Apostasy in the Church Part 2

Under Cover Lies

By Jim Allen

Should believers allow pastors to rule over them? This posting is part 2 in an 8-part series about deception in the church addressing the book Under Cover by John Bevere, its teaching, its origination, why it is wrong, and its impact on the church.

Not too long ago I learned about a new question circulating in the evangelical circle: "Who is your covering?" Soon thereafter the full meaning of that question became apparent. In the church I attended, its leaders announced they were adopting the Under Cover teaching by John Bevere. The central theme for the teaching is that God guarantees protection for believers who submit to pastoral authority. On the flipside of the theme, failure to submit to the pastor places believers outside God's protection. In other words, a believer who does not submit to and obey the pastor falls out from under the protective covering of God and that of the church. After researching the teaching, I found it to be pure heresy.

Mike Ross, having also researched the book said:
Bevere advocates a belief system that is biblically and theologically abusive. His "talking points" originate from what he believes God is telling him personally, which he then supports with Bible verses taken out of context. Of course, if you subscribe to this absurd teaching method you do not have the right to question Bevere's claims because, after all, he is a 'spiritual authority.' The Under Cover teaching undermines the true gospel and breeds spiritual infancy because it forces believers to depend on an 'authority figure' to show the way. In other words, Bevere is saying you need a pastor who is more popular with God than you, to be your heavenly arbitrator. In reality, the book authored by John Bevere in its contemptible framework is nothing more than an under cover manual for abuse, manipulation and heresy. [1]
John Bevere's heresy teaches that obedience to the pastor is on the same footing as obedience to God. To disobey the pastor, even when the pastor is wrong, is to disobey God because the pastor is always in authority and God the ultimate authority. In other words, the pastor stands in authority between Jesus and the body of believers, becoming the spiritual covering over his or her church. In fact, John Bevere refers to lowly believers as sheep, not too bright, often confused, and in need of a shepherd to lead them. To expand upon this thought, when anyone in the leadership hierarchy at my former church made a personal request of a lowly believer, yes was the only acceptable answer regardless of one's previous commitments to job and family. To say "no" or "maybe" to leadership was looked upon as sinful disobedience. Church leadership used the Under Cover teaching as its final authority to transform the "church agenda" into the Golden Calf with full expectation that everyone would bow to its every whim. When some of us in the church spoke against the false Under Cover teaching, the senior pastor said of us one Sunday morning, "Do not listen to them; view everything coming out of their mouth as vomit." Need I say more about this despicable teaching and those upholding its sting of deception? I left the church.

Where in the Bible does God appoint men to rule over the body? The Bible does not teach it, although unscrupulous religious leaders have taken Scripture out of context to teach that it does. As a for instance, the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11 talks about the "tradition of head coverings" and its spiritual application showing Christ is our head and covering. Apostates twist this passage to say what it does not. Although the Bible teaches the husband is the head of the wife, it also clearly teaches Christ is the head (covering) for both husband and wife. Another chapter twisted to support the Under Cover teaching is Romans 13 where the apostle Paul talks about believers submitting to governing authorities; and then to say Jesus demonstrated this submission principle during His trial before Pontius Pilate, the Judaea Roman ruling authority at the time of Jesus' crucifixion (Matthew 27:2). The apostates cleverly spin the true meaning of chapter 13 from "governmental ruling authorities" to include "church ruling authorities," which becomes a heretical spin when compared to the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:25-31). In other words, the whole counsel of God teaches all believers are to serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13). The pastor, like everyone else, stands on level ground at the foot of the cross with "no authority" over any believer.

