The Leadership Deception: Part One

It’s a very popular fad these days. It’s a constant topic of conversation. Everywhere you go, any church you go to, someone is going to be talking about, addressing, implementing, or augmenting their ideas about leadership.

Leadership seminars, leadership series, leadership manuals, leadership training, leadership classes, leadership materials, leadership courses…the list keeps on going.

Heading off to Bible College or seminary? Expect to take a leadership development course.

Want to get involved in the ministry of your local church? Expect to go through leadership training.

Plan on becoming a licensed minister with whatever organization? Prepare to read lots and lots of leadership materials.

Find yourself being promoted by the Lord? You guessed it! Someone’s going to try and sign you up for their leadership team.

Often rub elbows with other elders and ministers at various conferences, conventions and/or retreats? Chances are high, leadership was a main topic.

Am I telling the truth? You know I am.

And something’s very wrong with that. Let me explain.

First, I want to say that I am not against leadership, as a specific concept. It is Biblical. For example, when Jesus said to His disciples “Follow me…” it’s obvious that when one so followed, by default, they could only do so if someone, in this case, Jesus, led them, i.e. was their leader.[1]

The Bible more than once urges us to note and mimic the example of quality Christians, thereby demonstrating that there were saints who showed the way to a more perfect relationship with Christ among the brethren back in the 1st century.

And, if you’ve read from the King James Version, you’ve frequently seen its use of “rule“, at least in the New Testament. Two good examples are Hebrews 13:7 and 17, which read:

7. Remember them which have the rule over you…

17. Obey them that have the rule over you…

Here, the word “rule” is hegeomai and it means: to lead, to go before. It’s related to the root for our modern word hegemony.

It’s quite clear then that leadership, as an idea, is Scriptural.

So what’s the problem? The problem isn’t with the idea or with the Scriptures.

The problem, rather, is the marriage between God’s idea of leadership as given in the Word and how the Church has embraced the way the world teaches and obsesses over leadership.

Right now, this fad, which is quickly becoming an obsession, and is all the rave among many elders, ministers, pastors, and etc. is almost totally based on how the world and its systems define and implement leadership ideas.

Don’t believe me? Compare:

Corporate Leadership (of the World):

  • President/CEO
  • Vice Presidents
  • CFO
  • Regional Managers
  • General Managers
  • Directors
  • Controllers
  • Managers
  • Supervisors
  • Staff

Current Church Leadership (also, sadly, of the World):

  • General Superintendent (i.e. President/CEO)
  • General Board (i.e. Vice Presidents)
  • General Secretary (i.e. CFO)
  • Regional Superintendents (i.e. Regional Managers)
  • District Superintendents (i.e. General Managers)
  • District Presbyters (i.e. Directors)
  • District Secretaries (i.e. Controllers)
  • Senior Pastors a.k.a. Bishops (i.e. Managers)
  • Assistant/Associate Pastors (i.e. Supervisors)
  • Saints (i.e. Staff)

And if you still don’t believe me or aren’t yet convinced, I’ll go a step further:

Ancient Rome (i.e. the Beast):

  • Emperor (i.e. General Superintendent)
  • Senate (i.e. General Board)
  • Treasurer (i.e. General Secretary)
  • Regional Kings (i.e. Regional Superintendents)
  • Governors (i.e. District Superintendents)
  • Tetrarchs (i.e. District Presbyters)
  • Accountants a.k.a. the Numerarius (i.e. District Secretary)
  • Procurators (i.e. Senior Pastors a.k.a Bishops)
  • Helpers a.k.a. the Adiutorus (i.e. Assistant/Associate Pastors)
  • Citizens (i.e. Saints)

I know this paints an ugly picture, but don’t look away. We need to see this for what it is.

But you say, “So what if we share a standardized hierarchy? Maybe the world is copying us? And even if not, as long as we use Biblical principles to govern how we lead, it doesn’t matter, right?”.

There is a lot wrong with this kind of thinking.

First, we must admit that words have meaning. Whether we intend to attach meaning to the words we use or not, or even if such usage accidentally conveys an un-intended meaning, it still doesn’t stop the words we use from meaning something. Take hierarchy.

Do you know what this word means?

