A Legacy of No Accountability

by Brad Pliam

True accountability is only going to happen when the Spirit of God is bringing illumination to man and to man’s institutions.  This may perplex some people who are convinced that the lack of accountability leads only to Jonestown or Waco-type disasters.  Actually, the lack of accountability to God is more rampant than anyone could imagine.  The disaster is much more subtle than the blatant tragedies that make newspaper headlines.  While it is true that there is safety in numbers, and accountability is easier to avoid when in isolation, we simply must not think that groups of people, holding each other accountable guarantees that the Spirit of the Lord will bring conviction of sin and illuminate the group when things go astray.

Anyone who has been around the modern church scene for more than a few years has doubtless heard of the term ‘covering’.  Yes, indeed, the Bible even speaks of a covering for women and that passage has been used to corral and herd sheep into their pens, as it were.  It has been used to keep people from leaving many churches.  The odd thing about it is that those who often employ the word ‘covering’ think that they are seeing more of a spiritual application of the concept than that which Paul was referring to in the passages that use the word.   This is a very ironic perception simply because the most carnal of all attitudes and also the most blatantly ugly and evil dynamic that one can observe in churches today is the controlling and manipulating  of men's lives through pseudo-spiritual doctrines of covering and pseudo-authority.

Satan comes to unwary people with counterfeits.  He has mastered the game of making a mockery of the true path through mimicry and has put up a barrage of neon store fronts that would obscure the real thing.  True accountability and covering has been replaced with  man’s own version, or should I say the Devil’s.  We think it is entirely a good thing to have accountability and we are not absolutely wrong.  It is just that sometimes good is the enemy of best.  We often choose a good path instead of God’s path.  We are prone to use good sense which frequently makes Gods wisdom seem like nonsense.

I am not trying to throw out accountability to our brothers and sisters in Christ.  A question is simply being raised:  “What about accountability to God?”  I am saying that no amount of accountability to leaders, to church boards, to committees, to missions boards or to church bodies can replace or should replace being truly accountable to God and to the Holy Spirit’s convicting voice.

This will not seem boring and basic if you continue on.   Right now you are going to see maybe for the first time a very surprising and unusual application of this concept of accountability to God.

It is now time to get directly down to business and get to the first punch.  A hypocritical standard exists in the current paradigm and format of churches.  We have done things the same way for so long that we have now become convinced that the way we’ve been doing things for the past few centuries is as much Gospel as the Lord’s Prayer and John 3:16.  The hypocrisy I am talking about is the Legacy of stifling, hindering and cutting off the Holy Spirit in churches and then basing our church government on a substitute: on Pastoral Domination rather than the Holy Spirit working through his church.

Where is the hypocrisy and what does that have to do with quenching the Spirit.  The hypocrisy is in the pastoral condemnation of any household that does not submit to the authority of some pastor or church, and therefore does not have a covering.   But don’t look now, God Says: “Woe unto them who cover with a covering, but it is not of me Says the Lord” (Isa. 30:1).   If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.  What we are seeing today are pastors numbering in the tens of thousands who are not submitting to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and therefore not being accountable where it matters most to be accountable.  And they would discourage any who would recognize the problem from going out of the present heretical system that is believed to be the only way.  What is the indictment for those who would leave?  “No Covering,” “No Accountability.” 

Brad, you are starting to sound like an anarchist.  What are you really advocating here?

I don’t mind telling you at all....

I am no more sounding like an anarchist than Samuel the prophet did when during the time when Israel was governed by “judges”, Israel asked Samuel to anoint a king for them.  There are many “faithful” and “loyal” and “patriotic” people who might have a problem really making any sense out of this passage in the Bible.  God said to Samuel:   {paraphrasing:}  ‘Don’t worry Samuel.  They haven't rejected you or the judges I have raised up.  What they are really rejecting is My authority and my governance over their lives.'

