Should we rebuke pastors or church leaders who are bullies?

John Piper says bullying Pastors who abuse authority should be rebuked because they are hurting other people. Some are Bible thumpers who are blinded by their pride and position.

Abusive Pastors often quote Bible verses and assert their position to prove they have better insights or more spiritual, unknowingly tearing down church members.

Red flags of religious bullies

1. They overemphasize their authority as a church leader, some insisting they are anointed by God.
2. They ask members to do things for them, especially menial tasks that they can do themselves.
3. They make you feel guilty, instead of building you up in love, acceptance, and understanding.
4. They use the pulpit to openly rebuke church members or those who they do not like.
5. They are impatient, controlling, dominant, and refuse constructive criticism.

The apostles tell us to submit and obey our Pastors (Hebrews 13:17-19, 22-25), especially in matters of faith and doctrine. It is assumed of course that they have the right knowledge of the scripture and their lives should be honorable in every way (Hebrews 13:18).

God holds the pastor and church leaders to a higher standard (James 3:1). The Bible lists their qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). When a pastor or a leader violates these standards, they are no longer qualified to continue in their role.

→ Why Church leaders and Pastors should avoid politics

Having the title of “Pastor or Reverend” does not always equate to having the correct theology. History will tell you about how learned religious hypocrites dilute God’s words. The Lord looks at the heart, not a diploma. (1 Samuel 16:7)

What can you do?

Although you can rebuke in love anyone, it may be difficult to draw the line between “rebuking” and “condemning.” If your church leader or Pastor is a bully, you can raise the issue together with other church leaders. If this is not possible, you can let God deal with it. Church leaders, teachers, and Pastors will receive a stricter judgment (James 3:1). The Lord will rebuke them. (Jude 1:9)

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→ How to know if a “church” is cult?
→ Interested in a Bible study or is looking for a Christian church fellowship?
→ The secret sin that disqualifies a church leader

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“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit because you can do nothing without Me (John 15:5); “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

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