Copyright © 2007 Ron Schwartz
All rights reserved.
Part 4. Case
Studies In Spiritual Authority
Ron and Karen
Case Study #1: The First Family Unit
Genesis 3:1-6 KJV
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which
the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God
said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of
the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden,
God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it,
lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes
shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that
it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one
wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto
her husband with her; and he did eat.
What does this scripture say about
spiritual authority and
the family? As defined in an earlier part of this series,
spiritual authority is
the authority of the Spirit of God in our lives. Our goal should
not be to replace the authority of the Spirit in our families but to
help enable it. Only then are we successful parents and spouses.
The spiritual authority
in this passage came from God who instructed Adam about the
consequence of death for disobedience, and the promise of life for
The family unit is not a hierarchy of
spiritual authority but
of natural authority.
Paul tells us that “the
head of the woman is the man (1 Corinthians 11:3).”
This is a “physical” hierarchy.
Matthew 19:5-6 KJV
said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall
cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore
God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
The family must be viewed as a single “physical” body, not two
individual bodies. As a result, it is able to function well and
adapt in our physical universe. Most wives intuitively understand
the natural order of the family. And because this hierarchy
pertains to the natural order, she is able to have her own unique
fulfilling spiritual relationship with God.
What happened with Adam and Eve is very common. Like most wives,
Eve’s opinion of Adam was colored by his
natural authority over
her. She saw him not as a spiritual being but as the “physical” man
that he was. The Serpent approached Eve not from a position of
natural authority but as
a spiritual authority.
There was no way that Adam could compete with that. Even though he
knew the mind of God on the issue, Eve had more respect for someone
coming from a position of
spiritual authority than one coming from a position of
natural authority. Adam
lost out because of his natural
authority. Consider the series of events that took place
to bring about the fall of mankind.
A foreign authority replaced Adam as the head.
God didn’t tell Eve not to eat of “the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17).”
He told Adam just before He made Eve. It was Adam’s responsibility
to protect his home by keeping his family away from this tree. The
Serpent knew that Adam would not disobey God, so he approached the
wife. Eve listened to the Serpent with great interest. The Serpent
challenged Adam and made him question whether he heard from God and
understood God correctly. Up to this point, there is no indication
that Eve was unhappy or unsatisfied with her husband until the
Serpent planted the seed.
Eve found herself between two men. One was simply her husband, a
person who exercised natural authority. But the other was obviously
a wise spiritual leader (“the
serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field”).
He was obviously a spiritual authority. Why shouldn’t Eve listen to
the Serpent? He talked with impressive wisdom and authority, and
her husband was obviously spiritually inferior. The serpent spoke
as though he knew what God wanted and intended. Perhaps her husband
was jealous and just wanted to hold her back.
Eve became dissatisfied with Adam’s leadership and lost respect for
him when someone else injected himself into the family as a
The new spiritual authority implied that Adam’s leadership kept Eve
from becoming like God. Adam was limiting her spiritual
development. Adam was clearly holding her back. Therefore, when
the Serpent promised to fulfill her spiritual aspirations, she
promptly spiritually divorced her husband and took the headship of
the Serpent. When Eve accepted the spiritual authority of the
Serpent, she divorced herself from the
spiritual authority of
God and the natural authority
of her husband.
Just like Eve, many women are unsatisfied with their husbands. They
see their husbands for the
natural authority they have that God gave them, and they
want them to be spiritual
authorities like their pastors.
For most men, this will never be
the case. Nor was it meant to be. Most pastors
inadvertently take the position of the Serpent by superceding the
natural authority of the
man and assuming the spiritual
authority meant for God.
Like Eve, most wives have pastors who seem wiser and more spiritual
than their husbands. Most wives regard their pastors in much the
same way Eve did the Serpent. And, like Eve, they lose respect for
their husbands because of their pastors. Even knowing the esteem
and admiration that women have for them, most pastors have little
concern that many women have replaced them as their “head.” Most
pastors enjoy it. This unholy union is nothing short of spiritual
What should women do? First, eliminate your husband’s competition.
Your husband is to be your only
natural authority, and God is to be your only
Men know that they cannot compete with pastors, so they don’t try.
