The Spirit of Elitism
(Control, Manipulation, False Shepherding Spirit. Spirit of Abortion, Grief)
Have you ever been around a church or group and gradually began to feel left out, excluded? Not part of the “in” group, or inner circle?
What is this exclusiveness or elitism and where did it come from? How did it get there? What opened the door for this to enter? Elitism is a form of pride – and the Bible says that “God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.”
As Christians, what constitutes humility? True humility is a dependance upon God. Knowing that apart from Him, His power and care – we cannot make it in life or in ministry. We are kept by His grace. “We are kept by the power of God unto Salvation” (1Pet:1.5).
When an individual or group gives the impression they have some kind of “special” calling, or revelation, or when they feel and give the impression they have been called by God to fill some kind of “special” position, the signals are flashing. The attitude, “We are the only ones who are really doing the work of the ministry” is like an offensive odor. Other ministries are deemed as OK, but do not have the great importance our ministry has.
This often happens when there has been some kind of success in growth, or a move of God and blessings are manifest. It’s often when things are going well, people are not on guard and the this exclusivism slips in. What begins as a cry of “GOD is visiting us.” Gradually becomes “God is VISITING us,” to finally, “God is visiting US.”
God pours out His Spirit because we are hungry and because we need Him – not because we have “qualified” or earned some special favor. He (Jesus) is the One who will “present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding Joy” ( Jude 24). It is the Spirit who changes us ( 2 Cor 3-18). “We are His workmanship – created in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:10).
Unfortunately, in the midst of blessing it seems easy for us to forget it was only because of His great love and grace and mercy and lovingkindness that the blessing came. We begin to feel, with the encouragement of a few demonic forces, that somehow it had something to do with us. Gradually there begins an attitude of resistance to anyone who disagrees with anything the controlling person(s) says or does.
Instead of being able and open to receive input, pride sees anything that is not strongly pro ( in agreement the group or individual) as a threat to their position.
Control and Manipulation
When a leader starts to operate in elitism, or exclusivism, they often see others as subjective -and inferior in some way, and deception comes in the form of believing that this one person or persons are in a better position spiritually to know what is right, or hear from God and know the mind of God.
Gradually anyone who questions anything, (any decision or teaching etc.) becomes the target of some kind of spiritual attack. Often being accused of being a “Jezebel” or “Rebelliou”s. The person bringing the word or question is dismissedas irrelevent. If that person stands their ground they are usually rejected and their own ministry gift is questioned, dismissed, and often aborted by the strong religious spirit coming against them.
When a spirit of control comes into a leadership, often the spirit of abortion is active and the move of the Spirit in the church and in the individual is aborted. If that happens the person involved usually needs prayer for deliverance from the spirit of abortion and also the spirit of grief. The spirit of abortion usually hangs around and continues to abort things in that persons life i.e. ministry opportunities, job, finances, relationships.
The False Shepherding Spirit
The desire to control opens the door to the false shepherding spirit. What exactly is a false shepherding spirit someone may ask? The famous Ezekiel 34 chapter spells it out, the shepherd forgets his real calling, to care and tend and nurture, feed and care for the flock of God and begins to be only concerned about his agenda. A harsh spirit comes in usually in the guise of “Doing the will of God” and the sheep are not loved, comforted or edified. Nor are their gifts and callings brought forth. They are not equipped to do the work of the ministry as commanded in Ephesians 4.
Paul also speaks of the falsle shepherds in Acts 20. The apostle exhorts the elders of the Ephesus church, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves and unto all the flock of which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which HE HATH PURCHESED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD. ………..also of your own selves, shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” ( Acts 20:28- 30).
The true shepherds are called to take authority, and come against that which comes against he sheep, to harm them, but this spirit turns it around and the leadership begins to come against the sheep to control and manipulate them. A true shepherd does not lead his sheep to a field, and pull up grass and ram it down their throat – he leads them to good pasture and they feed themselves. He makes available good food (ministry) and watches out for the them.
The good or true shepherd sees it as an honor to be given charge among the precious Body of Christ. He can acknowledge the Christ in everyone, even the children – (they do not have a junior Holy Spirit). He is not threatened by their gifts and abilities. He will work to bring forth younger men and women, and consider it is delightful to see them begin to move out in God.
When my husband, David, has miracle meetings and God begins to use the children that have been under his anointing, he sits down and allows God’s Spirit to use them. Many miracles happen through the “laying on of sticky fingers” as David calls it. David loves to see God use the kiddos in such a powerful way. It is life changing for them, as well as those who receive healing, -so is the heart of the true shepherd.
Mis-use of God-Given Authority
I was once involved with a group of powerful evangelistic churches. The leader of this group was a man of great vision and faith. But he became very verbally abusive in his role of leader, and extremely controlling.
People really did not have the opportunity to hear from God for themselves and be led by the Spirit. A kind of dictator type spirit manifested toward the people. Those who disagreed were branded as “rebellious” “Jezebels” and accused of not having an submissive spir
When you come under a false shepherding sprit, you also end up needing deliverance from a spirit of false submission. True submission is not a matter of just blindly doing whatever you are told, but being open to others. That God may speak to you through whoever He wishes, especially a loving, caring shepherd. And, always being open to the fact that something may need to be corrected in your direction, or your walk with God.
As people learn to yield to the Spirit, God will fit them into the right place in the Body of Christ, and the true shepherds of Jesus can help them to fulfill their destiny.
