Tag Archive: Religion


Over the last several months, for variety of reasons in my own life and the lives of those around me, the issue of elders in the church has become a topic heavy on my heart and mind.

I had a vague idea of what I thought a biblical elder should be, then I began hearing conversation about the position of an elder.  A few issues came up, such as, What are the responsibilities of the elders? What authority do the elders have?  Why it is dangerous to confront an elder or pastor? 

I began to wonder if I really understood the job description of an elder. I needed to stop all the noise, even if it was from people I respected, and find out what does God have to say about all this.

I started my research at CARM (Christian Apologetics Research Ministry).  Only because I knew the leg work of locating scripture would be done for me.  Sure enough I found thorough research on the elders in the church, their job description,even an outline of responsiblities and qualifications. 

There was so much good information I didn’t know where to begin reading.  I was pretty familiar with the qualifications, (although I did learn that the word elder is masculine, making a point for the side of no women elders).  I was primarily interested in the responsiblities of the elders and pearing down what that looked like, not just what I had seen modeled.

I chose 1 Pet 5:1-3 as a catalyst to defining the role of the elder.

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly,not for dishonest gain but eagerly;  nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;

Key words in the job description in this verse are Shepard and overseer.

Well, we know what a shepard does, it feeds the sheep, keeps them safe, and keeps the wolves out.

But I wanted to examine ‘overseer’.

I went to the Greek definitions for overseer.  I looked not only at the initial definition given, but continued to the root word, and found that the word for overseer was born from a word meaning WATCHMAN.

Wow!  Have a got a good analogy for this one!

So go with me for a moment to a camp in a deserted area.  A group of men, women and children, have set up housekeeping in this vast wilderness, and they choose watchman, who will rotate standing guard.

This Watchman will be looking for anything that may threaten the security of the camp.  He is guarding so that when a potential threat arises, he can take precautions to prevent entry into the camp.  Should he be unable to prevent an attack on the camp, his job would be to sound the alarm, so that all those within the camp are now aware of the pending attack, and can take precautions or flee. 

What this watchman would not do, is greet the attacker, ask what his plans are, then well aware of the threat to the camp, say “Have at it, but I can’t stand by and watch I’m out of here.” and then silently walk away.

I think it is important to note that if an attacker approaches, and the watchman is doing his job, he is going to be the first one fighting for his life. 

 He wasn’t hired to abandon his post at the first sign of a threat.  He was hired to keep watch, alert everyone of potential threat, and do everything in his power to prevent the attack, even if it meant loosing his own life.

The Watchman’s job is first to ward off any potential threat, and second,if unable to prevent it, to alert the entire camp of the threat.

So now we have an elder, who is to give food to, provide shelter for, and be a watchman of, the flock.

I came to this topic full of emotions because I felt our church had been abandoned by the elders, and because I was aware of another local church where there is a cycle of elders leaving their positions and yet the congregation remains helplessly unaware of what their Pastor is doing.

After seeking the Lord, studying the Word, and concurring with my husband, I still wanted confirmation that my concept of a biblical elder was not off base.  I couldn’t believe that I could be right, and that these men, who were suppose to be fulfilling these positions were dropping the ball.  These are Godly men, whom my husband and I respect, and yet they have left us fending for ourselves, unwilling to even talk about why privately, let alone sound an alarm publically.

Well that confirmation came, very quickly. 

We met with a newly appointed elder of our church, and we were careful to ask him questions without leading him to the answeres we wanted to hear.

What we heard was a resounding “I will be your WATCHMAN”

False teaching and spiritual abuse are running rampid and elders are walking away.

Where is the alarm? Where is the warning, Watchman?

You may dismiss my whole argument right now, saying that the threat is coming from inside the camp and so the rules are different.  Consider that a wolf in sheeps clothing may not be recognized immediatly upon entry to the flock, but when his identity is revealed it is still the job of the shepard to save the sheep!

Being an elder is a highcalling, and if a man believes he was called to this position by God, not just chosen by a pastor seeking “YES MEN”, then he ought to be willing to follow through on the responsibilities God called him to fulfill.

If these Pastors I refer to are quilty of  spiritual abuse, the elders walking away from them, and allowing them to continue, are at the very least quilty of spiritual neglect.

Exhortation:  Day 4

I appeal to you brothers by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ , that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgement.”

1 Corinthians 1:10

I came across a blog last night and the post was titled “Top 10 things Christians do that make me naseaus”  It was sad to see that as a Christian, I not only witnessed many of the things among believers but would agree that it is naseauting. 

One of the things this blogger said that Christians do is Major in the Minors and Minor in the Majors.

Are we so ‘studied’ now that we separate ourselves on minor issues, instead of cohesively working to promote the major issues? 

I  am not suggesting that there are no issues that would be major enough to cause divisions.   Certainly we would not align ourselves with a false teacher, who is misrepresenting the Gospel of Christ.

But the Gospel is a major doctrine. The Lord is unwaivering.

There are things, however that are perhaps minors that we like to make majors.

Are we dividing ourselves on issues that are minor? 

