Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.


The Great White Throne Judgement

Judgement Day

“Well brother, I certainly wouldn’t want to have to be in your shoes on judgement day!” My ‘friend’ – also a leader at our fellowship – said to me. I was stunned. What horrible thing did I do?

My wife and I had attended this church for several years. We were very involved and were in leadership positions. But God told us to leave. We really loved the people and had many friends there; but there were issues that really concerned us that we could no longer ignore and after a lot of prayer and contemplation we left.

What prompted this blog was a conversation I had with a friend who still attends that fellowship. He has noticed that there are some differences with what’s going on there and with what the bible says. So he’s tried going to the pastor there to discuss his concerns.

Now this church is one of those that is run like a corporation. The CEO is too important to be bothered by his members. His time is way too valuable. The leadership there are expected to act as an insulating  layer between the pastor and congregation so that his time isn’t consumed by having to actually pastor. When my wife and I were there we were expected to make hospital visits, which we always were eager to do. We love praying for the sick because from personal experience we know Jesus heals. When the pastor would ask us to call on someone in the hospital we were always instructed to ‘tell them how much my wife and I love them’ – even if  he didn’t know them. I was disturbed by this and so I would always make sure the sick person knew how much Jesus loved them and that the pastor had asked us to visit.

In this church the quickest way to be identified as a troublemaker is to question the pastor about what he says in the pulpit or to express questions about anything being done.  So when problems come up he gets one of his ‘leaders’ to talk to the troublemaker  and try to get them back into line. The leadership spends a great deal of time and effort trying to put down dissent and to make sure that the sheep are obedient. The people are viewed as assets to be used and controlled, not as brothers and sisters to serve.

My young friend has run afoul of this corporate machine because he’s bothered by what is said and done from the pulpit versus what the bible says. The leader was sent to get him back into line and told him that he can obey and be blessed or disobey and be cursed.

I advised him to leave. Nowhere in the bible are we told to be in slavish subservience to men. Nowhere in the bible does God ask us to disregard what he says and do what men say instead. In Acts 4:19 (NLT) it saysBut Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? “. Hebrews 13:17 (NLT) tells us: “Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.”. Narcissistic pastors use this as justification for demanding unquestioning obedience. This was never intended to give the pastor total control and authority over those he is supposed to be serving. When this is used to manipulate and control people into ignoring the scriptures and blindly following the whims of their leaders it is a heinous sin. The Bereans were praised in Acts 17:11: (NLT) “And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.”

If you’re in a church where the word of the pastor is more revered than the word of God, where the name of the pastor is more exalted than the name of Jesus, where the glory of the pastor is more important than the Glory of God, leave. Do not be deceived into accepting a lie instead of embracing the truth. On judgement day you will be found among the blessed if you followed Jesus, damned if you didn’t. It wont be easy leaving a fellowship where all your friends are, it is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. You decide: Is it right for you to obey God? or men?

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About Dave Harman
I was found by Jesus April 9, 1975. I married the love of my life Helen, August 19, 1978. We have one daughter, Elizabeth, whose husband and two children live nearby. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in January 1997. In January 2004, Jesus Christ healed me and I have been symptom free ever since.

2 Responses to Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.

  1. Terrance Williams says:

    Excellent article David!!! I came to the same conclusion in a church I attended several years ago. It was extremely hard to leave and I had numerous friends that I left behind. This blog describes so many churches that I know of. I’ve warned a friend of mine in a similar situation that it is better to be alone in the will of God than be in a corporation of hundreds of people with a figure head pastor. Shepherds must smell like sheep and their chief concern should be the Great Commission…not their individual pursuits. It is sad to see the church become a corporation ran by a CEO rather than an undershepherd and group of elders raising up and empowering people to step into the callings on their individual lives. I endeavor to be that kind of leader….

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