It means a class of high priests or priests who rule. Today, it has come to mean any system of rank where one level or strata of an organization is subordinate to another. But that wasn’t the intended meaning when it began to be applied to ecclesiastical orders. So if we are going to say that we only happen to share in the hierarchy of the world’s leadership systems, we are, even if accidentally or unintentionally, relaying the meaning that our leaders, which when you get to the top, means the General Superintendent only, is to us, a high priest. This is a functional papacy. Behold:

The Holy Roman and Apostolic Church (Mystery Babylon):

  • The Pope (i.e. General Superintendent)
  • Cardinals (i.e. General Board)
  • Papal Secretary (i.e. General Secretary)
  • Arch-Bishops (i.e. Regional Superintendents)
  • Bishops (i.e. District Superintendents)
  • Treasurer of the Diocese (i.e. District Secretaries)
  • Territorial Prelates (i.e. District Presbyters)
  • Fathers (i.e. Senior Pastors a.k.a Bishops)
  • Priests (i.e. Assistant/Associate Pastors)
  • Catholics (i.e. Saints)

In the New Testament, we are told of only ONE High Priest of our faith: Jesus Christ. He alone fulfills the typology of the Old Testament, and is the only high priest after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4 and Hebrews 6:20). God only saves to the uttermost those who come to Him through that High Priest and Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth (Hebrews 7:21-28).

So to speak of a hierarchy in the Church, and to associate any man other than Christ (e.g. whether CEO, General Superintendent, Emperor, or Pope) with being the High Priest is a serious error.

Secondly, all saints of the Most High are priests unto God the Father (Revelation 1:6). We are not told that there are ranks among us, as if one’s royal priesthood before God is of a greater importance or a higher level/degree of eminence. All have been commanded to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

As individual members, we all have different roles and functions, but none can say that any part of the Body of Christ, on account of some man-made rank, is more necessary or important (Compare to 1 Corinthians 12:12-25). And, in case it wasn’t made clear, a different role or function in the Body does not a Sovereign make.

In fact, Jesus told His disciples that they were all brothers (Matthew 23:8). Only Jesus is the firstborn among the (many) brethren (Romans 8:29). We are told we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). It’s kind of hard being one, that is, equal with someone when either: you, they, or both believe they are to be your personal head and mediator between you and the Savior.[2]

And while there are some who are apostles, and some who are prophets, and some who are teachers, and some who are miracle workers, and some who are healers, and some who are helpers, and some who govern, and some who can speak in a diversity of tongues, Paul goes on to show us a more excellent way, i.e. a way that’s better than positional rank and authority in the Church (See 1 Corinthians 12:28-31).

And that more excellent way is love (which never, among other things, vaunts itself and isn’t puffed up: 1 Corinthians 13:4).

In the Word, we are commanded thus: “by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). The Lord Jesus makes an important point in Luke 17:7-10 regarding one who serves versus the one being served. The one who serves is the unprofitable servant who can only do that which is his or her duty to do, i.e. to serve/be a servant.

But now notice something Jesus said in Luke 22:26:

26. …he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

Here’s a fun nugget to take seriously. The word “chief” here in Luke 22:26 is the same word as “rule” in Hebrew 13:7 and 17, namely hegeomai. The one who desires to lead, to be out in front, i.e. be great in the kingdom, must reject the world’s idea of who gets to be in charge, and instead, put on a slave’s garment, become an unprofitable (i.e. useless according to the Greek) servant and do his or her duty to their Master and Lord, i.e. Jesus Christ.

Essentially, they must take on the role of the younger (keep this in mind for later as it’s highly important).

But that’s not how we do things in the Church. We elevate men into power positions, grant them near autocratic authority (even at the local level), allow them to build kingdoms within the Kingdom, lead man-made hierarchies created by the World, and never question it ’til the Last Trump sounds.

This is why a “so what?” approach to this topic is so wrong. The system enforces and re-enforces its own errors. If you’re going to have a hierarchy, you’re automatically going to have problems since any kind of hierarchy is diametrically opposed to the direct Headship of Jesus Christ.

Still don’t believe me?

Here is the only chain of command given in the Bible: 1 Corinthians 11:3,

3. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Christ is the personal head of every single male saint in the whole universal Church. Just as no one gets to replace or usurp God the Father as Christ’s Head, no one else gets to replace or usurp Jesus Christ as the Head over the individual men He has called and saved.

But what do we say? We say things like: “He (meaning some man) goes to Pastor __________’s church”. That is a de facto confession that that local assembly belongs to that Pastor, that that Pastor is the Head (allegedly under Christ), and that the man to whom we are referring is “under” that pastor as though that man has a second head apart from Christ Himself.

