"Who Is the Greatest?" - Part 1

written by David Howe

Just recently, I have been looking at what's been happening in the church at large and have been disturbed in the spirit at what I see.

Many today speak about people at different levels. They speak about different types of apostles - arophets - pastors and much more. They speak about who is over whom, and about who is the greatest in the Kingdom. They say things like - You are a level one - Level two - Level three prophet - Level one or two apostle and so on. This is about comparing one against another. It's not in the WORD. We are not to put people in these boxes, and not to measure one against another.

They also say that leaders/teachers must be obeyed without question. Aren't we supposed to test all things by the WORD? This means not just prophecy but teaching as well. In fact, the Bible warns more about about false teachers in the last days.

Accountablity (and I am all for it when used correctly), in some places, is used to control people. They say you have to be accountable to them, but to whom are they accountable? When asked, they would say God, but we are all accountable to God I say. They would say we hear God better than you, that's why we are above you. (Yes, I have heard this preached!)

Did the apostles say anything like this? NO, they did not.

Just to clarify things, I do not believe in isolationism - people totally doing their own thing, but rather, in teamwork, where each one does the work God has given them, some as prophets, pastors, some having gifts of healing and so on.

The five-fold ministries are there for the building up of the body, not as rulers with titles lording over others - to look good - or get rich quickly.

One thing that disturbs me is one minute we have someone calling themselves pastor so and so, then soon after that, apostle so and so, as if this gives them greater authority over the people.

We see some bigger ministries dominating and taking over smaller ones just like many companies do in the secular world. The church, in general in the west, has adopted the world's business practices. Things like - the bigger the better - the small must submit to the powerful. People setting themselves up as super apostles above the people saying that all must submit to them as they are God's spokesmen on earth. They set themselves up as a new priest class over all others. Setting themselves up in place of Christ is idolatry, witchcraft and an abomination in the eyes of the Lord - an extension of the clergy/ laity system of another name - like the popes - showing how immature much of the body really is today.

I believe many of these ministries started out right, but over time, they have slowly taken their eyes off Christ, and that snake of the religious spirit and pride got in without them knowing it. They lost their child-like dependence on Christ and began to look to the world's methods, programs, and ways, again, without knowing what was happening. This can happen to anyone - to any group of believers big or small. We start thinking we see it all when we really see only through a glass dimly.

Heavy Shepherding

A strange thing has happened in the land. Many shepherds have set themselves above the people, and the people like it this way. Many are placing themselves in front of Christ, acting as if they are "christs" or "gods" before the people. Some are building temples and altars for men to worship them. Their doctrines and practices worship the system, and they end up worshiping the beast without knowing it.

In such places, we see a pyramid system of government where the senior pastor passes down orders to the under pastors and then to the group leaders and on to the people. Within such groups, the senior pastors are unapproachable. You have to go through an appointment system to see them, if ever. And woe betide you if you question them or the system, for you would be told you are in rebellion, and rebellion is as witchcraft!

All this is just the heavy shepherding movement coming back under a different form - a way of controlling the people all for their own good, of course.

Something else that is misused in some places is mentoring or discipleship, where all they do is make clones of the people - make them like robots. (I am not against discipleship in the right way where people are built up and set free into what Christ has given them, and then let them go as you would your children when they have grown up.)

Did Christ act like this on earth? Were the apostles like this? NO! They served and gave their lives in the service of others, gave their lives even unto death. They did not lord it over others or use their titles in any way to put themselves above others.

In the early days, the disciples wanted to stop others from praying and ministering in Christ's name, but Christ told them not to stop them. Today, many gifted people are being stopped from ministering by those who should know better.


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