A couple of weeks ago I was asked by a friend from out of state to look at a book, Under Cover by John Bevere, although the book is not new it is just now making the rounds among the leadership of his church. This friend is a layman who has been a Christian for many years and has seen many fads and movements come and go, as have I. He reacted quite strongly to the teaching as it is being explained around his church noting that those who are reading the book are insisting that God speaks to our pastor and our pastor speaks to us. We have no right to question what the pastor says. We are bound to submit and obey. He saw great similarity between this teaching, on spiritual authority and covering=spiritual protection with the Shepherding Movement/Discipleship Movement of the 1970’s and 80’s which was founded by Bob Mumford, Derek Prince, Charles Simpson and Don Basham as a result of moral failure in a charismatic ministry in South Florida.

The teachings of the movement focused upon accountability, obedience and submission to spiritual authority. From the idea of submission to authority, to the equating of the authority of the leader to the authority of God, has proven historically to be a short step. What happens is that the leader’s voice is equated with the voice of God and those who disagree are seen as in rebellion. In the Shepherding Movement, this step was taken and the movement became controlling and abusive. Ultimately both Mumford and Prince repented of their errors in teaching and left the movement.

Another movement with similar practices founded in 1979 was the Boston Movement. (renamed :International Churches of Christ (ICC)). New members are required to meet with older members daily. New members who disagree with older members are told they are rebelling against God. Submission to church leaders is demanded. New members are told whom to date, how to spend their money and how to spend their free time. In 2003 Kip McKean founder of the Boston Movement resigned confessing that the church leaders “[had] engaged in financial mismanagement, legalism, dishonest statistical reporting, and abusive teachings, and have ignored critics.”

Last week I talked to my pastor, who although he is solidly Reformed in his theology now, comes out of a Pentecostal background. He shared that this type of teaching is common in Pentecostal circles noting that within Pentecostalism there is a love of invoking OT imagery and drawing theological conclusions from that imagery without taking into account a substantial discontinuity between the ways God established for Israel and the fact that there has been a tremendous change under the New Covenant inaugurated by the “Christ Event” (the death, resurrection & ascension) followed by the inauguration of the church at Pentecost. Drawing upon OT imagery Pentecostalism stresses particularly the authority/power/rights of the minister as God’s anointed one.

Bevere’s thesis is that submission to spiritual authority gives covering and protection. Conversly, to disobey spiritual authority is to place oneself in the arena of Satan with the clear implication that one who disobeys by failing to submit to spiritual authority is open to demonic attack. The same is true if the spiritual authority is challenged. He says:

“If those under authority take the yoke of judgment upon themselves as judges over their established leaders, they no longer are submitted to established authority, but have elevated themselves as judges over their leaders. Their hearts are lifted up in pride above the ones God placed over them. They have exalted themselves over the ordinance and counsel of God.” (116)

Bevere makes many good, right and true points. We do not live in a spiritual democracy and authority is something with which we as twenty-first century Americans have great problems with. Living less than 20 miles from UC Berkeley I regularly see bumper stickers with the slogan “Question Authority” boldly emblazoned on them. But although I recognize this as a problem I have serious problems with Bevere’s approach and his whole thesis on several different levels, some methodological, some exegetical, some theological.

What follows are more or less disconnected observations and specific examples of problems and issues that jumped out at me as I read. These criticisms are by no means exhaustive, and the weightiest are at the end.

· Intended or not, and despite all the claims to humility, I sense an underlying arrogance. The first time I ever sensed this type of arrogance in an author was many years ago when I first read The Light and The Glory by Peter Marshall and David Manuel. That book is a reinterpretation of American history that makes the argument that America is the new covenant nation akin to ancient Israel. As one reviewer said, “It is not good history. It is not even good fiction.” Nevertheless it has become a favorite among the homeschoolers in the US. (But I digress.) What absolutely drove me crazy was that the authors’ repeatedly invoked the leading of the Holy Spirit to substantiate their claims that theirs was the right interpretation. Likewise, Bevere invokes the voice of God throughout the book telling him in words that his teaching is the truth. These claims place an author above criticism, because to take issue with these claims is to reject divine revelation. While I don’t want to get sidetracked about prophecies and words of knowledge I do want to mention that in 1 Thess. 5 Paul tells (or as Bevere might say: commands) his readers to:

not treat prophecies with contempt.

But examine all things;

Paul is apparently telling his hearers not to reject prophecies, but to examine them, and hold fast to those which pass muster but reject those that are evil.[1] To put this another way, what the Lord says to one individual must be verified by the church as a whole. It is not a case of “God speaks to the pastor and the pastor speaks to us.” We are all sinful, and depraved and prone to interpret our own deep desires as the word or will of God. (As a parenthetical note: this issue with central authority is particularly rooted in the mindset of the Western [Roman Catholic and Protestant] churches. Authority in the Eastern Orthodox Church is and has always been communal.)

My wife tells the story of when she was first in college one of her classmates told her that God had told him that she was to marry him. Her response? “God has not told that to me.” (I have heard this from numerous female college students over the years that young men whom they hardly knew were told by God that the particular girl in question was to be their wife. Apparently young men (with raging hormones) are sensitive to the voice of God and the young women are not!

Years ago when I first taught at Simpson College, I had a student who was so “in tune with God” that as he was walking down the corridors of the college he would carry on a conversation with God. This was not normal prayer. He was hearing God’s responses to what he verbalized within the hearing of all. (He was one of the first students I met at Simpson and I wondered what I had gotten myself into.) Over the next two years he matured quite a bit and decided to go to my alma mater Dallas Seminary.

He graduated and became a pastor in Hayward, the next city over from where I have lived for 25 years. I haven’t seen him since he returned to the Bay Area but I recently found out some of what had gone on in recent years. He was convinced that God had told him to move his inner city blue collar church to the suburbs about 15-20 miles away. The church dutifully followed his lead as the will of God. The congregation however did not fit in the suburbs. Things went from bad to worse and the church fired him as their pastor and called another pastor. But since God had called him to this church he wouldn’t leave. It got so bad that finally the church had to call in the police and have him arrested for trespassing.

