Friday, November 22, 2013

Swindoll, Southern Baptists, and Infatuation with Spiritual Authority

I recently received a comment from a person who attends the church where Chuck Swindoll serves as Teaching Pastor:
"I attend Chuck Swindoll's church in Frisco, Texas. This past Sunday he indicated that the biblical way to choose Elders is for them to be hand selected by the existing elder board (slowly, carefully, with much investigation and with God's leading). He specifically called out Southern Baptists indicating that the Bible does not sanction congregational voting for elders/deacons and specifically that women cannot be elders. What are your thoughts?"
 A few thoughts for my anonymous Internet friend:

(1). The mistake many pastors make is spiritualizing the legal and legalizing the spiritual. A 501C-3 non-profit is a legal corporation. It is not a spiritual entity.

Every state requires a 501C-3 non-profit entity (like churches) to incorporate. On the legal incorporation papers the "officers" of the non-profit are listed. These individuals-- and only these individuals--are those who have the legal authority and carry the fiduciary responsibility for that non-profit (according to the state). Is Chuck Swindoll saying he believes a woman cannot have this "legal authority?" Surely not. I'm sure he would argue his wife can have legal authority. Never in Scripture is a woman forbidden from entering into a legal contract, engaging in commercial activity or obtaining and kind of personal legal authority. Lydia sold purple dye. Phoebe sailed from Cenchrea to Rome on a commercial ship (carrying in the folds of her robe the letter to the Romans).  To say that "only men" can have legal authority (i.e. be officers of a non-profit, whether they be called elders, trustees, etc...) is illogical, impractical, and bordering on the absurd.

So what Pastor Chuck must be doing is making the mistake of spiritualizing the legal. What he must be saying is that a woman cannot have "spiritual authority." The problem with Swindoll's view is his infatuation with spiritual authority. He thinks that a woman cannot have spiritual authority "over a man." Where he gets this view is an absolute mystery to me, but he is not the only one infected with it. The problem is not his view of gender, the problem is his view that anybody but Jesus Christ can have spiritual or moral authority over another believer. The Bible teaches that men and women should be "servants of all" and nobody should seek or desire to have moral or spiritual "authority" over anyone. Evangelical men seem infatuated with obtaining this spiritual authority and preventing women from having it. The problem is their infatuation with spiritual authority.

In New Testament scriptures Jesus Christ is the Head, the sole authority over every single believer in terms of spiritual life and moral well-being. Each believer in Jesus Christ (both male and female) is a priest unto God (i.e. "the priesthood of the believer"), modeling for the world what it means to walk with God. Christians serve one another, encourage one another, and help one another, but the moment somebody tries to take a position of spiritual authority over another person he or she has crossed a line in terms of New Testament Christianity. Again, the mistake Swindoll is making is spiritualizing the legal and legalizing the spiritual. The state mandates that certain people within a 501C-3 non-profit have legal authority. The true church of Jesus Christ is not a 501C-3 non-profit. The church is not a building. The church is the woman with the Spirit of Christ living in her. The church is the man with the Spirit of Christ living in him. The church is the people who love Christ, and the only spiritual authority over those people is Christ Himself. Period. If some Christians gather together corporately and start a 501C-3 non-profit, then of course, there are people who will be handed "legal authority" but nowhere does Scripture state females cannot have authority.

(2). When a "group of men" hand select those who are to have spiritual authority over "the church," a country club of men begins to establish itself as rulers of the church--an action strictly forbidden by Christ. The difference between boys and men is the size of their toys. Boys want to boss neighborhood kids for the purpose of being seen as boss and having first choice of all the prizes. Men want to boss adults for the same reason, though the prizes are different (bigger and better). This ought not be among Christians.

Evangelical men should want to serve all and rule over none. It is my view that the #1 problem in the evangelical church does not revolve around gender issues, nor financial issues, nor doctrinal issues. The #1 problem in the evangelical church revolves around the desire of evangelical men to grab hold of spiritual authority in the church. Jesus Christ said the pagans "bestow titles and give positions of authority," but He said to His followers "it shall not be so among you!" (Mark 10:43). Anywhere there is an attempt to grab authority and positions of spiritual power, or hold on to authority and positions of power (re-electing boards of elders by elders choosing elders) then you are in a church where Ichabod may be written across threshold. Nowhere in the New Testament does it say that a Christian, because of title or position, has moral authority over another Christian.

For those who use the Hebrews 13 passages to support "moral and spiritual authority over other Christians," I would urge you to listen to a message from those texts.