The Lord gave me a word for the leader of a group of churches, I was not at all willing to bring it. “Who do you think you are”? said a voice in my ear. “I’m not anyone at all” I thought, – But “God has chosen the foolish things of the world…….. and the things which are not -to bring to nothing the things that are ..” ( 1 Cor: 27-28).
Reluctantly, I delivered this word to a leadership meeting in which it was read out. “You have one year to rid the ministry of the of the false shepherding spirit.” That’s all it was , so I left it there. When God gives you a word, its not your responsibility to make it happen – it’s His. I continued to fellowship with this group and didn’t think too much more about it.
A year later at the same annual leadership meeting, the whole ministry began to become unglued. Three months later it was out of action and no longer existed as an entity. God removed the rod of authority because it was being mis-used and hurt the sheep. “Touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm.” (Ps 105:15) is often quoted with regard to leadership people as a way of saying “Leave me alone -you have no right to question me or my decisions.” But, the “anointed” referred to in the Psalm, also includes the whole the Body of Christ, including all the sheep.
The elitist spirit ensures that leaders forget that every believer has the capability of hearing from God and being used by Him. A child filled with God’s Spirit can be used in a mighty way. That’s why it’s so important to be open to anyone in the Body. God can use whoever He desires. The Life of Christ is deposited in each member.
What is the responsibility of the members towards the leadership? To be caring of them, praying for them, helping, encouraging, working with them. Knowing that God has called them to help His people be equipped for the Kingdom and ministered to, and enabling the members of the Body to behealthy. “…that ye may grow up into Him in all things which is the head even Christ. From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” ( Eph 4:16).
You have the witness of the Spirit inside you, to teach you. It is ultimately your own responsability to put yourself under godly men and women and receive teaching and instruction that comes from God, and is really from the Word. Biblical grounding is important.
Sometimes I admit I get a little impatient with people who have sat under control, deception, false shepherding for a long time. They are in a big mess, but when I question them, they tell me that they sat there knowing inside that something was wrong -( that’s the witness of the Spirit) instead of checking with the word and with the Holy Spirit. They sat there and got deeper into it.
If you feel the Lord gives you something for the church or leadership, present it humbly (you could be wrong!). If the leadership is godly they will consider what you have, but you must leave it there.
God once put me in a position where I had to pray for many people who came out of a group who were operating in a false shepherding/discipleship spirit. These were young Christians being trained and discipled by a man who obviously had a great anointing for evangelism, he did get them saved and dedicated to God.
The success of the group went to his head and he began to put pressure on these young men and women. “If you really want to serve God you must do what I say, as I am your father (teacher), sent by God to be over you.” Then came, “You must do as I say – it is a test of your willingness to obey God.” You can guess where it ended up! He eventually had sex with most of the young women. And then sent young single women to live with a married couple to be “discipled.”
Really they were servants. I talked to one or two young women who had been told that part of the discipleship was to learn about how to be a good sexual partner for their future husband. Guess how? Of course the husband in the home they were living was told it was his “duty” to educate them (in a practical way)!!
When we got round to praying deliverance for these people, we prayed for the following and they got free.
Elitism, false shepherding, false submission, false covering, false yoke, false responsability, control, witchcraft, false brotherhood, bands (the group gets yoked together with a band that is not of God, they become a “family”.) Fear, fear of disapproval, rejection, grief, abortion (they were not allowed to operate in any spiritual gifts – I wonder why?)
Guilt, shame, condemnation. False martyr spirit ( suffering wrongdoing for Jesus).
This spirit told people that they just had to put up with all this unpleasantness as they were being a sacrifice for the kingdom. In this group, as in many others like it, there was a lot of other kinds of deception taught. i.e. “If you really love someone and want them to be healed, you will pray for their sickness to come to you so they can be free from it.”
False martyr spirit, spirits of deception, unfruitfulness, barrenness, dead works etc.
Are there really all these spirits involved? Yes there certainly are, they roam around like a little army, each one in position to take over. These folks did not get free until we had broken the power of all these things. I believe everything would have been discovered much sooner if the gifts of the Spirit were flowing.
Then a deaf and dumb spirit comes in, as they are not allowed to hear from God for themselves and certainly not allowed to speak up. THE FIRST SPIRIT TO ENTER IS ELITISM OR PRIDE – that is why it IS SO IMPORTANT TO WATCH FOR THESE THINGS.
The Bible says “Lest Satan should get an advantage over us for we are not ignorant of his devices, (2 Cor 2:11), but sadly, so often we are ignorant and God’s people have not been taught to listen to the witness of the Spirit. That is why the anointing is there within us, the believer, to teach us. Please read these scriptures, they are so important for us all.
“And this is the promise that He has promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written to you concerning them that seduce you, But the anointing which you have received from Him, abides in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth; and is no lie; and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in Him.”
“And now little children, abide in Him, that when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone that doeth righteousness is born of Him” (1 John 2:25,29).
Does this mean that we no longer need teachers and instructors? Of course not – Paul urges Timothy to teach and “Preach the word; be instant in season and out of season,” (2 Tim 4:2) he exhorts him to teach sound doctrine. It means that when we receive teaching we must still watch the witness of the spirit within us.
If you understand how these spirits operate, you can pray and get free, you do not have to “qualify” to receive from God .
A note for Pastors and Leaders:
This booklet is intended for people who have been abused by authority in the church. As you are aware there have been many leaders who have mis-used their position in the church and mis-represented the true leadership that is God appointed. Unfortunately many of these wounded sheep are not yet healed, but God is touching and restoring them and giving them understanding of the spiritual realm.
Kathie Walters Good News Ministries