Whose Voice?


1/17/20221 min read

Legalism and authoritarianism advocates have an irresistible urge to distort and bend the truth. A bendable truth of the Scriptures comes by way of the example of the Good Shepherd's voice. Whose voice is this?

"When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice" (John 10:4). Most practicing Christians have heard this verse and the context of Jesus' teaching. There is little doubt who the Shepherd is being spoken of. Jesus even spells it out for us, "I am the good shepherd..." verse 14.

An interesting example of false teaching is the authoritarian pastor that believes his voice is the one for the sheep to recognize. "I'm your shepherd, you need to heed and recognize my voice." (loose quotation). Nowhere does the New Testament affirm this idea. Nowhere is it stated that a congregant should be placing the man above the Lord. This borders on a Messiah Complex and is really meant to bind this person to the one in charge. It is bad enough the Scripture is bent to fit the need of one, but it is particularly egregious in the manipulative control it is meant to yield.

When the 'under-shepherds' use these tactics to manipulate and control people it's time for those in their congregations to wake up. Rather than continue to defend the man, they need to confront him. If they don't want to confront (which is understandable) they need to leave. When these distortions are this far out of bounds it's time for them to step down, or be thrown out.

"[S]hepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock" (1 Peter 5:2-3).