[Editor’s Note: This article is adapted from the book, CHARISMATIC CAPTIVATION. The book exposes the widespread problem of authoritarian abuse in Neo-Pentecostal church-groups, and explains how it became infused into the very fabric, foundation, and functions of the Neo-Pentecostal church arising out of a false movement known as the Discipleship/Shepherding Movement (1970-77). References to “Discipleship” or “Shepherding” (and variables) doctrines, teachings, proponents and participants, and so forth, allude to those pertinences that arose out of that “movement.” The content of this article is contextual to the entirety of the book, and is best understood by reading the book. A small portion of the book’s content is published in the posted articles listed and linked at the end of this article.]
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in MY WORD, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH will make you FREE.” (John 8:31,32; NASB)
It was for FREEDOM that Christ set us FREE; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a YOKE OF SLAVERY. (Galatians 5:1; NASB)
Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of Me; and that COVER with A COVERING, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down into EGYPT [symbol of captivity in Scripture], and have not asked at My mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh [symbol of Satan and autocratic dictators in Scripture], and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your CONFUSION. For his princes were at Zoan [aka, Goshen, where Pharaoh met with Moses and Aaron; Easton’s Bible Dictionary], and his ambassadors came to Hanes. They were all ashamed of a people that could not PROFIT them, nor be an help nor PROFIT, but a shame, and also a reproach. (Isaiah 30:1-5; KJV; emphases and parentheses added)
The second primary conceptual error on which the heretical hyper-authoritarian Discipleship/Shepherding doctrines are established, is the matter of “spiritual covering.” Indeed, so-called “spiritual covering” is the very centerpiece of these wholly unbiblical teachings and the authoritarian abuse they engender, which is absolutely endemic in Pentecostal and Neo-Pentecostal (Charismatic, “third wave,” and New Apostolic Reformation) sects. Over the course of the 20th Century it became institutionally infused into the very fabric, foundation, and functions of these groups, meaning in their protodenomination and network organizations. Virtually none of those in existence today are free from the influence and attitudes of domination and control over their adherents. It is witchcraft of the highest order for the basest of motivations—mammon—the love of money and self-aggrandizement.
Let me begin by stating plainly and directly: “spiritual covering” as theorized by the Discipleship theosophy is an absolute MYTH. No semblance of the Shepherding teaching version of “spiritual covering” exists anywhere within the pages of Scripture. “Spiritual covering,” in the vein it is presented by proponents and propagators of these hyper-authoritarian teachings, is an outright deception! It is a complete fabrication concocted by the originators of these fallacious doctrines as a supposed pretext for facilitation of entirely self-aggrandizing objectives of subjugation, domination, and control.
[For a detailed history of the Discipleship/Shepherding Movement, READ THIS CHAPTER.]
Indeed, what the Discipleship proponents refer to as “spiritual covering” is really “spiritual control.” However, even the use of the word “spiritual” in this connection requires some qualification, because the only thing “spiritual” about this unauthorized control is that it is inspired by demon-spirits of deception and error. As we shall discuss later in Chapter Nine, what the Discipleship version of “spiritual covering” really is, is nothing less than witchcraft or sorcery. When the myth has been thoroughly debunked, as it will be within these pages, it will be clear that this doctrine of “spiritual covering,” like all the other aspects of the Shepherdship heresy, is a patently false “doctrine of demons” being manifested in these last days precisely in accordance with Holy Prophecy of Scripture which foretells of deception such as this being promulgated by demons in the last days, leading to many falling away from the Lord into apostasy:
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of LIARS seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron.(1 Tim. 4:1,2)
This article, which is adapted from the book, Charismatic Captivation, is no longer available here, but the original version can be read in its entirety in Charismatic Captivation.
However, a new expanded version of this article is also now available in a book published November 1, 2016. Click on the image below to read more about and purchase the book. It is also available as a Kindle Book. It will soon be available as an audiobook as well. To be notified when the audiobook is available, sign up to our email list on the right sidebar.
[For more on the detrimental effects of submitting yourself under the spiritual coverings of men, I urge you to read The Curses of Unauthorized Covenants.]
Dr. Steven Lambert was ordained in 1977 and holds several earned graduate/post-graduate degrees. Over more than four decades in ministry, he has served as a pastor, radio/TV host, adjunct-professor, Board Certified Doctoral Diplomate Christian Therapist/Counselor, and a speaker/commentator on a range of social, political, and theological issues, particularly as a recognized authority on the matter of ecclesiastical authoritarian abuse. He is the founder/Overseer of Ephesians Four Network (ephesiansfour.net) and its subsidiary, Ephesians Four Network of Deliverance Counselors (efndc.ephesiansfour.net). Dr. Lambert authored several books (catalog at realtruthpublications.com), many published articles, and is the founder/editor of Spirit Life Magazine (spiritlifemag.com). His bio, extensive blog, and scheduling information are available on his ministry website at: http://www.slm.org. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
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