Authority Apples

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Thoughts on Spiritual Authority

Let me ask a question. How do you know what authority God has put you UNDER? And what are the boundaries of that authority?

If I have authority to speak truth? Does someones refusal to submit to that truth mean they are in rebellion to God? If God's Spirit is speaking directly to them though it, then yes.

If you talk about submitting to authority, I believe in submitting to God's authority. If it is to men's authority (as it concerns spiritual matters), well thats a whole big mixed up barrel of fun we could spread all over the place. Especially when it comes to todays churches, (2007) many of which are clueless as to true spiritual authority.

I submit to the authority of God speaking through my 4 year old when I know it is God speaking through him. But I will not let him be my leader. I won't let any man lead me. That is the perogative of the Spirit. The stuff we call "authority" in many churches today is (in my opinion)nothing more then control and manipulation.

I believe there is a new understanding of spiritual authority and levels of spiritual authority that we must recieve greater insight on. Until then, I say, "Submit to one another out of brotherly love. Both the elder and the younger." So if the Spirit has truth or impartation for me from you, I am in rebellion not to recieve it in a spirit of submission and love. Whether I consider myself, or you, an elder or a younger.

Jesus said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. Not so shall it be among you; but whoever desires to be great among you shall be your servant, and whoever desires to be first among you shall be your bondservant; "

The closest thing I see to an appropriate level of spiritual authority given to men excercised in the scriptures were the judges. They were not kings or "Rulers". They simply spoke the words of God and people simply paid consequences of disobeying what God was saying. Then the people wanted a King or leader and inappropriate authority was instituted.

I have seen peoples lives destroyed by disobeying a word of God. BUT THE PERSON GIVING THAT WORD IS NOT THIER SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY, GOD IS!

There is a season of training and maturing when God puts people in your life to help you grow. Elders teach the younger, but even that has an end as a younger becomes an elder. There are boundaries of authority, and authority given for seasons.

I have submitted to the authority of others to teach and train me for a season, but when the Lord spoke to me and said, "you are coming of age", it would be inappropriate for me to keep relying upon the authority structure that fed and cared for me as an immature child.

It is no different spiritually then it is in the natural. I train my children and teach them to do what is right as a child. When they grow up, they go out from under my authority. They no longer need my permission or censoring of thier activities.

I may have wisdom and warning for them if I see them in danger or going in a path that is wrong, but I am not thier authority that disciplines and directs them. Not so in the church. Perpetual subjection like the world is called "spiritual authority" in many sectors of the church, and anyone who hears something from God that "authority" doesn't agree with is in rebellion.

Even the ascension gifts of apostle, prophet, teacher, pastor, and evangelist are only given UNTIL we grow up unto Him.

You may keep on putting yourself under someone else perpetually. But you will not grow beyond them without much frustration and stress, because one who keeps you perpetually UNDER thier authority will always be tempted to censor the new you learn, and cannot always easily accept what God is teaching you apart from thier instruction.

Like a mother who wants to control the life of thier child even after marraige; After a while the grown up child starts to feel anger and frustration that they aren't trusted to live thier own life.

In studying Hebrews 13:17 you will find it "interpreted" to mean what people wanted it to mean. I believe in the inerrancy of scripture in it's original text, But lets be honest about the way it has been interpreted to fit ones own mindset at the time of translation(interpretation).  The people "commisioning" the translation had much influence on the outcome according to thier own predispostion and doctrines on leadership structures. But my short unscholarly study of it came up with this alternate meaning:

Hebrews 13:17 Listen to and be persuaded by the words of those you
esteem as going before you in the faith, do not resist them, for they are
watching the condition of your life, and (because they see it) are
accountable for you, so that they may have joy and not grief over you,
which it is not to your profit.

This is by no means a scholarly translation. Rotherham's is close to it:

Hebrews 13:17 Be yielding unto them who are guiding you, and submit yourselves; for they are watching over your souls, as having an account to render, that, with joy the same they may be doing, and not with sighing,––for, unprofitable unto you, were, this.

In my experience, most of the teaching on submission in the church comes from people trying to keep thier own little kingdom they have built intact.

It's hard to grow up and out from under the places we once hid. It's kinda scary sometimes. We have to depend on our ability to hear God, but more importantly we have to depend on God's faithfulness to speak to us.

I left the church system by command of the Lord to "Go to the wilderness". I was bound by a fear at that time of being in rebellion to leadership. I was amazed and thankful at that time to be led out, but the voice of God became even louder and clearer after that. The mixture of mens opinions and teachings began to seperate from the voice of the Spirit.

But, I also was a failure in the church in how I was not strong enough to face and confront the wrongs within her due to the mixture I had swallowed.

Some of the reason I was called out was because I was a failure, but I beleive God knew all along I could not succeed and fully mature in the system because of the mixture.

I don't claim to be fully mature even now... but I have a shot at it now that I am free to hear the Spirit of God. And I fellowship with likeminded believers who do not take a place of leadership (God) in the lives of each other.

