So when we moved to Cyprus, after being prayed for by anointed men and women, we were shocked to be faced with 'Who do you think you are, coming over here and thinking you can do things on your own?'
We were told in no uncertain terms that we MUST come under the COVERING of a church or leadership. We told them that we are appointed by Yeshua and I was well into my Theological studies at that time with an Australian Bible College, to which they more or less said, 'so what?'.
So this article I am posting addresses this Erroneous teaching within the Church.
In a number of denominations a "doctrine of covering" is taught and accepted by the faithful. Most members never question this teaching. After all, most believe it and the leadership teach it as truth, so it must be right?
However the Holy Spirit impressed on us when we were questioning the leadership claims of the JWs that we needed to study the scriptures more deeply on this teaching.
We came to realise that the Holy Spirit NEVER originated it! In His infinite grace, He chose to wait patiently for a time when the Spirit of Truth would become dearer to us than the traditions of men.
The teaching on "covering" goes like this. Everyone needs to be
accountable to someone who is spiritually his or her superior. This
someone may be your cell/group leader, the head of a church department or your senior pastor etc. In turn, these leaders receive covering from someone further up the line, for instance a denominational leader or a "recognised" apostle.
The necessity for this covering is based on the belief that believers need to be safeguarded from falling into error and/or sin. So covering is
provided by those who are more spiritual than us to protect us from such error. At the top of this pyramid of covering there is quite often a well-known and recognised "name" but the chances of meeting or having any kind of relationship with that person if you are at the bottom of the pyramid are fairly slim. Currently, there are several networks offering this kind of covering to those in some form of church leadership or ministry, more often than not for an annual fee.
The annual fee usually provides for the running of the network icluding salaries of the 'leaders', and conferences where you can fellowship with others under your particular brand of covering. You may also be denied
entrance from one of these networks because you don't have the
One of the strange things about this "covering" teaching is that rarely is anyone asked about their spiritual covering, until they step outside their particular church, denomination or network. However, the minute a believer shows signs of having something important to share with the wider Body of Christ, suddenly all and sundry are interested primarily in that one important question: "Who are you covered by?" It all sounds pretty reasonable except for one problem - it's NOT FOUND in scripture. In fact, the early church was taught to rely on the inner anointing to discern the spiritual source of potential ministers. (1 John 2:20,27; 1 John 4:1)
So, where did this idea originate that believers need to be "covered"
in order to serve God and minister within Christ's Body? Are you,like many others, living your Christian life under the shadow of this fear that without "covering" you dare not minister, preach, pray or do a myriad of other things you're called to do by the Spirit of God, because you will somehow be ministering without protection?
The purpose of this article is to shed some light on this issue based on scriptural truth. To begin with, though, we need to understand that this need to be covered by a perceived spiritual authority, and the scriptural instruction to submit ourselves to God's delegated authorities, are NOT necessarily one and the same thing. Furthermore, New Testament authority as demonstrated by Jesus and the first apostles, is servanthood-authority, upholding, strengthening, reinforcing and overseeing the Body from BENEATH, not DOMINEERING, CONTROLLING and RULING from ABOVE. Therefore, it is vital in examining this issue that we begin from a correct understanding of Biblical submission and Biblical authority.
'LET THIS MIND be IN YOU'
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who,
being in the form of God, thought in not robbery to be equal with
God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the
form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being
found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Phil. 2:5-8)
The current mindset we carry in much of the church concerning submission is quite unrelated to the submission taught and demonstrated by Jesus and the early apostles. There is a desperate need to return to the same mind that was in Christ Jesus.
The scripture tells us that though He was equal with the Father, Jesus CHOSE to submit Himself, He CHOSE to humble Himself, He CHOSE to obey. This is the key to Biblical submission, and the model laid down for us by both the Father and the Son.
Submission is firstly a choice; a choice that can only ever be made by the giver. Biblical submission can never be demanded or forced. That kind of relationship is subservience, not submission. Jesus chose to subject Himself to the Father, but the Father "so loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son." Sacrificial giving and sacrificial submission are married to each other.
In the Spirit,you cannot have one without the other. If you try, you will invariably end up with control, dependence and abuse rather than humility,
interdependence and grace.
The New Testament concept of submission, or subjection, is one of a totally voluntary attitude of giving, of yielding one's preference
and deferring to another. In this way, Jesus as a child was subject
to His parents, yet the scriptures record that He did not even
consult them when He was "about His Father's business." (Luke 2:49,51)
"IT SHALL NOT be SO AMONG YOU"
"Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this joyfully and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit." (Hebrews 13:17, NLT)
"But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all." (Mark 10:42-44)
42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
(Mark 10:42 NIV 2011)
There is no question that the scriptures instruct each one of us to submit to God's delegated authority. It is the understanding and the application of that authority we often stumble over. The Bible records that Jesus taught the twelve this Kingdom authority as they walked along the road to Jerusalem.
His face had been set toward the Cross, and it is certain He was keenly aware of the short time He had left with them. Perhaps He was conversing with His Father about what were the most important lessons He could impart to them during the time that was left. We know that He heard them disputing over who among them was the best "leadership material". Perhaps Peter, having not long before witnessed Jesus' transfiguration, thought that gave him special status.
Perhaps James and John felt they were more likely candidates for rulership than impetuous Peter. Shortly before,they had asked Jesus to give them special places of honour in His Kingdom. Whatever had started their dispute, Jesus certainly knew how to end it!
"Whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave....."
The Lord was speaking to a group of people who had grown up under the rule of the Roman Empire. The Romans exercised their authority through forced subjection and harsh cruelty. In fact, the literal translation of the words Jesus used in reference to Roman rule mean "to be under the power of" and "to be subdued." Despite having witnessed Jesus using a very different kind of authority and power, the disciples had not yet understood exactly what He would require of them. The Romans were, in the political sense, their masters. Yet here was Jesus stating that to exercise the authority He was going to invest in them they would need to
become slaves to one another, and not masters. One might safely assume these weren't words any of them particularly wanted to hear that day!
Kingdom authority has nothing to do with titles, positions,
educational qualifications or reputation. Kingdom authority is granted by the Lord according to the measure with which He can trust us to wield it with humility. The greatest authority in the kingdom is reserved for His bondslaves............to be continued
I will post another part of this teaching shortly.
This is a basic Biblical teaching that has been distorted by the Church and made many Christians lives a misery because all they want to do is break out of the box and do what God has ordained them too do.
Blessings in Yeshua's name
Part Two is found here: