Prophets, Preachers, and Politicians

Prophets, Preachers, and Politicians
Robert Wurtz II

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! (Galatians 5:14-15)

Our passage contains the dreadful consequence of a “party spirit” (politics) operating in the churches of God. Ignoring this passage has brought many Christians, relationships, ministries, and moves of God, to an abrupt and pitiful end over the last 2000 years. It is impossible to overstate how dangerous a “party spirit” or politics are to God’s people. This is why Jesus commanded the disciples not to organize their ministry into a Gentile power structure in Matthew 20:25-26, Mark 10:42-43, and Luke 22:25-26. Multitudes cry to Heaven “Lord, Lord” and then go right out and disobey these clear verses. Simply put, Jesus warned us not to set up a corporate type hierarchy (pecking order, ranking, chain of command) in the churches. 

Despite this clear command being repeated in all the synoptic Gospels, churches and organizations are typically set up like a corporation. In a corporate hierarchy, we might say that “Pete is about six levels below the CEO;” however, this is not the way churches and Christian organizations are to be established. It is nothing more than Israel crying for a king rather than allowing God to rule over them. As with Israel, so too with the churches, this Gentile, worldly, Egyptian, or whatever adjective we want to employ, “power structure” has grave consequences.  

Moving Up The Ranks?

Any place that you find a ranking system, you have sin being committed. Disobeying God in Matthew 20:25-26, Mark 10:42-43, and Luke 22:25-26 is no different than any place else. Moreover, ranking systems breed sin and offenses. They can do no other. Why? Because when there is a political element involved, people don’t feel obligated to treat their brother or sister in Christ as they would want to be treated. They generally lose their minds and forget they are supposed to be Christians. 

What happens? Older ministers fear that some young person is “gunning for their job” so they do everything in their power to suppress all potential “threats” to their position. They are not allowed to do anything that may get the people taking a liking to them. Some ministers are afraid to go out-of-town lest when they come back, someone is trying to take their job. Moreover, some younger ministers undermine the people in high position, so they can eventually be “voted in to their job.” They obstruct, refuse to support, point out their shortcomings, etc. ad nauseam. It becomes a very tense “us against them” abomination to God and man. This is worldliness at its finest. Naturally, if you ask them, they all do these things for “spiritual” reasons. The carnal Corinthians thought they were “spiritual” too, because they were moving in the gifts of the Spirit; however, some were fornicating, suing one another, and splitting the church into political parties backing “Paul, Appollos, Cephas and Jesus.”

In the Old Testament, when the people were really off track, God would use the prophets to bring a strong message of correction. Nobody “votes in” a prophet, so God has to raise one up to confront the people. They often employed radical language or tactics to accomplish the job. Similarly, Paul used a morbid statement to the Galatians, But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! What happens? When someone bites, the natural response is to bite back. This process continues until all parties involved are consumed (destroyed). What begins as behavior becoming toddlers — erupts into a savage warfare between people acting like wild animals. The renowned Greek scholar A.T. Robertson, in commenting on these verses, tells the sobering story of two snakes who each swallowed the other by the tail. 

If there is one thing that most parents of toddlers detest — it is biting. The fastest way to receive a spanking when I was a  child was to bite somebody. Emotions would run so high that some parents would say to the victim, “Just bite him back! Show him how it feels.” It would not be unusual for parents to come to blows nearly when they looked at their child’s arm and there was a bite mark. “Why did he bite you?!” The parent asks. “Because I was playing with his toy.” Then the parents get into an argument. One backs their child’s right to territory, and the other wants an apology for biting. In modern times, I suspect parents are more civilized than this, but I’m not holding my breath. 

Toddlers are not the only people who “bite” when they don’t get their way. Adults do it too. This is what Paul said, But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! (Galatians 5:15) This is much more serious and destructive than the behavior of toddlers. It is more serious because toddlers are supposed to be selfish; that is to say, they have to be taught to be friendly and loving. Christian adults should know better. It is more destructive because there is so much more at stake. When a toddler bites and is then bitten back, both have bite marks. Each tells how the other bit them. The same holds true with adults. Of course, we are not speaking of literal teeth marks; we are dealing with malicious actions against one another. 

Scorched Earth Tactics

When adults grow up in carnality they don’t fight over toys, they fight over territory. They fight over positions at work or at church. Most of the time the parties fight each other until neither of them have a reputation left. In fact, people will even sabotage one another in hopes they can “get their job.” This is part of what is often called, “office politics.” Whole books have been written about the subject. What happens? Life becomes a perpetual replay of age 2-20. Everything we had to endure from pre-school to High School becomes our daily lot. Boys fist-fighting in the halls; girls quarreling and fussing. I realize the fists are not usually literal in adulthood, but the attitude back of those behaviors is just as real. The stress on daily life for some becomes almost unbearable. 

