There are a number of ways that godly faith in the God who is GOD, the REAL Messiah and the ONLY HOLY Spirit can get skewed is when humans step in to contain and control. I believe that what I’m going to say needs to be said and spread. I’d like to see it defined concisely and plainly. But for now I’d like us to just define it well.
At this time in my church, I’m teaching a series on essential beliefs of the Christian faith. They are actually a little more than the basics because I am including the things we need to know and understand something of in order to grow and mature into the full person of God we each are meant to become. So, the basics are centered around who the Trinity is; who Christ the Messiah is and what He did for us; who the Holy Spirit is and what He does for all of us. This entails a huge amount of information including redemption, sanctification, repentance, forgiveness, the infilling of the Holy Spirit and so forth. We are called by Christ and the apostles to BE the Body of Christ, to each other and the world. Throughout all of this is a particular trust in God first and foremost in every aspect of one’s life.
To my knowledge there are no Scriptures that tell anyone to put strong faith and trust in Christian leaders, even if they are good, godly, faithful believers. God almighty is to get our full allegiance, and to others we are to give our support, honor, respect and love. This is because we are all human and thus fallible. Even Paul praised the Bereans BECAUSE they did not just accept what he said, but chose to research the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was correct. Because Paul was correct in what he told them, his words were made stronger when the Jews read these truths in Scripture, and therefore, many, thousands, came to believe in Jesus as the promised Messiah.
Our job as hearers of those called to lead, preach and teach is to be willing to be persuaded by their words and their lives, and then to search the Scriptures asking God what to do. (Heb. 13) Unfortunately, today there is a stream of preachers and teachers who are teaching that everyone should be obeying leaders first and that in doing so we are obeying God. This creates a kind of spiritual insanity for the person who tries to do that. We cannot help but see that there are leaders who teach incorrectly on some things. Even Calvin, Luther, Wesley and other famous Christians were badly in error on some issues. So, how does one recognize the incorrect teachers and focus only on what is of God and produces absolute faith in God first and foremost, and godly love of others?
Because this incorrect allegiance to human leaders is part of the foundational teachings of patriarchal hierarchy and male dominance, it has a very strong hold on many. So, how can we get the message out to the Christian world that only God (not God AND male leaders) is to get our full faith, allegiance, trust, devotion and obedience?