Two Open Letters to the Body of Christ
The names and places of this controversial development
are kept anonymous. Anonymity is a viable option, since the apostle Paul
did not name the false apostles who afflicted the church in Corinth in
his open letters to them. Certainly, those whom the letter was intended
for, knew of what and whom he spoke. However, we do know that in an earlier
instance, Paul was more open about a controversy in front of the whole
church, in regards to the Gentile/Law controversy (Galatians 2:11-21:
When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly
in the wrong... Cross reference to Acts 15:1-2)
It is our hope and prayer that local non-I.C.'ers
everywhere are led by the Spirit and Word in regards to keeping their new-found
freedom free of corruption, passionately protecting both themselves and
others from a return to the errors so silently tolerated in the worst of
These two letters concern a certain brother whose
initial message from the Lord was to "come out of the system". This brother
became more and more popular as a preacher of non-I.C. persuasion. However,
as many believers came out of the "system", and were wandering around questioning
where/who/what they should do next, this brother changed his preaching
and practices to embrace a doctrine foreign to the purposes of Non-I.C.
Afterwards, many of these wandering believers fell captive again.
About 3-5 years ago, this brother began to preach
a doctrine of "submitting to authority". For instance, he began to state
that women are fully capable of "doing" the work of any of the 5 so-called
"ministry gifts....even apostolic work. BUT....they cannot "BE" a prophet,
or hold the "office of the prophet" (as it is erroneously called), because
this places her in a position "over" men. Furthermore, he suggested that
a woman should not deliver a Word from the Lord unless a man who is her
"covering" literally stands behind her or with her, watching over her as
she delivers the Word. As is often the case with such things, the
"covering" doctrine did not stop there by any means. This brother also
preaches that having a "covering" is a requirement for all people. In other
words, a "personal pastor", or someone to (quote) "watch over your soul",
is a necessity for all believers, men and women.
For over two years now, it has been reported that
this brother's preaching has become well-infiltrated with this covering
doctrine. Tragically, many non-I.C. believers are following this brother
and his band of self-appointed personal pastors or elders.. As they are
being sucked into this brother's new "system" of hierarchy, they are earning
for themselves a reputation for being cult-like fans of this brother and
It has been reported that this brother has been
privately confronted by people who were there with him from the beginning.
Nonplussed, this brother continues to preach the deception of the covering
doctrine in his local area, as well as abroad.
These two Open Letters were written by one of
these former friends. This friend had once financially supported this brother's
preaching on a T.V. Station. After some heart-wrenching efforts by this
friend to address this brother privately about his new found love of the
covering doctrines, this friend could no longer justify financially supporting
his preachings. The local T.V. station removed this brother's program shortly
after the financial support was removed.
These Open Letters are published with the hope
that non-I.C. believers will avoid the deception of partaking again of
the religious "system" they believe they have left. In keeping with the
friend's hopes of reconciliation and gentle urgings of restoration back
to the truth, the brother remains unnamed. The friend also remains unnamed.
-Teri Lee Earl
May 31, 2002
To the called out ones of God,
XXXXX and I greet each of you in the name of Jesus in hope that this
letter finds you prospering in health and in your individual gifts and
callings by the power and grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
It is our hope that this letter will bring clarity and light to those
of you who may have feelings of confusion due to rumors, opinions, and
accusations, which you may have heard being expressed regarding some things
which we believe God has revealed to us, but are in contradiction to some
things currently being taught. It is our prayer that each one of you allow
God to "mess with your doctrines," so as to bring clarity, grace, peace,
and freedom to your lives.
About three years ago, God began speaking to us about the importance
of loving the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:10,11 states that those who don’t
love the truth will be deceived and that God will even send a powerful
delusion in order that they be so completely and totally deceived that
there would be no possibility that they could believe the truth. Truth
is an interesting thing. There is no need to defend it. If something is
indeed true, it can be scrutinized, challenged, dissected, inspected, etc.
and it will not be diminished one iota in the process. In fact, close investigation
of truth simply serves to reinforce and establish it for what it is. There
is no one on this earth who is not deceived in some areas. We don’t know
we’re deceived because, of course, that’s the nature of deception. Anyone
who claims that he is not deceived is self deluded and the most deceived
of all. When the Spirit of Truth reveals to us a truth which we’ve previously
believed to be a lie, or a lie which we previously believed to be truth,
we’re instantly faced with a decision to make: to change or not to change.
If we love the truth, we will change. If we don’t love the truth, we’ll
continue on a path which leads away from the high calling of Eph. 4:12-16;
however, we’ll no longer be deceived, but instead, will be in rebellion
to the Spirit of God. There are many things which war against our changing,
such as pride, fear, traditions, reputation, etc. You each know there is
a high price to pay because you’ve paid a price to get where you are now.
Our lives should look like a zigzag of change in pursuit of truth, not
a flat line. I pray that God will put within each one of us an ever growing
love for the truth and a craving to follow it wherever it leads us.
This love of the truth, which God has been speaking to us about, has
lead to a tremendous change in our lives. It seems as though God has been
having us put all of our doctrines to the test and several have failed
miserably to pass the scrutiny. Our intent in writing this part of the
letter is not to "win you over." Our intent is that you be challenged to
allow the Spirit of Truth to give you revelation. What does the Bible say?
Put the following doctrines, as are presently being taught, to the test:
tithing, the one man (personal) pastor, women in the Kingdom, and the whole
covering doctrine in general. Take these things before the Lord.
Like the Bereans, search the scriptures for the biblical basis of any and
all of your beliefs. For instance, did you know that the Greek word, kephale,
which was translated head in 1Cor. 11:3 and six other places, never meant
authority over, but actually means source of life? Has it occurred to you
that Abraham only tithed once and it wasn’t even his "stuff?" Check out
the word used for office in 1Tim. 3:1. The word doesn’t even exist in the
original text. It’s an invention by the KJV translators. Ephesians
4:8 calls apostles, prophets, etc., gifts to the Body, not offices over
the body. Jesus said we can judge a tree by it’s fruit . Judge the fruit
of the particular teaching: does it infuse righteousness, peace, and joy
in you? Does it emphasize the priesthood of each believer or does it subtly
promote the hierarchy of a thinly veiled clerical caste system? Look at
your wife. Is she thriving in the Lord, full of joy, confidence, power,
and life? How about your marriage? Listen to that still quiet voice. Is
there a gnawing sense inside of you that says, "something just doesn’t
seem quite right", or is there a sense of confirmation and agreement with
the Holy Spirit? Does the doctrine bring fear or faith in God? Is it manipulative
and controlling or are you free to be led by the Spirit according to the
Holy Spirit? Don’t be afraid to question anything and be wary of anyone
who discourages your examination of any teaching. The only thing you have
to loose is the bondage of deception, and you have everything to gain!
That said, let us go another direction. Many of you have heard about
the tragic fire XXXXX and I experienced in our home on Jan. 31, 2002. A
young man, 16 years old, lost his life as a result. Now XXXXX and I are
aware that it has been spoken by some, that the fire was God’s judgment
against me because I was rebellious and “got out from under my covering.”
Let me assure you, God has not spoken that to us! On the contrary, we have
both felt the peace of His presence and the love and great care of our
loving Father. Although a great number of brethren responded immediately
with a marvelous outpouring of love, we were confused because of the deafening
silence from other parts of the Body of Christ, many of whom are some of
our dearest friends. Slowly, we began to understand what this was about.
No one was to interfere with God’s discipline of me, lest they get hit
by the "lightening bolts" God was throwing at me. I’m not surprised that
this conclusion was reached by some who are very disturbed by what God
has shown us regarding the above mentioned doctrines. I find it curious
that neither before nor after the fire, was I ever admonished or told by
any of these, that I was rebellious, or in sin or that this was God’s judgment
and that I needed to repent.
None of this has caught God by surprise however, as He has been patiently
preparing us for this experience for several years, but most intensely
since August of 2001. He has spoken to us in several different ways and
with absolute clarity of how important relationships in the Body of Christ
are to Him and that we are not to break relationships because of doctrinal
differences. That leaves us in a dilemma. How do we have a relationship
with brethren who do not wish to reciprocate? I guess God will have to
work that one out.
I would like to share with you a couple of things the Lord showed us
as a result of the fire. We had hired a man whose specialty was floor work
in homes. We wanted him to remove some glued down carpet in our laundry
room. He, his son, and a helper began taking up the carpet. They were using
lacquer thinner to dissolve the glue. The father had to leave on an errand,
and left his 16 year old son in charge. We had opened the windows
for plenty of ventilation and the laundry room door to the back yard
was open. There was plenty of fresh air moving through to keep the fumes
from getting too concentrated. Being January, it was cool and that, coupled
with the high evaporation rate of the lacquer thinner, made it even cooler.
The young man had brought in an electric buffing machine with an abrasive
pad and began operating it on the lacquer thinner soaked floor. Everything
would have been ok, except the boy got cold and shut the door, not realizing
he had cut off the source of his life in the form of the fresh, cleansing,
purifying air. As soon as the door was shut, the volatile vapors began
to build up to the point where they were ignited by the arcing of the brushes
in the electric motor of the buffing machine. The entire room instantly
exploded into a raging inferno. I happened to be in the kitchen which is
adjacent to the laundry room. The boy came staggering out, completely
engulfed in fire, and fell down on the floor. I grabbed a rug which was
in front of the sink in order to put out the fire on the boy. He died about
18 hours later as a result of his terrible burns.
One of the things which God showed us is that because the young man
got uncomfortable, he shut the door. In doing so, he sealed his fate. We,
in the Body of Christ also have that tendency. We want to be comfortable.
We want to relate with those who believe the way we do, look the way we
do, and think the way we do. We don’t want to be challenged in any way.
When God begins to move, to show us something different or to move us off
of high center, we resist by closing the door because it’s not comfortable.
When we do that, we likewise have sealed our fate. Without the breath of
the Spirit, we will be doomed to whither and die in the lifeless rut we’re
Another thing God showed me is regarding my hands. I received some burns
on my hands when I was trying to put out the fire on the young man. About
2 days after the fire, I was thinking about my hands. They were both bandaged
up and the Lord spoke to me and said "your hands didn’t understand why
they were being burned, but your head had a higher purpose than the comfort
of your hands." When this is applied to the Body of Christ, we can clearly
see that when we go through fiery trials and testings, the “Head” has a
higher purpose than our comfort. I believe there is comfort and strength
to be gained by knowing that in our trials, God will be glorified and that
these trials will, and do, serve the greater purposes of God.
XXXXX and I love you each very much and look forward to the time God
will bring our paths together again. May you each walk in the love and
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ as you fulfill the destinies which God predestined
August 5, 2003
I know there are those who will not particularly welcome what I’ve written
in this letter and I’m sorry for that; however, I love the Body of Christ
and I am drawn to alert her and sound this warning. I refer to the doctrines
which have been so skillfully and powerfully taught that we must be “covered
by a man” in order to submit to the government of God. I have chosen to
place these doctrines under the heading of “Covering Doctrine”. Many of
you have been this way before. Others of us were safely protected the first
time around. Back in the 70’s, it was called the Shepherding or Discipleship
movement. I’m sure that the Israelites saw many signs of their previous
passages as they continued on their way, circling the mountain. Take note
of the signs. The signs may have been cleverly camouflaged in one way or
another, but they’re not hard to see . . . if you want to see. I have observed
that there are some who were involved in Shepherding who were the victims
of abuse and were not complementary of Shepherding in their descriptions
of it, who now are in positions of “authority” and now, it’s all good .
. . very interesting. I write these things to alert the Body of Christ,
and expose a great deception which has befallen a part of her. I write
these things to encourage her to turn away from this deception which is
built upon men, and turn back to the Lord. Let me say here at the beginning
that we have an enemy whose purpose and drive is to deceive the saints
in order to prevent us from entering into and fulfilling our destinies
purposed by the Lord. He is a master in combining human logic and reasoning
with religion to form a very delicious looking fruit! I hope you will pardon
the rudeness, but it’s the most vivid description I can think of: you can
spread icing on a cow turd, but it is still a cow turd. There have always
been some whose hearts are to lord over others. Let me say that I hope
that those whose hearts are to lord over others, are few. I believe that
most who are involved in the Covering Doctrine, like I once was, truly
believe that this is the will of God and that their hearts are to serve
God and the Body of Christ. My prayer is that you will emotionally disengage
yourself for a moment and prayerfully and objectively consider the things
which I’ve written.