(3). Now I am about to make a statement that will cause some of my evangelical friends to chaff, but here goes:
"In the same manner a homosexual family is distinctly dysfunctional by having two men serve as mother/father to their children, a parental role designed by God to include both genders, so too an evangelical church that only allows only men in "leadership positions" is as dysfunctional as a homosexual marriage because gifted women are excluded."
There is a distinct feel to a church that is infatuated with "male authority." Power, control, a lack of freedom, pride, aggression, deceit and spiritual abuse are usually present. Functioning in life in a manner that is opposite of the way God designed us is to bring all kinds of pain into the family of God. Churches that allow men to continue in the belief that they have some kind of power or "inherent authority" over women is to continue in a anti-New Covenant and anti-Christ model.

In the New Covenant, Jesus gave to His co-heirs in the Kingdom -- including all who are slave and free, those who are both rich and poor, male and female, black and white -- all the riches of His grace. We are equals when it comes to spiritual authority. Jesus Christ is the Head of His church, and the notion that the church of Jesus Christ should go back to the forms and function of Old Covenant Judaism (male priests, sanctuary rituals, etc...) is totally contrary to the teaching of the New Testament Scriptures.

So... I don't know if I told you what you wished to hear, but those are my thoughts.


A. Amos Love said...


Hmmm? Spiritual Authority???

Can’t seem to find Spiritual Authority in my antiquated KJV.

Sounds like another Tradition of men that makes Void “the Word of God.”

Much agreement when you wrrite...
“The CHURCH is not a 501C-3 non-profit. The church is not a building. The church is the woman with the Spirit of Christ living in her. The church is the man with the Spirit of Christ living in him. The church is the people, and the authority over the people is Christ. Period.”

“Jesus Christ said the pagans "bestow *titles* and give positions of authority," but He said to His followers "but it
shall not be so among you!" (Mark 10:43).”

What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

Alaskan in Texas said...

Very good, Brother Wade. A few of our evangelical friends could benefit from a good chaffing, or two.

John said...

so many other terms we use, spiritual authority is not in the Bible. Neither are Trinity, millennium and a host of others. I do believe there is a spiritual authority implied however in Hebrews 13:7 for the Elder/Preacher.

It states that is that such a man properly teach the word of God and have a character and walk that exemplifies Christ. He has no authority of his own and especially not authority to, be abusive in his leadership.

Even though every man is fallible, Congregations should have no difficulty in following the leadership of a man who walks with God and properly exegetes and preaches the word; not his agenda.

I believe that such a man is actually protected by God in the sense he has God's favor on him. I believe that if someone really attacks a person in authority to they are going against the Lord and they should be careful that the Lord deal with them correctively. This nonsense about don't touch the Lord's anointed is silliness. He will be touched but can rest in joy that be just preaching the word and walking with God he is blest and comforted and should not be concerned to manipulate, lord over or crisis manage his ministry/ reputation. .But if a leaders walk is impure and his teaching shoddy and selfish, he may not count on God to support his ministry.

When I was a young pastor I went to many conferences on how to grow a church, pastor a church, administrate a church, etc. Now at retirement and teaching in a Christian college I can sum it all
this way and it will save you on conference fees. Just protect your walk, preach the word, love the people and leave the results to God. You have met your obligation to your call.

Wade Burleson said...

"Protect your walk, preach the word, love the people and leave the results to God."

Never has any better advice for people in ministry been given.



Kristen said...

I think elders walk in God's authority, not their own, and preachers preach the Bible's authority, not their own. Jesus said to the disciples, "All authority has been given to Me; go you therefore and preach." He did not say, "All authority has been given to Me, and now I'm giving it to you."

That's why the authority of church leaders is authority under, not authority over, the members. Church leaders should use the authority of what the Bible teaches to build up the members. Church leaders should not think they have the power to tell members what to do-- but only to say what they believe the Bible teaches, to the best of their ability, and leave it to the members to comply-- or not.

As for Hebrews 13:7, the word often translated "obey" actually means "listen to and let yourselves be persuaded by."

Wade Burleson said...

"As for Hebrews 13:7, the word often translated "obey" actually means "listen to and let yourselves be persuaded by."

Well said.

Tango Whiskey said...

There goes your invitation to speak at the next Gospelly Coalition conference, or the next Together 4 the Cash conference!

Great article. I pray more evangelical churches would grasp this concept. There clearly seems to be some systemic problem within the movement consisting of the doctrine trumpeted by T4G, 9Marks and TGC and I believe you nailed what lies at the heart of it.

Wade Burleson said...

Tango Whiskey,

I long ago realized that when one speaks or writes based on conviction and principle--regardless of reception--real change is effected. You are correct, however, that no speaking invitations will be forthcoming. Smile.

A. Amos Love said...


You write...
“I do believe there is a spiritual authority implied however in Hebrews 13:7 for the Elder/Preacher.”

