“The Diotrophes Syndrome” (by Christopher Carter)

Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

September 10th, 2006, 7:34 am #1


<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 don’t 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 God’s 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 church’s 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.


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Donnie Cruz
Donnie Cruz

September 10th, 2006, 7:39 am #2


<font size=3 color=indigo face=Times New Roman>Source: <a href=" http://www.uvachurch.com/Articles/Artic ... onePt2.htm"> The Diotrophes Syndrome—Part 2</a></font> [North Charlottesville church of Christ, VA]

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    <font class="option" style="font-size: 15pt">The Diotrophes Syndrome - Part 2</font></td></tr>
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    <font size=3 color=indigo face=arial> By Christopher Carter


    In part one, we briefly examined controllers and their methods of gaining control. Let us now consider some specific examples and the reasoning of these men who come to act as a Diotrophes (3 Jn 9-11).

    Preachers have a great work in pointing men to God’s word and in instructing their hearers how to stand upon God’s word (1 Cor 3:5-7). They must rebuke, exhort and stand upon what is right, but they do this by exalting God’s word and not by preaching themselves (2 Cor 4:2, 5-6). Faithful preachers know that as men they can at times be wrong and would therefore welcome correction by others (Gal 2:11-16). If a man is not careful, pride can enter into his heart and change his motive from a desire to conform to God’s word to that of seeking personal control of men for his own glory (2 Cor 10:12, 17-18).

    Consider the preacher that claims that he alone is the “watchman” spoken of in Ezekiel 33, and thus will have the unique responsibility to sound the alarm in a local congregation. Having this responsibility it is also necessary for him alone to judge the conduct and standing of the brethren. This can only be taught if scripture is taken severely out of context, for each of us has Christ as our watchman, and because of the revealed truth of God through Christ, each of us have the ability to understand that truth and live by it if we want to be heirs of adoption. In fact, we are watchmen of each other! It is not the role of the preacher or any other man to act alone as the church leader and the sole judge, yet, in spite of this truth, this claim will be made to try to gain overall control of a church.

    Those who claim this are trying to establish a leadership role where divine authority for such does not exist. Often, elders or strong brethren are not present to guide a church away from such erroneous teaching, so if a church is weak or unwilling to oppose it, the probable result will be a clergy/laity relationship, where the members are kept weak in faith and scriptural knowledge, unsure of their standing with God and dependant on the minister/pastor to tell them what the scriptures say (according to him), and what they should believe. This method is no different than the denominational hierarchies that claim direct lineage to the apostles in order to “establish” their authority over others. The preacher in fact tries to make himself the elder.

    To build this case so as to gain control over a church, he may imply or openly state many things about himself and his relationship with God, claiming for example, that he has been established as the leader of the church and provided with scriptural understanding above that of others. He may even claim to be sinless and thus above reproach. His social and economic blessings are “evidence” of his righteousness. If anyone opposes his claims and teachings they are not opposing him, they are opposing God, and acting in a contentious and divisive manner, because we are to be of one mind – that is the mind of the self-appointed leader! He may even label those who oppose his teaching as liars, for they claim sonship with the Father while denying God’s truth as he proclaims it. Skillfully presented, he can convince and bully many into accepting these false claims. A church might even end up thinking it was their decision to accept him as their “leader.”

    Another method he will employ is to build a circle of followers. Everyone is a part of the circle at first, but as a few begin to see and oppose the inevitable errors, they quickly find themselves on the outside of the circle, tolerated at best, often shunned, or even driven from the assembly. Fearful of being ostracized, some may compromise the truth because, like many Jews who would have accepted Christ, they fear being driven from the synagogue (Jn 12:42-43). This tactic is the old “divide and conquer,” the pitting of brother against brother. So while claiming authority as the “watchman” tasked with maintaining the spiritual integrity of the church, the minister/pastor is instead dividing it into factions vying for or opposing the control he covets. And above all, whether people submit willingly or not, they will submit.

