Part II of “10 Ways Satan Usurps Authority in the Local Church.”
Paul, the apostle, calls a prolonged intentional plan of attack against the Church “the day of evil” (Ephesians 6:10-13).
6. The Multiple Agenda “Vision” Syndrome (1 Corinthians 1:10)
The Bible admonishes local churches to have absolute unity in mind, heart, purpose, and language. When someone has a different vision or agenda other than that of the senior pastor and mission of the Church, that person will cause division even if he or she doesn’t speak evil against the Church. Any vision other than the overarching vision of the Church distracts from the central vision. This weakens and divides the hearts of the people away from their primary mission.
7. The Absalom Syndrome (2 Samuel 15:1-6)
David’s rebellious son, Absalom, leveraged his leadership position in Israel to utilize the satanic tactic of stealing the people’s hearts away from his father. He did this by sympathizing with every person’s needs so he could emotionally connect to them. Gradually, before a senior pastor even realizes what is happening, another church and faction within the Church are more loyal to another leader than to the senior pastor.
8. The Victim Syndrome
Ofter, those who have been disciplined, corrected, or put out of a church for insubordination characterize the pastor as too controlling or autocratic in his leadership. This makes the person who is corrected or disfellowshipped look like the victim instead of responsible for the problem.
Satan’s goal is to malign executive authority so the senior pastor looks like the bad guy whom no one else should trust or submit.
9. Keeping confidential accusations against leaders
Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence in the Church for people to say something negative about the pastor/church to another church member while swearing them to confidentiality.
Any information shared that damages the image or reputation of a leader or a church should never be kept confidential but be brought into the light of a mature leader. This is to protect the flock that can be coaxed by demonic deception to scatter when unfounded negative words are spoken against the pastor/leadership. Satan works in darkness, and accusations of this sort should immediately be brought into the light so the truth can manifest.
The apostle Paul said that accusations against spiritual leaders should not be received unless there are at least 2-3 credible and unbiased witnesses (1 Timothy 5:19).
Not walking in the light in our conversations is perhaps the number one method the devil uses to destroy a church (1 John 1:7).
10. Politics and ideology take priority over the gospel.
As important as politics is, it should never take precedent over the Church’s responsibility to preach the gospel. Instead, many believers fight with others in public, acting like buffoons and calling people names on social media over ideology and politics. They are oblivious that they come off as not caring, which alienates a large percentage of their followers from the Church.
Satan loves to hide behind (good) politics and ideology while puffing up egos and pitting people against each other. His goal is to distract Christians from seeking God and advancing the kingdom.
Jesus said in Matthew 16:19, “the gates of hell would not prevail against the church.” For this to happen, the Church needs to be focused on its primary mission of winning souls and maturing people in the faith (Matthew 28:19). When the Church is distracted from its primary focus by worldly politics and pursuits, we give the enemy a foothold.
11. Abusive leadership syndrome
Finally, in the context of this article, I have been focusing most of the points on attacks against church leadership. However, as I elaborate extensively in my book, “Poisonous Power,” the enemy can also gain a foothold in a church through abusive leadership.
Consequently, an abusive leader can even take all the points in this article and manipulate them to his advantage to serve his purposes.
For example: (based on 10 Ways Satan Usurps Authority in the Local Church):
- They can make it seem like they are the only ones who can hear from God instead of equipping the Church to do the same. (They can twist the narrative in Numbers 12:1-10 and claim that they are the only true prophet in the Church).
- They can live in sin and use the Noah narrative in Genesis 9:20-27 and tell people who call them out that they will be cursed for uncovering their spiritual father.
- They can use the passage against “co-leadership” in Numbers 12 to justify not working with a team of elders when processing major decisions for the congregation.
- They can be afraid of allowing the Holy Spirit to move powerfully in the services for fear that other people will be developed in the prophetic or feel a call upon their life from God.
- They can use the Judas story in John 12 as an excuse to be unaccountable financially regarding the church funds.
- They can use 1 Corinthians 1:10 to squash the vision and passion of everyone who may have a good idea or a suggestion to advance church practices.
- They can falsely accuse a faithful shepherd in the Church of having an “Absalom” spirit if they see anyone getting too close to them.
- They can excommunicate or step people down abruptly without a process and for no apparent reason.
- They can swear people to confidentiality while maligning other people’s character under the guise of discussing Church-related matters.
- They can influence others to withhold any political opinion that does not line up with their own but use their bully pulpit to push their view of politics and ideology.
May the Lord deliver His Church from every evil attack so His Kingdom can advance without hindrance.