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Date Posted: 10:41:55 08/09/04 Mon
Author: Nick T.
Subject: decent article that exposes shepherding
There are so many great topics of discussion about ubf, the main one being that ubf is merely a shepherding system. What does that even mean? It sounds Biblical, but here is an article that says the shepherding system is not Biblical, and gives Bible passages to support.
Shepherding is not acceptable for a host of reasons, just a couple are listed in thsi article. Please read it and discuss or criticize. For those who don't have one minute to change pages, here is the whole article, from CBN India
Shepherdship is dictatorship in which a person who perceives himself as an immature Christian submits himself completely to the leading of an "elder." The elders (shepherds) are appointed in much the same way as in other hierarchies, with one submitting to the next higher in a chain of command. Total discipline is imposed on those who submit themselves to an elder. Tithes and offerings are given to the elder, and his leadership is total, even extending over the person's family life. Failure to obey the shepherd can lead to verbal condemnation or being cast out of the fellowship. There are positive aspects of this system; the Word is taught; the system is built around the gospel; many people are ministered to by the elders. But the most significant aspect of the shepherding system is that one person submits his will completely to another individual, the shepherd or elder.
The Lord alone is our shepherd, and no other shepherd or leader can be our Lord. The Bible indicates that we are to submit ourselves to one another, (Rom. 12:10) but this does not require that one person dominate another's will. We may go to our pastor or other respected leader to question him about important decisions in our lives, but even after hearing that leader's counsel we must still make our own decisions. It is an evasion of responsibility when we allow others to make important decisions for us and then, if the consequences are bad, claim that "my shepherd made me do it." (Rom. 14:12; Mark 10:42-45). With good reason we seek the advice of mature Christians, but we ourselves are to be responsible and give account of our actions to God.
There is a vast difference between seeking wise counsel from mature Christians and being told what to do by a shepherd or group of shepherds. We should allow no person to dictate to us how to live our lives, even if we respect that person's judgment. Regrettably, many persons who have submitted themselves to shepherds have allowed themselves to be told whom to marry, whether to divorce or stay married, where to work, whether to visit relatives, and so on. Submission can become total obedience to a person. We would remind you that, like Jesus, our total obedience is given to God alone. And Jesus alone is our only mediator, the one bridge between God and us. Though the church is enriched by the work of prophets, teachers, pastors, evangelists, and apostles, no other human being is necessary to bring us into contact with God and his guidance. Jesus stated that his sheep - both mature Christians and those less mature - hear his voice. You have probably been attracted to the biblically-based teaching and morals of the Shepherdship proponents. However, out desire to live a godly life does not necessarily mean we must submit ourselves to the bondage of a hierarchical system or an elder of that system. True shepherds strive, like Jesus, to serve, not to dominate. You are probably capable of discerning whether his pastor or elder is genuinely working to serve others or to be served others. There are many mature Christians who are able to provide guidance without insisting that their advice be accepted as law.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth, according to Jesus' word in John 14:26 and 16:13. Pray that your bondage may be broken and that no bitterness toward the elder(s) may remain. Pray that these elders might see the error of the shepherding system. Pray for church unity so that Christ, not any appointed leaders, might have the pre-eminence in all things.
John 10:4, 5, 27 He walked ahead of them; and they follow him, for they recognize his voice. They won't follow a stranger but will run from him, for they don't recognize his voice. My sheep recognize my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Galatians 5:13 For, dear brothers, you have been given freedom; not freedom to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other.
Luke 22:25-27 Jesus told them, "In this world the kings and great men order their slaves around, and the slaves have no choice but to live it! But among you, the one who serves you best will be your leader. Out in the world the master sits at the table and is served by his servants. But not here! For I am your servant."
Mark 10:42-45 So Jesus called them to him and said, "As you know, the kings and great men of the earth lord it over the people; but among you it is different. Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant. And whoever wants to be greatest of all must be the slave of all; For even I, the Messiah, am not here to be served; but to help others, and to give my life as a ransom for many."
Romans 14:12 Yes, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
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