· As an exegete and a theologian I have a tremendous problem with the way Bevere handles the text of scripture. He nowhere builds a case with solid exegesis and theological thinking/ reflection that his thesis is valid. Instead he assumes from the first paragraph that he is right and mixes stories, prooftexts and examples drawn out of context from the breadth of scripture and from his experiences. His prooftexts are often pulled totally out of context and treated as timeless aphorisms rather than time-bound, culture-bound and context-bound statements that cannot simply be lifted out of their contexts without doing violence to their meaning. Likewise, he regularly leverages one biblical story against another and bridges them with anecdotes that tie the parts together artificially to make them serve his agenda.

As one who teaches Hermeneutics (biblical interpretation) on the seminary level I must say that if one of my students submited an assignment that applied such interpretive practices, I would give the paper a failing grade and instruct the student to rework the assignment using proper hermeneutical method.

· With reference to exegesis, he occasionally appeals to the meaning of Greek terms but employs sources that are out of date, and even these he uses improperly, building cases from lexical definitions and forcing those lexical definitions into contexts in which they do not fit. He seems to have little to no grasp of the universally understood hermeneutical principle that meaning is determined by context.

On other occasions he redefines terms to fit the point he is hammering, e.g. in James 2 he redefines works as “obedient actions” and quotes James 2:20-24, 26 substituting “obedient actions” for works throughout. (217)

In his exposition of the verse “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” (1 Sam 15:23) Bevere attempts to retranslate the verse as “rebellion is witchcraft” since the Hebrew text infers the “is .” Again, he plays fast and loose with the meaning of the text as understood by the translators who are expert in Hebrew, to make points homiletically.

He then continues to build a case that since rebellion is witchcraft those in rebellion fall under the curse placed upon those who practice witchcraft. In this context he takes Paul’s rhetorical question to the Galatian churches, “O foolish Galatians, Who has bewitched you . . .? He states: “The bewitchment involved in disobeying God’s word, not any curses that sorcerers conjured up, Why? Because rebellion is witchcraft! In essence the church in Galatia came under a witchcraft curse because of disobedience.” (76)

· Years ago, I wrote my Th.M. thesis on the book of Galatians (for those who are interested, I applied the method of Discourse Analysis to the entire books of Galatians. It is posted at: http://www.bible.org/series.php?series_id=73 ) This was a slow and painstaking analysis that took more than four hundred hours to complete. The point was to trace the argument (the case Paul was building) of Galatians. I discovered something remarkable. Everything stated in Galatians leads up to or flows from Galatians 5:1: “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm then and do not be subject to the yoke of slavery.” In chapter 1 he calls down imprecations from heaven on anyone who would corrupt the simple gospel of Christ: “. . . If we (or an angel from heaven) should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell! As we have said before, and now I say again, “if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let him be condemned to hell!”

Paul was here talking about the simplicity of the gospel which was being compromised by those who wanted to add the Torah (Jewish law with all its ceremonies and particularly circumcision as its sign) but the application is wider. Many teachings have arisen over the centuries that promise protection, provision, perfection and the like. They sound good at the front end, but the results are bondage.

The phenomenon of spiritual abuse is not new. In 3 John 9 the apostle recounts spiritual abuse under the guise of authority in the person of Diotrophes.[2]

· There is a radically different ministry of the Holy Spirit in the OT as opposed to the NT. In the OT the priest was truly that, a priest who stood between the worshiper and God. In the OT not even the priests were regularly indwelt with the Holy Spirit, and the High Priest was only allowed into the actual presence of God once per year, on Yom Kippur. At the death of Christ the veil of the temple was rent top to bottom signifying that access to the very presence of God was now available to all. This leads directly into the New Testament concept of the priesthood of all believers and the reality that all believers partake equally of the Holy Spirit. Each is indwelt personally. Paul goes so far on one occasion as to identify each believer as a temple of God through the presence of the Spirit. Each believer has direct access to God without having to go through a priest or a minister. We are members of one another. A dominant image is the church is that of the body. It is not that of a spiritual aristocracy that is responsible only to God and not to the rest of the believers. There are different roles, clearly, but they are roles of service, not the authority of a dictator.

· While perhaps less problematic than some of the other weaknesses underlying the book I find a strain of ethical absolutistism that denies that there are any gray areas in moral judgments. Every situation has a right and a wrong. I believe that this position, while on the surface is attractive it is not ultimately defensible. This feeds into his thesis that we must be under cover, submitted to our spiritual authorities so as not to sin and incur divine judgment.

· In the second section of Under Cover “God’s Direct Covering,” Bevere discusses the nature of sin claiming a definitive understanding from 1 John 3:4, “Sin is lawlessness.” This claim is utterly reductionistic. I hear in the background John Wesley’s definition of sin as “a conscious act of willful disobedience (to a known law) .” While this approach on the surface claims to treat sin seriously, in reality it utterly trivializes sin, reducing it to an act of the will, a choice.

In fact in the Old Testament these sins (of willful disobedience) could not be atoned for by sacrifice. Both biblically and theologically sin is radical (from the Latin radix meaning root). If sin were merely an act of the will all we would need is strong wills to defeat it. In reality sin goes to the depth of our being. There is no part of our existence that has not been touched by its tentacles. Radical fallenness calls not for reformation, but radical redemption.

· More problematic yet is the framework in which Bevere builds his teaching. This framework is legal rather than relational. As I noted earlier, much of what Bevere has to say is true and right, but the framework in which something is presented has a profound effect on the way it is taken in. Merely having all the right pieces is not enough.

