Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Veto Power--Not Just For the POTUS
I was reminded recently of a teaching I encountered as a young lad smack in the middle of IFBxdom. This teaching is what some have come to call "veto power". I know, I know--you thought that only the President of the United States had this power--you were dead wrong. Some within IFBx believe that the pastor or some other Christian leader ought to hold "veto power" over the decisions in your life. I know this is a foreign concept to most of you who are reading this, but let me assure you that it is taught among the cultural fundamentalists.
I want to begin by saying that I believe in wise Christian counsel--I believe in the Scriptural principle of seeking guidance or counsel when an important decision lays in the balance.
Proverbs 11:14 tells us: "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in abundance of counselors there is safety." Proverbs 15:22 explains: "Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed." Lastly, Proverbs 24:6 says: "For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory." I believe that the Bible clearly teaches that it is our first priority to seek the LORD's guidance on everything. In those instances when we encounter a situation where God remains silent and we are struggling for peace, a group of wise Christian counselors is both a wise and scriptural principle.
All that being said, I recently picked up a copy of Christian Womanhood (a monthly magazine published by the ministries of the First Baptist Church of Hammond) and found an article that gave me pause. I believe that the lady who wrote this article is a fine Christian woman--I actually had the opportunity while in college of working with her and her family on an East Chicago bus route. My issue with this teaching is not directed at her personally and so I will withhold her name from this discussion.
Here is the paraphrased version of her story. She was a Hyles Anderson College student and away from home. She had been dating a man who I believe proposed to her and so she went in to see Pastor Hyles about it. She had already decided to adopt Pastor Hyles' teaching of "veto power" being held by ones pastor. Pastor Hyles listened as she explained the good news of her proposal--Pastor Hyles exercised his power of veto in this young lady's life and forbade her from accepting this marriage proposal. Later this same young lady met her husband and Pastor Hyles approved and they are still living happily ever after and working in the ministries of FBCH.
I love to hear stories about couples who have been married for 25, 30, 40, 50, and 60 years--we need more marriages like this in our culture today for sure! The only part of this story that I am taking issue with is the fact that this individual had given Pastor Hyles veto power in her life. I think everything worked out great for this particular lady, but I wonder how many other similar stories could be told with the exact opposite result?
I do not believe that FBC Hammond is a cult--I do believe that teachings like this about a pastor's "veto power" are unfortunately both cultic and unscriptural. I do not believe that every college student or member of FBCH has adopted this philosophy--I praise God for that. If you ever encounter someone trying to teach you this little-known doctrine run as fast as you can in the opposite direction!