They give up as they see you embrace another. Stop going to an
institutional church where your husband is replaced as your head.
Find a home group or start one of your own where your family can
grow and where your husband can be the head of your family as he is
meant to be.
The Serpent enticed Eve by promising that if she
listened to him instead of her husband she would become godlike.
This is a common event in most churches. Women perceive spiritual
growth from submitting to their pastors. They conclude that their
husbands are not spiritual and do not know God – at least not like
their pastor. This eventually causes them to complain to their
pastor about their husbands, which causes yet further division.
Instead of being directed back to the headship of their husband they
The damage done here affects not only their husbands but God as
well. When a woman submits to the authority of a pastor, she breaks
free of both the authority of her husband and of God. It is
comparable to weeds growing in a garden sucking the nutrients from
the vegetables. As you and your pastor grow together, you steal
from your husband that which he needs to grow: his leadership. You
essentially sacrifice his spiritual life for your own.
Women who do this live off the spiritual life of the pastor, not the
Holy Spirit. Their spiritual growth takes place when they are
around him and other spiritual leaders they have selected to
follow. Eve was looking for the fast track to her spiritual
development and understood that this is what the Serpent offered.
She truly believed that she had the answer. So “she
took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her
husband with her.”
As a result, they both died. You may believe that you have the
answer for your family’s spiritual development, but if it is
submitting to the spiritual
authority of a man, thereby sacrificing the leadership of
your husband or his spiritual development, you are as deceived as
Eve. Healthy spiritual development never divides the family.
Adam did not assert himself as the guardian and head
of his family but allowed a foreign influence to govern his home.
Adam was also at fault. He could have challenged the Serpent’s
influence with the Word of God. This is what Jesus did when He was
tempted. Adam could have fought for his family.
Did you ever wonder why Eve was at this tree in the first place?
Eve was tempted because she was somewhere that she should not have
been. If Adam believed God that the tree would bring about her
death, why didn’t he take Eve away from the tree? Adam could have
prevented the temptation, but he didn’t. Instead, he assumed the
submissive role of the female, like his wife Eve, and listened to
This is exactly what happens in institutional churches and many
house churches that have simply recreated the institutional church
in the home. Men are made feminine. They become
another wife and submit
themselves to the system. They allow their wives to go to churches
where they will be tempted to take on the headship of someone other
than her husband. Most men are simply confused by the system. The
current church system that elevates pastors/priests has been around
for centuries. Most men don’t question the authority of the
pastor. There are vast numbers of men who would like to be the
pastors of their homes but are either told they are not qualified or
they do not know how to go about it. So they sit idly by as the
Serpent moves in, assumes the headship over their wives, convinces
the wives to disregard their husbands’ instructions, and breaks down
the family unit.
Men must understand that they, not their pastors, have been called
by God to be the heads of their homes. Institutional churches are
designed to replace the husband and thereby gain control of the
family. Just like the Serpent, they do it through the wife.
Christian men must stop acting like submissive wives when it comes
to providing leadership for the family and assume the role God
designed them to fulfill. They must take their families away from
the spiritual influences that would
replace them as the heads of their families and
replace God as their spiritual authority.
Case Study #2: The First
There is a
predisposition among Christian teachers to presume that most
Christians want to grow in their relationship with God. This is
simply not the case. Most evangelism is done utilizing the tools of
fear and trepidation to compel sinners to repent. How does this
translate into spiritual aspirations? It doesn’t. Their salvation
experience is enough to satisfy their fears of eternal torment and
thereby breeds apathy and compromise.
John 9:28-29 KJV
28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we
are Moses' disciples.
29 We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know
not from whence he is.
