Posted by RJ Dawson
Many church-going Christians in America, a probable majority, are currently acting powerless in the face of tyrannical secular overreach because they’re long conditioned to be subservient to strict clergy control.
DO NOT GIVE HIS GLORY TO ANOTHER
There is only ONE Person deserving of all praise and honor. If Christians honored this ONE Person the way they honor their preachers/pastors/ministers/priests/reverends, the response to our present circumstances would be swift and powerful. That it is not is due to centuries of church conditioning that renders Christians largely harmless to the enemy, primarily because they have surrendered their God-given authority to authoritarians and high hat ecclesiastics more interested in power over Christians than serving the Lord to foster power within Christians.
We have the perfect example in the Lord Jesus. He had to die to release us from bondage. His intent was to free us from the prison of sin, usher us into abundant life, and empower us to stand, as He did, against all enemies. His example did not allow for a mere lone potentate on a platform throne but a sea of Spirit-filled believers let loose in the world to tell everyone the Good News and defeat every single spiritual enemy in opposition. His example, teaching, and spiritual equipping created spiritually powerful people willing to do battle anywhere and everywhere. They were never a collection of docile sheep silent and servile under a single high and lifted up human subsidiary or some absolutely unscriptural vaunted hierarchy with a dominant pyramid topper, but a collection of equals under the sole authority of the ONE who died to save them.
The Lord Jesus was the only ONE the early Community of the Lord honored above themselves. They honored each other laterally as sisters and brothers, and served one another as sisters and brothers, and lowered themselves to the status of servants but only in ultimate service to the Lord. They served one another not according to the standard servant-authoritarian paradigm but for the love they each had for one another. The Lord taught them to do just that and to even prefer their brother. This allowed not only for the destruction of human pride but also obliterated any idea or desire of taking charge over one another. This attitude allowed for an otherwise impossible dynamic in that the original Christians were both humble to the nth degree but powerful enough to whip demons and take their names.
Speaking of which, if so many of today’s pastors can’t even stand up to obvious attacks against Christianity and one’s calling, and stand up for the people they are supposed to be serving, and instead teach their congregants to stand down without a fight, which also involves standing down against clear violations of the American Constitution, does anyone really think these compromised authoritarians are fighting unseen spiritual enemies? If they refuse to stand up against petty tyrants—those in the process of seeing just how far they can go to restrict or even eliminate Christian freedoms—how can they possibly stand up against unseen demonic forces?
AUTHORITARIANISM AT ALL COSTS
And therein lies the rub. For the Christian authoritarians to be in charge it means the Lord Jesus can’t be. Now, please don’t get me wrong here. The Lord is in charge anyway, everywhere, in an overall sense, but He allows the possibility of being voted down. He never forces Himself upon anyone. Does Hebrew history reveal anything with greater destructive spiritual impact than this one primary fact? —That God is sovereign but the Hebrew nation rejected Him repeatedly? Why then is it so difficult to see Christians doing the same?
It’s different in one sense, however. The Israelites never made rejecting God a traditionally accepted practice. They always knew it was wrong, that is, whenever they actually had a mind to think about it. Also, the prophets, when they weren’t dead, never ceased to warn the authority thieves of their illicit behavior.
For Christianity, though, and I am certainly speaking in general terms, clergy dominance did not only become an accepted tradition, it became foundational policy to trumpet at all times. Once the people were thoroughly cowed (sound familiar?) the big boys let up, but still insisted on building and maintaining the outward structure of control. It is in part why most church formats all look the same: There is a restricted area up front or raised platform with platform thrones and sacred pulpits, and down below or beyond there is the mass of powerless nobody little people all lined up side-to-side in lateral rows staring over the back of each other’s heads dutifully supporting their betters. One group is very small, compensated, and overtly respected. The other group is very large and must find their own way in the world. Does this look like Christian fellowship? Does it look like the spiritual interacting of the people of God? Does it even look like Scripture? Why do theaters, concert halls, opera houses, Roman basilicas, and ancient pagan temples have the exact floor plan?
DOMINANCE AND SUBMISSION
The greatest trick the devil ever perpetrated was convincing a few prideful bigwigs to elevate themselves over everyone else and demand subservience. Why? Because in the process it removed 99% of Christians from viable ministry. It turned a massive untold number of believers into passive non-workers so those who wrested control could have full control. Remember, however, though it might be hard to understand now, the original Christians were world-changing devil-busters filled with the power and love of God who wreaked havoc on the devil’s evil kingdom and rescued millions of people from his clutches. They attacked hell en masse and took no quarter. They knew what their purpose was and achieved it every day. They were the direct opposite of passive pew-sitters allowing the few in charge to do whatever they want. Is it any wonder, then, that the history of Christianity is filled with the abuse of power? Is it any wonder that evil at the top grew without restraint? Who was rightly checking it? Who was holding them accountable? Who is holding them accountable at present? I am being very kind here. I could go on. It would be somewhat akin (to an infinitely lesser degree) to the Lord’s rebukeathons against the Scribes and Pharisees. There is no end to the subject matter.
