THE ABUSE OF HONOR

This piece may get me in trouble with those in the world of Christendom who crave honor. But if you imitate the Master you will love and appreciate the following Scripture very much. 

“I receive not glory from men [I crave no human honor, I look for no mortal fame]…” (John 5:41 — AMPC).

I believe in honor. The Scriptures have much to say about it. I believe in giving honor to whom honor is due (Rom. 13:7). I believe in honoring worthy leaders, especially those of high character who labor in the Word and prayer. In fact, double honor is encouraged for them (1 Tim. 5:17). 

In one form or another, however, all my Christian life I’ve heard plenty of messages on the necessity of honoring leaders. What I don’t remember ever hearing is on the abuse of honor and the inequality of it. Please allow me to explain. 

Case in point, who gets the best parking space at church? Who gets the best seats in the sanctuary? Who has the finest office? Who gets special days of appreciation in their honor? Who gets the most attention on their birthday and anniversary? Who gets access into the VIP lounge after special services?

Is it the dear single godly mother who is busy working two jobs to support her two children? Is it the humble couple who are caring for their invalid father or mother-in-law? Is it the church handy man who services the poor and needy at no charge? Is it the saintly widow who regularly visits the nursing home and cares for the forgotten of society? Is it the local working soul winning evangelist who is not on church staff payroll, but puts in more hours per week ministering to the poor and homeless than they do sitting in their plush offices? Sadly, in most cases, it is not.

Why this seemingly inequality? Why this lack of balance? Do esteemed leaders have need of more honor and esteem? I think not. Read these verses carefully:

“And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another” (1 Cor. 12:23-25).

When honor does not also flow to those parts that have need of honor we are standing on unscriptural and ungodly ground. Again, I take no issue with honoring leaders. The problem is in many circles the gross overemphasis and spotlight is usually on them, and hardly ever on those who most need it. And it is the constant glaring example of the former is always before us. 

How did we become so uneven? 

Let me share what I believe has greatly contributed to this imbalance. Be warned; this will irritate our glow-in-the-dark celebrity ministry icons.

COULD THE MODERN APOSTOLIC AND PROPHETIC MOVEMENT BE THE CULPRIT? 

I believe the modern apostolic and prophetic “movement” has to take much of the blame for this. The flagrant overemphasis on apostolic “alignment”, prophetic “counsel”, pastoral “covering”, and spiritual “fathering” and “sonship”, although it contains a truth, is excessive and extremely overstated — at least in the world of Charismatic-dom.

I neither have time nor space to delve into the intricacies of this convoluted doctrine that borders on the heretical, but I’ll offer some admonition. 

Jesus warned us, actually forbid us, from the use of inflated titles, false prestige, and inordinate reliance placed upon men acting as mediators and brokers for the favor and blessings of God in the lives of ordinary believers and up and coming young leaders. 

“But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ” (Matt. 23:8-10).

The modern apostolic, prophetic, and even pastoral policies of honor are in many cases quite dishonorable and some are downright abusive. Apart from the rebellion and dishonor found in some members of the body of Christ, it is also littered with hurt and disillusioned believers who have been abused by church leaders and authority figures. 

Take the theme of spiritual “fathering”. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “son in the house”? It’s a term to describe the supposed loyalty of a believer to align himself in submission and service to his “spiritual covering,” whether it be the “apostle of the house” or the ambitious pastor pushing for the same. Most of the time it’s not a spiritual “covering” but a spiritual “smothering”.  

This teaching is usually presented as a spiritual concern for the success of  upcoming young leaders, but it’s often veiled by the real issue at hand — the need for preeminence among ignorant and insecure “spiritual fathers” and the protection from the hurt and betrayal of unfaithful sons or so called “Absaloms” or a “Judas”. The fact is, Jesus had a Judas, and so will every spiritual leader at some point in his life and ministry. 

Apostles and pastors/leaders who set up authority structures and father-son ministry paradigms to insulate themselves from the betrayal or personal hurt of an “Absalom” or a “Judas” are actually working against the principle of death and resurrection that will greatly aid in transforming them into the image of Christ. Stop trying to save your life and save your ministry. 

TRUE SPIRITUAL COVERING

This is what true spiritual covering is. 

“Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Heb. 13”17).

The word “obey” those who have rule over you, implies obedience learned and earned through trust. 

Again, please hear my heart. I am 100% for the principle of honor and honoring true leaders, and there may be a lack of honor for leaders in certain places where teaching is needed, but I believe the lack is on the other end. The less honorable and less presentable parts need more honor, so “that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.”

Why are we addressing the abuse of honor and highlighting the apostolic and prophetic ministry? Because if the Church is going to be transformed from an ego-centric, entrepreneurial, consumer-based ministry to a Christ-based community, the example of it must begin with this foundation of authentic apostolic ministry and true fathers of the faith, who though they be less loved will “the more abundantly love others and will very gladly spend and be spent for their souls” (2 Cor. 12:15).