These things ought not so to be in the churches of God; but unfortunately they are. There is nothing new under the sun. Nepotism is just as rife in many churches as it is in the world. Ministries become dynasties all the way from the corner church to the largest Christian TV Networks. Father and son feuds develop imitating the madness and hate of family based reality shows like Orange County Choppers. Moreover, politics are often exaggerated in churches. Factions develop that split churches and organizations into two or more opposing camps. Again, usually there is a real spiritual reason for doing it, just like there was a real good reason for the toddler to bite the other one. Really? 

The First Politician

Satan was the very first politician. He led a rebellion in Heaven and drew a third of the Stars with him. Then he shows up in the Garden of Eden spouting propaganda to win over the whole human race into his camp. First politician. First liar. Hmmm. See the connection? Satan misrepresented God because he wanted his place on the throne. Nearly all politicians misrepresent their opponent or withhold information about them that would sway the people into liking them. “Make the opponent look bad” is the modus operandi (m.o.). Imagine what happens when a Christian environment becomes “politicized.” Who do you think is behind it all? God wants the churches to be a place of heaven on earth. Satan does too. He comes in to use people to do on earth what he had done in Heaven. He divided it by campaigning for God’s throne. All the while blinding everyone to what he is doing. What happens? He causes so much strife that every action gets interpreted. Motivations get questioned. A spirit of suspicion prevails. 

Most of the time people are just trying to serve God, but sometimes they are not. People know when they are intentionally being divisive. Whereas love puts the best construction on events, politics puts the worst construction on them. Ministers have been known to hire private detectives to bring one another down. It happened in the 80’s and early 90’s in mainstream evangelicalism. The name of God was blasphemed among the Gentiles. There is no new thing under the sun. Pride has often destroyed the works of God’s hands. How is God going to handle those who do such things? It’s a sad thing to work in the kingdom for decades only to have those labors destroyed by a bunch of crooked politics. 

Pride and Politics

Pride has been known to completely destroy ministries. Men have turned and fought against the very thing they prayed into existence. In America we have what some have called a “peaceful transfer of power” when new presidents and governors are elected. Harry Truman had the right attitude when it came to leaders leaving their political office. For example, he was asked during the Cuban Missile crisis if he had called the sitting president to offer advice. His answer was compelling, “If the president wants my opinion he will ask for it. And when he does I won’t be telling you about it. If the president wants it known he can tell you.” This is humility talking. This is a man who was able to “let go” and go home. He wanted the nation to prosper, even though he handed the presidency over to a Republican rival. Understand that Truman is considered to be one of the greatest presidents in American history, and yet was not offended by the fact that he may not have been consulted by the sitting president, even in a crisis. Is this the attitude of politics in ministry? Not generally. If you don’t keep everyone feeling important, they are liable to start biting and devouring. Is there any wonder Jesus commanded the churches not to set up in a worldly construct? Politics has no place in the Kingdom of God; it is the outworking of democracy, not kingdom. 

Matthew Henry commented on these verses, “But, says he, if instead of serving one another in love, and therein fulfilling the law of God, you bite and devour one another, take heed that you be not consumed one of another. If, instead of acting like men and Christians, they would behave themselves more like brute beasts, in tearing and rending one another, they could expect nothing as the consequence of it, but that they would be consumed one of another; and therefore they had the greatest reason not to indulge themselves in such quarrels and animosities. Note, Mutual strifes among brethren, if persisted in, are likely to prove a common ruin; those that devour one another are in a fair way to be consumed one of another. Christian churches cannot be ruined but by their own hands; but if Christians, who should be helps to one another and a joy one to another, be as brute beasts, biting and devouring each other, what can be expected but that the God of love should deny his grace to them, and the Spirit of love should depart from them, and that the evil spirit, who seeks the destruction of them all, should prevail?”

What’s the use of so much prayer, when politics are destroying our prayers? Why fast? Everything in the kingdom of God is put at risk where politics are involved. How can we have a revival if people are jockeying for the credit and glory for what transpires? I have seen revivals destroyed because of rivalry. What happens? Christians are disillusioned and near to giving up because of the politics that go in behind the scenes. This is where repentance has to begin. Not in the pew; not with the drug addict; not with the sinners around the world. We cannot go forward until men and women lay down their ambitions and all that is involved in them. There must be a humble repentance of the secular approach to ministry that prevails in our times. There must be a wholesale repentance of lovelessness and hate wherever it exists among leaders in the churches of God. 