The “covering doctrine” has been presented as the government of God,
and when this doctrine has been “established”, it is said that “things
have been set in order”. The broad heading of “Covering Doctrine” (CD)
can be broken down into several sub headings, some of which are:
* The necessity of each person to have a personal pastor consisting
of one man.
* The necessity of tithing to one’s personal pastor.
* The necessity for a woman to be “covered” by a man.
* The necessity of the 5 ministry gifts in Eph.4 to be “offices”.
For almost 10 years I did my best to implement these doctrines into
my life. I both had a personal pastor, and was a personal pastor. I tithed
and I received tithes. I also was the “head” of my wife according to this
doctrine’s definition of “head”. I even “held the office” of apostle
for a time. About 3 years ago, I began to look closely at the CD as it
pertained to the Scriptures. I began to examine the fruit it bore in my
life, the lives of my wife and children, and the lives of others. I gradually
realized I had been like a baby bird, eyes closed, mouth open wide, eating
the sludge of regurgitated hepherdism.
Let me state clearly here that I believe the Body of Christ is in need
of shepherds and that there are many shepherds within the Body. Those who
are shepherds are shepherds because of the will of God. They are gifts
to the Body from the Lord. Shepherds are essential for the care of the
local Body of Christ both corporately and individually. In order to comply
with the CD’s “one man personal pastor” philosophy, one must enter into
a legal contract with a man. Yes it is verbal, but it is still a contract.
This contract comes about when we ask a man to “be my pastor” and he agrees
to “watch over my soul”. Both parties have contracted with each other.
The most glaringly obvious fallacy in this is that there is no biblical
basis for this type of exclusive legalistic relationship. In fact, it contradicts
the biblical idea of a multiplicity of shepherds. Another fallacy is the
assumption that one individual can actually pastorally supply every need
that a person may have. This contractual arrangement effectively limits
other pastoral relationships within the Body. Not only does this doctrine
limit pastoral care of the people, it places impossible burdens on the
backs of those who are the pastors. Those who are the pastors and have
entered into this verbal contract, carry the full weight of responsibility
for the souls of those they pastor. What man can bear that? I only know
of ONE who is capable of bearing that burden. The contract one makes with
another in the pastoral relationship is a legalistic bondage which fosters
dependency upon a man rather than Christ. It is the basis of the hierarchical
mediatorial system of . . . yes . . . clergy and laity. One lady, as she
was describing a photograph in which she was standing with some men, said
proudly, “Here I am with my rulers and governors!” God help us! There have
been great expounding sermons condemning the religious hierarchical systems
of the institutional church. At least they’re honest and make no pretense
nor do they try to hide this fact. We, however, vehemently deny that the
identical hierarchical caste system exists within us. We need to listen
to our own sermons. We’ve accusingly pointed our fingers at others, yet
have blindly fallen into the same religious trap which was set by our common
The next point is tithing. Because the tithe is so lucrative, tremendous
efforts have been “invested” in hats and rabbits, and persuasive linguistic
contortions in order to legitimize the tithe today. Like the institutional
system’s penchant for “fleecing the flock” of their finances in order to
sustain its existence, this “fleecing” through the legal fiction of the
tithe, is also the basis for the continuing existence of the covering doctrine.
It’s not hard to see how the relationship of the personal pastor and tithing
are inextricably connected. I heard it explained by a lady whose husband
was “full time”. She said “you get 10 men tithing to you and then you can
quit your job and go full time in the ministry.” It’s not rocket science
to see that 10 X 10% = 1 full salary. I would hope that we are all full
time in the ministry even while earning an honest living at a secular job!
I was in a meeting once where the speaker, in stressing the importance
of the tithe, stated that because he tithed to his pastor, he had the right
to call him at 3:00 in the morning. Apparently, his pastor is on retainer.
