Seven Things You Can Do to Cast Down Gentile Power in the Church

How to rein in an unbiblical reign in your congregation

“Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them” (Mark 10:42).

That’s what I call Gentile Power.

“Power. Authority. That’s pretty heady stuff! Too often, those who have it want to preserve it, and those who don’t have it want to acquire it.” (Mark Roth, c. 1994)

Gentile Power infects churches, church committees, and church boards. That’s because it infects disciples. Even disciples of Jesus. Read the context and background of the verse above if you doubt me.

Over the weekend I finally posted an article I wrote on this subject. In it I mention five categories of people according to their response to or perception of this evil. I also offer seven options for the consideration of those weighing their response to such use of church authority.

Along the way, I ask:

You have… You have… You have… But that person — minister, chairman, whoever — continues to use his position as license to exercise Gentile Power.

What are you supposed to do?

Jesus' disciples, watching Him closely

I eventually offer the challenge to choose between two other options. Then I advise:

Choose well.
You’ll pay dearly for either one.
But only one will reward you handsomely.

I invite you to read my full article (Gentile Power in the Church) then come back here and extend the discussion below.

When a Pastor Gives Up…

who will weep, who will shoulder the blame?

This evening I feel twinges of nostalgia and sadness. And perhaps a twitch of a whiff of bitterness? No, I overcame that a long time ago.

Twenty-five years ago this evening, at the Mennonite church in Santa María (Sonora, Mexico), the first national minister of that congregation was ordained.

photo of Emanuel church in Santa Maria

As I recall, my Dad (James Roth) gave the charge. And as I recall, the church’s “founding father” (Joe Mast) as well as two members of BMF Missions (Merle Kropf and Wilton Smucker) were there from Oregon as well. I was the congregation’s pastor.

I continued in that role til I resigned in March or April (as I fuzzily recall) so Manuel Torres could take over. My family and I had to leave the field (in May, I think). Read it all

I Flunked Song of Solomon 907

I wrote it for ninth graders and overshot the mark.

You may know I’m writing Old Testament lessons for high school freshmen. Recently I got to the sole lesson on the Song of Solomon.

The instructions I had were quite elementary:

The lesson focus is that last sentence.

In addition to those mandated parameters, I had these of my own:

  • Make it practical for ninth graders.
  • Avoid eye-rolling stretching to make the passage point to Christ and the church.

Well, I finally settled on using these passages:

  • Song of Solomon 2:4 (85)
  • Song of Solomon 4:1-7 (176)
  • Song of Solomon 5:10-16 (143)
  • Song of Solomon 7:10 (107)
  • Song of Solomon 8:6,7 (217)

The numbers in parentheses tell you how many words I dedicated to each passage.

I began and ended the lesson with these paragraphs respectively:

Song of Solomon is a difficult, much-debated, little-understood book. Perhaps it describes a real-life romance. Perhaps it’s more a poem or play to instruct and encourage husbands and wives. Perhaps it’s an intricate allegory illustrating God’s relationship with His people. Perhaps it’s some combination of those. This lesson, though, will help you consider several portions of the Song of Solomon from three different angles: pre-marriage guidelines, marital principles, and spiritual truths pertaining to Christ and the church.

Nothing shall be able to separate us from divine love (Romans 8:35-39). As the church is secure in Christ, so the church must secure her love for Christ alone (Matthew 24:12; Revelation 2:4). We should let Him know in thought, word, and deed that we are His alone.

Considering the parameters I had, I was enamored with what I submitted. Well, that’s too strong. Maybe infatuated. No, not that either. Pleased, anyway.

So much for feelings. I received instructions to please rewrite the lesson. :mrgreen:

(Oh, you’re wondering about the 907 in the post title? Well, 101 is so predictable, passé, and/or blasé.)

Today I started that process by reading through Song of Solomon. Alas, now I’m less optimistic than when I started. 😯

Do you have any passages to suggest (that fall within the above parameters)?

Yes, It Could Happen Here

God has so blessed America that we can happily relegate such terror to Asia and Europe and say it can’t happen here—but it could if churches content themselves with blessing bicycles, bees, and yaks instead of teaching about sin and what happens to societies that encourage it rather than restrain it. We need to learn about real ghouls.

Halloween’s real ghouls

Non-Accountable Christians — What’s With That?!

Many of the exhortations in the Bible are not popular in today’s world. But a new study by the Barna Group indicates that one of the least favorite biblical principles might well be “Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow” Hebrews 13:17, NLT.

Because the underlying theme of the Christian life is one of being transformed from a selfish and self-driven individual to one who lives for and surrenders control of one’s life to God, the practice of accountability for life choices and behavior is central to that process of transformation. Yet, a national survey by the Barna Group among people who describe themselves as Christian and involved in a church discovered that only 5% indicated that their church does anything to hold them accountable for integrating biblical beliefs and principles into their life.

As a member of a congregation with a written set of (minimum) standards, I find this to be an interesting poll/study/survey.

And I’m curious where you and your congregation would have shown up in it.

That aside, here’s a little more from the above article:

“Barna Group studies among pastors and other church leaders have consistently shown that such leaders have a distaste for initiating any type of confrontation and conflict with congregants. Another barrier is that many followers of Christ are uncertain about the difference between judgment and discernment. Not wanting to be judgmental, they therefore avoid all conversation about the other person’s behavior—except, sometimes, gossip.

“One of the cornerstones of the biblical concept of community is that of mutual accountability. But Americans these days cherish privacy and freedom to the extent that the very idea of being held accountable by others—even those with their best interests in mind, or who have a legal or spiritual authority to do so—is considered inappropriate, antiquated and rigid. With a large majority of Christian churches proclaiming that people should know, trust and obey all of the behavioral principles taught in the Bible, overlooking a principle as foundational as accountability breeds even more public confusion about scriptural authority and faith-based community, as well as personal behavioral responsibility.”

Anyway, here’s the full story: The Barna Group – National Study Describes Christian Accountability Provided by Churches

Above all, love God!