Lord, Why Not Call Bill Instead of Me? (Part 4)

Click on following for earlier articles: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give an account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable to you. (Hebrews 13:17)

In 1987, I really thought the Lord was promoting me when He directed me to leave a large liturgical church and attend a small Charismatic one. Ouch! How naive I was!

At the first church service, I thought, freedom at last. Now, my calling will come forth as it should, amongst people who understand prophetic callings and the gifts of the Spirit.

The following four years of my life were spent at this small church,  giving hundreds of prophetic words and praying hours upon hours at the altar. That’s the good part.

But the ugly side is I took so much correction and so many rebukes that after a while I could no longer discern what was from the Lord and what was not. I was confused.

Once, a prophet noticed my attire. “You are called to be a man of God; and a man of God needs to always wear a suit or sport coat every time he comes to church,” he said, pointing his finger at me.

Clothing pleases the Lord?

Another respected prophet lambasted me during a special meeting. “You are not called to be a prophet, but instead, you are called to just give the oracles of God,” he said.

Talk about adding confusion to my life, this prophetic word certainly did!

A prophetess said, ” Larry used to be a good prophet, but he doesn’t pray enough anymore.”

At the time, I was getting up at 3:50 AM, praying for two hours and then heading over to the church for another hour of prayer. All of this took place before I went to work, laboring at maintenance and construction for 8 hours. Then, I came home and studied.

Not praying enough?

An elder with his nine-year old daughter stopped at the one-room apartment I was renting because of my marital separation. He looked at the shabby, 10′ x 7′ room, and then said to his daughter, “This is what happens when you disobey God!”

Disobeying God?

I received corrections on my clothing. On my prophetic style. On my teachings. On my preachings. On my finances. On what books and teaching tapes I listened to. On whether I should submit every teaching I gave outside the church to the leadership beforehand for their approval or not. On this and on that. On everything.

Can you guess what scripture was always used to validate my corrections? Good old Hebrews 13:17.

Now, none of these people were mean spirited. They actually believed they were doing the will of the Lord for my life. Plus, they were victims of bondage, too.

And it was the worst type of bondage.

Prophetic bondage!

(Continued in Part 5)


Filed under Christianity, Christians, Church, church planting, Emergent Church, Faith, Gifts of the Spirit, God, grace, Home Church, jesus, Prayer, Prophecy, reformation, Religion, spiritual warfare

9 responses to “Lord, Why Not Call Bill Instead of Me? (Part 4)

  1. I cannot believe some of the things that other Christians in Leadership roles have said to you, but to me that is where the root problem lies, the moment somebody is recognised as a “leader” in any church they believe they have a license to say everything and anything, forgetting that ultimately, we are all called to obey God’s voice and direction in our life and not that of men.

    Is it any wonder so many Christians are falling away from organised religion? On the other hand, know that God would have dealt with those people who said such discouraging things to you with fairness and justice, so they would have certainly not walked away from that unrebuked.



  2. ransom33,

    Thanks and I agree with you.

    When I was going through most of this, I was a young believer with strong gifts. My only thought was submission and obeying those who were over me, just like it says in Hebrews 13:17.

    The leaders themselves had come up through the church system; so they likewise had been hurt by their leaders when they were being trained. And hurting people tend to hurt others. It is a cycle in the church, especially in the training of people with callings.

    But even in all this, the Lord Himself put me through this so I would learn a few things; and hopefully, be able to teach others.

  3. Hi Larry
    Been there, got the tee shirt etc,
    The problem may actually be found in correctly understanding Hebrews 13v17. (and 13v7)
    I am almost certain that what I am going to say will raise ire in certain quarters, and the scholars will no doubt shred me, but here goes.

    Firstly the whole of Hebrews up to this point is about the EXAMPLE set by the forerunners, pioneers of faith, the patriarchs.
    Typically chapter 11 is replete with a long list of names of the ancient saints who walked faithfully with God, from Abel onwards. Chapter 12 talks about the great cloud of these witnesses that surround us now, therefore we should run with faithful patience etc. It continues with the FAITHLESSNESS of Esau, and reminds us that we do not come to Mount Sinai (law), but to Mount Zion (faith). We come directly without any priesthood over our heads other than Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.

    We then come to chapter 13 v7. –
    This is usually translated as, “Remember those who have the RULE OVER YOU, who have spoken unto you the word of God, WHOSE FAITH FOLLOW, considering their manner of life.

    V7 simply continues the theme that is already running in Hebrews. LOOK AT REAL FAITH EXAMPLES and act likewise. That is, firstly, see those that have died, ie biblical examples. Secondly see those that are alive around us and showing the same sort of biblical faith. We are enjoined to FOLLOW THEIR FAITH, (not follow THEM.)

    The words I want to examine here are, “RULE OVER YOU”. Other translations say “YOUR LEADERS”
    Both translations, in our minds, have the same connotations, however there is another way of viewing “Leader”.

    A Leader may be defined typically as a boss, CEO, president, king, captain, Archbishop, etc.
    However a Leader may also be defined as the frontrunner in a race, someone at the head of a line of shoppers, the first to design something, the first into space (Russia), the first to the moon (USA), even the first thoughtless sheep at the front of a meandering flock!
    In this second category there is a marked difference compared to the first category. NONE OF THE SECOND CATEGORY OF LEADERS HAS ANY POWER OVER ANYONE ELSE, ON THE SOLE BASIS OF THEIR “LEADERSHIP”.

    V7 only fits the rest of Hebrews if the second category leadership is applied. The leader should simply be a very good example for us to follow.

    Therefore a more fitting translation would be. “Remember those who have gone before you, who have spoken the word of God to you, WHOSE FAITH FOLLOW.”
    It is all about the forerunners!

    Only this understanding fits the sense of the whole of Hebrews. (This can be checked as an optional translation of the words using Strongs or similar.)

    Now going to Hebrews 13v17.

    “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give an account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable to you.”

    The word “OBEY” is equally translated as, “BE PERSUADED BY”.

    The next bit is as in v7. “THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE YOU”.

    Again only viewed this way does it fit the rest of Hebrews. Now add the following thoughts.-

    Matt20v5 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26NOT SO WITH YOU. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your SERVANT, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your SLAVE— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    Jesus would hardly have given this above directive, and then demanded we OBEY our church rulers.

    Our “leaders” should not think they can just demand our submission, they should have such a faithful walk that we desperately want to follow their example because we see the results before us.
    Sadly the opposite is usually the case.


  4. Frank,

    Wow!! What great incite!

    As Frank Viola states so well in his books, most of us read Scripture through the lens of our teachers, not ever hearing what the Scripture actually says.

  5. Pingback: Lord, Why Not Call Bill Instead of Me? (Part 7) « Larry Who

  6. Pingback: Lord, Why Not Call Bill Instead of Me? (Part 8) « Larry Who

  7. Pingback: Lord, Why Not Call Bill Instead of Me? (Part 9) « Larry Who

  8. Pingback: Lord, Why Not Call Bill Instead of Me? (Part 10) « Larry Who

  9. Pingback: Lord, Why Not Call Bill Instead of Me? (Conclusion) « Larry Who

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