The modern apostolic and prophetic movement needs maturing. When we see maturity there, we will see it everywhere else.  

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STANLEY FRODSHAM’S 1965 PROPHECY

NOTE: This prophetic word was spoken by Prophet Stanley Frodsham who was a personal friend of Smith Wigglesworth, a traveling companion and author of one of the books about him. It was given in Chicago in 1965, five years before he died. This is only an excerpt of the entire prophecy.

GREAT JUDGMENTS

“With great judgments will I plead with the population of this country. Great darkness is coming upon the countries that have heard My gospel but no longer walk in it. My wrath shall come upon them. The darkness shall be so great and the anguish so sore that men shall cry out for death and shall not find it. There shall be a lingering death, famine and great catastrophes.

My wrath shall be manifested against all ungodliness. It shall come with great intensity. You have known my love but have not experienced My wrath or My severity. My judgments are literal and not a thing to be passed over lightly.

Realize the severity of My judgments and My intense anger against the sin in My household. My judgments shall begin in My house, for I will cleanse My house that it be not a partaker of My wrath against the iniquities of the cities. Before I visit the nations in judgment; I will begin at My house. When I do cause My wrath to come upon the cities of the world, My people shall be separate. I desire a people without spot or wrinkle, and such will be preserved by Me in the time of My wrath, which will be coming upon all iniquity and unrighteousness.

I am going to prepare you for the coming days by a hard path that will cause many to cry out continually unto Me. For when the going is easy, men do not seek Me but rejoice in a temporary blessing. And when that blessing is removed, they so often turn this way and that way but do not come to Me. I am showing you these things in order that you may seek Me continually and with great diligence. As you seek Me, I will open up truths to you that you have not seen before, and these very truths will be such that will enable you to stand in these last days. As you are persecuted, reviled and rejected by your brethren, then you will turn unto Me with all your heart and seek Me for that spiritual life that you need so that when the tribulation comes, you will have that which will enable you to stand for many will be tossed to and fro. Men’s hearts shall fail them because of trouble on every hand. These days shall be very terrible, the likes of which have never been seen before.

COMING GLORY AND DECEIVING SPIRITS

When I visit My people in mighty revival power, it is to prepare them for the darkness ahead. With the glory shall come great darkness, for the glory is to prepare My people for the darkness. I will enable My people to go through the darkness because of the visitation of My Spirit. Take heed to yourselves lest you be puffed up and think that you have arrived. Many shall be puffed up as in the olden days, for then, many received My message but they did not continue in it. Did I anoint Jehu? Yet the things that I desired were not accomplished in his life. Listen to the messengers, but do not hold men’s persons in admiration or adulation. For many whom I shall anoint mightily with signs and miracles shall become lifted up and shall fall by the wayside. I do not do this willingly, for I have made provision that they might stand. I call many into this ministry and equip them, but remember that many shall fall. They shall be like bright lights, and the people shall delight in them. But they shall be taken over by deceiving spirits and shall lead many of My people astray. Hearken diligently concerning these things, for in the last days shall come seducing spirits. They shall turn many of My anointed ones away; many shall fall through diverse lusts and because of sin abounding.

But if you will seek Me diligently, I will put My Spirit within you so that, when one shall turn to the right hand or to the left hand, you shall not turn with them, but instead you will keep your eyes fixed wholly on your Lord. The coming days are going to be most dangerous, difficult and dark for there shall be a mighty outpouring of My Spirit in judgment upon many cities, and many shall be destroyed. My people must be diligently warned concerning the days ahead. Many shall turn after seducing spirits, and already many are seducing My people. It is those who do righteousness that are righteous. Many cover their sins by great theological words. But I warn you of seducing spirits who instruct my people in an evil way.

Many of these I will anoint that they in turn may purify and sift My people, for I will have a holy people. When I come I shall not find faith upon the earth but in a few, for when the time of testing comes, many will depart from their Lord.

Many shall come with seducing spirits and hold out lustful enticements. You will find that after I have visited My people again, the way will become narrower, and fewer shall walk therein. Be not deceived, the ways of righteousness are My ways. For though Satan come as an angel of light, hearken not to him; for those who perform miracles and speak not righteousness are not of Me. I warn you with great intensity that I am going to judge My house and have a church without spot or wrinkle when I come. I desire to open your eyes and give you spiritual understanding, that you may not be deceived, but may walk with uprightness of heart before Me, loving righteousness and hating every evil way. Look unto Me, and I will make you to perceive with the eyes of the Spirit the things that lurk in darkness that are not visible to the human eye. Let Me lead you in this way that you may perceive the powers of darkness and battle against them. It is not a battle against flesh and blood, for if you battle in that way, you accomplish nothing. But if you let Me take over and battle against the powers of darkness, then they are defeated, and then liberation is brought to My people.”

My new book, Cleansing The Temple, is now available in paperback and kindle. We have a special sale on it here on our website until May 31. It will bring you greater understanding concerning articles like this.