Authority

Fundamentalists are obsessed with the question of who is in charge of whom. Authority, authority, who’s got the authority? To define the source of ALL human authority, most fundies agree with Bill Gothard who states the following:

The cool thing about making “the powers that be” into “all human authority” is that it casts a much wider net than the usual home+church+state trifecta. It extends a Divine mandate to schools, lunchrooms, and whatever para-church organization or self-proclaimed managawd happens to be telling you to obey. Fundy U presidents are especially big fans of this.

So what exactly is the consequence of not following every jot and tittle of the law as laid down by these authority figures? Oh, just the removal of God’s protection from your life. God will take away his big umbrella and immediately you’ll begin to suffer all of the trials of Job. (Not to mention that now the demons will getcha.)

He’re a helpful picture to illustrate this:

So evidently, Satan has a little umbrella that somehow creates its own rain of destruction even though God’s bigger umbrella is above it? I’ve tried reading this chart in every possible direction and I’m still more than a little confused.

Either way, the real takeaway here is that whenever someone gives you an order just follow it. Chances are pretty good that if you don’t someone’t going to hit you with an umbrella.

149 thoughts on “Authority”

  1. Second!
    I’ve heard messages like this before: If you step out from under (insert applicable authority here), you are in sin. If you use a non-KJV Bible, you’re stepping out from under the MOG and boom, you’re dead. Great stuff to hear as a teenager.

    1. … and let us not forget the preachers who told the self-serving tales of horror of people that criticized the pastor and then suffered horribly for it.

      When I was young in church, these tales would terrify me, and I was wondering what God was like…

        1. …If God doesn’t then he needs to get to an altar and git right with MOg.
          Who has counselled MOg, who is like unto him? MOg speaks and it stands fast until he changes his mind and finds a rabbit trail he likes better. He is MOg just like a thousand others only different and more better Independent and Fundamental. 😯

  2. Third!

    I thought Gothard taught that if you got out from under God’s/Your Cult Lea… I mean, Pastor’s/Husband’s authority, you’d be destroyed by Satan. So I’d always assumed that Satan’s “umbrella” was outside of God’s. But not here. I’m confused…

    1. I believe the lesson is “You’re given over to the destruction of the flesh that the spirit might be saved”.

  3. //God will take away his big umbrella and immediately youÒ€ℒll begin to suffer all of the trials of Job.//

    Of course, anything bad that happens to a Fundie they will say, “This exactly what happened to Job.” It adds another touch of holiness to their life.

    nicodemusatnite.com

  4. I love how the description of Obedience starts with the words “The freedom”.

    Who knew how I free I was by listening to you and obeying all your man made rules.

    1. Yeah, I noticed that too! It comes across very contrived. He could have just defined it the way the song says: “Obedience is … doing exactly what the Lord [or your authority] commands, doing it happily.” Instead he writes, “You’re free! You’re creative!” Shades of 1984!

      This definition also reminds me of my children and students who try to “creatively” get AROUND my rules or come up with excuses why they didn’t do what I told them to.

  5. God & His authority only protects you from cosmic level dangers apparently. Anything imminent, you need to be under the fundy’s authority and in complete submission.

      1. Isn’t that convenient? All of US have humans telling us whom we can marry and what church we can attend and what books we can or can’t read, but HE only has the guidelines in the Bible.

  6. “Carrying out their righteous wishes” ❗ Gag me with a spoon.

    Nowhere in scripture will you find anything resembling this. Jesus certainly did not obey the spiritual authority of the Pharisees and Saducees, and neither did the Apostles when they were told explicitly not to preach the name of Jesus. If they had been listening to Gothard, they would have shut up.

    There is a small pleasure in typing out “Gothard” and having my web browser put a red line under it telling me it is incorrect. It doesn’t know how right it is.

  7. Someone should be preaching that submission stuff to those wayward sinners in Tripoli and Bengazzi, Cairo, Damascus. Oh wait! what happened to submission to Obama?

    1. Where are all the anti-war protesters now that he’s sent forces to Libya, that’s what I like to know. Oh wait. Since it’s Obama it’s fine.

      1. There have been anti-war protests; they just haven’t gotten much media coverage. (Most of them got little or no coverage during other administrations, as well). Fox News would rather promote the Tea Party know-nothings.

  8. Assuming (no, not assuming, I know) that us folks are on the bottom of this chart, there are only two choices, Satan or the ManoGawd. No lines or paths take you directly to God.

    They really could relabel this a tiny bit and it would be Catholicism.

    1. **Headdesk**

      Why is everyone always pickin’ on the papists?

      πŸ˜•

      Catholics do have direct lines to God. Really. And the pope has far less authority and much more accountability than your average fundy manogawd.

      And no, the Jesuits aren’t his secret spy force. And the Catholic church not responsible for starting Islam, Communism,the Klan or the Masons either.

      πŸ˜€

      1. Chill JJ. I’m not picking on the Catholics, just pointing out that there are so few differences between them and Fundies in this case. No priesthood of the believer here, by golly! You’d better be submittin’.

        No, that’s a lie. I’ll pick on the Catholics too. I’m equal opportunity that way.

  9. I have heard this before as well. What I find interesting is that you must always obey the authority put in your life, but the pastor doesn’t. This is especially evident in politics or government. If that authority does anything to piss of said leader there will be a great rebellion going down.

    1. Our pastor would actually preach about how breaking the speed limit was sin becuase it wasn’t obeying authority. But that man was like speed racer on the freeway!

  10. Gothard takes this teaching and applies it to EVERYTHING in the Bible even if it means disregarding what the Bible actually says in order to do so. A primary example is his calling Abigail ungodly because she stepped out of Nabal’s umbrella of authority to go behind his back and stop David’s men from massacring everyone on the estate.

    The Bible says Abigail was wise; David said that God sent her; Gothard says she was wrong. Bah!!!

      1. I am so thankful that an authority figure never taught that to me. Instead I read it at age 23 with my newly married husband in the “Character Sketches” book. I was so offended I never finished reading any of the series.

      1. Oh, that is just precious! Reminds me of the ominous way my x told me he was “scared” for me because I was rebelling and leaving him after 14 1/2 years of a stillborn marriage. He made it sound like I was going to get hit by a truck for doing so. He was all about Gothard at that time…

    1. Never heard this. Have heard other similar misogynistic stories where women are always to blame. It’s a shame women put up with that kind of abuse, and you’d think people hearing that would have to good sense to realize & call BS. I guess when it’s what you want to hear, you just don’t realize it.

      1. RobM: It’s more like “when it’s all you know, you don’t have a choice but to put up with it.” Believe me, I didn’t like it… but the church so effectively poisoned the well against feminists, Christian egalitarians, and anyone else who thought something even remotely nice about women once or twice that it’s a miracle I ever got out from under that garbage.

      2. What LMCC said. I hated the misogyny beaten over my head in fundamentalism. Hated it. Hated the fact that I was second class based on my lack of Y chromosomes. Hated that I had been born female. As a little girl I swore IÒ€ℒd rather never marry than have to live with the stuff IÒ€ℒd been taught. Until recently that was all I knew.

        1. My church wasn’t extreme, but I also decided as a young girl that I wasn’t going to get married. I would live alone with my books and a cat. I didn’t want to have to simply put up with a husband acting like a jerk and have no recourse because he was “the supreme ruler” and I was his lowly underling. Thankfully, I learned that that WASN’T an accurate portrayal of Scriptural teaching on marriage, but I was never one of those little girls who planned her wedding and daydreamed about being a mommy someday. I didn’t want it, at least not the way I’d seen it lived out.

        2. I’m right there with both of you. When I was a teenager, I was told by my pastor that I thought way too much and asked way too many questions. As a girl my job was to “decorate not participate”. I was to be submissive and accept what I was told in faith. I decided there and then that God gave me a brain for a reason and I would never marry one of “them”. πŸ˜† I didn’t marry until I was turning thirty…and found a man who was happy I had a brain and knew how to think.

