must have heard the phrase “spiritual authority.” I know. I’ve looked this way often.
If I asked some of you to name the spiritual authority in your life, what would you say? Would you be confused that I only asked for one and give multiple answers? I ask, because the concept of “spiritual authority” is huge in the evangelical church. You can find whole books on the subject. Unfortunately, most of what they teach is wrong.
The Bible references three types of authority that humans can wield in this life: Continue reading →