I don't speak things by the Spirit because I am bitter or angry at the church. I crossed that bring long ago and got my healing. I speak them because I am becoming broken for her as the Lord touches my heart.

The desire in my heart is to see the people of God become what they are called to be. I hear the Lord say to the "rulers" in the church "Let my people go!"

Remember, you have no need that any man teach you, (definitely not me) but the anointing within you teaches you. Trust the anointing He has put in you by His Spirit.

A father has the ultimate authority in a family. In my own family, I have the authority to tell my eldest daughter, "don't let the younger ones go on the road!" Because of her maturity and wisdom that exceeds her siblings, I trust her to take seriously my command to protect her brothers and sister.

I will also tell the others, "listen to your sister." They also know implied in that command to them that my eldest only has a level (BOUNDARY) of authority that pertians to thier protection. If she was to get bossy and start acting in a manner that was not in accordance with her mandate to watch and protect, the other kids would know and say, "you can't tell me what to do".

I might also tell Jonny, "Help Frankie with the dishes". This implies that Frankie is in charge of doing dishes and Jonny for that time period is to assist in the dish washing. I also expect Frankie and Jonny will work together come to a consensus on how to accomplish the task. Frankie better not take this opportunity to boss his brother in that task, for I would reprimand him for this. I would encourage them to share and take turns.

I might ask my daughter Grace to help Frankie tie his shoes, and in the process show him how it is done. Again, any harshness by Grace or instructions beyond my will for this endeavor is inapropriate and will recieve my correction.

As regards to church today? I liken it to the building of a fort by my eldest daughter, Faith. She is oldest and has more vision and wisdom. Because of this the others will follow naturally her lead in this endeavor. What happens is that now it becomes HER fort and she exerts her authority as the LEADER.

This causes great consternation when the others don't do it the WAY she desires it to be done. She will correct and direct them acording to her own wishes. They will play along with this game for a while as it is fun to have a CLUB that has some sort of purpose to thier playful imaginations. She appoints other leaders, be they princes, queens or helpers.

And the fantasy is fun for a while. But after a while the others get bored having no input or say as the the direction of play. A fight breaks out and one or more leaves to build thier own fort so they can be thier own kings or leaders.

Finally, it is time to come home for real, and the fantasy leaders and followers status dissapears under the house of thier father who holds real authority in thier lives.

My desire for my children is similiar to God's for His children. I don't want one to be following and submissive to the other all of thier days. I want all to be individuals who enter into full maturity and take control of thier own destinies without cowering or cowtowing to the will of any other man.


Added March 2008 

I might add here that I truly believe all people in the body NEED apostolic and prophetic directive and corrective ministry. It is death and loss when these are limited to one stream, diminished, or ignored altogether.

This is a work of the Spirit, and not a work of men that makes available to people the teaching, direction or correction God wants to bring.

Can God work in established networks? Yes He does and is. But the nature and manner of functioning of these is about to have a DRASTIC change for those who will move on with the Lord into the freedom of His new works, which He is already beggining and calling people into. This change is for the good and involves much humility and trust in God to release people.

This is a truth: Authority does not equal covering.

Or: "Authority = Covering" is a false equation.

When the Lord told me I was to marry the cussing, partying, Unsaved woman who is now my godly wife, this is what He spoke: "She will be a covering for You"

Wow, what a shock of a statement. But it has been more true then I could have ever imagined. She does not exercise authority over me. She has great influence on me and sways my heart with love. Just as the Bride sways the heart of the Groom.

But when her prayers open a path in blizzard (seen even on radar)for us go to a place of ministry, I must say, "she is a covering for me"

My mother is a covering for me with her prayers. I have a widow God has shown me is my covering. They don't exercise authority over me, but they certianly can speak to me the word of the Lord I must submit to the word (not them)if it is Him.

A church in Africa has covered me in prayer, and I have spoken into them with my mantle of authority in a weekly conference call.

But I am not thier covering, nor do I have a covenant with them other then the one covenant of love and intimacy by the blood of Jesus. As a matter of fact I have warned them about the great "land grab of apostolic networks" going on right now in Africa. If thier relationships are not based on simply love and friendship, then they are innapropriate.

I consider and call those I minister with and to as friends, and dare not take more of a place then that. Yet as you know quite plainly with God's grace I am not afraid to use the authority given me to correct or direct either. 

Sounds like a paradox, and it is. But it works and it also gives people freedom to enter into thier own authority and anointing.

I am saddened to go to a church and see a cookie-cutter church where the people even mimic the prophetic statements from cds of the of the flagship ministry.

I see the limiting of anointing and creativity based upon peoples submission to and covenant with a particular network. I look and see the potential for these that is boundless, yet limited by the lack of ability to cross pollinate and enter into intimacy with diverging groups. Like I Cor 3 people want to be following Paul, following Appollos, etc.

It is a spiritual principle, and not an intended outcome by well meaning leaders. Read an article I have written that touches slightly on this.

The fact is, there is something in the wind, and it doesn't look like the old. How willing is anyone to lose thier preconceived ideas and "good works" of the past and move unto the "best" God has? I have found good things must be let go of to receive the best.