In the late second century Irenaeus, the great bishop of Lyons and opponent of Gnosticism wrote:

“Their manner of acting is just as if one, when a beautiful image of a king has been constructed by some skilful artist out of precious jewels, should then take this likeness of the man all to pieces, should rearrange the gems, and so fit them together as to make them into the form of a dog or of a fox, and even that but poorly executed; and should then maintain and declare that this was the beautiful image of the king which the skilful artist constructed, pointing to the jewels which had been admirably fitted together by the first artist to form the image of the king, but have been with bad effect transferred by the latter one to the shape of a dog, and by thus exhibiting the jewels, should deceive the ignorant who had no conception what a king’s form was like, and persuade them that that miserable likeness of the fox was, in fact, the beautiful image of the king” Against Heresies 1:8:1 (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103108.htm)

Another example of framework affecting the way a doctrine is taken in can be seen in the difference in presentation of the doctrine of predestination between Calvin and Theodore Beza, his successor at Geneva. Calvin does not discuss the topic of predestination until book three of the Institutes of the Christian Religion after he has discussed at length the grace of God and the experience of that grace when the believer is incorporated into Christ. With that context having been set, he discusses predestination in the context of the love and acceptance of the believer vouchsafed by both the witness of the Spirit in the heart of the believer and the promise of Scripture. Beza, on the other hand, moves the discussion of the concept of predestination from the doctrine of salvation and places it under the doctrine and attributes of God. While not changing the teaching, this repositioning of the doctrine of predestination changed the whole tenor of its truth. In Calvin it functioned as a comfort, under Beza and the later Reformers it gave the feel that God was distant and arbitrary and that man (oops—I need to be politically correct) human beings were but marionettes whose strings were being pulled. It was a cold I-it relationship rather than a warm personal I-thou relationship (to use Martin Buber’s terminology).

My point here is that Bevere places his discussion within the framework of performance, the framework of slaves not sons and in so doing existentially compromises the transforming effect of the gospel in the life of the believer.

· Bevere quotes Romans 13:1ff as an absolute command, and then broadens it from the context of civil authorities/rulers to the sphere of spiritual authority.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God. So the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment. (NET)

In its context judgment refers clearly to the police and court system. In the shift to spiritual authority Bevere turns this judgment into a direct spiritual judgment from God—something nowhere even suggested in the passage.

Quoting these verses alone make them sound absolute, however if we are even to look at the book of Acts and Galatians, we get quite a different picture.

Early in the book of Acts the apostles are arrested in the temple and ordered not to preach about Christ and the resurrection. The response was not one of obedience and submission—remember the Sanhedrin were both political and religious authorities in Israel (under the higher authority of Rome)—instead there was a challenge (Acts 4:19ff) on the occasion of their first arrest, and flat out defiance on their second appearance before the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:27ff).

Paul too, on the basis of his Roman citizenship regularly challenged the Roman authorities when they overstepped their bounds and attempted to have him flogged without trial.

Even more telling is Paul’s confrontation with Peter in Antioch (Gal. 2:11ff). While Paul had received his call directly from the Lord, Peter had acted as his mentor in some fashion (Gal. 1:18) [3]. What is remarkable is not only that Paul had the audacity to confront Peter publicly (Peter was the preeminent apostle in the early church and one of the inner circle of three that accompanied Jesus during his earthly ministry) but he did it without a private meeting first. (Horrors—he did not follow Jesus’ teaching in Matt 18:15ff). When the truth of the Gospel was at stake normal protocol did not apply!

· This brings us to the rule of conscience. Keeping rules is a much easier way to live one’s life than being informed by a conscience. Rule keeping does not call for moral acumen and judgment. One just has to know the appropriate rule/law and apply it in a given situation. Conscience is a complex part of our being. It is that aspect of our being which serves as our moral compass, but it does not come from the factory “pre-programmed.” We might say that we are hard-wired for moral judgment; the software is slowly programmed over the years of our childhood. The context in which our conscience is programmed makes all the difference in the world. Is that context one of love, condemnation, or conditional acceptance? As has been noted:

. . . where the inevitable demands in child training are involved without first establishing a relationship of trust, moral training becomes a punitive, fear-ridden, process in which “goodness” is reduced to the avoidance of evil rather than the attainment of positive virtue. The child feels he must earn parental affection through external righteousness in this context of conditional love. His conscience then becomes negative, inflexible, and unreflective and his sense of guilt an unhealthy one. This is the conscience of the moralists who “tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law” (Matt 23:23). Just as acceptance of the positional doctrines frees the Christian to fellowship with Christ and these doctrines mature him, so the experience of trust prior to the invoking of demand lays a foundation of grace under moral instruction which frees the child to grow morally and spiritually. What is taught is important. The emotional climate in which it is taught is equally important. Either it is infused with the spirit of Christ or the Spirit of the Pharisee. Neglect of either right content or right spirit in moral instruction is detrimental. (ZPBE, s.v conscience)

Conscience forms a vital part of the Christian’s spiritual life. In the vision of the Apostle Paul conscience plays a supreme place, more important than law itself. We find that to violate one’s conscience is a supremely serious affair (even if one’s conscience has qualms about things that are objectively permissible), and to induce another to violate his conscience even more serious. We are above all called upon to do what we think is right, and under no conditions are we to violate our conscience even if told to do so by someone we respect as a spiritually mature individual or a spiritual authority. To follow the example or instruction of a more mature believer or spiritual authority when we are not convinced of the rightness of the action brings upon us condemnation. In the words of Paul it leads us to “destroy ourselves.” (1 Cor 8:11) (Time does not permit me to develop this further but read both Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8. Note here how the contemporary church has inverted the definitions of weak and strong!)

· The issue of legalism: As noted above the teaching of obedience to spiritual authority leads naturally (and I do not think that it is too much to say) inevitably to legalism. Paul Morris, Ph.D. a pastor and theologian and one of the co-workers with Chuck Colson in the early days of Prison Fellowship has written a magnificent article entitled “Legalism—the original sin?” (http://reform-network.net/?p=1462) What follows are excerpts from that article:

In the rabbinical teachings, it is called the Mishna, the first section of the Talmud, and sets forth early oral interpretations of the Scriptures compiled about 200 A.D. If Judaism has turned the interpretation of Scripture into a prodigious legal elaboration of its rules and sanctions, we Christians have turned it into an art form. We have made legalism the primordial philosophy of the practice of faith. This leads us to this definition of legalism:

Legalism is a philosophy of religious practice wherein faith is expressed by

adherence to a command and obedience infrastructure.

Of course, it is only attempted adherence, and it is more sophistry than philosophy. But we define it so owing to the fact that legalism represents a point of view. A philosophical stance of perspective. That perspective is to view relationship with God through the lens of obedience. A distinctive of this view is that short of obedience, relationship is severely fractured at best and does not exist at worst.

To the extent that a believer perceives God (and his representatives: e.g., any human religious authority) as a Commander and himself as an obeyer; to that extent, he is a legalist. If the foundational structure of his faith is built on this legal paradigm, then by definition, he is a legalist. Or perhaps it would be kinder to say that his faith is suffering from the disease of legalism.