One reviewer of the Under Cover teaching said:
This is one of the most abusive and manipulative teachings under the classification "Christian literature" that I have ever read. While the idea and importance of submitting to God's inherent authority is indisputable, Bevere's presentation is categorically false. In his book, Bevere neglects to teach the full council of God. Bevere promotes "a different gospel" throughout his book by saying we must get right first (through repentance) before God will accept us. Though repentance is an essential component of salvation, it does not suggest perfection but a change in pursuit; we no longer pursue the things of the world but the things of God. All throughout his book, Bevere suggests a works salvation, a redemptive act one obtains through correctness and self-effort rather than the work completed by Christ...everywhere I turn in Bevere's book, I read a gospel of works salvation. This makes Bevere and any who promote his teachings, categorically, false teachers. [2]
Although there are many reviewers holding to a favorable view of Bevere's book, regrettably they do not know the difference between works salvation and salvation by grace, which is a huge indictment on their biblical background. The following paraphrased excerpt is from an article posted on the House Church Connection in the Kingdom of God website. The excerpt says:
The implication from those who support pastoral authority is a doctrine that teaches common people cannot possibly hear from God and the reason they require a professional mediator (pastor). The truth, however, for the Christian is found in 1 John 2: 26-27 that says, "I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit — just as it has taught you, remain in Him." This verse clearly teaches the Holy Spirit will instruct and lead genuine believers into all truth.
Men will be men and when deceived by the Nicolatian doctrine their unrepentant nature will drive them to be king over all. The Nicolatians are alive and well in the church and more than ever willing to step into the pulpit between God and you, becoming a type of antichrist. In fact, the definition for antichrist is one who stands in the place of Christ. The pastor (in the church I attended) said on television during a Sunday morning opening message, "I stand here today before you, on your behalf, before God...and last night while interceding for you I prayed I would get it right..." This pastor (although giving lip service to Jesus as Lord) was telling her congregation that she intercedes to God for them daily, and because she does senses a great and holy responsibility to get it right. What? The only person who ever got it right was Jesus. This pastor is a type of antichrist, boldly and defiantly placing herself in place of Jesus who is our intercessor. 1 Timothy 2:3 says, "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus."

The following verses counter the Under Cover teaching that erroneously promotes pastoral intercession on behalf of believers.
— The gospel of Matthew teaches that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Christ Jesus (Matthew 28:18).
— The gospel of John and epistles of Paul teach Jesus alone is the Head of the church (John 5:26-27, Ephesians 1:22-23, Colossians 1:18).
— The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke denounce believers (including pastors) as having authority over others in the church (Matthew 20:25-28, 23:8-12; Mark 10:42-45, Luke 22:24-27, and 1 Peter 5:3).
— The Bible clearly teaches believers have one High Priest (Hebrews 3:1; 4:14) and one Master who is Lord of all (Matthew 23:8-12)
The Under Cover teaching taught by Bevere is a rehash of an earlier teaching known within the Charismatic circle as the Shepherding Movement that began in the mid 1970's. The movement is also known as the Discipleship Movement and was adopted by the International Church of Christ and others. Both movements shared the same purpose, which was and is to win converts and bring believers into alignment with church doctrine for their own protection and edification. Obedience to authority was then and is now an important part of these heretical movements. So it would seem, according to their doctrine, the Holy Spirit was not getting the job done and needed a new-improved way to shepherd people and make disciples.

Regrettably, the horror stories about these two movements could fill volumes. Annie, a former member of the movement said, "It took almost three years to 'deprogram' ourselves from the abuse that was inflicted upon us, and the corrupt, distorted teachings of Scripture." (Steve Coleman; "Christian: Who is your covering? A Christian look at the Shepherding Movement") As a footnote to Annie's comment, a close family member of mine was also involved in the movement adopted by the International Church of Christ. For two years, this young college student underwent personal abuse by his spiritual mentor who took his money, food, automobile, and personal items for self-consumption. The daily, regimented spiritual agenda included prayer, intense Bible verse memorization, free baby sitting for leaders, donation of his car for church transportation, and much more. When a member failed to measure up to expectations of the leader (person in authority), a spiritual spanking was in order. The spiritual spanking was nothing less than religious abuse intended to guide disobedient believers back to the path of total obedience. After two years of exploitation, the abused believer left the church to follow a path away from the living hell. His new path took him back to the ways of the world where he has found a measure of peace away from the madness. Today, he views Christianity as an evil and abusive religion. For him, it was a horrible experience and he wants nothing more to do with those who proclaim the gospel of Christ.

These two movements and now its sister Under Cover teaching by John Bevere are cast from the same mold and amount to nothing more than diabolical teachings that destroy faith in God and diminish the work of Christ. I experienced these heretical movements first-hand; and, I openly attest to the loathsome impact these horrible and twisted teachings have and are having on the church. In my next post, I will talk about the Gospel of Greed and its sick, twisted doctrine to fleece the flock for personal gain.

1. "Under Cover Uncovered: John Bevere's False Teaching"; Paraphrased
2. R Carson; Christian; Review Comment; Paraphrased

Apostasy in the Church: The Series

Part 1: When Wolves Lead the Flock
Part 2: Under Cover Lies
Part 3: Their Greed, Your Seed
Part 4: A Time to Refrain from Embracing
Part 5: Angels of Light
Part 6: Miracles, Signs and Wonders
Part 7: The Partial Gospel
Part 8: The True Gospel

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Published 8-5-11