How They Do It

The way in which some act in churches and in Para-Church Christian organizations is puzzling. Perhaps, I should say disappointing. What I’m referring to is the dominant individual who insists on getting his way, no matter what. He will come up with an idea that he believes everyone else should adopt, and will find ways and means of putting it through—even though a minority suspect that the plan isn’t biblical, and would like to take time to study it from an exegetical perspective. They rarely speak up. If one does, he is trounced with a bevy of reasons for moving ahead, without delay.

Does the proponent listen? Seldom. The idea of assuring Scriptural fidelity is brushed aside in one manner or another. “Trust me—I have studied this out and, in addition, Drs. Jones, Smith and Green are all for it.” Who can disagree with these three “greats” of the Evangelical world?

How does he get his way? He lays it out—full-blown—before the group and tells them this is what they must do. There may be a few individuals who are neither for nor against it, but would like to hear more information before they endorse it. They may or may not express this desire. But it doesn’t matter; the one proposing the plan—whether it be the construction of a building, the adoption of some ambitious program, or the backing of a scheme for furthering one of his pet projects—he will get his way. How? By virtually bludgeoning the rest into agreement.

He does so by telling them that he really doesn’t need them to accomplish his goal. He can go ahead on his own, gathering a sympathetic group from elsewhere—one he already knows is ready to follow—and pull it off. But he’d surely regret seeing them left behind. After all, he has access to large money sources–greater than those of the rest in the meeting—and, in the final analysis, that’s what counts. So, either they comply or he will pick up his marbles and go do it in some other venue. It would be a shame for them to be left in the dust.

By the time he presents his proposal, his idea is virtually a fait accompli, and so he isn’t interested in discussing its merits. His only concern is whether or not the group will support it. The silent members of the body usually cave, having no desire to debate the issue toe-to-toe with him, or to see him and his money leave. The small, vocal, negative minority are treated either as foot-draggers, out of touch with the times, or “narrow fundamentalists.” The proposal goes through—with but two negative votes.

Paul had confronted such people. So he wrote concerning the qualifications of an elder, “A overseer, as God’s steward, must be beyond suspicion, not one who wants his own way, not hot-headed . . .” Titus 1: 7. The translation of the original Greek authade, “one who wants his own way,” actually, puts it rather mildly. The Greek contains the notion of arrogance, which is obvious to those who have been flattened by his steam-roller tactics.

The question in this blog is, “With which one of the three sorts of parties mentioned do you identify? Are you one who genuinely wants to do things biblically, so is ready to take the time necessary for it? Are you like the one who, at all costs, will have his way? Or are you one of those who won’t express your doubts, or insist on taking time to determine the correctness of the proposal?” My guess is that most fall into the third category. Well, if you don’t like being elbowed into agreement, and truly want to serve your Lord, it’s time to learn to speak up and vote your conscience. Now wouldn’t that be a welcome change in such meetings?

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