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THE ARROGANT PATRIARCH
Learn to identify an oppressive patriarchal type of person, man or woman
NOTE FROM EDITOR, Steve Van Nattan: I will add some of my own observations based on growing up on the mission field where patriarchal issues are often severe. Also, I have pastored four churches, so I have seen a lot of examples. My comments will be in blue. Bible texts are in red.
By Pastor Frank Snyder
Over the years I have met a generic person. I know this sounds a bit strange and the term “generic” may be a bit confusing, so let me explain. A generic person is not one person, but a kind of composite of people who share characteristics or traits. So this person is a composite of certain traits in people. These people are not all the same. They are different in many ways but they do share commonalities.
This person is ageless. One would think that this person would typically be “old” simply because we expect some of these traits from older people. Surprisingly, though, the people that have fit this generic description are not confined to the older generation. They are often younger people. Perhaps that is why they have caught my attention so readily. They have not been what most folks would typically consider “old.” I have witnessed these traits in people as young as 15. Most of them, however, have been between 17 and 55, the majority in their 30’s and 40’s.
This person is also genderless. I have witnessed these traits in both men and women. I will concede, however, that most of the ones who have evidenced these traits have been men. But please understand that I refer to this person with masculine pronouns more for convenience sake than to imply that these traits are only witnessed in men. Hence I have called this person the “the arrogant patriarch”.
The traits of the arrogant patriarch are as follows:
One- A confidence in his or her own intelligence:
I do not mean to imply that he is intelligent. He may be very intelligent. But what defines him is his belief in his intelligence. Sometimes he is neither intelligent nor educated but still believes he is intelligent. Along with this comes a certainty about his views and opinions being correct.
I have encountered this phenomenon in a man with a Ph.D. from Harvard and a man that was illiterate. The Ph.D., a professed born again Christian, questioned the biblical account of Creation and other accounts and justified abortion to the 9th month gestation. The illiterate man insisted to me that the Bible was full of errors. When I challenged him to show me one, he left the room. Then his wife whispered to me that he could not read. But that did not stop him or the Ph.D. from rendering an absolute opinion. These folks tend to have an opinion about most topics. He is so certain and confident about his viewpoint because he believes in his own intelligence.
Editor: There is also a confidence in a patriarch in his divine calling. This is classic in the Roman Catholic Pope and Greek Orthodox patriarchs. But, pastors, and any man (or woman), can come to the conclusion that God has chosen them to rescue humanity from itself. Thus, as the author pointed out, the intelligence of the patriarch, to himself at least, is as good as revelation from God himself. To resist the patriarch is to rebel against God, as the patriarch sees and teaches it. Are YOU a little Popelette?
Two- The student /teacher /Prophet dynamic:
This trait is more felt than easily defined. But the subtle idea conveyed by him is that he is the teacher (or should be) and you are the student. He may not actually say that he is the teacher and you are the student. He is not necessarily abrasive. He just acts like he is (or should be) the teacher. It is connected with his belief in his intelligence. Some folks will readily accept him as the teacher simply because they are swayed by his manner. He believes he should be in charge and acts like it. This in part leads to the next characteristic of the arrogant patriarch.
Editor: I went to hear a visiting man from the UK speak in the church of a friend. As soon as I entered he room, I sensed the manner of the man. He had the bearing of a man in charge. He even walked like he was arriving on a cloud from Heaven itself. When he spoke, he delivered his message as if we were very lucky to have him there. Later, I spoke to the man, and he held himself aloof, but he also kept smiling and handing out compliments to anyone who chatted with him. These compliments would slip into prophecy about the person in front of him, and he would then encourage them to make the prophecy happen in their life. The power this man had over people he spoke to appeared to be devilish. All of this was coated in a thin candy shell of humility, of which he was clearly very proud.
My friend was the pastor of the church, and he claimed that this man from the UK was his personal pastor. This is the power of patriarchy. Some men can take charge of people half way around the world.
Are you, sir, under the spell of a patriarch like this? Have you told your family that they must submit to him also. If so, Jesus is no longer Lord of your life and your home. You have abdicated your role as head of your home before God.
Peter 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a
witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall
Three- The tendency toward conflict with others:
Conflict comes with others because he tends to act upon his belief in his own intelligence. He believes that his viewpoint is the correct one and his decisions are the best. Therefore, it is only natural that others should do what he suggests or do things as he would do them. Any other way is deficient. When conflict with others arises because of this, he never sees it as his fault. Other people are just too sensitive, or are jealous or threatened by his superior giftedness. The problem always resides in others. It could not be in him.
