Doctrine Of Demons


Feb 06, 2018 by Alyssa Duvall

Pastor: This "Doctrine Of Demons" Is Infecting The Church Right Now

According to Pastor R. Loren Sanford, of New Song Church and Ministries in Denver, Colorado, a doctrine of demons is not only infecting the church right now, it's spreading rapidly: "Cloaked in robes of false righteousness and even claims of prophetic inspiration, but born in rebellion, it appeals to something in our culture that undermines and despises the leadership God has anointed and appointed. Wherever it goes, it weakens, divides and destroys."

What is this devilish doctrine? Sanford says, "it's the idea that because we are all equal, there should be no 'hierarchy' of leaders in the body of Christ."

Somehow, Sanford explains, we have arrived at the consensus that churches and ministries should be governed by a team of "co-equal" elders. If you ask Sanford, this is "unbalanced and unbiblical" and wherever he's seen it practiced, it has resulted in ministry failures, wounds, and damaged relationships.

While carefully noting that the rise of this practice undoubtedly came about as a result of abusive, authoritarian leaders dominating their churches, Sanford argues that "the existence of abuses by leaders who missed the heart of God can never justify rejection of the kind of order Scripture actually mandates. Today, tragically, this unbiblical idea of church governance has gone beyond a reaction to abuses and has become an infection spreading into places where leadership has not been abusive or controlling."

"Good leaders are being diminished and dishonored. The body of Christ is being weakened."

On the other hand, every successful ministry Sanford has worked with after 42 years of professional pastoral ministry in multiple nations "has been overseen by an anointed leader whom everyone recognizes and submits to." Many churches still maintain a body of co-equal elders and/or deacons, but the "obvious dynamic was always that one person rose to be the recognized driver of the vision."

What does Scripture have to say about this style of church government? In the Old Testament, we see the particular call of Moses to lead the people of God. Aaron and Miriam were a crucial part of the team, but when they demanded equality in Numbers 12, God sternly rebuked them for it: "Has the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Has He not spoken also by us?" Numbers 12:2b). God's response came immediately: "And the anger of the Lord burned against them, and He set out. When the cloud went away from over the tabernacle, Miriam became leprous as snow, and Aaron turned toward Miriam and saw that she was leprous" (Num. 12:9-10).

The issue was never whether or not Aaron and Miriam heard from God or had a valid ministry. The issue was that they sought to pull themselves up to the same appointed place of authority where God had placed Moses.

Several instances in the New Testament address church government and leadership, including Philippians 2:12, 1 Cor. 4:15, I Timothy 5:19-20, Titus 1:5, Ephesians 4:11-13, and Hebrews 13:17, to name a few.

Of course, there are times when legitimate challenges to those in leadership aren't just acceptable, they're necessary, Sanford explains: "Any good leader humbly holds his heart open to such things, but the spirit that seeks to pull a leader down to the level of false equality brings the judgment of God. When people in a ministry begin to behave like Aaron and Miriam toward the authority God has established, then, unless repentance comes quickly, ministries fail and die of spiritual leprosy."

"Isn't it clear that God has established a structure of leadership and authority in the church and that He has commanded us to work within it?"

Of course, none of this has a thing to do with the equality of each person as they stand at the foot of the cross. "We are all sinners made saints by the blood of Jesus," Sanford continues, "but in order to destroy the people of God, the enemy of our soul has twisted the idea of equality into something God never intended. Leaders are never superior to those they lead. They merely occupy a place of authority for which God will hold them accountable."

So, what should we expect of a leader? To Sanford, a leader is to "equip, enable and elevate those he leads. The heart of a real father longs for his children to rise higher in what they do than he ever could. This is why Jesus promised in John 14:12: that we would do the works He did and greater works than He did. He showed us the Father's heart and revealed what a real leader does. Good leaders don't keep people under. They rather lift them higher."

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