Saturday, February 14, 2009

Spiritual Fathers

A doctrine that we heard regularly in our controlling Word of Faith church was regarding "Spiritual Fathers." This is based on Second Corinthians 4:15. What appears to be an admonishment to follow sound doctrine from the Apostle Paul is a pyramid scheme in the Word of Faith that encourages preacher worship.

For laypeople, the pastor is their spiritual father. This means that you, the laypeople, need to be at every church service to hear from the one God placed in spiritual authority in your life. Is it just me or does this sound like a way to develop the people's dependency on the leader? Don't we have the Bible? Doesn't God communicate with the rest us too? With this in mind, I often heard ministers complain about people who missed a service or were "Sunday morning only" attendees. You need to be there as often as possible and tithe (if you didn't tithe, you were in terrible danger). You could miss church a lot of you were gone earning large tithes, by the way.

If you were a full-time minister, you were encouraged to mimic your spiritual father. I heard story after story from the pulpit about how a preacher stuck with their spiritual father despite being rejected, ignored and pushed aside. Then at last, as the story went along, they were finally recognized as a loyal and awesome Timothy-like figure to their leader. Incidentally, this was a large component of what kept us in our church: spiritual people hang in there and don't give up under pressure or misunderstandings. It later dawned on me that we were being told (in not so many words) was that we could expect the same treatment as the protagonists in those stories.

It was said that spiritual fathers retrieve "lost ax heads" (like Elisha), recover lost anointings and help you get your edge back. That sounds very lofty but what was in reality what took place were preachers carnally competing with each other to achieve some sort of status in their cliques. When someone advocates that a fellow Christian is your "supply of the Spirit," it provokes a lot of serious questions? Why put so much weight on the role of a minister? What is the motive for doing so? All this teaching is good for is to build up the public profile of the "Spiritual Father." It makes possible the collection of tithes from entire churches whose pastors are following the "Father" figure. There was NEVER any explanation of what you did if your spiritual father became corrupt in some way. If your spiritual father is insulted at the very suggestion of financial transparency and practices nepotism, are you just supposed to shrug your shoulders? What if he gets into immorality? Go find yourself another “dad” who expects your worship and veneration? Sure, give them free reign to what they want because they will never do anything wrong.

If you are in a church where you hear this or similar teachings, realize that you don’t have to sit there and accept unscriptural doctrines. Take responsibility for your Christian life rather than have it dictated to you. You will be glad you did!

1 comment:

  1. I never thought about it that way, but you are right - the reason they tell those stories about people being loyal to their "spiritual leaders" even though they are mistreated is because that's what they wanted us to do! They wanted us to just accept all the ignoring, the talking down to, the eye rolling, the sarcasim, and ALLLLLL the mistreatment. And they wanted us to keep giving our tithes no matter what! I heard those teachings about not giving your "man of God" a card without money in it. I heard the teachings about sending money to his home. I was dumb enough to do it, but NO MORE! I see all this for what it is now - hogwash!!!!!