There is certainly a place for biblical teaching on spiritual authority. But if a minister preaches on this subject every day, constantly reminding everyone that he is in charge, you can be sure that trouble is around the corner.
The implication is that unless they receive pastoral permission, not only will God not bless them, but they will also be cursed in some way, resulting in sure failure. Controlling spiritual leaders and ministers use this kind of reasoning to manipulate people.
We must understand the process a church goes through to reach this point of deception. Because many ministers measure their success through church attendance, they may become disappointed if people leave their church.
By using examples like these, the leader can actually gain “biblical” grounds to control even the personal areas of his members. A controlling minister may also attempt to instil a sense of obligation by reminding his members of everything he has done for them.
This kind of preaching causes church members to seek a position of favour with the minister rather than a proper desire to “please God and not man.” Jesus also condemned such man-pleasing when He told the Pharisees, “I have come in My Father’s Name, and you do not receive Me. How can you believe, who receive honour from one another, and do not seek the honour that comes from the only God?” (John 5:43-44). When we pursue the honour of men, we do so at the expense of our relationship with God.
If we continue to do so, gradually men will take the place of God in our lives. An unhealthy soul tie is created, and our sense of confidence is determined by our standing with those in leadership. This kind of control will destroy people spiritually!
A healthy church will not allow genuine ministerial concern to cross the line into manipulation or control. A true shepherd/minister will use his influence to draw church members into a close relationship with Jesus, who is the only “head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23). A true shepherd/minister realizes that the people in his congregation don’t belong to him — they are God’s flock.
Your servant and brother,
+ Sir Godfrey Gregg
Archbishop and Presiding Prelate
Administrator and Apostolic Head
Follow me on Twitter @ArchbishopGregg