Morris takes Bill Gothard and his Institute for Basic Youth Conflicts as a prime example of the mind of the legalist.

Gothard and others like him preach faith as form; structure. People flock to it because they see such form as the “answer” to their dysfunctional lives. They have not discovered the core and foundational being of love and how it affects behavior. They have not discovered it or they do not believe it. In either case, they have succumbed to the paralyzing disease of legalism.

When religious addicts create a toxic faith system, God is lost in the process. In God’s place, rules are implemented that serve only to further the empire of religious addiction. As new people come into the toxic faith system, they are indoctrinated into the rules rather than strengthened in a relationship with God. The rules reinforce addiction, not faith. Addiction leads to conformity to a predictable pattern of behavior, often blocking faithful following of God. It is hard for these toxic faith practitioners to realize that Christ put down the rigid, legalistic system of the religion of His day. They become even more dysfunctional.

It is not long before they learn that consistent application of the formulistic, sequential steps they were taught in the seminars do not work. They are far too simplistic to apply uniformly to life’s multitude of complexities. And sadly, their faith becomes so deformed and twisted by the mountains of rules, formulas and “answers,” that if it were possible, they would abandon it altogether. They drown in their mishnas.

It is appalling that the one thing Jesus said sets believers apart from non-believers is so profoundly discounted. The quintessential irony is that believers wish to become like non-believers: governed by law instead of love and grace. It is painfully obvious that if people learned to love and respect one another; if people perceived one another through the eyes of compassion; if people actually followed the “golden rule,” there would be no need for the making of laws. Plainly, there is a compelling need for civil and criminal law. But the people of God should not philosophically identify with this secular ethic. Believers should lead the way and help the spiritually impoverished to know that we are “Christians” by our love. A love demonstrated by acts of love toward them and toward our relationships with each other.

The Law has served abundantly well to demonstrate that we need the redemption that belief in the death, burial and resurrection in Jesus Christ brings. The Law has indeed brought us to Christ. Without it, we might have missed him. With it, we see how evil we are and how desperately we need his love, forgiveness and grace. In this the Law has succeeded beyond our ability to imagine.

Now having been accepted by God in this grace, the Law no longer functions as a standard by which believers are measured. When faced with a moral choice, the force of love compels us to choose right instead of wrong. But if we do not, the Law will not crush us because it has already crushed Christ. We are forgiven. We are picked up, brushed off and encouraged to go and sin no more. If we do, we are picked up again and told the same thing. And again. And again, ad infinitum.

Relaxing with Depravity:

St. Francis of Assisi [this is an incorrect attribution—it is from the “Serenity Prayer” written by Reinhold Niebuhr] was prayed, “Lord grant that I may accept the things I cannot change . . . ” Acceptance of reality may seem the obvious and logical thing to do. Yet why is it so difficult? Why should Francis pray such a prayer?

That we are a sinful people, that I am a sinful man is a fait accompli — an established fact. Francis Schaeffer observes: “In the area of morality, . . . man cannot escape the fact of the motions of a true right and wrong in himself; not just a sociological or hedonistic morality, but true morality, true right and true wrong. And yet beginning with himself he cannot bring forth absolute standards and cannot even keep the poor relative ones he has set up. Thus in the area of morality, as in rationality, trying to be what he is not, as he was made to be in relationship to God, he is crushed and damned by what he is.”

Why do we as believers “try to be what we are not?” Why do we struggle? Why do we fight this fight? It is a lost cause. We will never win it. We cannot be anything other than what we are. If that is true, then we must accept it if we are ever going to transcend it. Paul the apostle observed, “By the grace of God, I am what I am.” In this remark he was not boasting of his person or position. He was not boasting at all for it follows upon these words, “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” This man who could never do what he wanted to do and often did what he did not want to do came to rest only in his relationship with Christ. He learned this, ostensibly from God. He told the Corinthian believers of his struggle:

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We will not debate the identity of Paul’s thorn, but we can describe it: It was evil! He perceived its origin as coming from Satan. Three times he pleaded with God to remove this evil thing. Three times he was refused. “My grace is sufficient,” said the Father. “You must learn to relax in my grace, Paul.” is the message behind these words. The apostle was no different than any of the rest of us. He too, was an evil man. When faced with a moral choice, out of love for his Savior he chose right — most of the time — perhaps. But there were times he chose wrong. There were times in which the beloved apostle was a jerk. Does that surprise us? It shouldn’t. It should comfort the rest of us jerks. The benefits of such rest become obvious: “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” With convincing erudition and acumen Feuerbach notes, “But I cannot have the idea of moral perfection without at the same time being conscious of it as a law for me. Moral perfection depends, at least for the moral consciousness, not on the nature, but on the will — it is a perfection of will, perfect will. I cannot conceive perfect will, the will which is in unison with law, which is itself law, without at the same time regarding it as an object of will, i.e., as an obligation for myself. The conception of the morally perfect being is no merely theoretical, inert, conception, but a practical one, calling me to action, to imitation, throwing me into strife, into disunion with myself; for while it proclaims to me what I ought to be, it also tells me to my face, without any flattery, what I am not.”

We are indeed, what we are — and that by the grace of God. We will never be any different because of our weak attempts to observe perfect standards. If a choice is to be made between Law and Love, we must choose Love. That is what Jesus did repeatedly. We can only do what sinful people do who in some measure allow the Holy Spirit to empower them.

“We can say personality is shown by that which thinks, acts, and feels. Let us think of acting. Here is will and action — but everything cuts across my will. I would do a certain thing, but I cannot put my will into infinite action, unlimited action. Even in the small area of a painter’s canvas, I cannot do it. I cannot have an unlimited action in the smallest things of life, let alone the largest. And so if I am demanding infinite freedom, whether it is in the whole of life, or in a small area of life, I cannot have it; I cannot be God in action and practice. So again I fall to the earth, crushed with natural tensions in myself, and I lie there like a butterfly that someone has touched, with all the lovely things gone from its wings.”

