Too often the children of God, the Saints of His Church are referred to as Sheep (by Pastors) as if they [the Saints] were mindless, dumb, filthy and wayward creatures without the ability to care for themselves. Dumb, Directionless, and Defenseless.
And to give credit where credit is due, this article is inspired by fellow blogger Rebecca Davis @ HeresTheJoy.com. She wrote an article on the good ‘ole Sheep Sermon and it was articulate, intelligent, and absolutely correct. A commentator inspired me to comment in kind, and something that was said sparked this thought within me. Are the Sheep dumb, and only the Shepherd (Pastor) gets Wisdom from God?
The gist of the post, and the age-old sermon, and I hope you go read it (here), is that the modern Pastor assumes the role of Chief Shepherd, quite incorrectly, and then uses that position to convince the sheeple (us) that without him, and his guidance, and his wisdom, we are dumb, directionless and defenseless. Sheep?
Thus, we must know his (the pastor) voice and obey [him] without question. This generally goes on to create an imbalance in the Church, where the saints become subservient to this shepherd, rather than being fellow-servants to Christ, the real Chief Shephard.
One commentator said this;
These churches try to degrade members to some subservient status. They have succeeded. There is the “Pastor” who is perfection and then you…sheeple.
Dr. Ed Nelson began to speak…and cackled a bit…trying to control his laughter. He went on to say the following: “Oh yeah, I’m hearing that some of you sheep are bleating-well…that’s just what sheep do…you don’t think everything is being done right…well you know what? It’s not up to sheep to decide…”
He then brought it home: “You sheep just need to do what your pastor says, and if he’s wrong-he will answer for it one day.”
Here is where I unhinge from Churchianity
This attitude, line of thinking, and frankly, a grave doctrinal error, must be a stink to almighty God. Take for instance one simple Scripture in James to contrast the idea that we are dumb, directionless, and defenseless, and have no hope without a shepherd (modern pastor) guiding our every move.
I heard the line, “obey your pastors…if he is wrong God will take care of that” over and over and its a flat-out lie.
If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5, AMP
When Jesus told us, “I will not leave you comfortless [orphaned]…”, John 14:18, he didn’t finish His sentence with, ‘but I will send you Shepherds to control your every move’.
But on to my main point…
When the commentator to the original post said “These churches try to degrade members to some subservient status” I could not help but be reminded and respond about my old church.
The pastor there, of the controlling type, unfortunately (it’s all he’s known and been taught, multi-generational Pentecost), decided to create a group of Cadets.
Now, this was a group of young men being used as servants under the auspices of learning to be servants of Christ…or to teach them ministerial humility. These Cadets served the pastor in many, and anyway, he asked for.
When he was hungry, they went to get food. They lugged his bible and jacket around the church after service was over, delivered messages, observed him preaching and if he needed water, or towels (Pentecostals sweat a lot!) or waved them over, they came running.
If the musical instruments needed strings, they drove to the music store. If he was out of paper, they got him paper. When something needed delivering, they deliver. Freaky fast.
Now, this should be a giant red flag to people, and yet blindly it’s accepted as healthy and good. It’s simply honoring the man of God they would say, showing reverence where reverence is due.
But I have to argue, Jesus is the only one due reverence, and furthermore, if you take the Church fathers, the founding Apostles, and disciples, their example was such that they were being overwhelmed with serving people, not the other way around!
Acts Chapter 6 is regarded as the beginning of the office of Deacon within the Church Body because the Apostles couldn’t keep up with serving all the widows, orphans, etc.
So when did this happen, that church leader, appointed to be the undershepherds of God’s flocks become Lords of servants? Shepherds with Sheep Servants.
We are commanded to be servants of Christ, not man. And man, placed in the office of Bishop was to feed, serve and oversee (look upon) the flock, not lord over it.
Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. – 1 Peter 5:3, KJV
James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
Jude 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:
We are not Sheeple, (the flock, God’s Saints) Dumb, Directionless and Defenseless. God said he has equipped us with all we need, including the whole Armor of God (Ephesians 6:11) that we would be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil.
Be servants of Christ, be addicted to the ministry of the saints, look to the coming of the Lord, and draw strength from His Spirit! You are not Sheeple, you are God’s Children!
God’s Peace to you,