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Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 2071

 Re: When does authority go too far? - balance

ginnyrose wrote, "Hebrews 13:17 NASB: 7 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you."

"This verse informs us how one should submit."

"Now what will you do with it?"

My answer to the question above,"Now what will you do with it?", is as follows:

If indeed the Word of God commands us to do so then we must do so at our own peril. But I tell you the Word of God does not tell us to 'obey' as the KJV as well as the NASB which you quoted above.

Properly translated we read in Heb. 13:17,

"Yield to those taking the lead of you, and submit, for they watch for your souls, giving an account, that they may do this with joy, and not with grieving; for this would be unprofitable to you."

Here is neither a command to obey, nor does "This verse inform[s] us how one should submit." Rather it informs us that those leading by example may do so with joy and not with grieving.

The word translated Obey (peitho) is in the passive voice and simply means be persuaded.

"peitho, to persuade, to win over, in the Passive and Middle voices, to be persuaded, to listen to.... (Acts 5:40, Passive Voice, "they agreed"); The obedience suggested is not by submission to authority, but resulting from persuasion." (W. E. Vine Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)

Here is one of the 58 times this Greek word is used.

"For I am persuaded (pietho), that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord". (Romans 8:38-39)

The Greek word pietho speaks of God-given grace to effect change. If a man possesses God-given influence, he has no need, nor desire, to demand obedience.

The word submit in Hebrews 13:17 is hupeiko which simply means yield. Hupeiko in no way infers any kind of outward force being placed on the person yielding.

"Be persuaded by your leaders, and be deferring to them, for they are vigilant for the sake of your souls, as having to render an account, that they may be doing this with joy, and not with groaning, for this is disadvantageous for you." (Hebrews 13:17 - CLNT)

No man is the head of another man, nor is one man a spiritual authority of another in Christ's body.

Yet,we do find that the man is the head of the woman,and that she is to obey her husband. And children are to obey their parents as well. But Christ is the head of every man. No man ought to usurp such a place of authority, by twisting the scriptures to their own ends, by their own private interpretation thereof.

Ezek. 34:1-12 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say to them, Thus saith the Lord GOD to the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe yourselves with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.

The diseased ye have not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.
And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became food to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.

My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yes, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek for them.

Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;

As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became food to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock;

Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;

Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be food for them.

For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I even I, will both search for my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

 2010/10/30 1:16Profile

Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2094
Whittier CA USA

 Re: Mistranslated words

pilgrim777, thank you for telling it like it is and not holding back anything profitable to us.

savannah, thank you for breaking down Heb.13:17. I agree that the KJV and NASB and many others have mistranslated that word "peitho" as "obey", and we have suffered the consequences. We have to understand that the Bible translators have been heavily influenced by the religious church system of churchianity.
The Zodiates Word Study dictionary NT has a similar defintion as Vine's for the word "peitho". It says, "To persuade, particularly to move or affect by kind words or motives." In other words, the writer of Hebrews is exhorting us to be persuaded by the elders in our church, which makes sense. If the elders in our church are godly men who are much more mature and wise in the Lord than us, it only makes sense that we should be persuaded by their godly and sound wisdom or counsel. But that is different than saying that we are to obey and submit to them as having dictating authority over us. Only Jesus and His Word has that kind of commanding or "dictating"(for lack of a better word)authority over us.

Another word that is mistranslated in the KJV there in Heb.13:17 is the greek word "hegeomai" which is translated as "them that have the rule". The literal meaning is "they who lead you" or "your leaders", speaking of elders/bishops/pastors(all same person or function). So in that sense it does not carry such overtones of hierarchical authority, but can simply refer to mature elders in the church who lead by example as Peter exhorts(1Pet.5:2).

Another passage which I believe is relevant to this discussion is Matthew 23:6-12. There the Lord, speaking of the Pharisees says, "They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted."

In that passage Christ warns the disciples of seeking after prestigious religious positions and titles of any sort. Today this would include titles such as "Pastor so and so", "Reverend so and so", "Evangelist so and so", "Dr. so and so", etc. And He tells them that they are all spiritual brothers, meaning that they all have equal status before God and they are to act like it. That whole thing of trying to "climb the latter and be on top" in the church system is really sad and sickening for me to think about. I used to see it all the time when I was part of a mega church. It is a subtle kind of pride that creeps up in the best of Christians sometimes. God help us and deliver us from such pride. We are commanded and called to love and serve one another in true humility.

There is much that can be said about this topic of biblical leadership and authority but hopefully some of what has been written so far in this thread will stir us all up to seek the truth as it is in Jesus concerning this issue.


