Many of my posts have been lost due a spamming “attack” a couple years ago. I’ve been able to track some of them down, though. Here are a few from the “lost files”…
I thought you might be interested to read about the latest shenanigans taking place among our favorite charismatic “soap opera” celebrities. Actually, all silliness aside, this is a subject that I take kind of seriously because of the spiritual abuse/manipulation that I’ve experienced at the hands of power-hungry leaders. Not to mention the sad fact that I eventually learned to give my own form of manipulative “ministry time” along the way. I’m still repenting…
So, this might be a bit depressing…and yet, as sad as I am, it motivates me to seek the ordinary/reject the theology and apostolic “covering” which produces this kind of mess and toxicity. I don’t want to see any more harm…least of all coming from those of us who profess to be followers in His name. My prayer: Lord, have mercy on us sinners.
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It is a sad event when one of our brothers fall. I say the word “brother” begrudgingly because in doing so I am aligning myself with someone I have little respect for, which is in fact, one of the topics of discussion – alignment. How does one hold another accountable and convey an element of trust in a world that screams, “don’t trust anyone”?
I am most taken back by this quote in Apostolic Bullshit from Frank Viola in his book, Who is Your Covering, “But if we dissect the ‘covering’ teaching, we will discover that it is rooted in a one-up/one-down, chain-of-command style of leadership. Within this leadership style, those in higher ecclesiastical positions have a tenacious hold on those under them. Oddly, it is through such top-down control that believers are said to be ‘protected’ from error.” In trying to put my hands (well, mostly my heart) around such a poor structure of leadership, I am reminded of a quote from The Shack by William P. Young. Many of you have read the best seller, and not to promote jumping onto the band wagon, well, just jump on. It’s a paradigm-shattering novel that takes only minutes to digest the story, and life-times to digest the theology. The quote is by Jesus himself to the main character, a man named Mack. To give you a brief background, Mack is discussing his view of the world with Jesus and Jesus responds saying, “I don’t create institutions – never have, never will.” Mack replies with, “What about the institution of marriage?” Jesus says, “Marriage is not an institution, it’s a relationship. Creating institutions are occupations for those who like to play God. So, I’m not too big on religion – politics or economics either.” It is us Christians who created the ladder-like leadership structure that is not only absent from the Bible, but is condemned by the one we are apparently doing all this for. I’m amazed that in Apostolic Bullshit III, he references 3 different kinds of vertical apostles and 4 different kinds of horizontal apostles. I am saddened to find that even the best concordances have been unable to find these titles anywhere in the Scriptures.
Now that I have come full circle back to our need for accountability, I’m going to suggest the use of a rather cliche mantra, WWJD? How did Jesus hold his disciples accountable? It seems too easy to suggest, “relationship,” but the more I examine His lifestyle, the more I am convinced that with Jesus, everything was about people. Have we attempted to control behavior, demand accountability, and created leadership structures absent of any true relationship?
Yes to your question. Undeniably. I might say more about that, but you’ve done splendidly without me adding one bit! 🙂
On a related topic, have you ever researched much or read about the term post-charismatic? Only recently I’ve been thinking/writing about it more intentionally. Anyway, here are a couple links to look at should you so choose:
What are your thoughts about practicing/seeking charismata in this new (post charismatic?) context?
one more link, for your reading (and commenting) pleasure:
The article on Todd Bentley’s marriage is interesting. Peter Wagner, Bob Jones and others at first promoted and “aligned” themselves with Todd. However, after his failings they distanced themselves from him and pretended that they did not at first promote or align themselves with him.
Are they expected to know these things in advance? If their promotion was misdirected, then why not admit it? Are they concerned that others would view them as less then a mouthpiece for God? Does their own pride keep them from unveiling what is true – that they may not have heard from God in the first place?
To compound this, people expect these leaders to be able to predict such outcomes. Psychologists call this behavior “hindsight bias” – the exaggerated feeling of having been able to predict an outcome before it actually happened.
I think that if these leaders would have said, “I was wrong – I made a mistake”, we would be writing about something else. These so-called “leaders” need to come down to our level — since that’s where they truly are. Even if we should consider ourselves a “prophet”, it is impossible to know every outcome every time. They were dead wrong and they should quit being hypocrites about it.
“I think that if these leaders would have said, “I was wrong – I made a mistake”, we would be writing about something else.”
This statement of yours really reflects my sentiments as well. While I think they made a mistake and humans are allowed to do that (with all the consequences the community will come to bear), I don’t think this should have caught the “Apostles/Prophets” by surprise. TB and Lakeland had already been called to task by many worried leaders, over “excesses and abuses” as Brother Maynard would say. And, this, before TBs marriage issues came out. All in all, the hype and machinery around this Celebrity Stage left everyone more wounded than before. Even those who were healed will now have to question or give answer for the validity of something so personal and real in their lives. It’s a shame…
Hey Jason, This is a very interesting post. I’m especially interested in your own personal experiences:
“this is a subject that I take kind of seriously because of the spiritual abuse/manipulation that I’ve experienced at the hands of power-hungry leaders.”
I’ve experienced what I’d estimate as a fairly heavy dose of spiritual abuse. It’s really hurt my spiritual drive, confidence in leadership (that is, both confidence in myself as a leader and confidence in my leaders), and my involvement — tangibly and emotionally– with my community. I love God deeply, but I feel somewhat crippled in these areas. After nearly 14 years, it’s still hard to move forward and be unhindered by these events.
Maybe this is for another post some time in the future — if you so choose — but I am very interested in your experiences and what you’ve done to cope and/or break free from the shackles of your own experiences relating to spiritual abuse.