As you get ready to go into 2010 think about your Shepherd (Pastor or Pimp) and what you VOWED to do for him in 2009. Did you promise or vow to pay 100% of your tithes? Did you vow to defend him/her against accusation? Interesting questions that require serious thought.

While knee-deep in the Word of Faith movement I often heard my Pastor Pimp refer to himself as a “Shepherd”. There is nothing wrong with a Pastor taking on the role of a Shepherd to the flock. However, how far should a person follow his/her Pastor or Pimp? Is your Shepherd your covering? All of this mess derives from the Shepherding movement of the early 1970’s

“Shepherding” is a name given to a movement which arose within the Christian Church in the early 1970’s. Largely found within the Charismatic movement, it became a system instituted within many churches whereby elders/bishops or “shepherds” would be appointed to act as spiritual leaders responsible for the church. Individual church members were assigned to specific elders, and were to be “submitted” to them. This was supposed to cause the submitted individuals to be “disciples,” and to be protected by a spiritual “covering.”

Shepherding has gone through an evolution over the years. While not nearly as popular or widespread as in the early 70’s, it is nevertheless still found within the Christian Church. It is also not limited to the Charismatic church, but has become popular within some other movements. Many of the original personalities and teachings of the movement are not widely known today, but it is useful to examine shepherding’s foundations and the teachings that have been emphasized throughout the various manifestations of the movement. This is not an attempt to criticize the particular men quoted, but give an accurate presentation of their teachings, as well as a biblical response to anyone teaching the same concepts in the present-day church.

There is a new twist in the old Shepherding Movement and it is coming soon to your church, if it hasn’t already. This new twist is presented to pastors wrapped in silver gilding, and looks quite reasonable and rational. Should a discerning pastor, or one who steeps himself in the Word, take a second look, theguild disappears and in its place will appear rust and corrosion.

Across the country, parishioners are now being challenged to take oaths, perform vows and sign covenants. These things would have been unheard of in generations past for one simple reason. These things used to be forbidden, or only permitted under the gravest of circumstances. A few decades ago churches founded their beliefs sturdily upon the rocks of historical creeds, documents that have withstood the test of time and human whim, and which have imparted to each new generation an understanding of the major tenets of the Gospel faith. Now, in our latter days of “dumbed-down” Christianity, a minimal number of people in the pews know the creeds, have studied them, or even know about them!

You know the sad thing is that the average parishioner submits to a pimps authority before the ONE who can save, the Lord Almighty!

Thinks twice or rather READ twice before your Daddy tells you to do something. ALWAYS consult the Word of God and not just take your Daddy’s word! Think EVEN harder the next time you PLEDGE YOUR ALLEGIANCE TO YOUR PASTOR. God’s word is clear in OT and NT scripture regarding vows and Oaths:

OT-

There are about 30 biblical references to vows, most of which are from the Old Testament. The books of Leviticus and Numbers have several references to vows in relation to offerings and sacrifices. There were dire consequences for the Israelites who made and broke vows, especially vows to God.

The story of Jephthah illustrates the foolishness of making vows without understanding the consequences. Before leading the Israelites into battle against the Ammonites, Jephthah—described as a mighty man of valor (Hmm Sound Familiar)—made a rash vow that he would give to the Lord whoever first came out of doors to meet him if he returned home as the victor. When the Lord granted him victory, the one who came out to meet him was his daughter. Jephthah remembered his vow and offered her to the Lord (Judges 11:29-40). Read the scripture to check out the consequences

NT-

Jesus gave a new commandment concerning vows. “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No ,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:33-37).

The principle here is clear for Christians: do not make vows, either to the Lord or to one another. First, we are unable to know for sure whether we will be able to keep vows. The fact that we are prone to the errors in judgment which are part of our fallen nature means that we may make vows foolishly and/or because of immaturity. Further, we don’t know what the future will bring—only God does. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow (James 4:14), so to make a vow that we will do or not do something is foolish. God is the one in control, not us, and He “works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Knowing this, we can see that it is unnecessary to make vows and indicates a lack of trust in Him. Finally, Jesus commands that our word be sufficient without making vows. When we say ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ that’s exactly what we should mean. Adding vows or oaths to our words opens us up to the influence of Satan whose desire is to trap us and compromise our Christian testimony.

. If we have made a vow foolishly and realized we cannot or should not keep it, we should confess it to God, knowing that He is “faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” A broken vow, while serious, is not an unforgivable matter if taken to the Lord in true confession. God will not hold us to vows made imprudently, but He expects us to obey Jesus and refrain from making vows in the future.

Again think twice before you pledge your allegiance to anyone. Think hard the next time you recite a “givers confession or creed”. You will have to live up to it one day

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