To learn to relax in grace means to release the burden of responsibility in keeping the Law to God. What are God’s expectations of us? God demands perfection. We cannot meet that demand. That is why Christ died. Only in Christ are we made perfect. God expects us to sin. “He knows our frame, that we are but dust.” notes the psalmist. God is relaxed with the fact that we are sinful because he has cared for it in the death of his Son. There is nothing left for us to do but to understand this basic truth from the Old Testament:

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. “When a frightened or injured child gives himself over to his mother, comes to her and is wrapped in her loving arms, he possesses greater security than he will ever know as an adult. There may be a very ferocious storm and gale-like winds pounding against the walls of the house, lightning turning the sky to moments of fire and thunder shaking every bone in his body, but the child will not fear. He is safe, he is secure. He has surrendered himself to his loving mother and places all his confidence and trust in her.” — Fr. Franklyn McAfee.

For whatever the terrible thorns or storms in our lives, we too will find great rest and comfort in the loving acceptance and forgiveness from the One to whom we surrender ourselves.


I want to wind this up by saying that while I find Bevere’s position as taken particularly in the early portion of Under Cover utterly problematic on many levels, and truly dangerous to the spiritual health of the church, in the latter part of the book he tries to qualify some of the positions he has taken early in the book. The problem I see is the qualifications, which are well stated and carefully articulated, cut against the larger broad brush strokes that he has painted from the beginning.

As I said earlier, much of what he says is good. But the framework he uses is one that is the cyanide in the Kool-Aid. While he may not go down this path himself, working out the implicit presuppositions of his teaching, I don’t have to be a prophet to foresee that his followers will. And when they do they will unleash a new torrent of spiritual abuse that effectively undermines the freedom produced by the gospel and enslaves God’s children in chains of bondage. In so doing they will come under the same curse that Paul pronounced upon those who were adding to the gospel Paul proclaimed to the Galatian church.

[1] “The Christian must not uncritically accept—or reject—spiritual teaching but must be careful in all matters to distinguish the good and hold on to it. He will thus avoid ‘evil in any form’ (Phillips).” NIV Bible Commentary on 1 Thess 5:20-21, Pradis Edition (Grand Rapids: Zondervan 1994).

[2] Diotrephes appears to be an influential person (perhaps the leader) in a local church known to Gaius, but to which Gaius himself does not belong. The description of Diotrephes as one who loves to be firstacknowledge the written communication mentioned by the author at the beginning of v. 9 (and thus did not recognize the author’s apostolic authority), and furthermore (v. 10) refuses to show any hospitality to the traveling missionaries (welcome the brothers) already mentioned by the author. It has been suggested that the description “loves to be first” only indicates that Diotrephes sought prominence or position in this church, and had not yet attained any real authority. But his actions here suggest otherwise: He is able to refuse or ignore the author’s previous written instructions (v. 9), and he is able to have other people put out of the church for showing hospitality to the traveling missionaries (v. 10) suggests he is arrogant, and his behavior displays this: He refuses to

[3] See the note http://net.bible.org/bible.php?book=Gal&chapter=1#v41

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    30 replies to "Under Cover: Authority, Obedience (& Abuse?)"

    • Lisa Robinson

      “He shared that this type of teaching is common in Pentecostal circles noting that within Pentecostalism there is a love of invoking OT imagery and drawing theological conclusions from that imagery without taking into account a substantial discontinuity between the ways God established for Israel and the fact that there has been a tremendous change under the New Covenant inaugurated by the “Christ Event” (the death, resurrection & ascension) followed by the inauguration of the church at Pentecost. Drawing upon OT imagery Pentecostalism stresses particularly the authority/power/rights of the minister as God’s anointed one.”

      I relate to this well. I came out of Pentacostal/Charismatic circles that to varying degrees, stressed this type of authority based on OT conclusions that never reconciled the discontinuity initiated by the new covenant.

      After a friend had introduced me to inductive Bible study methods and contextual understanding of Scripture, my theology began to deviate from the church I was situated in, where I had served in various capacities. I knew the Pastor’s position of those whom he believed God had called there, that if they leave they would never fulfill what God had called them to do. This had even been announced for the pulpit on occassion. Needless to say, I was torn. But the more I studied and prayed, the more I realized it was time to move on.

      It is common in these types of churches to have a sit down with the Pastors to leave on “good terms” by securing their blessing. However, I realized that no amount of explanation would convince them (husband/wife team) that it would in any way be God’s will for me to leave. So I kindly submitted a letter one day and I was gone; no sit down meeting. I had witnessed on too many occassions, words expressed about people who left, whom the pastors did believe was God’s will to leave, that suggested them being outside of the will of God would subject them to removal of their proper “covering”. In fact, it had been stated of a few, that negative circumstance that befell them after their departure were a result of their disobedience. I knew that for the sake of my spiritual health, departure was necessary.

      After I gave them the letter, I continued to wrestle with the decision, even though I had become solidly convinced by Scripture that the deviations I was encountering between my now reformed oriented theology and their theology warranted a departure. It was not until I studied through a treatise on an examination of Kingdom Now theology that I was at peace with this decision.

      Manipulation is an incredible evil thing, IMHO. It was purely the lure of Scripture itself that caused me to depart and even then, it was difficult. I think of the ones who don’t have a solid practical understanding of Biblical prescription for shepherding, church structure, spiritual growth and the priesthood of the believer, whose conscience becomes aligned with the “spiritual authority” of a pastor who is not rightly dividing the word of truth in order to appease a false sense of spiritual security. I further am convinced that there are many sitting under this type of teaching, that live in angst and/or spiritual oppression because they are too fearful of stepping out. My heart truly grieves for those who have been manipulated because of this type of teaching and my prayer is that it be exposed for what it is.

    • Provender

      It’s hard for congregents to tell, sometimes, when abusive leaders slip OT prooftexts in sermons, that there is some scripture twisting going on. Our pastor was sure he was Moses and that if anyone took issue with anything at all, they were acting as Miriam and the rebellious Hebrews who wouldn’t submit to Moses’ authority. The combinations of black/white thinking, authoritarianism and paranoia are deadly. Our church is largely destroyed, two years later.

      Nice, thorough analysis of the theological aspects of spiritual abuse.

    • Dave Z

      There is clear danger that a strong leader can abuse a congregation. Jim Jones is the typical example.

      However, I’ve heard of a church where the pastor’s request to put a bookshelf in his office had to go to a congregational vote.