 2010/10/30 3:20Profile


Two rules (there are many more) that we should follow when interpreting Scripture are:

1. We should not interpret God’s Word by our experiences, but rather subject all of our experiences to God’s Word.
2. Another rule we should follow when reading the Bible is to avoid using only one Scriptural reference to establish a Biblical truth. When discussing how to handle a dispute with a fellow Christian, Jesus said...

"But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established." (Matt 18:16 KJV)

While the topic in Matt. 18:16 is different, you will find that the Bible treats the truth found in its own pages with this same principle. Every truth is supported with at least two and usually more Scriptural references (witnesses) in order to clarify its meaning.

The "obedience" issue covered by Hebrews 13:17 is no different. Yet, you find many spiritual leaders in the modern church that use this reference as a kind of "indisputable mandate" for us to obey everything they teach without question. After reviewing all the Scriptural "witnesses" you discover that the New Testament does not support this extreme view anywhere and the Holy Spirit explains quite well (to the person that is looking at the whole counsel of God) what Heb 13:17 means. It is even easier to understand when you have truly Godly people in your lives.

Of course the ecclesiastics always teach you that all major doctrines have many supporting verses, but they don’t apply that to their doctrine of authority or any other man-made doctrine of theirs. They just go ahead and establish that doctrine (of man) based on Heb 13:17.

The first thing we can learn from the Scripture verses quoted in this post is that Jesus never intends for his people to give blind obedience to anyone. And that is supported many, many times in Scripture. Acts 17 comes to mind regarding the Bereans. Even though Paul was teaching them, they did not blindly receive what he said, but searched the scriptures to "see if these things were so".

It obviously pleased the Lord in Revelations 2:2 that the church of Ephesus "tested" apostles and found them to be liars. That's pretty strong language. Do you know of many "churches" that allow this kind of scrutiny toward those in charge? I don't. When you consider this together with the warning Jesus gave in Matt. 7:15-16 about false prophets and testing their fruits--and you have solid evidence that the command "Obey those who have the rule over you" is not an imperative or a mandate to give unquestioned obedience.

Also, when you consider the instruction Jesus gave his disciples about not using a "dominion over" type of authority (Matt. 20:25-28)--and later Peter's instructions to certain ministers of the Gospel about not "lording it over" God's people but being examples to the flock--all doubt should be laid to rest regarding Heb 13:7 and Heb 13:17.

Pastoral authority takes credit for what the word of God does when we misunderstand Hebrews 13:17

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:17, KJV).

This verse--or rather the first half of this verse--when taken out of context--and combined with other words that are simply not here (authority--pastor)--has been used to establish a scripturally incorrect form of church government. This “taking out of context” has been used to lead people into the concept of "pastoral authority"--"submitting to spiritual leaders"--"submitting to authority"--"obeying Godly rule"--"Obey them that are have the rule over you"---Most of us are "under" someone--we all need to be "under a pastor"--etc--etc.

But what this verse really says, when we take it in context and define the words by the Bible itself, and NOT BY OUR EXPERIENCE--we will realize that this verse tells us something quite wonderful--

It says really-- we should "obey" (give heed to--listen to)--them that serve us or minister to us (have the rule--Greek: hegeomai--which Jesus defines as service in Matthew 20, Mark 10 and Luke 22)--and "submit"--(cooperate with) them---as they give us the word of God (account--logos) which will benefit our souls.

This is why, you can listen to almost any Bible teachings--from almost any source--and it is the Word of God coming through that person that will benefit you.

The problem is that man has traditionally taken credit for the work of the Word of God. "Pastoral authority" takes the credit for what the Word of God accomplishes. The incorrect teaching of "submitting to authority" comes in and takes credit for the benefit that we receive when we listen to (obey) the Word of God as it is taught to us by another Christian who is serving God (again--"have the rule" = "service"!!) by teaching us.

“Pastoral authority” takes the credit for what God's word does. And the average Christian gets confused. Many, many Christians believe it is their "submission to authority" that is what benefits them---but this is a misunderstanding based on listening to others and not reading and studying God’s Word for yourself. It is the operation of the wrong kingdom.

Jesus tells us that it is the kingdom of the Gentles that operates in his specific way--

"And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors." (Luke 22:25, KJV).

It is not the authority of the pastor--or the authority of Christian leadership which benefits us--it is the Word of God coming through that person which benefits us.

"Submitting to authority" is not in the New Testament and it should not be the operating government within the church.