Well, today,  while we belly-ache and moan about paying higher and higher taxes and about the un-checked power civil government has over our lives, we, at the very same time cannot even begin to imagine what we would do with out our government institutions.  Well, I can give you one good reason why it IS so difficult to imagine what it would be like for a nation to be governed by the LORD and by whoever the Spirit will anoint for a particular time and place:  It is because the example that we would have had, that Israel could have been, did not endure into modern times.  What a concept!   God presiding over a country.  I think that we might readily recognize that the Vatican, recognized as it’s own sovereign state, is not much help for us in picturing what a nation may look like when individuals rise up under the anointing and unction of the Holy Spirit and rule with the Sword of the Spirit.

Now you have really gone over the edge, Brad; now you are suggesting that we do not even need to have civil government and officials to preside and lead our nation!  Well, whatever it is I am saying, if you check it out carefully, you’ll find I have not gone beyond anything the Bible declares and implies.  It was simply not God’s idea for Israel to have a king and for that chosen nation to be “like all of the other nations.”

Have we gotten off track a little bit?  Weren’t we talking about church government?  Yes, we were and we have now an excellent example or basis to show the people of God:  sometimes, even if something WORKS, and even seems to work well,   a closer look can show us that it still was not God’s plan.

This brings us back to pastoral domination over the church.  We can obviously see that the system where a shepherd is given the major responsibility, and even other systems that make committees or congregations the ultimate authority over peoples lives, that system has been around for ages.  And it does seem to be making people very happy.  There are indeed millions who are totally sold on the system and would no sooner lay any blame or make any charge against it than they would the Bible itself.  There is just one problem though:  It is not IN the Bible.  Though widely practiced and though it has been around longer than Amoco or Lloyds of London,   this system is simply NOT scriptural.

Now I must prove to you why.   Here’s why:  Ephesians 4:8-13 Speaks of the “five-fold ministry as people now refer to it.     “....Apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors, teachers.”  Notice verse 8  “He gave gifts unto men.”  Then, in verse 13: “’till we ALL [emphasis mine] come to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ....” This passage of Scripture has been to some a blueprint for implementing God’s system of church authority. Yet, the context really seems to speak of something that will be happening to ALL of us  “men” [and women]. Nothing wrong with the blue-print concept, but their perversion of it is something that has sadly lead to false hierarchical systems where “pastors” as we know them today are made to be subjugated to the even higher-up Apostle.  Well,  this verse actually SHOULD be our blueprint for church government.  The key is though that there is NO entrenched hierarchy.  Yes, we have to recognize that the capacities do not function the same and the titles represent different propensities.  But they are all to be submitted to in the same way we submit to ANYONE speaking or moving under the rule of the HOLY SPIRIT. 

Isn’t that liberating?   I always find an excitement and a freedom when I begin to grasp the simplicity that is in Christ.

Those who maintain that the Pastor is the key person in every Christians life that must be submitted to, now have the ball in their court:  they must explain how the pastor only, and not the evangelist, not the teacher, not the prophet are on the highest authoritative plane. The same plane as the pastor if we follow their false system. Just as Israel had ‘ judges’ like Deborah,  Jephthah, etc... people whom God chose to rise up for a specific purpose and time slot, under the Holy Spirit,  we also have members of the body that we can expect that God will want to raise up when we are not entranced by a pastor and not looking to any man to conduct our fellowship when we come together.

God has poured out his Spirit mightily in our day.  When the new wine came we all thought that the old wine skin would be just fine to handle it.  Well, Jesus taught us differently.  We are told by the Lord that “men do not put new wine into an old wine skin, because the tear in the old wine skin will be made worse.”  How is it that we have drunken so much of the new wine and have so little expectation that the Lord would want to bring to us a new wine skin?

When Jesus spoke these things: He was alluding to the very established well entrenched religious system of his day.   Fanatics of the type that pushed to have the Lord crucified, are always ready do combat to maintain the existing order.  Much of their security needs and monetary needs hinge on it’s staying in tact.  We must recognize that things will change and ARE changing in the world.  If we want to be effective in the world for the truth,  let us move forward, as God moves forward.

God Bless,

Brad Pliam

Back to the Reading Room