On the flip side, stop tithing and see how quickly the “pastoral care”
ceases. In many cases, you will find that it is directly proportional to
the tithe and if that’s the case, the term “hireling” applies. Then there
is the pastor who is at one’s doorstep the day after payday. I know these
are extreme examples, but I believe they illustrate my point. We have all
heard the attempted rationalization (probably more times than we can count)
of why tithing is relevant and necessary today. How Abraham tithed to Melchizedek
and, because he tithed before the Law was instituted, tithing transcends
the Law and is therefore “obviously” applicable today. Consider the fact
that God did not command Abraham to tithe, however, He did command circumcision
also before the Law was instituted. We certainly don’t hear that law being
promoted! Of course we have Paul to thank for totally disarming the argument
in favor of circumcision. He made it perfectly clear that both circumcision
and uncircumcision are irrelevant to us today. Consider the fact that tithing
is never even mentioned in the NT except where Jesus is condemning the
Jews for their legalistic observation of the tithe yet their neglect of
the weightier things of the Law. Have you ever wondered why there is not
a single directive to tithe anywhere in the New Testament? Not one? Jesus
never required anyone to tithe. Peter never required anyone to tithe. None
of the apostles required anyone to tithe to them or anyone else. It was
never an issue. Never! It’s level of importance was a zero! If it is so
important for us to tithe in order that our finances not be cursed, or
to keep us from poverty, or to please God, or to “finance the Kingdom”,
why were the writers of the NT so absolutely silent about it? Simple .
. . the church knew that the tithe was for the Levitical Priesthood who
were the mediators between the people and God and offered sacrifices on
behalf of the people. They knew that the veil had been ripped in half which
separated the people from God. They knew they were now all priests and
the mediatorial system had been thrown down by Christ. Tithing was a non-issue,
totally of no importance, did not apply then and, for those very same reasons,
is completely irrelevant today. Also consider when Abraham gave a tithe
to Melchizedek; he gave from a supply which didn’t even belong to him!
As far as we know, that was the only time he ever tithed. Think about this
for a minute: Melchizedek was a Priestly King. Who else is a Priestly King?
Your pastor? If so, we’re back at Mt. Sinai choosing to have a surrogate
relationship with God once again through a priest.
The case for tithing has been carefully built upon a false basis; that
basis being that the account of Abraham and Melchizedek is all about the
tithe. That couldn’t be further from the truth! This account is about Abraham
honoring Melchizedek. He honored Melchizedek by giving him a tenth of the
spoils of battle because Melchizedek blessed him. Honoring is not synonymous
with tithing! When Levi tithed to Melchizedek while he was still in the
loins of Abraham it was the entire Levitical priesthood who tithed! The
entire Law of Moses was based upon the Levitical priesthood and it’s place
of mediation between God and the people. The Levites tithed to no one.
They received tithes from all of the Israelites. By Levi tithing to Melchizedek
we are given a picture of the entire Levitical priesthood pointing to,
and honoring, the High Priest, our Lord, Jesus Christ. We need to understand
the impact of this. The Levites were the most respected, most important,
and the highest class of all the tribes of Israel. What they said and did
impacted the entire nation. We must see that the whole purpose of this
account in Hebrews 7 is to point the Jews to Christ in order that they
too, would know and honor Christ! Don’t forget, the reason this letter
is named Hebrews is because it is written to the Jewish Christians! This
account is about honoring Christ, not tithing to a pastor! Beginning with
a false premise always leads to a false conclusion no matter how logical
the argument. It has also been widely promoted that “the kingdom will be
financed by the tithe.” My question is “whose kingdom?” God certainly doesn’t
need our tithe to establish His kingdom and I’ve found no biblical basis
for that notion. The tithe, however, certainly will finance the kingdom
of the priests, and in some cases very well indeed. The New Testament principal
for giving is to hear the Holy Spirit and obey, to be generous with what
God has given us, to take care of those who are needy, or widows, or orphans.
There is much said in the NT about giving and collections of amounts of
money. There were large sums brought to and placed at the Apostles’ feet
for distribution to the saints in need. These are all free will offerings!
The people gave generously from their hearts according to the will of God!
I’m going to stop here, though there is much more to say regarding the
likeness of the Covering Doctrine to the Taliban as it “covers up” women,
or the mammoth apparatus of “official authority and power” built upon the
imaginary word, office, for which there is no corresponding Greek word
in either Acts 1:20 or 1Tim 3:1. It seems the KJV translators had hats
and rabbits too. But that is possibly for another time. May the Lord speak
to you concerning these things.
A useful link concerning this subject: Covering
and Authority by Dr. Klaune Spake