In our young years my wife and I left our home to become a part of a church planting team in another city. That church’s pastors became wrapped up in a form of the “shepherding movement.” The shepherding movement was, and still is, a form of highly authoritarian oversight by pastors who consider themselves to be part of God’s elite management team. They consider their positions (as pastors) to give them superior access to the secret will of God for the members of their local church congregations. When the pastors give spiritual counsel they feel they are giving God’s own mind to the counselee with near-prophetic weight.
One of the many aberrations that develop over time with shepherding movement churches is their implicit or explicit teaching that the local church is a family that one marries into when they join as members. This improper view of the church is necessary for them because the pastors see themselves as the head of the spiritual church “family” in the same way that the husband heads a literal family. As the local church’s husband (“head”) they feel they have the same right to subjugate, direct, and make decisions for every member of the congregation similar to how a husband is to govern a family household.
When my wife and I took issue with the increasingly aberrant doctrines and teachings of these shepherding movement pastors we ultimately felt convicted by conscience to resign so as to begin to attend a more Bible-adhering church. We resigned in person at 1pm on a Sunday. That night the pastors and elders showed up at our apartment unannounced at midnight to explain that by leaving their local church my wife and I were literally committing the sin of “divorcing the church.”
Try as they might they could not identify the passage of Scripture that states that congregants are married to a local church when they become members. They misapplied the Scriptures that state that pastors administer local churches and that all members of the universal church are actually brothers and sisters in Christ. We, the church universal, are to be married to Christ some day, but in no sense do we marry the church or worse, marry the pastors!
Indeed, if congregants really did marry the church when they joined, then the congregation would be the bride of the pastors. This would make the pastors the husband of the church, a position both symbolically and literally that belongs to Christ alone! Shepherding movement pastors usurp the very title and role of God.
In short, if you ever hear a pastor state that the members of the congregation are married to the local church (instead of being married to Christ) it provides you with the following information:
1) the pastor is ill trained in Scripture and in doctrine
2) the pastor has a shepherding movement mentality of elitism
3) the pastor is likely highly controlling in most areas of your life
4) the pastor likely makes decisions using a mystical sensing instead of relying on biblical principles
5) and it is time to consider finding a new church to join.
| ||Posted 4/4/2012 1:59 AM - 170 Views - 6 eProps - 11 comments|
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