Insubordination in the Church

Insubordination in the Church-   

I overheard a conversation recently among friends about a company that fired an employee after he refused to follow the demands of his supervisor.  I chimed in that “he deserved his punishment” and shouldn’t have been surprised since he knew what was expected of him when signing on for the job.

Several days later while preparing for an on mission celebration in our state, I read again the familiar Acts 1:8 passage, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”. 

Acts 1 8

While the concept of insubordination is often linked with the military, it can as I’ve already referenced, also occur in the workplace.  But does it occur in the church?

Webster’s dictionary defines insubordination as “not obeying authority or refusing to follow orders”.  Before being taken up into heaven, Jesus gave final orders to His apostles, and to us in Acts 1:8.  Has the church failed to obey His authority and refused His orders?

I’m not an attorney, but as I understand it, there are several characteristics that must be present before a situation can be considered insubordination.  First of all, the order must be clear and in the form of a verbal or written statement.   If Jesus had said, “I suggest that you guys consider being witnesses after I’m gone,” it would not be considered an order or a command to follow.  God made sure that this command was recorded in the scriptures to ensure that we would understand His expectation of us.

Additionally, if it’s insubordination, the order must be proper and cannot violate the law.  Being His witnesses doesn’t violate the law, at least in very many places in the world.  But it definitely doesn’t violate God’s law.  It only seems appropriate, that if His message is going to go to the ends of the earth, His followers must be the ones to take it.

I don’t know of a church that has directly refused to be His witness.  Yet many have done their own thing and failed to be His witness in their community, state, nation and world.  However, whether direct or indirect, it’s still subordination if the order is not carried out. So, is your church guilty of insubordination or is it actively involved in carrying out the Great Commandment given by our authority, Jesus Christ?

3 thoughts on Insubordination in the Church

  1. A rather obtuse statement in that “he deserved his punishment”, especially in light of the fact that you overheard other people talking. Maybe you have been fortunate enough, in your twenty plus years in ministry, to have never taken a job to only find out later that unethical or immoral demands would be made of you. Well, let me assure you, it happens. There are Christians who are persecuted for standing up for Christ at their place of employment, and some lose their jobs for doing so. Be careful, a reader might think you are suggesting to roll over and sin anyway, just to get those wages, wages of sin.

    • I appreciate your comment, but think that you may have missed the point of my post, which was that many churches have not been subordinate to Christ’s command to go. I only shared about the conversation I overheard and my comment to illustrate the fact that insubordination does happen in the work place. I was not, nor would I ever suggest that a Christian “roll over and sin”.

  2. I am thankful for any insight given to remind us as followers of Christ to be prepared in season and out of season, to be ready to go, to always be ready to share the Good News and not be ashamed of the Gospel. I agree whole heartedly that we should follow Christ’s Command to “Go” and He did say to Go to all of the World. That includes our back yards and next door neighbors, our friends and co-workers, homelands and nation and all other nations and peoples of the World. The Apostle Paul was always trying to reach for the prize, he was always running the race and striving to do whatever he could for his Lord and Savior because he Christ was the Hope in him.
    Whoever you are, whoever wrote that, THANK YOU> thank you for giving me another wonderful reminder of what my Lord and Savior asks of me. He asks me to Share with others the Great Gift I have received freely from Him and that he wants to give freely to them.

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