Shepherding/Discipleship Movement Survivor's Blog

The present-day impact of the Shepherding/Discipleship movement from the perspective of a former member of Morning Star International (now Every Nation Churches and Ministries).

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Prerogative of Deity?

I've been somewhat pulled in various directions over the last several days... I guess if you post stuff on the Internet along with your email address people will write you--and I welcome this!--but one of the things I've been wanting to do but haven't found the time to do is to write a documented, semi-scholarly article on the covering doctrine specifically as it pertains to Every Nation's "working theology" regarding apostolic/spiritual/delegated authority and present form of government. Right now it is comprised of two sticky notes on my desk filled with rough citations and notes that only I understand.

A couple things do stand out, though.

From the 3/2006 revision of The 2010 Initiative, emphasis mine (this section is unchanged from previous editions):

Each local church gives monthly into Every Nation; many give a tithe. In the future, the new churches planted will be "tithing" into the overall mission of Every Nation. This tithe recognizes the principle of spiritual authority and covering.

I highlight this as significant since this was published after the January reorganization - apparently the "principle of spiritual authority and covering" is still a key underpinning of the movement.

From Jim Laffoon's book, A Divine Alliance: How Apostles and Prophets Operate in Today's World (emphasis mine):

Apostles are also gifted to recognize the calling and spiritual destiny in the lives of God's people. One of the most powerful examples of this aspect of the apostle's ministry is found in the book of Acts: Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet (Acts 4:36-37).

The word encouragement comes from the Greek word nebee, which means prophet. Even as God renamed Abram, Jacob, and Simon according to their calling, the apostles in Jerusalem saw the prophetic calling on the life of Joseph, who was a businessman in the church, and redefined him accordingly. This is an amazing story. For the first time in history, God was allowing humans to rename people according to their spiritual destiny. That which had always been the prerogative of deity had now been given to humans through the apostolic office. It is no different today. God has given apostles the grace to perceive and define the calling and destiny of His people.

Aside from the fact that this conclusion is based upon an absolutely horrid little piece of exegesis, the notion that the "prerogative of deity" is given to those with the so-called "apostolic gifting" is more than somewhat troubling, at least to me. This sounds similar to Roman Catholic beliefs regarding the Pope and church hierarchy, and indicates that perhaps the counsel of the Holy Spirit, the Counselor Jesus sent Who would be with us until the end of the age, is not quite adequate.
4/30/06: Wow - look up "prerogative of deity" in Google... Beyond all the esoteric stuff that comes up first in the search, here's what Baker's Evangelical Guide of Biblical Theology says about this (emphasis mine):

God retains exclusive prerogative as deity. Any competing ideology is idolatry, whether that be the ancient worship of Baal or the modern preoccupation with technique, nationalism, or militarism.

This really is a key difference between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism... or maybe I should say between Every Nation and the rest of Protestantism...? And the Church Lady says,"Hmmm, could it be... CATHOLIC?"


Blogger Speakword said...

Ulyankee, I rebaptise thee "Non-Covered Woman". Report directly to the pastor's boardroom for a browbeating and a lecture about your evil ways. And, if you have any fields, sell them and give them to us. We have building plans. In fact, you would be best advised to sacrifice everything to us. We know best. We are god?

Once again, I am stupified by the stupidity of it all. I think I must get Laffoon's book ASAP. I can hit myself on the head with it every time I get an independent thought from the years of subtle brainwashing.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Barb said...

Just stumbled onto your website. We left our church in May of 2007. It was involved in the Peter Wagner/John Kelly side of the Apostolic Reformation Movement. They also taught all the Sheperherding/Discipleship/Covering/Tithing and such. Just saying hi and will follow what you are saying.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Mystic Rose said...

As a Catholic I feel I must comment here. The pope and bishops do not claim to possess anywhere near the authority that members of the Shepherding/Discipleship movement claim for themselves. They can under limited circumstances rule on various doctrinal matters, but they don't micromanage the lives of their flock or claim divine authority for everything they say. Shepherding/Discipleship goes way beyond proper Church authority. It was based on a communist model, IIRC, not a Christian one.

4:57 AM  

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