Was Wondering...
In ALL of Heb 13: - Is there any mention of - Elder/Preacher?
Or - Pastor? Or - Overseer? Or - Deacon?

So - Who has this Spiritual Authority - You say is implied - in Heb 13?
If none of these “Titles” are found in Heb 13?

And - How does a simple sheepie know who has this Spiritual Authority?
And - Who is Qualified to have this Spiritual Authority?

And - How do we know who is Qualified to have this Spiritual Authority?
Can anyone just come along and say - “I’m your Spiritual Authority?

And - Spiritual Authority - to do what?
Just in case I got some of that stuff?

A. Amos Love said...


You write...
“Congregations should have no difficulty in following
the leadership of a man who walks with God...”

Haven’t you ever wondered? Why? In the Bible?
Jesus never mentions Leadership? His Disciples never mention Leadership?

And - Haven’t you ever wondered? Why? In the Bible?
Jesus taught His Disciples NOT to be called “Leaders?”
For you have “ONE” leader - the Christ? Mat 23:10 NASB
And NONE did - ALL His Disciples called themselves “Servants.” :-)

Mat 23:10-12 NASB - New American Standard Bible.
Do NOT be called leaders; for “ONE” is your Leader, that is, Christ.
But the greatest among you shall be your “Servant.”
Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled;
and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

Mat 23:10-12 TM - The Message.
And don't let people maneuver you into taking charge of them.
There is only “ONE” Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
**Do you want to stand out? - Then step down. - Be a servant.**
If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you.
But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

Jesus instructed *His Disciples* NOT to be called *Leaders* and NONE did.

What did His Disciples know 2000 years ago???
That those who mis-appropriate the ”Position” - Leader - miss today? ;-)

Didn’t Jesus, ask His Disciples to Follow Him? Jesus? John 10:27
Didn’t Paul say, Those “Led” by the Spirit are the sons of God? Rom 8:14

Why recommend someone to follow a Mere Fallible Human?
When one of His Sheep can Hear His Voice and Follow..
{{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

If Jesus instructed **His Disciples** NOT to call themselves “Leaders?”
And someone calls them self a “Leader?”
Allows others to call them “Leader?

Are they one of “His Disciples?"

Why isn’t what Jesus said important? ;-)

What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

Victorious said...

Hello A Amos Love,

Didn’t Jesus, ask His Disciples to Follow Him? Jesus?

Yes, and so did Paul. He said we should imitate him (as He did Jesus); follow his example and the pattern set; and to practice the things seen in him; and he speaks of himself as a model/example for others to follow.

1 Cor. 11:1; Php. 3:17; Php. 4:9 2 Th.3:9

These and other similar scriptures encourage following one (leader, example, model)as they encourage following Christ in the same manner they do.

Victorious said...

P.S. I might add that I believe that's why Jesus referred to us as sheep. Because we follow. And we follow others' examples, models, and patterns until we are mature and then in turn, we become examples, models and patterns for the younger sheep.

Kinda like "what goes around...comes around." lol

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post, and thanks so much for it. What a load of good sense, especially regarding the issues of no person having authority over another. It's astonishing how deeply our need is to exercise authority over each other. Slavery is a terrible thing, no matter how apparently benign.

Anne V said...

Wade, I'm so thankful for your voice on these important issues.

When I hear stories like this (about men STILL strategizing to hold onto positions of power within the church), something within my soul cries out, "How long, O Lord? How long??"

When will these men humbly bow their knees before the Lord, let go of the controls, and willingly acknowledge that ALL authority on earth and in heaven belongs to Jesus alone?

Anonymous said...

Pastor Wade, there you go being all real Baptist again :)

Much needed sermon!


John said...

"Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith." Hebrews 13:7 ESV

1. As Kristen said, Elders walk in God's authority, not their own. In regard to the church setting, no man has authority of his own or over another. He is a delegated authority to represent God by delivering his word accurately and lives a righteous life to demonstrate his credibility.

2, Congregations do have a spiritual leader: The Elders or the Pastor teacher. They lead by example, with love, living in fellowship with God, preaching, counseling, comforting and rebuking error. No one has to agree with them or follow them. Unfortunately, to rebel is not to rebel against the leader but to God. That is not profitable. (Hebrews 13: 17.

3.It has been my belief that the universe operates under the authority of God. He does however delegate that authority to represent law and truth on earth. But no man is fir for delegated from God who seeks to misuse or abuse it.

4, My motto has been for many years, "everywhere I go, seek to find God's authority and get under it" I taught my children this. To be a delegated authority means to posses a humility and graciousness that is not easily disturbed. I love that when Moses' authority was confronted he simply, being so meek, prostrated himself before his accusers and said nothing.

believer333 said...