One of my favorite ‘Minors made Major’ is the issue of alcohol.  We have entire demoninations who have separated themselves on this issue.  I personally don’t think God sees this as a major, or He woud be much more clear about it!

The key then, to Majors vs. Minors, is not figuring out what your own Majors and Minors are. It is decifering what God’s Majors and Minors are. 

What things did Jesus make pointedly clear?  Perhaps these are the majors.  What things did Jesus overlook?  It is safe to say these are the minors. 

I want to Major in the Majors, and minor in the minors. 

 I dont’ want to distort the Gospel of Christ by Majoring in the Minors.

Will you join me?

 

To Talk or Not to Talk…

 

Knight Shadow, I returned to chat, but you seem to have decided you’d rather not talk.  (I got that impression because you blocked my comments).  But I do wish to respond, and clearly have the freedom to do so on my own blog. (I will make this my last attempt and if you don’t care to continue our chat, unlike you, I will bow out gracefully, atleast for now). 

 

I am the original anonymous. My anonymity was simply because you don’t know me. I have never been a member of your congregation.  We did meet once, when I attempted to have a face to face conversation with you, asking a question about something you taught.  You didn’t care then who I was, not even enough to make eye contact with me, and your answer to my question was so vague I walked away wondering if there was really an answer at all.

 

So based on my experience, while you say you are open to discussion, the truth is you don’t want to talk to me unless I agree with you.  I am keenly aware of a pattern among members and elders in your congregation, who seem to exit or be asked to leave when their questions become to hard to answer and they keep pressing for that answer rather than walking away like I did.

 

I am all too familiar with your communication style.  Whenever two statements of yours conflict you simply respond by saying ‘someone misunderstood’.  (You poor soul, so often misunderstood.) 

 

The ‘other side of the story’ is always wrong, and you find your self never at fault.

 

What are the odds that you are never wrong?  (Perhaps you should try that out in Vegas!)

 

This tactic of yours is nearly impenetrable. But there are some who are wise to your ways, some from the outside, some from the inside, some who have been turned inside out.  Praise God they are free from deception and confusion!

 

There is a way to have a conversation and prevent the confusion and you are already familiar with it, it is called the written word.  The beauty of having a conversation in writing, is that your words are your words, not to be twisted or changed later.  And the beauty of the world wide web, is that the discussion takes place with witnesses. (in keeping with Matt 18.)

 

The heart of a pastor would certainly want the flock to be safe, to feel safe.

 

So if this forum offers a safe way for questions to be asked and answered, and you are willing, then let me know.  Contrary to your assumption, my goal has not been to cast accusations, my goal has been and remains The Truth.  Questions asked, questions answered, truth revealed.

 

Whether or not you are willing to work toward that goal, remains to be seen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spritual Abuse, much like any other form of abuse I suppose. 

The abuser probably didn’t start off with an agenda to become an abuser.  Perhaps pride got in the way, ambition, boredom.   All sins of the heart none the less, that not confessed and submitted to the reign of the Lord, take the abuser further than one wanted to go, keep them longer than they wanted to stay, and will eventually (Lord willing) cost them more than they wanted to pay.

The victim, innocent from beginning to end.  We are suppose to be a part of the body of Christ, suppose to gather together regularly, suppose to submit ourselves to the authority put in place by God. And so we join a congregation, we find a place to fit in, to serve, to be used by the Lord. Then we find ourselves looking to our spiritual authority, the leader of our congregation most likely, to give confirmation, affirmation, opportunity. 

And the cycle begins.

The abuser now has access in to the life of the victim.  Free reign, in the name of the Lord, to exercise authority over that person.  The abuse begins not because the abuser exercises his God given authority but because the abuser has his own agenda.  Given over to his own sin, perhaps unwittingly, he is no longer truly serving the Lord, but is now serving himself. 

The victim(s) look to him for teaching, counsel.  In a healthy cycle, the leader, like Christ, would build up those in his charge, constatntly directing them to the Lord, and ultimately empowering them to serve and to grow, and to minister on their own.  But in the cycle of abuse, the abuser uses authority to control, to breakdown, and to make dependent upon him. 

The victims become confused, begin asking of themselves What did I miss?,  Why can’t I hear you God?

But the tactics have been so suttle and the process so slow, it is almost impossible to pinpoint when the abuse began.  And yet as sure as the sky is blue, the victim knows she is a victim.  She knows because there is confusion, division, pain.  All things which God did not author. 

The victim, Lord willing, escapes the cycle. Free at last. 

The question becomes, to tell or not to tell?  We wonder why an abused child doesn’t tell.  We wonder why an abused woman doesn’t tell.  Spend some time as a victim (not truly recommended) and you will quickly see, the abuser is likely a reputable person, established, trusted, respected.  And the victim is just one voice, who’s words are few, proof is little, and emotions are raw. 

The abuser willingly, entered into the game, the victim didn’t even know she was playing until it was too late.  The abuser has a strategy, his defense is built before he even begins to play.  The victim was just rolling the dice, trying to be a part of what God is doing.

And yet if the victims can’t find a way to speak up, the cycle continues.

Could I stand by and let that happen in the case of child abuse?  Ofcourse not, that would be preposterous.

But confront a spirtual abuser…