The Jews were
“born” into their relationship with God, and for many that was
enough. This is not unlike contemporary Christians who are also
“born again” into a relationship with God. Many are content with
simply being saved. Additionally, the Jews measured their spiritual
growth by their knowledge of the scripture, not in the depth of
their actual spiritual development. It was this knowledge that
prevented them from seeing God when He came to them. Once again,
this is not unlike contemporary Christians who have come to know God
through books, study aids, seminars, and teachers. These manmade
opinions and influences are enough to satisfy their conviction to
grow spiritually without the need to actually grow. They allow
Christians to satisfy their innate need for spiritual development by
inflating their minds while they continue to live in the darkness of
pursue God if they truly want to grow spiritually. The light of
God’s Spirit exposing the darkness in their lives does not make them
None Dare Call It Idolatry
Exodus 19:16-18 KJV
16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there
were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and
the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people
that was in the camp trembled.
17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with
God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.
18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD
descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the
smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
In this passage,
we find that when God descended before the people, they feared and
trembled. Who enjoys being afraid? Who enjoys being terrified? No
Exodus 20:18-20 KJV
18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and
the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the
people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will
hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to
prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin
they found for their fear was to put someone between them and God so
God would no longer be a threat to them. By placing Moses in
between God and them they essentially made Moses into an idol, and
idolatry breeds more idolatry.
Exodus 32:1-4 KJV
1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the
mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said
unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as
for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt,
we wot not what is become of him.
2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are
in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and
bring them unto me.
3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in
their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a
graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said,
These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land
Here the Hebrews
built their idol at the foot of the mountain that burned with fire,
that sounded with voices and trumpets, and where the ground shook.
They built their idol in the presence of God. When Christians hide
behind pastors or priests, they plant seeds of idolatry. As that
seed grows, they eventually find that, like the Hebrews, what they
are worshipping is a substitute for God. They are like the Hebrews
who stood in the presence of God but lifted up a man and listened to
him rather than God.
churches/Christians use the ideal of
spiritual authority to
justify having a pastor/priest stand between them and God just as
the Hebrews did. There is a problem with this. When anyone stands
between God and His people, God’s people don’t come to know whom God
really is. Consequently, they must use their imaginations to define
and describe God. As a result, they create God in their own image.
They stand in the presence of God while creating golden calves and
assume the golden calves are God.
In the 3,500
years since the first golden calf was fashioned, God’s people – His
church – have continued to set men between them and God. As a
result, they misunderstand who God is and mistake others for God.
Perhaps no other
culture has ever embraced their religion more strongly than the
ancient Jews. For 1,500 years, their culture and government was
symbiotically intertwined with their religion. Their educational
system blended religion and academics. If any culture truly knew
the God they worshipped, it would be them. Yet when the God they
worshipped came to meet them, they had no idea who he was.
John 1:10-11 KJV
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world
knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
want to revert back to the
spiritual authority of the Old Testament. They liked
having men represent them to God as their priests. If they don’t
have to go to God, then their sin will not be exposed and their
conscience will be clear. Consequently, churches everywhere put men
as their priests/pastors in a position between them and God. These
men insulate them from the prying eyes of the Holy Spirit. It is
easy to sit in a church and listen to someone preach, and it
satisfies the need to submit to God even if little is actually
accomplished. The pastors/priests have no idea the lives that their
congregations lead, and this is the way people like it. But if God
stood before them, there would be no hiding their sin.
Hebrews 4:13 KJV
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but
all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we
have to do.
Most people are
under the delusion that they attend church to be in the presence of
God, but that is not the case. God is saying to most churches, “Behold,
I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open
the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with
me (Revelation 3:20).”
Most churches have built walls (of men) not to surround themselves
with the presence of God but to hide from Him. Most churches serve
to exalt men and shield the people from God. It has been like that
since the beginning:
Genesis 3:8 KJV
And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in
the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves
from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
Since the first
family and the first church, God’s people have been setting men in
positions as spiritual authority
and then wondering where they went wrong. You cannot put men
between you and God and believe that you have a clear understanding
of who God is and what He wants. John wrote, “This
is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men
loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil
The huddled masses in churches today hide in the shadow (darkness)
of their pastors because they do not want to be seen of God. Like
Adam and Eve, they are hiding from the presence of God. Most
churchgoers do not want God. They want their substitute. They want
their golden calf. It is far less threatening. They know their
church is without God’s power. They know their church is dead or
dying. They know their church is just a façade of what the bible
describes. But that’s okay. It is far better than the alternative:
abiding in the presence of God.