Forty plus years ago, as a young Christian, God began speaking to me about “spiritual authority”. The first illustration God showed me was between a corporation and a living organism. A corporation is not alive. It exists to serve men’s wills. A living organism is alive because of God. The church is supposed to be a living organism thriving on the presence of God and the Holy Spirit’s power that is God’s gift to us.

As such no individual has spiritual “authority” to wield in the Body of Christ. Rather the Holy Spirit calls us to serve one another with various spiritual abilities that bring healing, truth and spiritual empowerment to one another. And this all works through godly sacrificial love. Any gifts we think we may have been given have a certain emptiness and lifelessness without God’s love flowing in our hearts and minds.

I really wish more leaders would take to heart Jesus’s words to the Thunder Brothers in Matt. 20:26-28. In my opinion, I think Jesus told them that we should not be thinking in terms of who has authority and who hasn’t. We should rather be asking God how can we serve our brethren with encouragement, support, healing, forgiveness, instruction and empowerment to mature into the fullness of the man Christ Jesus. We are to ALL aim to do the works of Jesus, not just some of us. And then perhaps the Body of Christ will look more like Christ to the world.

believer333 said...

Operating in the formula the government requires of churches within a top down ownership paradigm, it is truly difficult to then switch to a die to self, supporting people from a servant paradigm. But I think any efforts in that direction will produce more good.

A. Amos Love said...


You write about Paul...
“He said we should imitate him (as He did Jesus); follow his example and the pattern set; and to practice the things seen in him;...”

Yes - Imitate Jesus. - And - Imitate Paul, Imitating Jesus... ;-)


Jesus, as man, humbled Himself, made Himself of NO reputation...
And took on the form of a “Servant.” Phil 2:7-8.

So, Paul, Imitating Jesus, took made himself a “Servant” to all.

1 Cor 9:19
For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself “Servant” to all.


Jesus, as man, referred to himself as a “Servant.”
“I am among you as he that serveth”. Luke 22:27.
“The Son of man did NOT come to be served but to serve.” Mark 10:45.

So, Paul, Imitating Jesus, as man, always referred to himself as “Servant.”
And - ALL of **His Disciples** Imitated Jesus, as man,
ALL called themselves “Servants.” - NOT one called them self “Leader.”

Ro 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ...
Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ...
Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ...
Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God...
Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God...
2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant...


Jesus, said, He could do nothing of Himself. And was taught of the Father.
“but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” John 8:28

Paul, Imitating Jesus, as man, said that “his gospel” was not of man,
he received it from God and he conferred NOT with flesh and blood.

Ga 1:11-16
…the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it,
but by the revelation of Jesus Christ

16-To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen;
immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:


Yes - Imitate Jesus. - And - Imitate Paul, Imitating Jesus... ;-)

Did Paul ever call himself - Leader?
Did Paul ever call another Disciple - Leader?

A. Amos Love said...

And Victorious

In the “One anothers” You can find...

“by love “Serve” one another.” Gal 5:13

But - Can you find - “Lead” one another? ;-)

Seems Jesus called Himself - The “ONE” Leader. Mat 23:10 NASB.

Why isn’t what Jesus said important? :-)

And - Why follow a Mere Fallible Human?

When you can Follow {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

A. Amos Love said...


You quote Heb 13:7 - Again - And Heb 13:17...

But you do NOT explain - From Heb 13 - Or - From the Bible...

Who has this “Spiritual Authority?”
Who is Qualified to have this “Spiritual Authority?”

And I know that is difficult to do - From the Bible...
Since “Spiritual Authority” is NOT in the Bible.

And - Spiritual Authority - to do what?
Just in case I got some of that stuff?

Are you getting your info from “The Word of God?”
Or, from the “Doctrines of men” - The “Traditions of Men?”
That Make Void, Cancel, Nullify, “The Word of God?”

Mark 7:13
NLT – you “cancel” the word of God to hand down your own tradition.
KJV – Making the word of God of “none effect” through your tradition…
ASV – Making “void” the word of God by your tradition…
NIV – Thus you “nullify” the word of God by your tradition…

If “Spiritual Authority” is NOT in the Bible?
Wouldn’t that mean it’s the “Doctrines of men?” - “Traditions of Men?”

Please explain - Spiritual Authority - to do what?
And - Do I need a “Title” - a Diploma, or....

What does a simple shepie need to have - to have - Spiritual Authority
Just in case I got some of that stuff?
Or, want to get some of that stuff?

A. Amos Love said...


You write...
‘2, Congregations do have a “spiritual leader:”
The Elders or the Pastor teacher.”

