<font size=3 color=indigo face=Times New Roman>Source: <a href=" http://www.uvachurch.com/Articles/Artic ... onePt1.htm"> The Diotrophes Syndrome </a></font>
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<font class="option" style="font-size: 15pt">The Diotrophes Syndrome - Part 1</font></td></tr>
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<font size=3 color=indigo face=arial> By Christopher Carter
I believe we have all known someone who, whether they were capable or not, needed to be in control of everything. From the playground bully to the micromanaging supervisor, controllers are all around us. And sadly, there are people in the church as well that are this way. I dont mean to say that there should not be leaders, for those who can lead in example, knowledge and strength, while maintaining humility of heart and conduct, are a very great blessing. As children of God we are blessed by our relationships one with another, for through them the weak are strengthened, the strong are maintained and Gods Word is proclaimed in truth. And if His truth is to be righteously contended for, we must be ever vigilant for the wolf that creeps in unawares, and takes control.
Controllers come in many forms. They can be elders, the preacher, or members working from behind the scenes to promote an agenda or to run the church the way they think it should be run. They usually have an inner circle, because there is strength in numbers. They can manipulate what is taught, refuse to let sound doctrine be preached, and insist that scriptural interpretations be changed to meet their own criteria. And if they go unopposed, then, over time, their control can increase to the point where they cannot be effectively opposed. They may actually believe that they are acting in a faithful manner, but well intentioned or not, the damage they may cause can be irreversible.
Consider these questions. Do the elders act as shepherds, or as overlords? If they are acting as shepherds are there any who refuse to submit to their authority? In the absence of elders does the preacher claim that he, by divine establishment, is the church leader? Does anyone use deception, manipulation, bullying and divisiveness in order to gain and maintain control? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then the church where such things are occurring needs to take a stand against these attitudes. We are all members of His body, a precious and holy thing and it must not be defiled.
There are common traits in those who would control in a church. They will often have an inflated sense of their own spirituality, seeing themselves as above the crowd, stronger and wiser, more dedicated, knowledgeable and faithful
(1 Cor 8:1-3). They actually think that others should aspire to be more like them! If any dare oppose them in their attempt to take control, they will be identified as enemies in order to counter any opposition. Those who are weak will be found, taken into the controllers camp and have their ears tickled with flattering words and convincing arguments, for again, there is strength in numbers. The weak will then be used against the strong until the strong either leave, or are overcome as well. Once control is achieved, the bully pulpit will be used to keep all in their place. Diotrophes would have used some of these same methods, thus the Diotrophes Syndrome (3 John 9-10).
Controllers will also espouse views contrary to the scriptures, because, being puffed up in their own knowledge, they are handicapped by their inability to see and hear, and so cannot rightly handle the word of truth (1 Tim 6:3-5). And frequently, what applies to us does not apply to them. Remember the do as I say, not as I do attitude of the Pharisees (Mt 23:2-5)?
Knowing that these people have lost their way and are blinded by what they are doing, we must be merciful in our approach to them. If we claim sonship with the Father, we must be willing to pray for and try to reach them, if they can be reached. But if they will not listen, do not be afraid to oppose them, for they are in opposition to God and themselves, and must be removed from a churchs midst. No matter what warped interpretations, justification or arguments they use, they have no authority or claim to any leadership position. Peter told Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:21, Thou hast no part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Nor do they.