        3. Too true. πŸ™ That’s the main reason I didn’t get married until I was well into my 30s, I’d learned early not to trust men. They were the bosses and you couldn’t always be sure their decision would be in your best interest. Better to live alone that always having to worry about what he was going to think was a good idea next. And, in all fairness, my dad did listen to my mom a lot of the time but I saw my share of relationships where the husband didn’t and it scared the hell out of me. I did NOT want to marry a fundy guy and since my church frowned on getting involved with non-fundys (how can you be sure he really is “saved”?) avoiding men altogether seemed like the safer bet.

    2. And then there’s Tamar, who got raped because she was stupid enough to let herself get caught alone with her brother. 😑

    3. I’ll admit it, I enjoyed a lot of the Basic Life seminars. BUT, there was one teaching in particular that really creeped me out, even back then. Gothard teaches that when your designated Biblical authority (husband, father, whoever) steps out of God’s will, then you are by default exposed to whatever he exposes himself to. He even used the example of a young man who was working with his dad and suddenly experienced a flood of pornographic thoughts in his head. On a hunch, he asked his dad if he had just given in to impure thoughts, and he had, so obviously the son had been exposed to those same temptations. Now, imagine the effect of that illustration on an impressionable, hormonal teenager. Every time you have an impure thought go through your head–which as a teenager, is pretty doggone often–it’s because of what your dad is thinking about??? *eeeewww!!!!* 😯

    1. Father Bill has been spewing his retarded nonsense for so long in the Midwest that you can easily spot the Gothardites in public places when they venture out.

        1. Yes. I saw Jim Bob himself in the parking lot at a Gothard conference.

          No, I wasn’t there for that. Gothard lets ACE use part of his property, and I was picking up friends who came from from a student convention the same night as a conference. Icky.

  11. Romans 13:1-2 So the establishment of the United States of America in rebellion against the British Monarchy establishes our damnation?

    1. But since our Founding Fathers were all God-lovin’, sin-hatin’, KJV readinn’ IFBs, they were just obeying the righteous wishes of their pastors. πŸ˜†

      Maybe this chart needs a separate dotted line from the pastor to God. Or maybe the other way around.

      1. With prayer in schools, too. Rebellious schools that did not honor the rule of the king, who was rebellious in his own right because he started the Anglecian church by rebelling against the catholic church….wait this isn’t a pattern is it?

        1. Haven’t you read “Trail of Blood” yet? They’re Fundamentalists, not Protestants. They NEVER had anything to do with those eeeeevil Catholics, so they never rebelled against them. πŸ˜‰

    2. That’s what I teach my kids in our church school. I’ve gotten lots of nasty calls from parents and hauled before the school board and all the pastors for teaching that the Founding Fathers were rebels, some were Deists, others agnostic, that Washington was a Mason, that Abraham Lincoln did not free the slaves, and that America was never supposed to have a strong central government. Thankfully, even though our church considers itself IFB, they also listen to reason. Since I have a history degree, they’ve sided with me when presented with the proof (often in the personal writings of the people in question. πŸ™‚

        1. What’s even more shocking is that I treat the Bible as an original source for my beliefs and not Bobby Robertson or SoTL, and they STILL accept me because “he knows what he’s talking about” (their words, not mine).

  12. Were I ever to become an evil dictator and needed someone to my mind control department, I would hire Bill Gothard.

    1. If it’s possible to be able to be protected by being brainless, I suspect he’s the safest person in the history of humanity.

  13. This is the single most influential teaching that most negatively affected my life. πŸ™ Rebellion against it was one of the best things I ever did.

        1. DARRELL!!! It’s doing it again and now I can’t put my comment under Clint’s above because it says its a “duplicate comment”

        2. Okay, now the comment I wanted to be under Clint’s is not under Clint’s and the comment I didn’t wan….

          OH NEVERMIND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Look at the direction of that arrow from the “authority” person (pastor?) to “God Almighty”. Authority flows … from the pastor (?) to God? Really?

    1. Gotta keep that rebel in line you know. If you don’t, He’ll be turning over tables in the temple and such!

  15. So submission means you “voluntarily” obey authority, and if you don’t submit, Satan will destroy you?
    That sounds about as “voluntary” as handing over your money to a mugger who has a gun pointed at your face.