    Consider what is lacking in these approaches. When a Diotrophes is in control, then no real love or mercy is found. Instead men will display false humility, puffed up knowledge, divisiveness, contentiousness, bullying, arrogance, a lack of unity and an unwillingness to esteem others more greatly than oneself. This is the Diotrophes syndrome (3 John 9-10). It is not truth. For what is not truth is false, and cannot be of God. God’s will is not being submitted to when anyone seeks more authority than He has given. When a man grasps for power and control, his deeds go before him as an open shame.

    Don’t forget, there was a time when men were not deemed worthy to have access to God’s word. It was written in a language they could not understand, or chained to the pulpit to prevent its study. Any who asked questions were either told off or labeled as heretics. And so, over history’s course, many have been kept drinking at the well of apostasy, unable or unwilling to accept the strong meat of the Word. I am reminded of Paul’s words. “Brethren, these things ought not to be so.”


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Last edited by Donnie.Cruz on September 11th, 2006, 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ken Sublett
Ken Sublett

September 10th, 2006, 5:16 pm #3

Some background:
  • <font color=blue>3Jn 1:5 Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;

    3Jn 1:6 Which have borne witness of thy CHARITY (not a LAW) before the church: whom if thou BRING FORWARD on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:

    3Jn 1:7 Because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking NOTHING of the Gentiles.

    3Jn 1:8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth. </font>
The word Diotrephes sends us lots of information: those who usurp the rule of the Word and the flock are more than just glory hounds; they are the enemies of Christianity. As a matter of common sense we should know that Satan has more pulpits and BOARD ROOMS than the tiny, faithful few:
  • <font color=blue>3Jn 1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

    G1361 Diotrephes dee-ot-ref-ace' From the alternate of G2203 and G5142 ; Jove nourished; Diotrephes, an opponent of Christianity: Diotrephes.

    G2203 Zeus dzyooce Of uncertain affinity; in the oblique cases there is used instead of it a (probably cognate) name Dis deece which is otherwise obsolete; Zeus or Dis (among the Latins Jupiter or Jove), the supreme deity of the Greeks: Jupiter.

    G5142 trephe tref'-o A primary verb (properly threphe ; but perhaps strengthened from the base of G5157 through the idea of convolution); properly to stiffen, that is, fatten (by implication to cherish [with food, etc.], pamper, rear): bring up, feed, nourish.

    G5157 trope trop-ay' From an apparently primary word trepo (to turn); a turn ("trope"), that is, revolution (figuratively variation): turning.</font>
The CROOKED generation points directly to the singing circles.

You will remember that the Abomination of Desolation in the Temple was the musical and sexual intrusion into the Holy Places. They USED music and musicians in order to FLEECE THE SHEEP: what other motive could there be unless they are WOLVES meaning perverts:
  • <font color=blue>O thou hiding-bower of the Curetes, and sacred haunts of Crete that gave birth to Zeus, where for me the triple-crested Corybantes in their caverns invented this hide-stretched circlet, and blent its Bacchic revelry with the high-pitched, sweet-sounding breath of Phrygian flutes, and in Rhea's [ZOE] hands placed its resounding noise, to accompany the shouts of the Bacchae [perverts], and from Mother Rhea frenzied Satyrs [PANS] obtained it and joined it to the choral dances of the Trieterides, in whom Dionysus takes delight.

    That is the pay these teachers will have for their sin. For they live in evil pleasures day after day. They are a disgrace and a stain among you, deceiving you by living in foul sin on the side while they join your love feasts as though they were honest men. 2 Peter 2:13LIV</font>
Part of the TURNING or DANCING in imitation of the STARRY HOSTS, is a similar word:
  • <font color=red>Trupe (g5172) troo-fay'; (to break up or [fig.] enfeeble, espec. the mind and body by indulgence); effeminacy, i.e. luxury or debauchery: - delicately, riot </font>

    <font color=blue>3Jn 1:10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. </font>
It comes as no surprise that the END TIME worship is effeminate worship of music under the Babylon Harlot in Revelation 17. John calls them all SORCERERS.

That is why they get VIOLENT because John calls them CRAFTSMEN like the silversmiths who WILL hurt you real bad if you try to CUT INTO their TAKE from widows and orphans.

They are VERY EFFECTIVE at CASTING OUT most of those who oppose SATAN or DEMON WORSHIP and teach what Paul taught. In another time and place they would KILL you.
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