Well, “spiritual leader” sounds important, and I’ve heard that before...
By “Pastors who Abuse” “Pastors addicted to Exercising Authority”
Pastors who wanted - Power and Control - over the folks...

But - I can NOT seem to find “Spiritual Leader” in my antiquated KJV.
I can NOT find one Disciple who had the “Title” or, called them self Pastor.
Is that allowed? - Adding all this stuff to the scriptures?

So, then, who determines that “The Elders or the Pastor teacher”
Are a “spiritual leader?” - If “spiritual leader” is NOT in the Bible?

Do I “Trust” a Mere Fallible Human who says they’re my “spiritual leader?”
When Jesus tells His Disciples, He, Jesus is the “ONE” leader?” MT 23:10.
When Paul says, those “Led” by the Spirit” are the sons of God? Rm 8:14
When Paul says, if ye be *led of the Spirit,* ye are not under law. Gal 5:18

NO thanks - Tried that following a Mere Fallible Human stuff...
Did NOT work out so well for me - Lots of pain, and tears, and lies...

And I was in “Leadership.” Ordained - Oy Vey!!! :-(

It was after I left “The Corrupt Religious System” of today, tore up my papers, and walked away from “Church Leadership,” that I realized Isaiah, had prophesied about my “Leadership skills.” And the “Leadership skills” of the rest of todays “Church Leaders.” No really... ;-)

Isa 3:12 KJV
...O my people, *they which lead thee* cause thee to err,
and destroy the way of thy paths.

Isa 9:16 KJV
For *the leaders* of this people cause them to err;
and they that are led of them are destroyed.

Think I’ll stick with being “Led by the Spirit” as truth for me....
Think I’ll stick with who the Bible says is - The “ONE” Leader...

{{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}

Victorious said...

A Amos Love,

NO thanks - Tried that following a Mere Fallible Human stuff...
Did NOT work out so well for me - Lots of pain, and tears, and lies...

And I was in “Leadership.” Ordained - Oy Vey!!! :-(

It was after I left “The Corrupt Religious System” of today, tore up my papers, and walked away from “Church Leadership,” that I realized Isaiah, had prophesied about my “Leadership skills.” And the “Leadership skills” of the rest of todays “Church Leaders.” No really... ;-)

Thank you for sharing that. It helps in understanding why you've taken the stand you have. What do you think of the verses in Jeremiah regarding shepherds?

"Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding. Jer 3:15

"I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them...Jer 23:4

Seems like there are good shepherds and bad shepherds.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who accepts a title or a position of 'leader' in the congregation of Christ's people, is automatically being set up to unlawfully appropriate the divine rights of rulership of the Redeemer.

This unlawful displacement is a subtle diversion toward spiritual sterility, because the members' eyes are now directed toward
'those who must be obeyed in the congregation', and not toward the Triune God.

It is the kind of thing one would expect Screwtape to instruct Wormwood to work on with his patient.

As for apostolic/eldership succession; well, this is to my mind a spiritual abomination. This servitude is a type of slavery imposed by dictators who fear 'soul competency', and 'the priesthood of all believers'.

The people are held captive by invisible handcuffs . They are denied the liberating freedom of the Gospel , with the result that 'all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries'(Julius Caesar by WS).

To me,it would seem a virtuous act to topple spiritual tyrants and supplanters.

Thanks to you, A.amos Love and Believer333 for the Scriptures quoted with regard to Sola Christus.


John said...


I fully understand your posts which primarily deal with the abuse of. "Authority." I ageree that although God delegates to spiritual authority to represent God, that individual has no authority of their own, That is why leaders are to be humble, gracious and Christ like and walk with God with a sensitive submission and spirit.

There are so many terms we use that are not found in the Bible that we use. Trinity, millennium and others that representative of Scriptural truths. However, if one desires to lead he must be a servant. That is what Paul described in ! Corinthians 4. We are but galley slaves. We need servants, not superstars, leaders, not Lords, Teachers, not tyrants and accountable people not authoritarians.

Wade, thanks for posting this. Keep um coming. I wish you and all these posters a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Rex Ray said...


Congratulations on a much improved photo!

Once I was asked by an individual if I’d like to serve as a deacon. I replied, “Only if the people chose me.”

A year went by and I was asked again. This time I accepted.

The next time the need of deacons were needed, we asked the church members to write two names and place in the offering plate as it was passed at a business meeting. We took two that had the highest number, discussed among ourselves if they were qualified, asked if they would serve, and then presented them to the church to be voted on.

The person in third place was a woman. This same individual ‘wondered’ if there was a ‘plot’ among the women to elect a woman. He dropped the idea when he learned more than 30% of the deacons had voted for her. :)

A. Amos Love said...

Hi Victorious - I do enjoy our conversations...