Ever hear someone say you can’t be saved without a pastor?[3] I have (Compare to Acts 9:17-18, where we read that Paul was saved without a pastor. Yes, Ananias was present, but he doesn’t fit the bill for what we think of when we say or mean pastor. Additionally, merely sharing or preaching the Gospel, i.e. evangelizing, does not make someone a pastor, even if the audience obeys and gets saved. If anything, it makes such a person an evangelist only).

Jumping gears just a bit, now take a look at what Simon Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:1-5:

1. The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

2. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

3. Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.

4. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

5. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Simon Peter, though an Apostle, though he was personally given the keys to the Kingdom by the Messiah and given the right to preach the opening sermon of the Christian Church in Acts 2, only calls himself a fellow elder. He then exhorts these other elders to feed (not rule and command) the flock which is among, not under them (a BIG distinction). After which, they are told to look after and care for (a more accurate rendering of episkopeo) the saints.[4] Such care is not as a corporate world supervisor or boss, but as someone personally invested in the well-being of the sheep and not in a paycheck at the end of the month, i.e. for filthy lucre.

Verse 3 is key: “being lords over” means “to bring under one’s power, to subject one’s self, to subdue, master, to hold in subjection, to be master of, exercise lordship over” and is the same Greek phrase as found in the following verses from the Gospels: Matthew 20:25, Mark 10:42, and Luke 22:25.

What is the Lord’s commandment on such matters?

it shall not be so among you… (Matthew 20:26)

so shall it not be among you… (Mark 10:43)

ye shall not be so… (Luke 22:26)

WE ARE ORDERED BY THE SON OF THE MOST HIGH GOD TO NEVER, EVER DO THIS TO ONE ANOTHER!!! And yet, our leadership deception has us doing this to one another ALL THE TIME, EVERY SINGLE DAY, IN EVERY SINGLE CHURCH, ALL OVER THE WORLD!!!

Yes, I’m shouting!!!

We need to awake to righteousness and get out of the lies the devil has spoon fed us. The wool has been fully pulled down over the Church’s eyes. This obsession for “leadership” as it’s come to be known, is nourishing the belly of a terrible beast called the flesh, and it is completely hindering the move of God’s Spirit in the Church, a Church which utterly rejects Christ as Universal Head of His Own Body!

Many different organizations and denominations list their constituents at whatever million or more members. Then they list their number of ministers at whatever low number in the thousands.

Guess what? Those millions of constituents are your ministers! But look at the ratio, e.g. 1,000,000 to 1,000. Is it any wonder that the 1,000 are getting burned out, tired, sick, and are failing the Call of the Great Commission when 999,000 souls in the church have been taught to be passive spectators without a calling, ministry, or priesthood? Or worse, that, regardless of what the Bible teaches, Christ isn’t really their first and only Head, but instead of that, they have a separate head who is supposed to rule and reign in their life (i.e. bring under one’s power, subject one’s self, subdue, master, hold in subjection, be master of, exercise lordship over), before they ever even get to Jesus?

Now note verse 5 from 1 Peter 5:

5. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Younger saints are supposed to submit, i.e. yield to the influence (not through force or fear, mind you) of the elder saints. Very good, right and true. But then, the part of the verse often conveniently forgotten by the elders is the next phrase: “all of you be subject one to another“. Consider: the elders have just been told by Simon Peter to also submit themselves (same Greek word) to the younger. What? I thought we had a firmly established hierarchy where the elders lead and give charge while the younger saints, i.e. the neophyte novices kneel and bow the head in obedience?

Not so. Remember the Lord’s commandment! He who would be greatest in the Kingdom must do what? Become as a youth. The elder, the one who through experience, knowledge, time, investment, anointing and spiritual promotion by God, must, because of the greatness of their maturity, become like the younger and submit him or herself and learn to yield to the new converts. When? When Christ, as the true Head of that new convert, wants to have His way in that young man or young woman’s life and use him or her for the great glory of God (without anyone’s permission, of course).

But that’s not how we operate. The younger saints in the church are positioned in the pews as spectators while the elders sit comfortably in nice chairs on the platform performing the entire ministry the whole Body is supposed to be performing through the unction of the Messiah.

Even though the elder is supposed to become the servant of all, they end up with people constantly serving them. If they become a big enough wheel, they end up with a whole team who’s sole purpose for existence is to help them carry out “their” ministry and “their” vision in the world. That, my friend, is lordship.

Instead, the great elders among us are supposed to be the “useless” slaves who go about washing feet, serving the Body, being of no reputation (compare that to all the famous, practically worshiped preachers in the world), humbly serving their Lord and Master—and therefore, by extension, the Bride of their Lord and Master—without so much as a thank you (Luke 17:9).