Whereas once false Christian potentates ruled with an iron thumb, murdered masses, persecuted real believers, and demanded even their own people to grovel before them, the greater aspect of today’s abuse involves a mass misallocation of funds. Most of the money given is spent unwisely and inappropriately. It is spent on the accoutrements of this world and comparative little is given to those who need it most. Not only have the great bulk of Christians been relegated to the sidelines, their individual ministries are rarely or never supported, and certainly not financially. Meanwhile, a few have no end of funding. Some of those in the clergy class know the money allocation state of affairs is inherently incorrect and one-sided (because they still have the modicum of a working conscience) and consequently reduce their takings to what may be termed a sensible amount. Others, however, go whole hog. They rake it in like gangbusters and have a ball. There is often no end to their excess. They always have a tendency to spend it on the wrong things, which mainly involve their personal lives and the material trappings of their fiefdoms. They will also send assistance elsewhere, often far elsewhere, but neglect faithful brother Jones and supportive sister Smith sitting right there in the congregation.
FOLLOW THE LEADER, NOT THE CLERGY HANDBOOK
One may wish to remember the Lord’s example. If He did not allow any extravagance for Himself (or pretty much anything), where do such Christian leaders get their authorization? Again, it’s not from Scripture but from a false Christian tradition. And if anyone might be thinking the actual problem is not the clergy barrel as a whole but only a few bad apples within it, why don’t other Christian leaders call them out? One denomination doing this to another doesn’t count. That’s often just religious/political backbiting and posturing. Each denomination believes it has the best interpretation or expression of Christianity and thus rejects the others. They do this to protect their status as distinct Christian cults and will always protect their own even if their own are guilty. It’s called protecting the brand. The higher up the ladder you go, however, the more corrupt it becomes because they have more power to shield the guilty. The corruption then spreads downward through their corrupt policies.
A better example may be the polyculture associated with Christian TV. Apparently all these different people with all their different backgrounds and all their different doctrines have no problem with one another. Have you ever seen anyone on Christian television openly rebuke and call out the frauds among them? Is it because there are no frauds? Is it because they think it’s not “Christian” to do such a thing? The truth is that many are chicken, compromised by the same process, and don’t want the spotlight shining on them (or all weapons turned in their direction). They are all drawing from the same money well. Therefore they forego any possibility of being a corrective force. It proves they collectively have no interest in reform. This is absolutely no different than the dynamic played out among the ancient Hebrew prophets and evil kings. Those connected to the kings knew they better keep their mouth shut. The prophets, however, said to hell with that and refused to be silent. Have you ever seen an actual prophet in this sense on Christian television?
Imagine much of the power of that medium being wasted because many of those in control are no different than most politicians. The latter ilk are often compromised entirely and are usually controlled puppets, world class rip-off artists, or both, and this is why they talk but never act unless it’s in favor of their lobbyists et al. Sound familiar? How much money and support has been going to Washington forever? And things keep getting worse for the country. Meanwhile, Christian television, multiple mega churches, and scads of ministries all across the nation have a preponderance of money, equipment, and locations to preach from with their congregations in full support, but the country keeps going to hell. Maybe it’s because their stuff is in the hands of the wrong people. You can’t expect someone who refuses to clean up his own act to clean up larger venues. How long will we keep going through the motions to nowhere while souls are not being reached with the real Gospel? The people who could do the job and are doing their best with what they have routinely get mothballed, blackballed, or disfellowshipped in a complete reversal of the actual intent of fellowship. The ones who should get disfellowshipped are the faux controllers and their supporters. (In reality this has actually happened, though in reverse, in the sense that it is easier for one or a few to leave. See Luke 9:5.)
Since those interested in truth and reform always amount to a small minority, the controllers believe it is better to kick out a few, render them inconsequential, or cold-shoulder them into oblivion. This has caused all those who remain to fall into the clergy worship trap which renders them powerless. Perhaps this is why you can never count on them to come through when spiritual effort is most needed. The powerful spiritual DNA is gone because they removed it. The great frontline soldiers with all the grit and determination were seen as way over the top for the sensitive spiritual reality rejecters. And the leaders like it much better when Christians are simple-minded and docile who never, ever challenge them. They fight anyone else. The only ones left are thus easily controlled. It’s the religious equivalent of putting strong little boys on Ritalin to neuter the strength God gave them in order to make them behave and fit within a contrived, inhumane round-peg-in-a-square-hole system in which all must be coerced into silence and servitude.
This is how the elite in charge have transformed Christianity. Instead of developing dedicated disciples per the Lord’s direction they contrive collectively constrained converts under clergy control.
Real Christians are thus largely off the radar. They don’t fit so well once gaining maturity. It’s the same thing with the country. The elite in charge vote themselves excess and merely patronize their “constituents,” especially at election time. America used to be a great country filled with strong moral people but is now inhabited by a seeming majority of selfish, apathetic, and dependent unawares without a clue or the gumption or ability to right the ship. The real patriots who can right the ship are constantly under attack which makes it difficult to mount a charge. And then there’s the quite successful divide and conquer strategy which always seems to rear its ugly head in times of spiritual progress.
The same has also always been the case in Christianity. A few Christians get it right and attempt reform to the Lord’s original standard but sold-out authoritarians crush them to the best of their ability with the silent support of the majority. The guilty party has obviously decided on planet earth as their heaven which renders spiritual graduation into eternal life essentially undoable. They may have a rude awakening upon casting off their mortal coil.
They likely will not see what Stephen saw when his time came.
© 2020 by R.J. Dawson. All Rights Reserved.