And - As far as todays - pastor/leader/reverends - imitating Paul - Well...
Paul - NEVER called himself - pastor/leader/reverend - Yes?
Paul - NEVER had the “Title/Position” pastor/leader/reverend - Yes?
Paul - NEVER was Hired or Fired as a - pastor/leader/reverend - Yes?

So, If todays - pastor/leader/reverends...
Are NOT imitating Paul???
Who are they imitating???
Where did ALL these “Titles/Positions” come from?
If they are NOT in the Bible?

A. Amos Love said...


You write...
“Seems like there are **good shepherds** and bad shepherds.”

I wish that were an accurate statement - I NO longer believe that. - For many reasons - Some of which we have discussed in the past - And some of my friends are pastors - and many friends are Exxx-pastors.

BUT - What did Jesus say???

Jesus, Himself said, there is NONE good but “ONE” - God. ;-)
And - I am the GOOD Shepherd.
And - there is “ONE” Flock - and - “ONE” Shepherd.

Mark 10:18
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good?
there is NONE GOOD but “ONE,” that is, God.

John 10:14
and know My Sheep, and am known of mine.

John 10:16
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.

The way I read it today, and I reserve the right to be wrong... ;-)
“His Disciples” believed what Jesus taught them...
Jesus is - The “ONE” Leader - Mat 23:10 NASB
Jesus is - The “ONE” Shepherd - John 10:16
Jesus is - The “ONE” GOOD Shepherd - Mark 10:18, John 10:14 - Because...

NOT one of “His Disciples” called themselves Shepherd/Pastor or Leader...

And - If I may suggest - Do a word study on “ONE” - See what you get.
Ask Jesus about this “ONE.”

One Voice - One Fold - One Shepherd - One Leader

{{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

A. Amos Love said...


You ask...
“What do you think of the verses in Jeremiah regarding shepherds?”

I like them a lot - Most are NEVER preached from the pulpit... ;-)
In the KJV - Shepherds is often pastors - pastors is found 8 times...
Six times God is NOT happy with “The Pastors.” ;-)

Jeremiah 2:8 KJV
...”The Pastors” also transgressed against me...

Jeremiah 10:21 KJV
For ”The Pastors” are become brutish, ( beastly, carnal )
and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper...

Jeremiah 12:10 KJV
Many “Pastors” have destroyed my vineyard,
they have trodden my portion under foot...

Jeremiah 22:22 KJV
The *wind shall eat up all “Thy Pastors,”
(*wind = ruwach = breath, mind, spirit.)
and thy lovers shall go into captivity:
surely then shalt thou be ashamed
and confounded for *all thy wickedness.*

Jeremiah 23:1 KJV
Woe be unto ”The Pastors” that destroy
and scatter the sheep of my pasture!

Jeremiah 23:2 KJV
...thus saith the LORD God of Israel
**against** ”The Pastors” that feed my people;
Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away,
and have not visited them: behold,
**I will visit upon you the evil of your doings,**
saith the LORD.

A. Amos Love said...


And here are just a few more verses about “Shepherds”
That you’re NOT likely to hear Preached from “The Pulpit.” ;-)

Zechariah 10:3 KJV
Mine anger was kindled against **The Shepherds**...

Isaiah 56:11 KJV
Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough,
and they are **Shepherds** that cannot understand:
they all look to their own way, everyone for his gain, from his quarter.

Jeremiah 25:34
Howl, **Ye Shepherds,** and cry;
and wallow yourselves in the ashes, **Ye Principal** of the flock:
for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished;
and **ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel.**
35 And **The Shepherds** shall have no way to flee,
nor **The Principal** of the flock to escape.
36 A voice of the cry of **The Shepherds,**
and an howling of **The Principal** of the flock, shall be heard:
for **the LORD hath spoiled “Their” pasture.**

(*Principal = Heb - addiyr = powerful, excellent, famous.

And, here is a shepherd verse, from Jeremiah, I quote offen - Because...
Most today are taught by “Their shepherds” *The Lost* are Un-believers.
BUT - This verse says, God’s people, are *Lost* - *Lost Sheep* - What???
**Their** shepherds have caused them to *go astray,* - Oy Vey!!! :-(
Notice it says - **Their** shepherds.

Jeremiah 50:6
“My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
**their shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

And that has been my experence with Mere Fallible Human shepherds...
I played “followed the leader/shepherd” and fell into a few ditches... ;-)
You know - Blind guides - leading the blind - BUT...

1 Pet 2:25
For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

I’m Blest... I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul...

{{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

Tom said...