Am I rightly dividing the Word or not?

So why aren’t things the way they are supposed to be? It’s because we are deceived. We are yet a part of Mystery Babylon, the Great Whore. The command to come out of her and so not be a partaker of her sins, and so not receive of her plagues falls, all too often, on deaf ears (See Revelation 18:4).

Well maybe this will help:

If we are to withdraw ourselves from the Great Whore, how do you suppose we “went in” her to begin with? Secondly, if we don’t withdraw, and end up partaking of her sins, what sin, do you suppose it is, we partake of? Thirdly, what kind of plague do you suppose a whore could give to us, should we not withdraw?

Getting a little unpleasant, isn’t it? Your brain is starting to get the picture, isn’t it? Withdrawing from a whore? Not sharing in her sin? Not receiving her plagues (think STDs)? The language is very sexual, even provocative, isn’t it? It’s fornication of the flesh, which is idolatry. There is a reason so many idols in the history of the world tend to symbolize a human phallus.

God is desperately trying to warn us! This “leadership” deception is nothing more than perversion instituted by the Great Whore of Babylon and the Beast upon which she rides.

The graphic nature of the depiction is so striking, so jarring, so grotesque simply because God dares us to see it for what it really is (Compare to Jeremiah 13:26 and Nahum 3:5, if you have the courage).

It’s a big slap in the face, screaming at us to WAKE UP!

________________________________________________________________________

Less than three years ago, I had a strange dream. I did not like it. The dream was rather simple, but it was upsetting, nonetheless.

In the dream, I was on the district campgrounds where the organization my church is affiliated with holds several different meetings (Family Camp, Senior Camp, Junior Camp, Men’s Camp, and etc.).

In the dream, the office of the General Manager at the time, of the company I used to work for when I had the dream, was located on the campground. The GM, a real person, was walking and talking, smiling a great big smile, and was even schmoozing with the ministers. I was tasked with locking the GM’s office door and carrying his briefcase to his car. I didn’t like it, and felt like I was being mistreated. Afterward, the GM and one of the ministers got into his car and drove away.

Thus ended the dream.

The next day, shuddering to think what the dream meant, partially trying to reject the possibility, I finally prayed to God about it, subconsciously hoping it held no meaning. But immediately, the Spirit quickened in me and gave me the download: The Church is married to the World.

I know the testimony of one man is not true, and that Jeremiah explained that dreams are chaff compared to the wheat of the Word. So, take it for whatever it’s worth. But I know from whence the dream came and what it means.[5]

And I have had nothing but continual sorrow in my heart since that day. Does it mean every single saint on the planet is married to the world? No, not at all. But much, if not almost all of the infrastructure and organization under-girding the Church, and those responsible for keeping the system going, I am afraid, are in a dangerous place without even knowing it. Are they Spirit-filled? Assuredly. Do I believe they are saved? Yes.

Salvation is based on obeying the Gospel, and I have no doubt these people have obeyed.

But everything that can be shaken will be shaken, including the Church. We are warned to take heed to how we build. It will be tried by fire. Paul guaranteed it. And there are a whole lot of invested lifers who are going to get singed almost beyond hope if they don’t walk away from their Leadership Deception.

And after such a scorching, I wonder, what will become of the rest of us?

_______________________________________________________________________________

[1] Please note, however, that the Greek word for “follow” as used several times in the Gospels by the Lord is akoloutheo, and it means “to accompany”. So even the Lord’s statement to follow Him had more of an invitational tone than one that made demands of anyone. Note, too, that this is a completely different, i.e. unrelated word than the one Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 11:1 when he encourages the Corinthians to be “followers” of him. See the ninth footnote of Part II for more information.

[2] The statement may seem crass or sarcastic, but I’ve heard more than one sermon in which the preacher let everyone know he was a “middle man” between God and the church. The literal meaning of the Greek word translated mediator is to be a “middle man”. Let that sink in for a moment.

[3] As if any pastor anywhere in the world has the right to be co-redeemer with Christ?

[4] The Latin rendering of episkopeo, i.e. supervisor, has been fully tainted by the secular world’s adoption and use of the word in the job market. Neither episkopeo or supervisor, as originally used, meant what we think it does today. The words merely meant to “inspect”. Anything more than that is added tradition and bias.

[5] A little more of the story: I shared that dream with a licensed minister, who boldly proclaimed both the dream and the interpretation to be from God. Little did he know he was, in the dream, the very minister the former GM of my former employer accompanied off the campgrounds.

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~ by votivesoul on 09/04/2013.

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