The Government is on His shoulders and we are governed by the Holy Spirit not man. In Him we live and move and have our being and we have mutuality with one another, preferring one another and serving one another in love. This is how our Living Head, the Lord Jesus Christ leads us. Why in the world do we need two Heads if the Holy Spirit is leading us to walk in the Spirit and love one another? Another “head” only brings confusion by scrambling your spiritual bearings. You find yourself listening to two Heads as it were. And these two heads are never in sync.

This is one of the biggest problems in Christendom today and that is why we always keep saying that it is indeed a man-made Pharaseeical system. We have been taught that only Rome has usurped the place of Jesus Christ on earth, but the Lord’s rule (and yes it is appropriate to say His rule), in His children’s lives is almost non-existent, because another one has taken His place. The "modern Pastor" who we are told to submit to has taken the Lord’s place. Read what I said about 1 Samuel 8, where the people wanted a king. They did not want the Lord as their King. When man takes the Lord’s place in your life, there is always oppression. Read 1 Samuel 8, very slowly.

I have known few Shepherds (I can count them on one hand) that lay down their life for the sheep and serve them with God's Word, Intercession and by example and never, never, never took a salary. They lived by Faith. They taught living by faith so I guess they thought they should probably be the first to demonstrate what that looks like.

It kept them dependent on God and teaching the truth without fear of offending anyone lest they not tithe or leave the church.

Joh 5:44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?

 2010/10/30 4:18

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7494



You are saying so many things that are right, but there is an attitude in your posts I find very reminds me of the attitude that was so strong during the Vietnam War era that gave rise to the hippie movement where all forms of authority were challenged and considered suspect. This mindset opened the door to challenge all forms of authority whether it be in the church, government, schools, homes, society, workplace.
I remember this quite well because it was my generation that did it.

Now this mentality has come around again....


Sandra Miller

 2010/10/30 9:15Profile


Very nice ad hominem, Ginny.

Actually, quite slick.

I pick corn on Sabbaths, too.

 2010/10/30 10:34

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7494


removed by ginnyrose

Sandra Miller

 2010/10/30 10:39Profile


Makes sense

Well, I caught that before you removed it. You replied to my comment about "picking corn on Sabbaths" and you said, "Makes sense". If you weren't joking that tells me much more about you.

You know Ginny, I may not go back as far as you do, I only beheld the Vietnam protests from afar and I am glad I did. I don't believe the Lord teaches pacifism ("peaceful" protesting or rebelliousness against God placed authority - Romans 13), even if it (the authority) is wrong. The Lord teaches non-resistance as can plainly be seen in Matt 5 and many other parts of the NT. I see in the Halloween post that you are 61, so that would definitely put you in the middle of the Vietnam protests.

Most will not catch the fact that you are attempting to marginalize the speaker (me) and attempting to diminish the content of my posts by leveling an accusation of "rebelliousness" against me regarding all authority (govt, schools, society, workplace, church). I am sure you probably don't even mean this or see that, this is what you are writing.

Because in text messages it is always quite hard to actually pin point someone's attitude, especially when the posts are about exposing an ungodly and unjust system. Those that trust in that system will always be emotional and seek to protect it.

I am, under several types of the authorities that you mention (government, school, workplace, society, etc), and I am mutually submitted to my sisters and brothers in Christ. As I said, I get along quite well with authorities that God has put in place (Rom 13).

I do however recoil (and so does the Holy Spirit) at ungodly authority that seeks to control and manipulate and take the Lord's place in His children's lives and I do not willingly put myself under such. That would be sinning against the Lord and time and time again throughout the entire Bible, He tells us how wroth that makes Him. This must be the "rebelliousness" that you detect, because in every other aspect of my life, I am submissive (cooperative). I pay my taxes, respect my employer, pay my mortgage etc, etc.

When our idols are attacked, it is natural to protect them. However, it is spiritual to tear them down from the high places in our hearts.

In the Bible, no one ever reacts in a good way when their idols are being attacked.

If I were to make a guess, I would say that this is what got under your skin.

"This is one of the biggest problems in Christendom today and that is why we always keep saying that it is indeed a man-made Pharaseeical system. We have been taught that only Rome has usurped the place of Jesus Christ on earth, but the Lord’s rule (and yes it is appropriate to say His rule), in His children’s lives is almost non-existent, because another one has taken His place. The "modern Pastor" who we are told to submit to has taken the Lord’s place. Read what I said about 1 Samuel 8, where the people wanted a king."

I don't believe anyone on this thread is attacking anyone. It could be interpreted that way (and it always usually is when idols are attacked), but what I see more of is an ungodly system being exposed.