In 1987, I joined a Baptist Church in the land down under, and the Elders’ model was that the Eldership Selection Committee in conjunction with the Senior Pastor would select from a list of nominated people those whom they thought would be suitable to be Elders. They would then present them to the congregation to vote on but the vote was a rubber stamp of the Eldership Selection Committee and the Senior Pastor. The congregation naturally endorsed that presented sanitised list as they had not choices to make.

The Selection process was loosely justified but the bottom line was that is the Senior Pastor wanted to wield his power without condemnation or interruption at that time. He was a “small crap” who needed to be a “big crap” on his own “crap pile” (mountain.) While the eldership remained, “yes men/women” there was harmony but when anyone of those Elders questioned/criticized the workings of the church or the leadership style of the Senior Pastor, that member of the “elite” was ceremoniously dumped onto the “discarded dung” heap and replaced by the Eldership Committee with a more “compliant” elder until the next Vote to endorse the Eldership Selection Committee’s offering.

I quickly realised that the leadership of the Church were all acting “God Like” and were control freaks who did not trust God to establish a Leadership Team for the Church so that its facade was perfect within their own eyes. Unless you were a “friend” of the Senior Pastor you had no chance of even being considered to becoming a member of the Eldership Team.

This church, (and I am sure many others like it), became renowned for chewing up people and spitting them out mangled and hurt so that they tendered to walk away from their relationship with God. Some of those people came with an anointing from God to become Shepherds of flocks but today, they will not set foot in a church because of the proliferation of this “Church Leadership Model” has become entrenched in the Churches around the world.

The Senior Pastors want to take authority over sicknesses and situations to demonstrate their “calling” to be “Great men of God” but sadly the wake wave of their passage through the sea of people leave behind a stench that is not becoming of a “shepherd” where the water has become churned up so that it is not fit for drinking and the pastures around them has been trampled by the throngs that attentively hang off every word that they utter.

The bible is used by them to justify their excesses in everything that they do and the hoards come to see their greatness, and leave with a hunger for these same excesses within their own fellowships. Oh for spiritual eyes that can see the beyond the facade to the prop(s) that is holding up the delusion that we call “church,” today.

Now I too must be careful, in that I do not replicate the same style of facade where the prop that holds up the facade of my fellowship is not hidden behind the rhetoric of my fine words of enchantment.

Sadly, the same old same old continues on unheeded because there are no/few men of courage or renown to hold up the Standard of God and who do not mind that their shortcomings are showing.


Tom Ross.

Wade Burleson said...


Very well written comment with much to chew on by all of us. Thanks for writing.

A. Amos Love said...


You mentioned Jer 3:15, and said - “Seems like there are “good” shepherds” - And at one time I thought, and taught Jer 3:15, that way. And “Ignored” all the other verses in Jer about God NOT being happy with pastor/shepherds.

I can now see this verse, preached a lot by pastors, in different ways today.
I’ll give you another option for what this verse could mean. - But first...

Why was “The Law” given? Who could keep “the Law?”
If the carnal mind is NOT subject to “The Law” of God? Rom 8:7
Wasn’t “The Law” a schoolmaster, tutor, to **bring us to Christ?** Gal 3:24.

So, could it be , “According to God’s heart?” To bring us to Christ?
NO matter the circumstances? The trials, disappointments, failures?

Jer 3:15 KJV
And I will give you **pastors according to mine heart,**
which shall feed you with *knowledge* and *understanding.*

Well, “Understanding?” - Is this beneficial - Or NOT?
Is this what “WE,” His Body, His Ekklesia, His Church, His Called Out Ones, His Kings and Priests, His Disciples, His Sheep, need? From Mere Fallible Human shepherds? Human “Understanding???”

Or do “WE,” His Sheep, Need to “Hear His Voice” and Follow Jesus???
To be His Disciple? And learn directly from Jesus - NO middle man?

Because, “WE,” His Church, His Called Out Ones, are asked, Pro 3:5, - To...

Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Lean NOT on **your own** “Understanding...”
...Be NOT wise in your own eyes. Hmmm?

And - “Knowledge?” Doesn’t “Knowledge” puff up?
Is this what “WE,” His Ambassordors, need? From human shepherds?
Human “Knowledge?” When “WE” are taught in 1 Cor 8:1...

“we all have knowledge. “Knowledge puffeth up,” but LOVE edifies...”

So, now, with “Understanding” and “Knowledge” NOT so beneficial...
What about - **pastors according to mine heart,** who are feeding us...
This “Understanding?” and “Knowledge?” Might NOT be a benefit - Yes?
Making us wise in our own eyes? - Definitly NOT a benefit...

When I’m full of “Understanding?” and “Knowledge?”
Does that take me “Away” from God - Less dependant on Jesus?
What happend to Solomon - The wisest man - His End was NOT so good.

Are **pastors according to mine heart?** - NOT so beneficial?

