James Tissot - The Good Shepherd (Le bon pasteur) - Brooklyn Museum
James Tissot – The Good Shepherd (Le bon pasteur) – Brooklyn Museum

Before preparing this article I had never heard of “shepherding.” What exactly is “shepherding”? What does “shepherding” have to do with the subject of authority and submission? The teachings of this movement focus upon accountability, obedience, and submission to spiritual authority. However “shepherding” equates the authority of and submission to a leader to the authority of God. The religious leader’s voice is equated with the voice of God. Those who disagree with the religious leader are seen as in rebellion to God. This movement teaches that religious leaders provide a “covering” for their congregation. Step out from under the “covering” and you expose yourself to the full attack of the devil. At least that is what is taught. The question then becomes: is this teaching supported by scripture?

This type of teaching is common in some religious circles. There is a love of invoking Old Testament (O.T.) imagery. Theological conclusions are then drawn from that O.T. imagery. However, the conclusions are drawn without taking into account the discontinuity between the ways God established for Old Testament Israel and the fact that there has been a tremendous (...)