Spiritual Caste System?
Tuesday Evening, July 3, 2001
Hello, It’s me, the one with lots of questions, always… : ) I’m finding myself in confusion at the moment in a relationship I have with an older sister in the Lord. People have told me I need to be “accountable” to someone, and I have always stood against that and have never looked for an older person to make myself “accountable” to. Yet the relationship that is forming here doesn’t seem to be one of equality. She feels the need to mentor me and teach me, and I do get a lot out of it. On the other hand, though, I’m getting really confused about what kind of relationship the older and younger should have. Sometimes I wish we were on an equal plain, but then I wonder if that’s just pride. I mean, all my “home church” friends would just about freak out if they realized how much I “submit” (dare I use that word?) to her instruction. And I’m not sure sometimes what’s the due honor I should give and what’s honoring her too much. So anyway, if you have anything to share, please do.
Hi there, : ) Well, there are several aspects of all of this, “the multi-faceted Wisdom of God” (Eph. 3:10). First of all, I would highly recommend that all your relationships always stay “two-sided”—as far as that is Reality. Meaning, don’t let your pride say, “I ought to be able to teach her something too!” That would be evil. Frankly, you wouldn’t have much you could teach, say, Paul of Tarsus. Not that you would never see something that he had missed. You would sometimes, in all likelihood, since Father likes to set things like that up to entertain us with our need of one another (1Cor. 12). However, it would be rare, and it would be mostly a “one-way street.” Not because he was trying to be “superior,” but simply because he would be far ahead of you in his Walk with Jesus and Knowledge of Him. That’s fine. Milk him for all it’s worth!
“Are all apostles?” NO! And some do “equip” others “for works of service” because of the Gifts they have been granted. No problem there. But, it is not a role or an office or “automatic” ANYTHING. Just the flow of Life would demonstrate that you have much to learn, and God will use those who are taller to see things you cannot yet see.
There should be no resistance to organic exchange of Life and “submitting” to others who reflect the Glory of Jesus in a way that you cannot, or in Gifts that you do not and will not have. Not a problem. The Centurion showed Jesus the greatest Faith in all of Israel by knowing how to submit. Whoever doesn’t know how or simply won’t be submissive cannot know God or be “entrusted with much.” Their pride will disqualify them, regardless of gift or knowledge, from ever being much for Him, except in their own eyes.
So, to recap:
1) Submitting is fine, and biblically required.
2) Gleaning from the Gifted or more mature is excellent—“You became mimickers of us and of the Lord!”
3) There is to be no automatic flow of direction, as in “I am discipling YOU, not the other way around.” That would be a terrible shame and very unhealthy. There is no legal “pecking order” to be imposed on anyone, even the newest babe in Christ. That is Saul rather than Samuel and is ugly and dangerous.
Is everyone “equal” with Moses? Korah and Miriam thought so, and paid a price. Is everyone “equal” with Samuel? Obviously not. And the New Testament is clear on that point as well. “You who are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness.” Not everyone IS Spiritual. “You are carnal, as mere men. But we have the mind of Christ.” “Choose from among yourselves seven men full of the Holy Spirit and Wisdom.” They’ll be easy to recognize, because not everyone is “full of the Holy Spirit and full of Wisdom.” And only such as these are to be “over” any matter, even matters as mundane as feeding older women who are part of the Church. Everyone is NOT the “same” in that regard (if the Scriptures are True and I think they are) :). Also, it is true that some will “give an account for your soul!” How Special is that?
There is no “caste system” in terms of “pecking order,” but the amount of JESUS expressed in a person from one moment to the next has everything to do with how we relate to one another! There are differences between the Quality and Intimacy and Gifts of Spiritual Life. That’s just simply what the Bible says, again and again. The same Jesus, yet different expressions (Gifts), and different levels of yieldedness (Maturity). Only the proud or those who don’t know God’s Word would suggest otherwise. It’s just in there. BUT (don’t miss this!!!), all of that is very different than Saul having a “role” that is “automatic” rather than Samuel’s organic, free-flowing, day-to-day Life…which could flow either direction from one moment to the next. That has to be a possibility, with nothing hindering!
Don’t allow anyone, no matter what they have to “offer,” to be unapproachable because of their perceived “role” or “office.” Clergy/laity (in its various forms) and domineering of others is certainly evil. And yet, no less evil and unBiblical is unsubmissiveness, and proud independence and disconnectedness. We can surely avoid both traps, eh?