Other then - getting “WE,” His Sheep, so frustrated with Human pastors...
That their foolishness - Their Abuse, Their Errors, Their falling short...
Brings us to Christ? Because “WE,” have NO place else to go BUT Jesus?
The “ONE’ Shepherd?

Why do “WE” want these Mere Fallible Human shepherds?
When Jesus wants to be our “ONE” Shepherd?

What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

David said...

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

If the leadership of a church are not accountable to their congregation, then there is nothing to stop the leaders from collectively going off the rails. There is also nothing the congregation can do should that happen, other than leave. But people who have invested considerable amounts of time and money in a church are unlikely to up and go. The end result is that they will stay and become victims of spiritual abuse.

As I get on in life, I become more convinced that it is essential that churches have appropriate checks and balances in place to prevent things going wrong. By denying the need for this, Chuck Swindoll is going down a very dangerous road.

Victorious said... too an evangelical church that only allows only men in "leadership positions" is as dysfunctional as a homosexual marriage because gifted women are excluded."

Just wondering, then, are there gifted women preaching pastors at Emmanuel church?

Anonymous said...

The 501(3)(c) argument is anachronistic. There were no such designations in the 1st centrury. We can't apply it 501s to the New Testament model.

American chruches take this designation to benefit from the rule if law in the USA (avoiding taxation, owning property, etc..)

Consider a church in a 3rd world country with no official government registration. How abdurd with this argument look to them?

The Elders administer the church and that office is limited to men.

A. Amos Love said...


You write...
“The Elders administer the church”

Was wondering what you mean by that - What do these elders administer?

And - I think when you say church, and I say Church...
It Just ain’t the same thing. ;-)

Was wondering....
Which church are WE, His Ekklesia, His Body, His Sheep, talking about?
The Church of God? - Or - the church of man?

I love The Ekklesia of God, WE, His Church, His Body, His Bride, His Sheep.

But - I’m NOT so fond of “the church of man.” The 501 (c) 3, non-profit, Tax $ Deductible, Religious $ Corporation, the IRS calls church. Built on the Doctrines of Man and Traditions of Man that Jesus warned WE, His Ekklesia, His Sheep, would Cancell, Make Void, the Word of God.

Mark 7:13
NLT – you “cancel” the word of God to hand down your own tradition.
KJV – Making the word of God of “none effect” through your tradition…
ASV – Making “void” the word of God by your tradition…
NIV – Thus you “nullify” the word of God by your tradition…

Should WE, His Bride, His sheep, His Disciples call an IRS Corporation...
The Church of God? - NO...
But that’s what “WE,” His Ekklesia, His Bride, does Sunday Mornings,
when WE, His Body, His Church, His kids, say WE “Go to Church.”

In the Bible, did anyone Go To Church? Join a church? Tithe to a church?

Jer 50:6
“My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
**their shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

1 Pet 2:25
For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

I’m Blest... I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul...

{{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

Anonymous said...

I agree with a lot of what you say but to blame divorce on mail domination is not true, I think the real reason is the change in the church in general and the lack of dogma and systematic theology in our churches today having swapped the word of God for an experiential Christianity that May or may not beBiblical, you blame SB and Piper etc but there is a great peace if evidence by Wayne Grudem on the use of Kephalē and one cannot just dismiss Paul because we don't like what he had to say, how do we deal then with evangelical churches that have women leadership and a much higher divorce rate than SB, again I love your blogs but on this issue you are wrong :-)

David and Barbara Yamarick, Facilitators said...

The creation order is the reason why the gender specific role of elder has been set. 1 Timothy 2:12-14 specifies this. I is also stated 'the husband of one wife" NOT 'the wife of one husband" for eldership. This is fairly clear and I'm not sure how we argue around this even though women are fully capable. It's a biblical thing. We should follow it.

Anonymous said...

I refer you to 1 Corinthians 11:1-3:
"1 And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. 2 I am so glad that you always keep me in your thoughts, and that you are following the teachings I passed on to you. 3 But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God."

The spiritual authority in the church does fall on men. The problem in most churches is that the men fail in their obedience to Christ. And in most churches, thank goodness, there are strong women who step up and fill that void (and fill it well).

Bottom line is men do have authority over women. Women, however, should want to follow men because men are obeying what Christ has called them to be. The problem is men expect women to follow them but then the men don't hold up their end of the deal.

Gordon said...


Men or women ? Wrong question !

When a man or a woman, a youth or a child live in submission to God, aspire to the love and sacrificial service of the Lord Jesus Christ, and walk in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.....this is a display of true leadership in the group.
Such persons do not allow the impediments of restrictive structures to keep them from serving the Kingdom.