    1. As out of hand as Gothard’s stuff is now, it originally was intended for troubled inner city youth. It makes a bit more sense in that light. The idea that a troubled teen should follow his teachers, the police, his parents, or even his pastor would tend to be a better road to follow than the sure destruction of street gangs, promiscuity, drugs, and violence. But that’s not clearly delineated in his teachings at all, and millions take Father Bills crap as pure gold and become complete morons. It’s a classic case of someone saying something to someone at some time and some place and it being good advice. Now that same advice is being religiously followed by different people in different places and different times and it is completely mis guided to say the least.

      1. Joseph. You are wrong about it’s originally intent being for inner city youth. Bill did use his material for that as well..but it’s original purpose was to influence his, peers. My mom (think white, nw chicago burbs) was in Bill’s original classes as he was developing his material. Like Jesus, Bill came first the for the Jew (church youth group) and then the gentile (inner city youth).

  16. I heard the umbrella of authority thingy, but never knew it was a Gothard thing. Odd that a Fundy would steal a great idea like this and not credit the source. πŸ˜•

  17. Why isn’t Shoes adding up all the letters dividing it by the number of time Gothard is mentioned resulting in 666,or something of the sort?

  18. 1. Bill Gothard attended Wheaton College in Illinois, the alma mater of film producer Wes Craven
    2. Wes Craven directed Scream which starred Courtney Cox
    3. Courtney Cox starred in Ò€œThe Longest YardÒ€ with Adam Sandler in 2005
    4. Adam Sandler stared with Dan Aykroyd Ò€œ50 First Dates
    5. Dan Aykroyd played Britney Spears father in the movie Ò€œCrossroadsÒ€
    6. Britney Spears performed at Scooter Braun-hosted parties
    7. Scooter Braun discovered Justin Bieber

    Justin Bieber is the devil

    1. Methinks you must come forward to repent at the altar for being able to list all those ungodly Hellywood types! 😎

  19. oh yeah— the old umbrella illustration, ! never heard of it for 35 years… then I went to an IFB πŸ™ πŸ™

  20. Argh! There are still things I can’t do that would be perfectly allowable by Scripture, because someone told me it was wrong. These things were made out to be among the worst sins, the appearance of evil, and a “stumblingblock.” I was basically made to believe that God would literally kill me, just like those sermon illustrations for not doing what the authority said. And don’t even question it, because “God killed the children of Israel for complaining about their authority.”

  21. The variation on this I always heard was “Satan can do nothing unless God lets him! You’d better stay in line or else God will send Satan after you!” Of course “out of line” was always defined by the pastor and mostly consisted of “not being in church”.

  22. Oh, don’t get me started. Back when I was a rebellious funnymentalist — by that I mean, I always knew deep in my heart that it was a crock of **** — I would get SO angry when the manogawd would THUNDER about “OBEYING AUTHORITY” … then ten minutes later the lying hypocrite would talk about “making record time back from Columbus …”

    Bastards! Tell ME to obey them, but they wouldn’t “SUBMIT TO THE AUTHORITY” of the government’s posted speed limit.

    Man, the anger is shooting from my fingertips as I type this. I’m being SOO careful not to use the language I REALLY want to use.

    1. A girl who went to the school at the church we both know and love had parents that were into that umbrella stuff. She went round and round with some of the faculty because they wanted her to go to BJU and her parents didn’t.

    2. “IÒ€ℒm being SOO careful not to use the language I REALLY want to use.”

      Go ahead. It’s nothing I haven’t heard… or said. πŸ˜‰

      BTW, do you know how many times my HF has been told he needs to find Jesus when he busts someone for something? They get caught with possession or a DUI and its HF’s fault and his lack of Jesus.

      Those stories never cease to be amusing. :mrgreen:

        1. I believe it stands for “Hot Fuzz”, her police officer husband.

          Can’t believe they’d have the audacity to correct the cop! He ought to quote 1 Peter 2 back at them (I jest, of course): “Be subject for the LordÒ€ℒs sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil . . . For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure?”

        2. @Don — “Fuzz” is a common nickname for cops, and I heard another wife call her cop husband “Hot Fuzz”, and loved it and totally stole it so that’s what I call him on here. HG for short. Sometimes, I call him Sexy Pants or SP. πŸ˜‰

          PW, he would but the people are usually so wasted that by the time he finished, they’d be out cold… ha ha.