 2010/10/30 11:01

Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2094
Whittier CA USA


pilgrim777, not to flatter you, but I think you would do good at writing a book or something on this whole issue of church government or church life.
I was going to comment on some examples of how this "authority" is exercised in churches, but I think you would do a much better job at articulating. Could you elaborate a little an that? I know that one of the main arenas in which this "authority" is exercised is in church meetings, gatherings, or services, where the one in "authority" takes over the meeting and everything is centered around him, while everyone else sits passively by and large.


 2010/10/30 12:00Profile



What would have been the scripture for anyone who experienced God in the early part of the Old Testament to refer to as right or wrong?

It was one big RoLLer CoaSTER Experience.

It's not just an intellectual knowledge of the word of God, it's experiencing God.

I mean really. We take God coming into us and abiding in us as a theological conclusion instead of a reality. What was never done in the Old Testament has been made real in the New, Christ in you the hope of glory, that is an experience!

Paul experienced Christ on the road to Damascus, where was his biblical proof that such a thing ever occurred in scripture?

We could say, "Paul, I like to believe you, but since there is no scripture to back up your experience, we have to conclude that you fancied the whole thing up."

When Paul was relating his story to King Agrippa, he used his experiences coupled with the word to show that Jesus was indeed Christ. It's a matter of believing Paul's experience and believing that Jesus indeed showed Himself to Paul and by faith receiving Paul and Christ as true faithful witnesses and the hope that the person put their faith in Jesus.

When God touches man, it's an experience that you'll never forget. I am not talking about barking like dogs, hissing like snakes, or roaring like elephants, we go to the zoo for that stuff.

I am talking about experiencing God.

 2010/10/30 12:20


Hi Oracio,

By the way I just updated my last post in this thread.

And don't worry, I know myself quite well, so I don't take it as flattery.

My first reaction is to say that the book has already been written (Bible). When I read it, I see all the time, left and right, what has already been written. People don't understand the Word because the Lord does not have their heart, and therefore a veil remains over their spiritual eyes.

I think that many Believers don't get anything out of the OT because they have a veil over their eyes and don't understand that the transition between the OT to the NT is one of outward to inward. Today's Christianity is in large part, outward.

The OT is critical to understanding all the doctrines of the NT, our walk, church life, authority, etc, etc. Jesus and the Apostles drew from the OT scriptures, constantly. There is a saying that basically says, "the New Testament explained is in the Old Testament contained".

Therefore when people see "wicked people sacrificing children to idols on high places" in the OT, they don't understand what that means today in their own lives. They don't think it applies to them. They think that it still means, wicked people, sacrificing (killing) children to idols high places. There is a huge disconnect and lack of understanding and I see this as creating many problems in Christianity.

Here are some things that people don't understand what they mean today. All I have to do is open up to one chapter. Most people do not know how to interpret these things in light of their walk today. Everything in the OT is something today, but no one is being taught what they have transitioned to. It is basically a veil on their eyes and I will tell you why later in this post.

"kill all the men, women and children"
high places
idols under every green tree
lofty mountain top
slaying the children in the valleys
beasts of the field
kings and princes
birds of the air

Maybe someday the Lord will lead me to do that. I think that there are so many more capable people, though.

Ginny thinks I am being real hard, but I am milk toast compared to what I read in God's Word.
Check Isaiah 56:10-12

Here is another for instance. The Amorites, Jebusites, Hittites, etc. etc, were all characterized by a predominant sin or you could say demonic stronghold. Today we think that these wicked clans are all gone. But what we fail to realize is that the demon principalities that influenced and controlled these clans never died and they are still here today doing the same thing they did in the OT and ravaging the Church. Demons don't get promoted, they have the same job forever. Spirit of lust, anger, murder, adultery, gossip, etc, etc.

More than a book, we need to ask God for discernment today. Discernment is given according to the measure that we are willing to obey His Word and come under His authority and rule. The reason that there is such a veil over Christian's eyes today and they cannot discern the battle, don't trust each other and are attacking one another is because they have placed themselves under their own king (man). When you do this, you become blind in the spiritual sense and the enemy knows this. You take your orders from man and not from God, now. All other kings (spiritual leaders) are not as important as your king (and that goes for King Jesus).

Too many Christians have their own king today and not the KING.

The Key to understanding God's Word is to come to it with your whole heart and determined to not be joined to anything else in your heart but Him.

If you don't come to the Word of God with your whole heart, determining to tear down idols that the Holy Spirit shows you, then YOU ARE JUST GOING TO HAVE A RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.

And there is a lot of that going on today.

It is a age old trap of Satan.

 2010/10/30 12:39

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