This teaching is from February 28, 2013 and is still very important to consider, I believe.
We are told in Ephesians 5:21 to submit to one another out of reverence to God, “submitting to one another in the fear of God.” But that is different than having someone over you, who might either be “your covering” or a spiritual mother or father.
With the five-fold ministries, we have each doing their part helping to bring the body unto maturity. There have been many abuses and yet God’s plan is that each of these ministries operate in such a way that they can complement and operate in a way that God’s body is complete and functioning as it should, so that we can come unto unity in the faith and maturity:
“Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love,” Ephesians 4:13-16.
As our thumb can touch all the other fingers in our hand, so I can see an apostle touching and coordinating all the other fingers.
Having said that, coordinating is much different than being a covering for each and being the one that the other ministries are “answerable” to.
“For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel,” 1 Corinthians 4:15.
*As we know we have only one Father. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, who is in heaven,” Matthew 23:9.
Some of the shepherding movement’s teachings are present today in various Christian groups, and so it is important to examine these doctrines. The Shepherding Movement was an attempt to solve some of the church’s shortcomings, the most important being that many Christians were not properly “discipled,” or taught how to grow in the faith.
In the traditional church many new believers had been left on their own to study the Bible, learn how to pray, and learn how to have a lifestyle that is pleasing to the Lord. The shepherding movement believed many new converts became “casualties,” and soon dropped out of the church.
The shepherding movement attempted to correct the situation by saying that each Christian should have a shepherd over them to guide their everyday lives. This leader or shepherd, was to be one’s personal counselor, and was one that they could go to for any questions that they might have. This shepherd was “God’s authority” and his advice was always to be followed. The shepherd was like “God’s ambassador” who communicated God’s messages to us.
To disobey God’s messages would be to disobey God, and therefore we were to trust in the shepherd’s judgment rather than our own.
It was mentioned that when we find the right shepherd, he becomes our covering, and our protection. Because of our “divine relationship” with this shepherd, we are supposed to be protected from making wrong decisions that affect us. We are also supposed to be protected from Satan, since by obeying our shepherd, the devil cannot come in and cause us to make foolish decisions. I say, “hogwash.”
Before we accept a teaching which has such total control over our lives and our spiritual well-being, it is only reasonable to find out what the scriptures say. Is shepherding really a great spiritual truth that most of the church has missed over the years? What does scripture have to say about covering?
God is to be our only covering, as He is the “only” one that can save us from the ills around us, protect us from the enemy, and fulfill his promises to us and in us.
I see some abuses, with how some apostles have “lorded” over their office and thus, have become controlling and domineering fathers. If we are to emulate our heavenly father, then we would see one who is both merciful and just.
God doesn’t demand things to be done His way, but He gives us a free will to decide for ourselves, and thus, to learn from our actions. Fathers guide a child in the way that they should go. They teach by example as well as by word. I believe we also have a relationship with our heavenly father as an expression of how we have related to our earthly fathers.
The Bible says: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped…,” Psalm 28:7. In contrast to this, the Word says: “Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation,” Psalm 146:3.
~ Stephen Hanson
Stephen Hanson of In His Truth Ministries came to the Lord is a special way in 1975 and has been prophesying regularly since. In these end-time birthing pangs we are to be reminded that judgment must first begin with the household of God. Will we be prepared and ready?