Editor: An older man came up to a pastor I was visiting and asked him about a health issue he was having. The pastor at once diagnosed the problem and prescribed various herbs and supplements the man should take. The man said he had some issues with one of the herbs. The pastor then said, "Well, you can do what I suggest and cure the thing, or you can do what you want to and suffer." This pastor was not only the patriarch of his people as to spiritual truth..... he was their herb doctor and medicine man, and he expected them to do as he prescribed. That is a lot of authority for one man to assume over the people of God.
Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all
men, apt to teach, patient,
Four- The inability to follow:
This guy is often perpetually unemployed or he is in business for himself. The reason for either circumstance is that he just cannot work for someone else. This is a quality of this particular kind of arrogant patriarch and does not imply that all self-employed people are APs. If he has a job, he is often in conflict with his superiors or disdainful of them. In a church situation, he is someone that has difficulty recognizing the leadership authority of a pastor (Hebrews 13:7, 17). Typically, he embraces the plurality of elders viewpoint in church governance, not because he believes it is biblical, but because it fits his personality. Complete equality in authority means less infringement on his independency. The truth is he is no more in deference to a plurality of leadership than he is to one leader.
One such man with whom there had been persistent issues in a local church was asked if he could follow the pastor’s leadership. His reply was, “A man is not a pastor because he says he is. He is a pastor if he is pastoral.” And who determines if he is pastoral? The patriarch. He was saying that if the pastor met his expectations, (the only correct criteria), then he would recognize his leadership. The problem is that all pastors have flaws and given enough time, the patriarch will find them. It is his justification for ignoring the counsel of a shepherd and following his own judgment. In his mind, he does not need pastoral leadership.
Editor: Hilda was sinless. She had been taught that she could reach a state of sinless perfection in a Nazarene Church nearby. And, Hilda would tell you she was sinless. She played the organ for our assembly, and her lap dog husband tagged along. She was a tyrant feminazi at home, and her husband was totally whipped. He usually sat on the sideline and avoided other men and kept totally silent. Hilda had a weird trick she played on me. When I was leading in hymn singing, she would stop playing the organ between verses and say she had something to share. What she shared was how spiritual she had become, and to cover up the vanity of the thing, she gave gushing praise to God. She was so special to herself that it made her weep to think about it. She also gossiped behind my back. I confronted her, and she told me she was sinless, so her gossip was not really gossip. It was some spiritual ministry. The second offense came, and I asked her to sit in the pew with her husband for a few weeks to show she could submit to the church leadership and stop gossiping. She grabbed her husbandette and fled back to the Nazarene Church. The pastor of that church sent word to me that he wished I would try to keep her and cure her of her orneryness. I sent back word that he should keep her because she was a classic example of what happens when people decide they are sinless.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Five- The tendency to pontificate about one or select Biblical topics:
Often this person “goes to seed” on some area of theology or biblical interpretation. Often he becomes an expert on some biblical topic such as prophecy, family living, evangelism, election, living by grace or the nature of the church. It really does not matter what the topic might be, for he has mastered it. He is an expert and people who do not agree are ignorant or willfully rebellious against what he knows to be the truth. He outguns those who are ignorant of, or not as studied in, areas where he is a specialist. He rarely will deal with someone as studied as he. This, of course, confirms his belief in his opinions and ultimately his superior understanding.
Editor: Larry was a gregarious man, and he made you believe he cared about nothing but helping Christians get more victory in their life. The problem was, Larry had a hybrid doctrine he had come up with. It involved a large dose of Calvinism and a line graph illustration he forced on everyone. The graph was a line drawing of the fall of Adam and the work of Christ. The problem was, it contradicted the Word of God. Larry also had a longing to counsel married couples. I later leaned that nine of the ten couples he counseled got a divorce at his suggestion, even though he claimed to be against divorce. He also destroyed six churches in the area where I pastored in the years I was there. He did this by becoming the guru of the adult Sunday School class, and then he would learn an area where the pastor did not agree with something going on in the church. He would then brashly teach the topic from the Bible rather than let the pastor break the thing in his own way. This caused the people to turn against the pastor, while Larry boldly defended the pastor and rubbed all wounds with salt. Larry told me that everything he was doing was a special calling he had from God. He ran other pastors down to me, and when I asked him what he told other pastors about me, he raged, "You are paranoid and an ego maniac." This was confusing, and that evening in prayer meeting, I told a cop the story, and he roared with laughter. He said, "You cannot be both, pastor."
Six- A desire to limit exposure of his family or comrades to only his views:
This trait appears virtuous as certainly all family heads, leaders and loyal friends should desire to protect those close to them from error. But this goes further than that. For when a family member, friend or loved one begins to be swayed by opinions other than the patriarch’s, he will often begin to resent the intruder’s influence. He will take steps to withdraw his family or friends from opinions he deems to conflict with his leadership. He will pull his child out of a class, require his family to sit only with him, or withdraw his family and go to another church. Sometimes no church is good enough because, to him, they are all in error or bound by unbiblical traditions. So he may form his own “church” where he is the pastor and where people can get the truth. If he stays in a church, he stays on the perimeter of involvement so as to retain control of information. This person will often home school / home church his family so as to “protect” them. But it really is not about protection of his family. He is protecting his patriarchal position.
Editor: Remember, as the author said in the beginning, women are also doing these things in local churches. The only difference is that a woman patriarch feminazi will often push her husband along in front of her as she attacks the leadership of the local church. When she decides to leave, she will coach her husband in what to say to the leaders. This gives the illusion that the man is in control in his home, when in reality, he is a virtual slave of the feminazi.
If you attend a house church, which is a great option much like the early church in the New Testament, take a long look at Fearless Leader. Did he start the church based on a gripe or a fight with a church he formerly attended? If so, he is probably a patriarchal type. Does he demand absolute loyalty, and does he scold you if you visit another church fellowship? Bad sign again. And, does he have something negative to say about all the other pastors in your area, even those in Fundamental Bible believing churches? Very bad sign if he does. You need to move on.
1 Peter 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
Seven- A condescending attitude toward the opposite sex:
If a man, he treats his wife, or women in general, not just as the weaker vessel but as the lesser vessel. If a woman, she tends to regard men as generally stupid and needy and takes a condescending attitude toward them. A man tends to think of most women as inferior beings by design and regards his role not just as protector but as director. Whether a man or a woman, this person tends to want to control the partner either by force of will or manipulation- all of this because of a basic belief in his or her superiority and of the partner’s inferiority. This is not to say that the patriarch does not love or care for the individual. He very well may love them. He is still manipulative and controlling, and he defines his brutality as love.
Editor: Patriarchal pastors and leaders will take charge of your married life as well. One pastor in Texas insisted that couples get his permission to have another baby. This is an extreme example, but you need to stand down these creeps, and in Texas you may need to get physical with the heretic. You have my permission to refer such a pastor to a new rope and a live oak tree.
We had three different pastors decide whom our daughter should marry. One was actually the leader of a mission board we had joined, and his patriarchal wife became enraged when we told her the young man she had picked for our daughter had a lot of proving to do to qualify. She tried her best to make us both guilty of resisting the Lord for applying our standards. Another pastor sent a young man to our home unannounced. He told the young man to tell us he was taking our daughter out on a date because his pastor said it was God's will. He was told that we had not heard the same thing from God, and he had to trundle back across the desert to report to his pastor that we were a bunch of rebels. No man or woman on earth has the authority to decide whom your children marry. It was my observation that in all three cases the young men chosen for my daughter were in dire need of growing up or finishing getting their lives in order after a serious fall into sin.
It is a very common characteristic to find that patriarchal people zero in on certain people they need to rescue. These people usually do have some genuine need, but the patriarch sees them as recruits who will deify him if he rescues them. When a member of you church or family swoons over the ministrations of some such patriarch, go at once to the patriarch, and tell them to back off. If you need to get rough, do not hesitate. Any force needed is in order if you find yourself in the position of defender.
And, if YOU decide you need to rescue some fellow believer, STOP..... take a long look at yourself and your own motives. Are you trying to recruit or rescue? Are you doing the work of someone else, like the person's spouse or pastor or father? Did you confer with someone more mature in Christ than you, like your pastor? If you are on a lone mission, you are probably an arrogant patriarch stalking disciples to you. You deserve to be destroyed by the first defender of the saints who catches you.
These are seven common characteristics of this generic person that I have referred to as the arrogant patriarch. If you are one of them I am sure that you will not have kindly thoughts toward this writer. If you are not one of them, beware. You could easily become such.
James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
Understand this..... These patriarchal types will NOT love you. They will start out suspicious of you, then they will resent you, and finally, they will move on to HATE you and try to destroy you. All the while, they may smile and pretend to approve of your life, teaching, and authority. When you finally learn the evil and sabotage they are doing against you, you may be shocked and tempted to panic and try to placate the patriarch. This is the point at which you will be destroyed because you do not attack and go into spiritual warfare against them and Satan. The fact is, when you finally learn how evil and vicious the patriarch is, and when you hear, and can prove, that they hate you and want to destroy you, you should at once rejoice. Call the patriarch up, and thank him for attacking you. Tell him you look forward to your reward in Heaven for being his target for destruction. Then, run the bum off at once. Tell him you never want to see him around your church, home, or person again. If necessary, pay the fee to get a restraining order on him. Here is Jesus on this topic:
6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you
from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for
the Son of man's sake.
By the way, there are stories of pastors being attacked physically by arrogant patriarchs who were exposed for their attack on churches and homes. Do not assume this could never happen to you.
STUDY IN THE FEMINIZATION OF MEN IN THE CHURCH
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