      The pendulum swings both ways.

      Bottom line, there is an authority structure laid out in scripture. There is a reason that the metaphor of shepherd/sheep is used to illustrate the church. I should say “shepherds,” because there should be a number of elders, mature in the Lord, to provide balance and accountability within church leadership. But the shepherds, not the sheep, are in charge of the flock, and responsible to the Chief Shepherd for it.

      The fact that some may abuse the principle does not void the principle. We are indeed called to submit to spiritual leadership. I don’t doubt that for as many congregations that have been hurt by abused authority, there are an equal number that have been destroyed by rebellion against authority.


    • learning

      As a continuationist I agree with James Sawyer’s view. This kind of ‘ don’t question the Lord’s annointed ‘ is common in some charismatic churches. I think it’s just garbage and sensationilistic. A lot of bad things can be pushed in these kinds of communities.

    • John from Down Under

      John Bevere used to visit the church we attended a while ago here in Brisbane (Australia). I’ve been to one meeting where he preached and he was quite cocky. The people who like him pass it off as ‘boldness’ but it was not boldness that I saw but cockiness and arrogance. God allegedly speaks to him at the drop of a hat and in lengthy prose. Hard to argue with a guy who says ‘God told me’ all the time. You have to be equally bold and say ‘I don’t think so’.

      I too am a ‘Pentecostal / megachurch refugee’ and looking back it is obvious to me now that Pentecostals thrive in Old Testamenisms, from tithing to the glorification of ‘worship’ which in Pentecostal circles has been reduced to music & singing alone.

    • Kara Kittle

      Now I understand you from the other argument. There are indeed people in all religions who follow that dogma so we should not limit it to just Pentecostals. The problem is the lack of accountability within those ministers and preachers. I am Pentecostal but do not let anyone be my authority. The preacher is supposed to teach us and exhort us, not to make us do what he says.

      But this happens in all religions. All churches have experienced it to some degree. Does it mean you leave what you have been convicted to believe is truth? No, you hold to truth and walk away holding to truth. This must be why you all have been so hard on us professing Pentecostals like blaming Pentecostalism is easier than blaming the actual person who did it.

      A preacher is a human, treat him as such. He really is not held to any higher moral standard than any one else. And aren’t we all called to be preachers anyway by the Great Commission?

      The main problem is laziness in Christians and lack of accountability to which I am against both. My church is good, but not all churches are.

    • M. James Sawyer


      As I read you reply, I believe that you miss the point that I am making. I no where stated or implied that there was legitimate authority. I was giving a specific review of Bevere’s book Under Cover. My point here is that the system he is advocating is illegitimately established, methodologically, biblically and theologically and abusive insofar as a leader claims a prophetic role /revelational role on a par with the OT prophets (“God told ME” you must obey–if you don’t you are in sin, open to discipline, not spiritually protected, etc) which cannot be challenged. This system breeds fear and condemnation, when in fact.

      Such a mentality undermines the gospel and the freedom that believers are called to. It also enforces spiritual infancy among believers insofar as in keeps them bound in a legalistic slave mentality.

      In 1993 Ron Enroth published an excellent volume entitled “Churches that Abuse” http://www.amazon.com/Churches-That-Abuse-Ronald-Enroth/dp/0310532922

      It is worth reading.

      My argument is not endorsing any particular form of church government, (the example you cite is one of the inadequacy of full Congregational polity as opposed to abuse) nor is it implying that dysfunctional churches don’t chew good pastors up and spit them out. It is a reality that many young pastors get sent into church situations in which they are lambs to be slaughtered. I can list off many friends and acquaintances and former students that this has happened to.

      The question is not the legitimacy of authority, but its limits . Am I in rebellion if I buy a house, or marry a girl or take a job, or buy a BMW when my pastor has forbidden it?

      Pastors, while entrusted by the Lord with the spiritual welfare of their flock, are not priests, nor prophets in the OT sense. When they overstep their role they betray their calling, and become dictators who cannot be questioned. In such a situation they are not speaking for God and must be called to account.

    • bethyada

      Thanks for the long post. It raises a number of issues that are difficult to deal with briefly.

      I have not read Under Cover, but I have read bits of Honor’s Reward and Thus Saith the Lord. I found the later very helpful in that he speaks out very strongly against the abuses of Pentecostals. Examples of people speaking for God (but making it up) and the destruction they leave in their wake. He gives guidance into judging prophecies and warns strongly that those who prophesy blessing are proven true only when what they say comes true (referring Jeremiah).

      Honor’s Reward likely covers some similar ground to Under Cover. The point is it is addressed to those who would give honour. So we are to honour those above us, equal to us, and below us. That does not mean that others can demand honour from us.

      The problem with this type of teaching is that people interpret commands given to others as commands for them to enforce that obedience. I would guess that is why Bevere gives caveats at the end of his book. However the fact that men will manipulate his teaching does not make the teaching incorrect.

      • Tim Carigon

        Let’s make it a practice to read the book before we critique the critique of those who have read the book. Just because you have read another book on a similar topic does not mean you can speak to the issue of said book you have not read. I think you might just like to read your own critique.

    • bethyada

      My pastor claims that when preachers tell people to get their act together, the people who it is addressed to think it is for the others, and the people who already have it sorted come under further conviction. When you soften the claim to not cause inappropriate conviction, those who were being addressed are inappropriately reassured that they are fine.

      It may not be quite that dichotomous, but the point is it is difficult to target the congregation.

      Now Bevere needs to emphasise that we should in general obey those in authority over us (and I think there is truth to this), but that we should not offend God if our pastors are manipulating us or enticing us to sin. How does Bevere balance this? For some who come from abusive churches he will swing to far one way, for others from licentious backgrounds may think he swings to far the other.

      Given the current Western disregard for authority, I think that an emphasis needs to be given to showing respect to in authority over us.

    • TonyF

      I have been in a reformed church where I was told, “Pastor X is God’s appointed leader. You are in rebellion against him, therefore you are in rebellion against God.” In another local church last month, a group of people questioning the pastor’s decision were tarred with the “witchcraft” brush. I regret to report these things are alive in UK today.

    • M. James Sawyer

      After I sent my friend this essay he had a followup question asking,

      “What does this verse mean, if not “rebellion = witchcraft?””