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! (Galatians 5:14-15)

Understanding Servant Leadership

Understanding Servant Leadership
Robert Wurtz II

And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: (Mark 2:27)

The religious leaders in the time of Christ were a manifestation of the old saying, “no good deed shall go unpunished.” It has been pointed out that what really angered them was that Jesus didn’t get permission from them to heal the man. That’s right: they wanted to be in control. They didn’t want to be controlled by anyone else, but they wanted to control others. Think of the implications of that. 

We need to ask; should Jesus have to get permission to do good? Should anyone have to get permission to do good? Not in the kingdom of God; but certainly in the world that the religious leaders had built for themselves. They were at the top and everyone else were under them. These “religious” leaders were contrary to all men. Notice they were religious leaders and not spiritual leaders. Jesus said they strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel. (Matthew 23:34) Why would anyone get in the way of what God is wanting to do just to make sure their name or position is honored? This is pride run amok. In an age where sermon after sermon and book after book is written on submission and rebellion; we need to pause and reflect on true servant leadership

Understand that the religious leaders didn’t care about peoples’ needs or God’s will; they only cared about control. We might say that they were “controlling” or had a “controlling spirit.” As today, so then, people who refused their control were labeled rebels. Yet the religious leaders’ hypocrisy gave rise to a profound truth that we might not otherwise have known; The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath. Mark alone has this profound saying which subordinates the sabbath to man’s real welfare (A.T. Robertson). That is to say, God delivered the sabbath to man — not man to the sabbath. Yet these leaders were trying to subject man to the precept of sabbath keeping — in a way that God never intended — so they could lord over the people. So long as they were moving in the idea that man was made for the Sabbath they could continue their scheme.

Legislating Authority

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44)

What does this mean? The Devil wanted to ascend into Heaven and be like the Most High God. This self-centered, self-promotion and exaltation is key to understanding the nature of Satan. He wants to rule. His children want to rule as well. Keep this clear. Jesus Christ humbled Himself into a servant and His children do likewise. Yet the religious leaders sought to utilize man-made rules under the guise of Divine law to enforce their own authority. They wanted to be reverenced. They desired honor that belongs to God alone. 

In 70 AD when the Temple was destroyed the Pharisees (religious leaders) fled to Jamnia (Yavneh) and started Rabbinical Judaism. This religion took the authority completely out of God’s hands and placed it squarely with the Rabbis. This forces man to come to the Rabbi in order to have contact with God. The Catholics did a similar things by placing a priest between man and Christ. The Protestant Reformation cleared this up to a large degree, but the enemy still seeks to establish a power structure that places the authority in the hands of men and not God. 

The Shepherding movement is another example of an “in between” person who stands between the saint and God. This scheme was designed to control the saints and robbed them of any real knowledge of being led by the Holy Spirit. Rather than submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God (Ephesians 5:21 KJV) in terms of worship meetings (singing, songs, etc.), men used this verse to assume and usurp authority over other peoples’ spiritual lives. Modern versions of this heresy involve having “mentors” and “spiritual fathers” who submit to one another in a kind of hierarchy. Those who refuse this pattern are often labeled as rebellious or some other slanderous adjective. What needs to be asked is not why do people refuse to submit, but why would anyone want others to submit to them? Why do these leaders want others to be dependent on them? Are they seeking to justify their own existence as ministers? This is not servant leadership.  

Ignoring Jesus

But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. (Matthew 20:25, 26)

I have been in management in the secular world for over 20 years (I speak as a fool). I say to one “go” and he goes; and to another “come” and they come (as it were). This is because the job is secular and the power structures are set up like a pyramid. But Jesus said that the churches are not to be set up this way. He could have put a megaphone into the ears of the religious leaders of then (and many of today) and blasted Matthew 20:25-26 into their ears and they would still try to set the Kingdom of God up like a hierarchy. Any time a so-called leader wants to establish authority in a way that interferes with the saint’s leading of God that “leader” is not a servant leader. Why? Because this is anything but servant leadership. Christians are to be led by the Holy Spirit; and if they are led by the Spirit there will be decency and order. Anything else is an ox drawn cart. 

It reminds me of Matthew 12:9, And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue. Notice that it was not His Kingdom or His synagogue, but theirs. This is what you get when you ignore Matthew 20:25, 26; you get your very own, bona fide, do-it-yourself church. It’s yours! All yours! A.T. Robertson said it this way, “Christianity has had to fight this same battle about institutionalism. The church itself is for man, not man for the church.” This is a statement well worth pondering. If the West suffers a wholesale persecution of it’s churches so that they go underground I must suggest that God allowed it to regain control of the saints from the usurpers who have held many hostage for years. I have known of preachers to forbid their people to go and help other churches because it “wouldn’t look good” or it might “send the wrong message.” Indeed there are so-called preachers among us that seem almost reincarnations of the religious leaders in the time of Christ. 

Church an Institution?

