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16 November, 2015 15:06

November 16, 2015


In my fifty plus years of ministry I have heard numerous sermons and read several books on the topic of ‘covering’. Let me state categorically that I am a firm believer in submission to God’s appointed authorities. Notice I used the plural of authority and not authority in a singular sense. I’m writing in reference to church authority specifically.

The teaching on covering has been used in many cases to control those who would potentially challenge the spiritual leadership in the church. Some have even gone as far as to tell those who refuse to submit to them that they will die, or bring a curse upon themselves or their family.

During the time of the Old Testament there were kings and queens who upon ascending the throne would have all their rivals killed; thereby securing for themselves unchallenged power and authority. Today we no longer practice such barbaric methods but instead pull out the covering card and tell people to back off. Then, letting them know they are God’s anointed and appointed leader; so don’t you dare question my authority.

Now I can hear in my mind those who are already thinking that I’m advocating rebellion against God’s appointed leaders. Nothing could be further from the truth. What I am saying is that God never appointed one man to rule His people but rather a plurality of leaders. The Godhead is a perfect example of this.

The New Testament teaches that the Early Church appointed elders in every church, not an elder! Elders were those who kept watch over the congregation. The writer of Hebrew urges the church to ‘Obey your leaders, and submit to them.’ Hebrews 13:7. Likewise Peter exhorts the young men ‘to be subject to your elders’. 1 Peter 5:5. Why elders? Because ‘In the multitude of counselors there is safety.’ To give one man the sole authority is dangerous, both for himself as well as the flock. One man cannot equal the wisdom and balanced perspective of two or more.

While we hear a great amount of teaching on submission to authority we hear far less about those in authority. Jesus was far stricter regarding those in authority than those under authority. God’s leaders must always bear in mind that they have been placed in their respective positions of authority as servants not lords. Peter reminded the elders that they were ‘not to lord it over those allotted to their charge.’ Peter went on to remind the elders that they too were under the watchful eye of the Chief Shepherd and would be rewarded by Him accordingly. 1 Peter 5.

Finally, there is a trend in some circles in the Body of Christ for the congregation to stand when their leader enters. This is their way of honoring the man of God. Now I don’t ever recall Jesus ever teaching His disciples to stand when in the presence of a servant. Now I’m not suggesting we look down on those in authority, but neither do I want to elevate them to the point of making them feel superior to everyone else. Remember, pride and power often go together. This was what infuriated Jesus about the Scribes and Pharisees. He said, ‘And they love the place of honor at banquets, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi…But the greatest among you shall be your servant’.

Any position of spiritual leadership is one of the most demanding roles a person can be called to. For this reason we are exhorted to pray for all those in authority both within as well as outside the church. Submit to them and pray for them daily, but never let one man control you to the point of cutting off your ability to hear from God. Good and godly leaders will always seek to encourage you to hear from God for yourself.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 29, 2015 5:02 pm

    Good word David. I was so glad to see that you posted a new blog. 🙂 It is always such a blessing when you do.

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