Summary: Let us identify twenty of the characteristics of abusers of the truth, their positions of authority and their opportunities
How to Identify an Abuser of Authority
(2 Cor 11:12-20)
"I would die before taking your money. I’m giving nobody grounds for lumping me in with those money grubbing preachers vaunting themselves as something special. They’re a sorry bunch - pseudo apostles, lying preachers, crooked workers - posing as Christ’s agents but shame to the core. And no wonder! Satan does it all the time, dressing up as a beautiful angel of light. So it shouldn’t surprise us when his servants masquerade as servants of God. But they’re not getting by with anything. They will pay for it in the end." Since you admire the egomaniacs of the pulpit so much, remember, this is your old friend. Are they servants of Christ."
Erwin Lutzer wrote an excellent book in 2002 entitled, "Who Are you to Judge" In this insightful volume he teaches us how to avoid judging as the Pharisees but to use godly discernment. Some of the following points are credited to Dr. Lutzer writings.
Let us identify twenty of the characteristics of abusers of the truth, their positions of authority and their opportunities:
1. Paul taught that the hallmark of his authority came through the Lord Jesus. He proved this by being willing to suffer persecution, misunderstanding and put-downs for the sake of identifying with Christ. The super-apostles wanted acclaim, recognition and applause from people. Abusers love to call people under their authority instead of the control of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Word and His Holy Spirit.
2. The super-apostles flaunted their outward appearance but Paul gloried in his weakness, infirmities and even his non-impressive speaking abilities. He counted on God’s grace to be sufficient so that Christ’s power could be shown strong through Paul’s weaknesses. It was reported that Paul was bald and bow-legged and not highly regarded as a public speaker even though his letters were weighty.
3. Prideful people want to be the center of attention. Often they will insist that they are God’s man called for a special purpose. They believe they are entitled to special privileges, powers and positions. When they do not get the recognition, respect and submission from people they start to attack and discredit others.
4. Ego-centric people call other people to submit themselves to their authority. They insist that they are God’s messengers entitling them to the service of others who are benefitting from their teaching. Often they will quote I Pet 5:5,6 out of context, "Likewise you who are spiritually younger, submit yourselves to your spiritual elders and be clothed with humility."
5. Abusers of authority often refuse to be under any other human authority except their own. They believe that they receive their instructions, authority and power only from God. Therefore, they are essentially above taking advice, directives or input from any human source. They chafe when they are called to assessment, evaluation and accountability - especially when it comes to the basis of their power and influence.
6. Jesus warned us to watch out for false prophets who are like wolves with sheep’s clothing. Abusers of authority are good at masquerading as something that they are not. They crave cultic like powers and influence over people for their own ego gratification.
7. When they are questioned they will often attack their questioners. "Who are you to question the Lord’s annointed they will say." They evidence an obsessive-compulsive disorder in the way they crave leadership positions. They have a hard time deferring to others for leadership, direction or godly counsel.
8. The abusers of authority follow a version of Christ who is incomplete or distorted by their own self-delusional perceptions. They see Christ as one who had all authority and power to be given to them. Somehow they overlook the fact that Jesus came to wash the disciples feet and humble Himself as a man by becoming a servant to all. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)
9. The abusers insist that if people are not being blessed it is their fault for not exercising proper faith and obedience. This consistent blaming of other people is a pattern of their leadership. By throwing the blame on to people, situations or Satan, the ego-centric leaders refuse to admit the need to change, grow or submit themselves to any accountability.
10. The abusers want compliant followers so they can depend upon their support, loyalty and help in times of need. Often times they are good fund-raisers as they evidence a charismatic-dynamic persona. They crave followers who are dependent and trust them implicidly.
11. Abusers are often cleverly insidious, crafty and conniving by working their way in to the trust of unsuspecting people’s hearts. They are convincing in their manner by secretly manipulating people for their own selfish purposes.