This is the first in a series on the subject of “Leadership, Authority and Submission” in the “Church” that Jesus Christ established.
Two Different Systems of Governance
As a college student, I attended one of our nation’s federal military academies. After graduating I served on active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard for twenty-two years. The military system of governance is a top-down command and control structure. Today’s military is still structured very much like that of the Roman Army that occupied Palestine during the time of Jesus. Having been part of a military governance system, I am familiar with the subject of leadership, authority and submission from a worldly perspective. Also having been a Christian for over thirty-three years I am familiar with the concept of Biblical leadership, authority and submission within the Church. What I have concluded is that the two systems are very different, or at least should be.
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.