Recently I received an e-mail from a brother in Christ in which he referred to those leaders who control the various parties in the Churches of Christ as “power brokers”. Who are these people? They are the editors and staff and writers of party or sectarian journals, some elders, some prominent party evangelists and preachers. They are the ones who control and seek to control the rank and file through coercion, intimidation, and threat. They are dogmatic and domineering. They don’t advocate or function in an atmosphere of freedom and with a loving attitude. They don’t respect congregational autonomy or the right of individual study and private judgment. One who challenges, or disagrees with, or questions the party’s unwritten creed or traditions, is labeled an “apostate” or “digressive” or “liberal” or a “modernist”, and has no rights. I know! Try to defend yourself in the party paper or get a response to some questions. They generally are unethical in this regard. These power brokers are not averse to malicious gossip, inconsistency, and misrepresentation to subvert any legitimate discussion or influence of alleged “brethren-in-error”. They are not above dividing the Body of Christ to maintain their control and power. Interestingly, I think you will find that these power brokers have caused many more divisions than the ones they say are acting “contrary to the doctrine”. They interpret and twist the scriptures to enforce and support the party’s unwritten creed rather than subscribe to a free and open search for truth.
These “power brokers” are in the vein of the “rulers of the Gentiles”, and act in opposition to what Jesus taught in this regard. When the mother of James and John sought pre-eminence for her two sons, and the other ten apostles were indignant, Jesus told them: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”(Matthew 20: 25-28)
Thank goodness more and more are awakening to the fact that the actions of these “Power brokers” are not in accord with the scriptures and the Spirit if God, and are treating their brethren in Christ as equals and with respect. May God bless all those who have the courage to say they were wrong for making their positions on “matters of faith” explicit commands of God and drawing unscriptural lines of fellowship. May more realize that their party is not the only Christians and the “power brokers” act not in accord with Christ.