          And, I do my fair share of salivating over him, especially when he’s in uniform. He is ONE hot potato, LET ME TELL YOU! πŸ˜‰

        3. Heard a slightly iffy joke recently. I admit i laughed
          Two juvenile delinquents were talking. One asked the other ” hey, have you ever been pulled in by the Fuzz?” The other replied “Yes. It makes your eyes water!”

      1. I worked in corrections for almost 7 years. I thought it was interesting how many people “found Jesus” in jail, and promptly traded Him in for drugs and alcohol the day they got out.

        1. Beth–My guess is that it makes them look better to the parole board to claim to have found Jesus. I remember a story, years ago, about this woman who had butchered a couple with a pickax and on the night before her execution begged for her life to be spared because she’d “gotten saved” while she was in jail and said that sparing her was the Christian thing to do. The news showed her kneeling in her cell with her hands in the praying position while she looked up to the ceiling. Needless to say they executed her anyway.

        2. I think someone doing this is taking the Lord’s name in vain much more so than someone who types “OMG” on their fb page.

      1. Don’t worry Clint. The list is a revolving door. Wait till she puts you on the list again even before she takes you off. πŸ˜†

        1. @ Rob and Nat,
          If we examine Natalie’s list and add all the numbers up we get 685 (no lie). If we count how many numbers she used to get there we get 22. 685-22=663. If we count the number of letters in the first name of who this was directed to (ROB)we have 3. 3 + 663 = 666. Natalie is the devil.

        2. Congratulations, Shoes! You’re numbers 65,66,67,68,69,70 and 71!

          And, I’ll have your butt cushion back, thankyou.

          πŸ˜‰

        3. Wait, I’m confused. I thought Justin Beiber was the devil. Unless…..yes I understand it now. Natalie is Justin Beiber!

        4. I don’t have the authority to say that she is Justin Bieber. I DO know she is the devil (the math proves that) but remember the devil presents himself in many forms.
          Roaring lion seeking whom he have devour = Natalie
          Angel of Light = Justin Bieber

  23. While reading this post I discovered that I have “Character Sketches” from the Institute in Basic Life Prinicples in my possession. I used it to teach the kids at our church on Wed. night. I didn’t use the KJV, and I mainly taught about the animal characteristics. I thought the Biblical lessons were a bit contrived.

    1. Oh my goodness yes. I gained a bit from my fundy years, but regret wasting so many years of my life in fundyland.

  24. Yeah, if you get out from under the fundy umbrella, the devil will get you! What kind of “other gospel” are they teaching here if God in effect sends Satan after you when you step out from under the umbrella? The definitions are so hazy, and yet this is being taught as some sort of Bible teaching. These sons of female dogs that teach this crap have gone so far from hermeneutics it is laughable.

    Only problem is, young people usually don’t have good BS filters and this stuff rots a long time. That’s the criminal thing in my mind. Try teaching some sort of weak knee, half baked BS to those of us who have heard it all our lives, and that’s one thing. We can get comic relief and some cardiac benefit and move on. Young people who sincerely want to live right swallow stuff whole and find out much later who’s been feeding them crap. Not funny.

    1. “…have gone so far from hermeneutics it is laughable.”

      But I always heard that only they (the IFB pastor and his church) were doing proper hermeneutics. Everyone else had it wrong.

      Looking back it’s kind of funny. Whenever we were yelled at, I mean preached at in what I can only say was an extremely nasty way, the preacher would run and hide behind the Bible and/or Holy Spirit. He would say things like – “Don’t be mad at me, it’s what the Bible says”, or “If you’re upset with the way I am preaching, it’s not me. It’s the Holy Spirit convicting your heart. You need to get right with God.”
      I always thought that if he talked to anyone that way in real life, he would either have no friends or get punched in the mouth. Anyway, preacher always “challenged us” to look it up for ourselves. Well when I really started reading the Bible (not just the KJV) for myself, so many times I thought to myself that’s not what the Bible says.

