Unbiblical Independence

It is flatly unbiblical and heretical for an individual congregation to say, "We'll just be by ourselves and not be accountable to anybody."

That's Ron Sider, from an interview with Stan Guthrie of Christianity Today on Sider's book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience .

Getreligion.com raises this same issue in commenting on stories about two Cavalry Chapels--one near San Bernardino where a staff pastor was fired after being crippled by dengue fever on a mission trip, and another where a former pastor is suing a Calvary Chapel in Laguna Beach for $15 million.

Getreligion's Terry Mattingly contrasted these stories with the sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church:

Millions of Americans love their totally independent congregations that form around charismatic leaders who can unleash fire in the pulpit. But if things go wrong, what then? This is the upside-down, mirror-image story to the Roman Catholic scandals, where people are turning up the heat β€” rightly so β€” on the bishops. Well, what do you do when you have no bishops?

Or when the bishops don't think they are accountable for their actions, I would add, as seemed to be the case in the Catholic church scandal, particularly in Boston.

When any church leader decides they are accountable to God and God alone, bad things happen.


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