      I followed up with two replies

      First reply:
      The verse says that rebellion “is as”witchcraft. The as makes this phrase a simile, a figure of speech. It is a comparison, not an equation. For example, the spies that Moses sent in to spy out the land said that “we were as grasshoppers/locusts in their eyes. It did not mean that when the inhabitants looked at the spies that they saw grasshoppers, it meant that they were as insignificant size-wise as grasshoppers are to a normal sized humans/Israelites of the day. The point of comparison is the relative size of the inhabitants of the land (giants–maybe referring to the group or family which ultimately produced Goliath centuries later) as compared to the physical size of the Israelite spies.

      The Hebrew language is full of figures of speech (as is every other language0 which must be decoded to find the literal meaning. In decoding similes and metaphors you always have to figure out what ispecifically about each is being compared. There are both like and unlike characteristics. Proper interpretation involves identifying the like characteristics.

      Figures of speech are used for literary effect in the communication process.
      Second, Follow up reply:

      The Bible was not written in verses or chapters. Meaning is always dependent on context and genre. In this case the whole 15th chapter of 1st Samuel

      The larger passage makes the phrase clear. The immediate passage states:

      15:22 Then Samuel said,

      “Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices

      as much as he does in obedience?31

      Certainly,32 obedience33 is better than sacrifice;

      paying attention is better than34 the fat of rams.

      15:23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,

      and presumption is like the evil of idolatry.

      Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,

      he has rejected you as35 king. NET Bible

      31tn Heb “as [in] listening to the voice of the Lord.”

      32tn Heb “look.”

      33tn Heb “listening.”

      34tn The expression “is better” is understood here by ellipsis (see the immediately preceding statement).

      35tn Or “from [being].”

      Saul has acted presumptively and disobeyed the direct command of the Lord through Samuel, God’s authorized spokesman Yahweh is looking for heart attitude rather than external form. The first two statements of verse 23 are saying the same thing in similar ways.

      Divination or witchcraft involved an attempt to get knowledge and control from a source other than that prescribed you Yahweh, particularly by omens and signs. (Note that Saul years later and abandoned by Yahweh, appealed to the witch of Endor to gain information about the upcoming battle–Samuel [already dead for years] made an unscheduled appearance there!).

      Remember in Israel God had ordained that the priest to wear the urmin and thummin and when revelation was sought they as priests of God were to be the source of guidance.

      Presumption involves a failure to properly acknowledge the limits of one’s legitimate rights/privileges and take unto oneself rights/privileges that do not properly belong to him. This involves rejection of Yahweh’s kingship over him and viewing himself in some sense as an equal with Yahweh.

      Note verse 12

      “Saul has gone to Carmel where16 he is setting up a monument for himself. ”

      Beneath Saul’s sin is ingratitude for what Yahweh had done for him and hubris, reaching for godhood in a manner similar to Adam & Eve in the Garden.

    • John from Down Under

      I’ve read most of Bevere’s books in my Pentecostal heydays as they were ‘highly recommended’ by a pastor I knew who was very much into ‘spiritual fatherhood’, ‘understanding authority’ etc. I’ve also read Enroth’s “Churches that Abuse” because I was in an abusive church for seven years though the abuse did not come from the pastor but ‘prophets’. I’d have to wholeheartedly agree with MJS (even though he’s a Calvinist – LOL)

      M J S

      The anchor verse and favourite prooftext for submission to authority seems to be Heb 13:17. Do you have a condensed exegesis/rebuttal on this verse that might be helpful for others to read? The ESV translates it as “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

      From what I gather, most translations got the leading verb wrong, because ‘obey’ is an interpretation not a translation. The verb πειθεσθε (peithesthe) means ‘be persuaded by’ in the 2nd plural present passive imperative. The second verb in the sentence υπεικετε (hupeikete) in the 2nd plural present active imperative means ‘to yield’ or ‘come under’. Taken both verbs together, the context (as I understand it) is more along the lines of ‘give way to your leaders’ in the sense where you are not being polemic and cantankerous. To respect them rather than swallow and follow blindly.

      However I’m neither a scholar nor a professional theologian. When in doubt I ‘ask an expert’, therefore I would welcome your input.

    • Kara Kittle

      I am Pentecostal and never read John Bevere, I made like five days of 40 Days of Purpose and still don’t understand why make a book about some guy’s prayer…there is a reason to not read these books, they are all based in viewpoints. Why would I want to read some person’s viewpoint? Mein Kampf was a viewpoint as well, albeit a terribly wrong one, but people, even Christians believed it and bought into it.

      Corrie Ten Boom didn’t fall for it. Read her book. Read something intended to give encouragement, but if you keep reading everyone’s viewpoint pretty soon you end up sharing their viewpoints. It’s not that I don’t like to read, I just choose not to. But if it catches my interest I will.

      Propaganda is spread in such ways and the worst is Christian propaganda. If we all kept believing it, the Irish would still not need apply. Don’t take everything that people write as Gospel truth. And never allow someone to take control of your relationship with God. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Remember that.

      One good movie I recommend though is China Cry. Nora Lamb. Good movie. makes me thankful I was never a victim of communist takeovers.

    • Joseph

      What would happen if these pastors who demand obedience and submission were asked to wash the congregation’s feet? Perhaps they should do it without being asked.

      This story is as old as mankind. The thirst for power is not limited to the business world.

    • Kara Kittle

      That must be true. In our church we always practiced footwashing. I must have grown up in a good church because these other church practices seem odd to me. No one dictates any person’s relationship with God. And no one should be expected to give in to any one demanding submission.

      Unfortunately it happens in more denominations than people care to admit because people forget that pastors are human also. We should respect those who are placed over us, that is only right but that does not give church leadership the authority to lord it over any one. That is simply wrong. But we learn respect toward God in how we act toward leadership.

      Jesus is a gentle Shepherd for His sheep and pastors are to represent Him in action and deed. The thing that is saddest is thinking about the families of these men, how do they treat them at home when no one is around? Domestic abuse is prevalent but unreported in churches because some people don’t hold pastors accountable, and they act like they are above accountability. No pastor should use the pulpit for abuse, and neither should he use his station to abuse his family at home.

    • John from Down Under

      8 days since my original post, I would take that as a ‘no-thanks’ answer from M James Sawyer!

