Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Scourge of "Accountability"

Here's another eyebrow raising title! And for good reason. Especially in light of so many scandals in the church, the political system and elsewhere, calls for accountability have reached a decibel level sufficient to burst eardrums.

And yet I'm more convinced than ever that accountability as we understand it is most often a function with roots in the wrong tree... the tree of knowledge of good and evil... and not the tree of Life.

Recently I sensed the Lord prompting me to re-read Dr. Steve Crosby's book "Authority, Accountability, and the Apostolic Movement".

And I undertand why. I am picking up some things that did not get deeper traction before. It describes a ball and chain that once weighed down my own soul. And now I have a deeper burden for so many people I've recently engaged... people more preoccupied with external conformity than new creation incarnational living. Though I have blogged on this book before, I'm eager to share another key excerpt here:

On Account of Being Accountable

Perhaps a reader my be thinking, Crosby, all we are trying to do is assure responsible and accountable behavior, what is wrong with that? First, like covering, accountability is an unbiblical term, and in application it can, and often does, exceed biblical grounds. Do a word search (King James Version) sometime on accountable or accountability. It is not there. We use the term in our language as an attempt to approximate the biblical term submission.

Second, as the concept is taught in apostolic circles it is interpreted and practiced as being under someone else and being "accountable to them" in an upstream, individual, and positional way: accountability is to the person "over you", your spiritual covering. The scriptures teach no such thing.

Issues of accountability are nowhere in Scripture limited to a covering minister or apostle. The burden is on each of us, for each of us. The responsibility for ministry is with the saints! For all the talk during the last fifty years of "equipping the saints," we have done a fairly poor job, and principles of biblical accountability only exacerbate the situation.

External accountability is like driving with the sheriff in the backseat of your car. As long as the sheriff is there, no one is going to speed! Remove the external presence of authority and a speeder is reborn! Accountability only enables performance-based religion. It is the self-aware, self-monitoring Adamic counterfeit of biblical discipleship. All restraints, codes, and principles of accountability are impotent to change the nature. Accountability can be, and often is, faked. The Adamic nature can comply with the accountability expectations of spiritual covering:

-Have you done your prayers? Check

-Have you read the Word? Check

-Did you do your assignment? Check

-Did you pray with your wife? Check

-Did you volunteer at the food bank? Check

-Did you pet the dog today? Check

-Check...check...check.... all done sir!

What a good boy or girl you have been!

This so-called "accountability" doesn't touch the realm of death and resurrection life of the Son. It is all about performing tasks to standard. This is not biblical submission or discipleship. It does not produce spiritual maturity. It assures spiritual infancy. In fact, it is stupefying inoculation against Spirit life, because as long as someone has completed their "accountability sheet" for the week, he or she will think they are just spiritually fine when they are the walking dead. They can be relationally a disaster, but if they have submitted their discipleship worksheet on time to their "mentor," or "spiritual covering," they will have the false impression that all is just fine. Accountability is better than unbridled sin, but the manifestation of the life of the Son is superior to policed accountability.

For those of you in the Charlotte area, you can hear Steve Crosby share on "The Limitations of Light" next week. To learn more and RSVP, click on the Facebook page below:


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