Since when does God honour By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation? – Brook Potter
A friend of mine while at work, started up a bible study amongst his co-workers. It was an informal get together once a week during a lunch hour, where people would come and they would discuss matters in the bible. His group started small, but eventually grew to about 20 people coming to discuss biblical matters, and many came to know the Lord in those meetings and a few people actually got healed.
Now a strange thing happened when my friend’s local church learned about these bible studies, and called my friend into a meeting. After he had shared all the wonderful things that were happening in his office, he was then told that he was out of place and should have talked to the leadership of his church before doing any such venture. His motives were questioned as if to imply he was trying to undermine his pastor. He was told that he was operating outside of the Spiritual covering of the Church, and was subject to errors and demonic Jezebel spirits. He eventually stopped the bible study. Through the salvations and healings that took place at those meetings, it was clear that God was not nearly as offended by this group as the church leadership was.
In the Caribbean, where I am from, the churches are extremely territorial. Unfortunately, many leaders are quick to call people heretics, false teachers, and “protect” their flock from the dangers that are out there, namely other churches that may not have the same message as themselves. In my experience, what really motivates this behavior is fear of being wrong. So the subject of Spiritual Covering has great appeal to many churches who would like to imply that staying plugged into their particular brand of fellowship will lead to fruitfulness, joy and blessings.
What is implied in much of this teaching is that there are consequences to those who do not fall under the Spiritual Covering of their particular fellowship and can bring division between brothers of different fellowships. For those who do not comply, blessings and protection will not be as strong as for those who have aligned with the Church. This of course is nowhere found in Scripture, and can be easily abused to maintain control in a congregation by fear of consequences.
The fundamental issue to be addressed is, What is the Church? Is the Church, a Property, By Laws of Incorporation all headed by a Spiritual leader, or is it the Body of Believers the Church? Does a Church come together into One Place? Or do we all go to to one place called Church?
1 Corinthians 14:23a If therefore the whole church be come together into one place…
According to the scripture above, we the believers are the Church. As believers, we do not go to Church, but rather everywhere we go, we ARE the Church. Every so often, enough of the church gathers into one place, and fellowship and worship the Lord. It follows then, that if the Body of Believer is the Church, it becomes very difficult to have a specific “Church Covering,” when according to Scripture there is only One Church God sees and Jesus Christ is at the Head (Ephesians 5:23).
The bible nowhere accounts for Spiritual Covering as a source of blessings, protection or anything else outside of submitting and relationship in and to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ affirms us, Jesus Christ is our Protection and the one from whom all blessings flow, and Jesus Christ is the only one allowed to stand between his people and God and we enjoy all of these benefits by faith.
Even in the realms of Ministry and casting out of Demons, there was no such covering required under the old covenant, and we live under a better covenant now!
Luke 9:49-50 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.
Further, after the Ethiopian Eunuch was baptized, Philip entrusted him with nothing more than the Holy Spirit and the Old Testament Scriptures to go back to his country and evangelize with as far as we know no further instructions. (Acts 8:26-39)
When Paul wanted to convey about our protection, he wrote about the Armour of God, not a bunker to run into. Each of us individually must wear the Armour, and have confidence to stand, because of what Christ has done. By the Shield of Faith, we are able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Some would point to the relationship with Paul and Timothy and say that Paul was Timothy’s Spiritual Covering. There is no evidence to support that, but the relationship with Paul and Timothy is clearer indicated to be like Father and Son (1 Timothy 1:18). A father son relationship is biblical and should be encouraged as we submit ourselves not just to leaders, but also to each other (1 Peter 5:5). Esteeming others greater than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).
While I do not believe that Spiritual Covering is a biblical teaching, submitting is biblical, as long as it is voluntarily and without coercion. Submitting comes from the heart towards people we love and we know love us in return. If you have ever seen a dog being caressed and then roll over to expose its underside to be scratched, that is submitting in its truest form. As leaders, submitting comes from loving others and giving of ourselves to them without any expectations.
The New Testament is about a relationship with Jesus Christ. Spiritual covering robs many people of the joys of discovering all the riches of His grace in Him, by claiming that these blessings come as a result of being part of a particular fellowship. There is no wonder why the Body of believers are not maturing, as we no longer have to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, or enjoy the discovery of his Goodness, rather we are told we get all of that just by filling in a membership card.
Steve McVey talking about if we have a need for Spiritual Covering.