    • M. James Sawyer


      I read your post and it read to me like more information. I didn’t realize that there was anything to reply to.

      It seems to me that what you said lines up with my critique.

    • Samson Babayan

      While Mr. Bevere does make some valuable and important points….His ideology will sooner or later be taken by those in authority (police,government officials) as carte Blanche` (basically as a green light) to do as they please and abuse their authority.Now common sense tells us that if we did not have the police then there would be anarchy…Which is horrible, therefore… a corrupt police force is certainly much better than no police force.Would Mr. Bevere get rid of IAD?…(Internal Affairs Division) those that police the police?… Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely!Shades of Rodney King!!! Wise up Mr. Bevere…Wise up.Its a good thing we question those in authority..Look at Bush. He lied and millions died.He and Cheney made billions from Halliburton(the biggest oil corp. in the world, of whom Dick Cheney quit because of conflict of interest).” I did not have sex with that woman” Bill Clinton. I rest my case Mr. Bevere..

    • Osama Bin Laden

      Mr. Bevere is crazy!!! You keep listening to your corupt leaders and you will be in big trouble.By the way, I am here in the White house chiilin with Bush and Cheney.The Bush twins are party animals….

    • John C.T.

      CMP, I am still rather new to the blogging thing and netiquette and all that, but I do believe that it would be a good thing to delete the Osama Bin Laden post. It’s evidently intentionally disruptive. BTW, if you delete that one, then delete this one too as it will no longer have relevance.


    • John C.T.

      M.Sawyer. Thank you for your very lengthy post, one that evidently took time and effort to create.

      MJS, by indicating that what John from down under wrote lines up with your post (which doesn’t deal specifically with the Hebrews passage), are you indicating that you agree that the Heb. 13 passage does not support B’s position, or that in addition to that you also agree with J’s exegesis? Sorry if it’s clear to you and others, but I would like to know a bit more explicitly if J was correct in his interpretation of those two verbs.

      I look forward to more lead posts by you. I’m possibly one of the few that read much of your Galatians post on the other website. I did a 4 year degree in linguistics, and admit to a strange joy in things linguistic (I used to make up languages and teach them to my younger brothers–I’m surprised they still send me birthday cards).


    • SL

      Obedience and submisiveness are lifestyles of a truly born again Christian but John Bevere’s teaching in Under Cover is full of brinestones and fires from hell. He is teaching the New Covenant believers using Old Covenant Laws,omitting the Grace of God and the Finished Work of our Lord Jesus Christ. He tries to bring people into obedience by fears of punishments instead of love of God. His intention may be good but methods are totally wrong

    • […] and Pen offers some detailed analysis of Bevere’s work.  His […]

    • […] I added a new quote to the Galatians 5 page from M. James Sawyer’s post: […]

    • Curtis Cobb

      Opened my eyes to some things. Great posts everyone.

      Im a young minister in a Pentecostal church and have been asked to teach our youth about ‘Authority’. It was in my studies and research that I came accross this article. I have found some of Bevere’s books very helpful and when I saw ‘Under Cover’ I wanted to read it. I may not at this point 🙂

      I have to agree that authority is abused way too much and has left a bitter taste in our mouths. However, ‘authority’ is biblical when put in context. My pastor teaches that God hasnt given anyone authority to be abusive or manipulative. I thank God for him.

      When someone rules over you as in OT times we need to understand that God didn’t intend for it to be this way. He was looking for relationship. The people requested a king. The people requested Moses speak to God for them. Thank God the viel was tore.

    • Susan Smith

      We attended a Church that embraced this “Bevere” teaching and I at one time embraced it, until it was abused. My husband served on staff for several years and then was called to plant a church 25 miles north of the home church. It went well and we went out with Joy and peace. Until…..some people started coming that were not apart of the original plant. Now the “mother” church is a church of 2,500 and we planted with 160 and then a few people the following year decided to come. According the their pastor they were out of the will of God and needed to wait 90 days to leave his church and then it changed to a year. If they would meet with him they were told they were leaving without his “blessing.” Which ment it would not go well with them. They were out from a “covering.” The Bevere book was always used. I think the line of spiritual authority is being crossed here. No where do you see biblically that we are to “ask permission” to leave a church. We are to follow the holy Spirit’s guiding.

    • patricia

      very interesting discussion re John Bevere. I have some of his books and while they say some very convicting and good things in terms of good teaching on things like offenses, they seem to mix truth with error. Different book but same concerns.

      In the book on offenses, John teaches that one may not leave a church until God has released one to do so and that it is God who leads us to a church. That ignores reality a bit. So if I go to a church where the messages are positive, the pastor is a woman,the music really rocks and I can dress however I want to, my kids can join the martial arts “outreach” and I can join the church 12 step group or yoga class, God brought me there, even if the church is basically apostate ? I need permission from God leave, when He says not to shake hands with a false teacher? I am buggged by his claim that God said it was necessary to write this book, when the bible say that we have been given all that is necesary for life and godliness? Hmm

    • Alice

      I know everyone is entitled to their opinion and that some may not agree with mine but just for a second look at what you are saying and doing on this website 🙂 It’s exactly actions like this that are causing a decline of the church in Western culture. The world is divisive enough without current and ex-Christians pulling it down from the inside. The world can see there is no unity because we are behaving just like them so they don’t want any part of it.

      If we claim to have Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we should test the word preached to us but sites like this are part of the problem not the solution. Any body can sit behind a computer and criticise, it doesn’t take much faith to tear people down. I would be sooooooooooooooo much more impressed if any of you were studying the word and sharing it the way you believe God is ministering to you, the way you obviously believe these people are lacking. Instead of complaining, be the change you believe God is calling you to be.

    • deborah gonzalez knight

      I just listened to Bevere preaching “Relentless”. 2014 is the year today.
      I always quite liked Bevere, read some of his books, and thoght he was ok. I was shocked to hear him at the beginning, going on abot what an awsome sexy wife he has. Then as he progressed, mentioned Hillsong. That is the second pastor in one week linked to Hillsong church lauding the sexiness of his wife. That is so totaly off. I cant be bothered to mention all the rest, but suffice to say, I dont think this man is ok and I think he is very cocky also.
      Here is the link.

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