      1. Scorp,

        What an Extremely convenient wall to hide behind. For someone just saved or too young to discern, how can you argue with what is being presented as GOD?

  25. What is submission?? Wow. Yep, I grew up under the umbrella. Gothard is all about this stuff. To honor, especially in the Biblical sense is to regard with great respect, to ‘make heavy.’ What an idea. So liberating.

  26. I wish I could remember who said it but I loved the quote: “Authority is something God gives to everybody but you.” :mrgreen:

  27. Whoa, I grew up in the Bill Gothard world. I was home schooled in it. Most of my friends were in it. I’ve done a million or so assignments for the character sketches books and the ‘Wisdom booklets’.

    Just recently I had to leave my home as a matter of life or death due to the abuse happening and just last night a IB pastor wrote me demanding that I go back home and ”get back under my God-appointed authority” or I will have willfully stepped out from under the umbrella of protection and will be turned ”over to God”! I think he meant to terrify me, but I think I prefer being turned over to my loving God then going back to them…

    Almost choked when I read this post just now! Maybe I’ll send him this link… =P

  28. Blind obedience to man is not in scripture. Sadly I have realized the lesser then fundamentalist churches, have gotten their members to sign on to “obedience” covenants. So some of you better look around its not just the fundamentalists and Rick Warren requires his church members to sign on to blind obedience to authority.
    http://galatiansfour.blogspot.com/2011/02/covenant-membership-and-federal-vision.html

    Talk about enforcing false authority. So this stuff has gone way beyond the “fundamentalist” churches. In fact this forms the basis of the apostolic reformation movement–where those preachers want to be new Dominionist Popes and others.

    Many of you would consider me a “fundamentalist” but for those keeping to God’s Word, false authority to man, is not what the Christian is to follow. Romans 13 is the most widely abused verse in the Bible for false hirelings to sell more blind people in the pews to follow them unquestioningly.

    http://galatiansfour.blogspot.com/2011/03/silencing-dissent-in-pews-1.html

    http://galatiansfour.blogspot.com/2010/06/hold-celebrity-preachers-have.html

  29. This umbrella ruined my best friends life! Her pastor preached that a husband and father were responsible to God for the actions of the wife and children. It went so far as to take away personal responsiblity from women completely saying if they obeyed their husband/father EVEN IF THEY WERE TOLD TO DO SOMETHING AGAINST GODS WORD… they would not be found guilty before God and the man would take responsibily.

  30. The interesting thing about all the leaders of patriarchal churches is that they are under no authority themselves. What religious authority does Bill Gothard bow to? None. What religious authority do the theonomists and reconstructionists have? None. They create their own denominations, such as Doug Wilson’s CREC, or just declare themselves “independent” when they’re defrocked and their credentials are yanked, as with R. C. Sproul Jr. They demand unquestioning obedience from those under them–their parishioners and their own families–but they humbly accept theological correction or discipline from no man or entity on this planet. They love to convene ecclesiastical courts and dish out harsh discipline and shun people, 😈 but they are the last men in the world who are going to humbly submit to any religious authority or ecclesiastical court, even if they’ve taken vows to do so or supposedly believe that the Bible requires them to do so.

  31. The fallacy of this type of thinking among fundies is that they don’t apply it across the board. What about those people from liberal churches or even from other religions whose leaders tell them what to do? By their definition, shouldn’t a Muslim stay in Islam the rest of of their life, even if he/she wants to be a Christian, if an Imam (sp?) or other Islamic leader tells them to? You can’t defend that kind of blanket excuse for all authority if you only apply it to people you agree with.

  32. My soon to be former pastor just sent me a letter demanding that I put my child in his youth ministry and that I would be put under church discipline if I did not. For the record, I removed them because of some negative influences within the youth group and some shady characters that were in charge.

    There is no priesthood of the believer in these churches. Notice, there are way too many fundy churches with no elders, deacons, or any other leadership than one man and maybe a few appointed yes men that meet no Biblical criteria for being a leader.

  33. Not far from where I grew up was a Baptist Church in which there was a Pastor who was an ex-soldier. He believed that a church should have a “Chain Of Command” This was a large heavy chain that he used to whip his congregation so they knew that he was in command.

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