An institution is any structure or mechanism of social order and cooperationgoverning the behavior of a set of individuals within a given human community. Institutions are identified with a social purpose and permanence, transcending individual human lives and intentions, and with the making and enforcing of rules governing cooperative human behavior. (Wiki)

The churches of God are not businesses and are not to be ran like a business. Period. Full stop. The churches of God are not the military. How much plainer can it be? “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you.” I suggest that many Christian leaders today need to be taken to a chalk board and made to write this sentence about 500 times:

it shall not be so among you      it shall not be so among you
it shall not be so among you      it shall not be so among you
it shall not be so among you      it shall not be so among you
it shall not be so among you      it shall not be so among you
it shall not be so among you      it shall not be so among you
it shall not be so among you      it shall not be so among you
it shall not be so among you      it shall not be so among you
it shall not be so among you      it shall not be so among you
it shall not be so among you      it shall not be so among you
it shall not be so among you      it shall not be so among you
it shall not be so among you      it shall not be so among you

Pushing Their Weight Around

The Greek historian Plutarch once said, “There is no stronger test of a man’s character than power and authority.” The Pharisees wanted to Lord over the people. This is why they had so many “protocols” and “rules”. The rules gave teeth to their desire to boss people around. Simply put, they wanted to control. This is what feeds the flesh as much as anything. Carnal men get a thrill off of being able to tell others what to do — even if it means being able to block a healing on the Sabbath. With each “fence” they added to the Torah there was a feather in their cap to match it. They viewed themselves as being in authority over the people and eventually placed themselves over God Almighty. This is what the Rabbi’s have done, but this has no place in the Kingdom of God — not yesterday, not today and not ever.

Secular Abuses of Power    

During the 1930s a controversy came up in the United States as a consequence of the Supreme Court blocking some of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal economic policies. He became so angry that he proposed to congress that they empower him to appoint additional Supreme Court Justices in order to outnumber the opposition. He was willing to do whatever it took to get his way. Upon reflecting on this situation fellow Democratic Rep. Samuel B. Pettengill of Indiana retorted, “A packed jury, a packed court and a stuffed ballot box are all on the same moral plane. This is more power than a good man should want or a bad man should have.” Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. (Matthew 20:2526)

Modern Day Rabbi’s?

If you want to know who the devil is about to use — wait for a power vacuum to develop and see who rushes to fill it. Many modern leaders in the churches of God have no idea they are moving in a philosophy started by the Pharisees that started Rabbinic Judaism around 70AD. They essentially believe God has given them authority in all spiritual matters. Yet what did Jesus say?

“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.” (Luke 11:52 NKJV)

These people were willing to damn the souls of men in order to be in charge. This is a flat charge of obscurantism on the part of these scribes (lawyers), the teachers (rabbis) of the people. They themselves refused to go into the house of knowledge and learn. They then locked the door and hid the key to the house of knowledge and hindered (ekōlusate, effective aorist active) those who were trying to enter (tous eiserchomenous, present participle, cognitive action). It is the most pitiful picture imaginable of blind ecclesiastics trying to keep others as blind as they were, blind leaders of the blind, both falling into the pit. (A.T. Robertson) 

They did not want people to surrender to the authority of Jesus Christ — they wanted them surrendered to them. They used a sleight-of-hand to make the people think they were obeying God by obeying their laws and precepts, but in fact they were obeying the lawyers and religious leader; why? Because they commanded when and where God had not commanded. They were speaking for God — putting words in His mouth. Obeying God is obeying God’s word; it is not obeying another man that is usurping God’s authority. This is what the religious leaders did with the Sabbath day precept. They twisted it so as to give the false impression that Jesus needed to come under the authority of their interpretation. How staggering it is to think of what lengths men and women will go to to subordinate people, even God underneath of them. It is Satan’s nature and it is the children of Satan that do such things.

Servant Leadership

But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:25–28 NKJV)

You will recognize a genuine, God-sent, Spirit-filled, trustworthy leader by their desire to help you cultivate the ability to be led by the Holy Spirit without their assistance. Any leader worth their salt will lead you through the scriptures so as to cultivate a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They will not disciple you to themselves; they will disciple you to Jesus Christ. They will not seek what’s yours — they will seek to give to you of theirs. Have we not read that Paul warned the Ephesians that grievous wolves were coming to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:30) 

A servant leader makes himself of no reputation and humbles himself as a servant. He does not behave as royalty to be served as a royal figure — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. This is not lip service. This is the real thing. Jesus added to this, Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:9–12 NKJV) God wants to be our Father and Christ wants to be our teacher. Genuine servant leaders cultivate and encourage this reality and rejoices when it is worked out. Their attitude is that of John the Baptist, “I must decrease and Christ must increase.” 

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: