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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Obey Your Leaders and Submit To Them (Heb. 13:17) by Zac Poonen

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Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2037
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

appllos wrote,
"So, finaly to my point, and some may disagree but I would love to hear an opinion based on the actual point. Total surrender or absolute obedience to men is no-where taught in the New Testament. This is a narrow point, but its the only point I personally have been trying to make. Perhaps some opinions from Scripture on this narrow ( but broad implications) point? ........brother Frank"

brother Frank, with all due respect that is where it seems you missed the spirit of what brother Zac wrote. It is obvious from the article that he did not mean absolute surrender in all matters of faith, as you seem to think. In the opening paragraph and throughout the article, when he mentions church matters, he makes it clear that he means matters that are non-essential Christian doctrines or practices. And he stated clearly that in some matters you are free to do as you feel led to do.

Though you may not have realized it, from your last post you described "absolute surrender" in your own personal experiences in those different places you attended. You did not choose to divide over those issues while you were there. You walked in humility and submission to their preferences in what they were teaching though you did not agree. That is what Zac is basically encouraging. Not that you compromise in any important Christian doctrines, or that you go against your conscience in important doctrines, but simply that you respect what their vision is for the church.

You and I can't come into any church situation and think we can just start changing the way things are done or taught. If we do start telling them they need to change this or that we will sow discord there.

Please humor me with this quick example. Let's say you decide to attend a traditional church somewhere. And let's say you don't believe that there should be only one person doing all the teaching in a church every Sunday but that's the way things are done there. At that point you can either, "absolutely surrender" to their preference of having one person teach/preach or, begin to say within yourself, "I will confront the leadership here and share with them and the church members my views on this matter." I'm sure you would agree that the first choice would be the wiser of the two, no?

As to a Scripture, the one that mainly came to mind is
Proverbs 6:16-19,
"16 These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren."(NKJV)


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Oracio

 2011/9/7 1:25Profile









 Re:

Frank said: "I came in quietly and left quietly at what I believe to be the Lords leading in my life."

I didn't detect anything remotely like Prov 6 in Frank's words at all.

We also were taught, that if you don't agree with a Church, if GOD so leads, you speak to the Pastor first and the elders if possible and if no agreement can be reached, you quietly leave - doing no harm to any there - for GOD will hold that group of "leaders" responsible.

I think Frank's points were valid and not against Zac's, per say - but I also feel it's important to factor in "Total surrender or absolute obedience to men is no-where taught in the New Testament" because as a babe in Christ, this question often comes up and many have been snared in the past by shepherding movements and taken captive by false leaders by their twisting scriptures - ie. cults, Jim Jones, etc. etc. that will increase as the days go on, Jesus said.

Bless you Too Brother Oracio.

 2011/9/7 1:36









 Re: Obey Your Leaders and Submit To Them (Heb. 13:17) by Zac Poonen


Speaking for myself - my experiences in Church and house church hopping, out of necessity only because I've had to move so much and followed many TV ministries and all since the mid 70's -- I do feel a word of caution is needed still, because many-many had to learn the very hard way, that a man can fall and take droves with them when they do.
They can and will fall morally and/or doctrinally.

Paul praised the Bereans for searching the Scriptures to be sure that what they were hearing was Biblical.

Many good points are coming out of this thread - and none should be disregarded but until The LORD comes - we don't know what men will fall in either area.

I cannot count how many ministries I've seen fall in 35 yrs and how it affected those who followed them.

We need to know His Word and as His Sheep, Know His Voice.

We need to be very sensitive to His Spirit and Word in order to know when to stay and when to move on.

The young in Christ, need to be protected and led to The Shepherd of The Sheep... nothing else is more important than this. To lead them to John 16:13,14 and John 10.

Many desire to be led solely by another human being - but we have to keep in mind that until Jesus Returns - these leaders remain "human beings" and the possibility of them to suddenly shift gears in doctrine or moral purity is an ever present threat - and one that for the less mature, can 'shipwreck' their faith - as we've seen through these through-out these last 2000 yrs.

Paul includes sound doctrine and moral purity in his description of the ministerial callings -

Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Eph 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.


When any man in ministry falls - we need to be there to help those who have had their faith injured or led astray, by pointing them back to The Head of The Church and re-produce another bunch of Bereans.


His Shalom to all.

 2011/9/7 3:28
mguldner
Member



Joined: 2009/12/4
Posts: 1860
Kansas

 Re:

Wait? What's the deal?

I skimmed the responses to this, God's word doesn't set up ANY Authority for His Church other than Christ Jesus. Romans 6 is not addressing "Church Authority" Paul is addressing the Government or Civil Authority of the Land.

Now what Authority is over the Church? Ah Christ our head and what does the Word say we are to do? Submit to Him and there is another we should submit? Who? One another! Historically and biblically there is no such animal as an Authoritive power other than Christ Jesus operating in His Church. What we have today is a twist of doctrine regarding the "Church Authority" Now something else to consider is the structure God did set up is of Elders or Mature believers, all of whom know the Lord greatly enough to be humbled and submitted to Christ Jesus. We see historically Multiple Elders were in place for one church group, city, or region, this protected against one of them being an Authority but ensured all were submitted to one another in Humility and to Christ Jesus. :)

Also a good elder will be humble enough to never assume or make claim to the title themselves but will let others see them as an Elder by their actions and wisdom. What actions? Servanthood within the Body and community.


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Matthew Guldner

 2011/9/7 4:20Profile









 Re:

Brother Oracio writes.........

"brother Frank, with all due respect that is where it seems you missed the spirit of what brother Zac wrote. It is obvious from the article that he did not mean absolute surrender in all matters of faith, as you seem to think. In the opening paragraph and throughout the article, when he mentions church matters, he makes it clear that he means matters that are non-essential Christian doctrines or practices. And he stated clearly that in some matters you are free to do as you feel led to do.

Brother Zac writes.......

"Church matters include the conduct of the meetings of the church, the spiritual direction the church is going, the emphasis in the ministry of that church, the activities arranged by the church, etc., etc. In such matters, there must always be total submission to the directions given by the elders"

Brother Oracio, my point has nothing to do with brother Zac, and in this I think you misunderstand me. "Playing the ball and not the man," in this case the point is not about brother Zac or me or anyone in particular, my point is total surrender to men, in any sphere of life. If one is going to have a teaching as the one put forward, one must have solid Biblical authority in which to do so. I am saying that there is zero Scriptural authority for " total surrender," to men. The only man that I am totaly surrendered to is the man Christ Jesus, my Lord and my Saviour, and I could only wish that I was indeed " totaly surrendered" to Him, its my life's work. Key to me in all of this is the voice of God and Scripture. If, for instance, the Lord speaks to my heart and asks me to say something, then that is what I must do, despite the teachings and the doctrines of men. Let me give you an example. I was once given a word and the Lord asked me to give it to the elders of the church that I was attending ( nine years) It was one of the largest non-denominational churches in North America at the time. The word was simply this " You fear men rather than fearing God." I did that trembling. One of the elders/pastors jumped up out of his chair and was shouting " you cannot possibly know my/our hearts." It turns out the Pastor of that church was cheating, he ran of with the secratary and a large amount of money, and many of the elders had ignored warnings from others about this from others who knew what was going on. Yet, the general teaching was " you must not touch God's anointed." This had been so drummed into them, that they were afraid to confront the Pastor.

So, if your in a church and the Lord gives you a word, then you would be advised to act on that rather than respecting a man made doctrine. Would this be rare? Yes I believe that it would. Total surrender belongs to God and God alone and that indeed is Scriptural........brother Frank

 2011/9/7 9:01
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2037
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Brother Frank your point is well taken. I'm thinking maybe Zac should not have used the phrase "total submission" but something else like "much respect" or " much caution" etc. , for that is what I see he meant. I can see how "total submission" can be misunderstood and misleading to some. You are right is saying ultimately total surrender belongs to Christ and Christ alone for He shares His glory with no other.


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Oracio

 2011/9/7 9:43Profile









 Re:

I agree, Oracio.

In today's world, it is a good idea to use a different phrase than "total submission", which is not even in the Bible.

Also, it is obvious that many here know Zac Poonen but others do not, so those that know him, are willing to give him a pass because they have a relationship with him and and "know" what he is NOT saying. While others, who do not know him, just see his phrase of "total submission". I don't know him, but if I did, I might mention to him, brother to brother, that there may be better phrases to use, like the ones you mentioned.

Definitely not a good choice of words in a very public forum.

Just-in

 2011/9/7 10:35
Sree
Member



Joined: 2011/8/20
Posts: 1711


 Re: total submission

I don't understand what point you are making here brother. I personally know brother Zac and I respect him a lot and I know his spiritual maturity. There is no way he will use an improper word in an article.
The total submission referred here is only in church matters and in Church matters only Elders should take decision. If you have a suggestion call him personally and talk to him about it. If you feel the Church is lead in a wrong direction then move away from the church and go to a church where you can submit totally in Church matters. It is simple as it is and there is no need to argue at all.
What Bro Zac tries to avoid here is people sitting in a Church thinking their elders and taking taking Church in wrong direction. I personally was tempted to think such ways when few cultural issues were raised in my Church. But I did not fall to those temptation and then submitted to the elders and followed their cultural standards when I am in Church but in my personal life I did what God told me is right. This is exactly what brother Zac writes here.

Regarding his message on people who come to Church without being a regular part of it. He is writing it from our prespective and not from Church perspective. A Church should always welcome people who are walking. But from personal point of view, it is good for you to submit to one church as a part of its body instead living alone without any Church. In our Church which is based on Zac's spiritual leadership we encourage people walking in anytime. We consider them as a part of our body only when we find a commitment in them.


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Sreeram

 2011/9/7 11:32Profile
PaulWest
Member



Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re: Obey Your Leaders and Submit To Them (Heb. 13:17) by Zac Poonen

"Church matters include the conduct of the meetings of the church, the spiritual direction the church is going, the emphasis in the ministry of that church, the activities arranged by the church, etc., etc. In such matters, there must always be total submission to the directions given by the elders." Zac Poonen

In a further attempt to bring light upon confusion: Only in "such matters" does Poonen maintain that we are to be in total submission (i.e. no rebellion at any point):

1. "The conduct of the meetings of the church." This is more than adequately overseen by the leadership, and unless the meetings are in violation of I Cor. 14, there really is no reason for you not to submit. If the meetings are not charismatic enough, or too charismatic, you can always seek out a church that conforms more to your liking.

2. "The spiritual direction the church is going." The Holy Spirit should be behind this, and the leadership should be attuned to His direction. If you detect the direction to be ill-fated scripturally, you should find another church that is healthy. But never should you remain in unsubmission and create schism within that body.

3. "The emphasis of the ministry of the church." If the church is pronouncedly evangelistic, you must respect it as such and not try to change the ministerial objective. Totally submit to this vision, or find another church that fulfills the purpose you're looking for and are more comfortable with.

4. "The activities arranged by the church, etc., etc." Activities are non-essential to salvation, and if you should choose to be a part of them, your efforts should be dedicated to the Lord instead of men (Col. 3:23; I Cor. 10:31). An example of an "et cetera" could be the choice of music. Music is a huge issue by which many people fall out of fellowship! Although contemporary Christian music is not my forte, I can still find room enough in it to lift my thoughts and affections to God for 30 minutes. By exercising forbearance and meekness in the areas above where we are prone to rebel and murmur against authority, God often teaches us profound spiritual lessons.

Zac Poonen is not advocating blind allegiance and total submission to men-leaders in all areas of our walk, for he includes this:

"The way of wisdom then is to distinguish between where you must submit to the elders in a church, and where you don't have to." Zac Poonen

On a sidenote, I know Zac Poonen on a semi-personal level, have been to several of his meetings in Austin, spent time talking with him, and can tell you without any hesitation that this brother is a most humble and mature servant of God, with a wealth of wisdom to share. I have also met many wonderful brothers and sisters from CFC over the years. CFC began decades ago as a house meeting and has endeavored to remain as close as possible to the New Testament standard in terms of the plurality of authority, conduct of meetings, principles of giving, integrity of preaching, etc. I thank God for introducing me to them.


_________________
Paul Frederick West

 2011/9/7 11:36Profile









 Re:

Hi Sree,

We are not arguing, but rather striving for truth and clarity in this matter.

Usually, someone will allow you to speak into their life if you have relationship with them. I do not have any relationship with Zac and no one is trying to correct him. He put out a public message and we are only "publicly" commenting on it and how it may be interpreted by others. As you can see, it is interpreted different ways.

You make an interesting comment here:

Quote:
We consider them as a part of our body only when we find a commitment in them.



I guess the keyword that you mention is "our body".

So, when a certain commitment that you are looking for is manifested, then you consider them a part of YOUR body as opposed to the Body of Christ.

Just curious, what does this commitment look like?

Also, you may mean this with all your heart, but we all make mistakes.

Quote:
There is no way he will use an improper word in an article.



Thank you,
Just-in

 2011/9/7 12:06





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