The Shepherding/Discipleship Movement – Introduction
“If you warn the brethren of these dangers you will be a good and faithful servant of Christ Jesus, inwardly feeding on the lessons of the faith and of the sound teaching of which you have been, and are, so close a follower”. (1 Timothy 4:6, wmt)
The Shepherding/Discipleship Movement is a dangerous one. Pastors and Christians should be educated on this movement. Why? Because it has misled millions of sincere Christians down the wrong path and will continue to, if it is not exposed. It has stumbled many people, and made many sincere Christians lose their faith as well. It has led many away from our chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
The Shepherding/Discipleship Movement is very present in churches today, and is deceiving countless sincere Christians into idol worship (though unknown to them). It is deceptive and often masked behind a plethora of sermons on “Truth”, “Unity” and “Submission”.
The “shepherding,” “discipleship,” “submission,” and “covering” concepts pose a real threat to those who wish to commit themselves to Jesus Christ today, just as it was during the “Jesus Movement” of the 70’s.
My sincere and heartfelt desire is to obey God and to warn those who have a zeal to follow the Lord to not be sidetracked by the “spiritual sounding”, deceiving, misleading, un-Godly, teaching of Shepherding.
Like wolves in sheep’s clothing, these teachings are virtually unrecognizable to people. Often, in places where these teachings prevail, even on the most subtlest (yet still very harmful) level – the gifts of the Holy Spirit are discouraged among the “lower” people. That is, the gift of discernment, wisdom, knowledge, prophecy, teaching, etc. are reserved for the church “elite”, the “gifted ones”, and the use of such gifts are also discouraged and treated with contempt, while putting out “the Spirit’s fire”. This is not the Spirit of Truth in operation. The notion that the Body of Christ is a Body, is forgotten, as the people are taught that the leadership is the head. This is nothing more than a demonic spirit of error, elitism, control, fear and a Nicolatian spirit.
“For God has not given us a Spirit of fear…”
The fact is, Jesus is our only Shepherd. He is the head of the church. One facet of this deceptive and sneaky movement is the teaching that “submission to authorities” in the church, will provide a “spiritual covering” to the person submitting, even in the midst of disobeying God’s Word. The idea is that submission to leaders “above” is of more importance than obedience to God’s Word. Also of note is the view on spiritual hierarchies. But the Truth is that Jesus said, “The greatest among you will be your servant” not a tyrant! (Matthew 23:11).
According to Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship:
“But neither can we have unity at any cost; down that road lies communism or fascism. While unity is important, truth is even more important. Unity based on a lie cannot do anything in the long run but bring disaster. For the most part, the German nation under Nazism remained unified- but it was a unity based on lies that ended in worldwide catastrophe. Unity has its crucial place, but only within the proper framework of what is true and right”.
While I rarely quote anything from Calvary Chapel, the above quote was good. Jesus Himself brought righteous division based on Truth. See Luke 12:51-52.
There are several books and articles written about the movement, which started in the 1970’s. Chuck Smith has addressed this topic according to several sources. You can do some research yourself online if the Lord leads you, and see its early presence in the Calvary Chapel movement.
(Disclaimer: I am not against any particular church or group of churches. I am against the movement itself. I have not stated anything that is not factual and public information. You can see and do the research for yourself. I am simply stating the facts. I love all my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am simply speaking about the movement itself, and being a faithful servant by warning of its extreme dangers and satanic influence that leads many, and will lead many, to destruction. If you have a problem with me speaking the Truth, than your problem is not with me, but with Jesus, who is the Truth. I am simply a messenger to warn you to obey His Word and test all things to the Word, and to be alert, and possibly…to REPENT. If you still have a problem with me bringing the Truth and light, you may choose to hearken back to The Apostle Paul’s ministry, which was largely spent on exposing doctrinal error in the churches. Truth and love go hand in hand. I love the Body of Christ just like Jesus does, with the Truth).
The shepherding Movement is completely false, and is a cult and has strong demonic influence. It is completely against what the Bible says. It exists in many churches, right now.
Dr. Steven Lambert*, author of Charismatic Captivation, says,
“Multitudes of sincere and trusting believers are caught in the virtually invisible web of religious captivation in the churches they attend, the ministries they are under, and the networks they are aligned with…and don’t know it!”
He goes on to say:
“Through systematic indoctrination, victims have been duped into accepting as biblical and beneficial the oppressive and abusive predominance imposed upon them by unscrupulous, tyrannical church-leaders.
Without realizing the spiritual effect of what they are doing, myriads of sincere and faithful followers of Christ, in submitting themselves and surrendering their God-given right to self-governance or personal autonomy unto their spiritual leaders, have become “slaves of men” in blatant violation of God’s explicit warning against that very thing: “DO NOT BECOME SLAVES OF MEN!” (1 Cor. 7:23)”.
Acts 20:30 says, “Even men from your own people will rise up and twist the truth. They want to get the believers to follow them”.
*Please note, though I agree with the above statements, I no longer support Steven Lambert’s ministries.
There are several signs, which I will address in my next article. But you can be sure, that any true disciple of Christ wanting to confront these issues would absolutely be met with severe intimidation tactics, satanic scare strategies, among other un-Godly tactics.
1 Timothy 4
1 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. 2 These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.[a]
3 They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks by faithful people who know the truth. 4 Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. 5 For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer.
A Good Servant of Christ Jesus
6 If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed. 7 Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. 8 “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 9 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. 10 This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.
11 Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. 12 Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 13 Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.
14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 15 Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.