Who Rules Over You?

By Mary E. Stephens


This article was originally written some time before I got married.  Hence, my dad's foreword.


Editor of Blessed Quietness:  Steve Van Nattan-- This article Mary has composed is urgently needed. As a [now retired] pastor, I have watched in recent years as prominent men teachers have taken over the minds of Christian women in the Lord's Church. They are often far more trusted than the Christian women trust their own husbands. This is wicked, and these gurus will NOT call it off. Why? Answer: These disobedient Christian women will stop buying the gurus' books if they call for biblical submission.  

Also, I have watched as preachers have taken over the minds, bordering on lust, of women in front of them. We have reports of one Baptist preacher's Thursday night gathering with the girls at his Bible college, and it was obscene in its verbal familiarity. The preacher is just like hundreds of other Bible Baptist pastors who take charge of the minds of the women in front of them. The husbands are expected to hand over their wives and daughters for these popelets to rule in mind and otherwise. Thus, this article is urgently needed. 

There are a good many preachers and scholars lording it over the Lord's church these days.  From the Charismatic wild men to seminary professors to pastors of "fundamental" and King James Bible believing Baptist churches. Why?  

Jeremiah 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?  

People love it.  People would rather be ruled over by men than by a holy God, so they submit themselves to the men instead of God.  Men who are Nicolaitans ("above the people" or "conquerors of the people") never require as much of people as God does. The "Christian gurus" require many and various things that seem strange and foolish to those not under them.  Many of these things are purely the opinion of one man.  Yet, the Bible says God requires so much more from us.  It would perhaps seem excessive also were it not for three things:

1) God is worthy of all that He asks from us,
2) He requires a reasonable service and
3) He provides the strength to obey Him. 

The demigods on the other hand are not worthy, require unthinking obedience and do not provide strength to keep their many random rules.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 

Considering what God has done for us, it is reasonable that we should present our bodies a living sacrifice.  What have the Nicolaitans done for their followers - besides making laws for them and often making fools of them?  They do not reasonably deserve anyone to present themselves to them as living sacrifices, and yet their followers do so regularly.

1 Peter 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

When we ponder the holiness of God and that He has given us the great privilege of being His children, it is reasonable that we should strive to be holy for He is holy. Which of these Nicolaitans is truly holy enough to be such an example that we should emulate them?  And yet, they glory in having men copy their mistakes and live by their messed up rules. 

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 

We are not ambassadors for the "big men" in Christendom, though many of them would have us think so.  We are ambassadors for Christ and, as such, should strive to be holy like Him so that the world may see Christ in us, not some man (or woman).

The very name Nicolaitan means "above the people" or "conqueror of the people".  These men (and women) have lifted themselves up above the "laity" in the Lord's church - people to whom they are equal and to whom they should be servants.  Jesus Christ the Son of God humbled Himself to become a servant. Philippians 2:6-7 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  This is the example He gave us. Mark 9:35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. Matthew 20:27-28 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Even more, they have taken away from the Lord what is rightfully His - the headship of the church - by demanding people obey them, even in contradiction to scripture!  No wonder He says, But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Revelation 2:6 And again, So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Revelation 2:15 Twice Jesus expresses His hate for this wickedness! In Genesis 41:32 we see that a thing which is given twice is established of God, (And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God...) so, we know that this is something that the Lord wanted to establish to us that He hates.  

Sister, do you love to have false prophets and Nicolaitans rule over you? Have you set up your pastor, or a radio or T.V. personality or online expert as your final authority?  Are you following the leaders of some group or college above your husband, and even worse above your Lord?  Do you allow one or more Christian writers to rule your life from a distance through his or her newsletters, web page and/or books?

The only single entity - one man - to whom a wife owes her submission is to her own husband, and that is as it is fit in the Lord (not in things that are not fit do to in the Lord). Colossians 3:18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord We are to submit to other believers in the fear of God, but this mutual submission is distinguished from that singular submission that is for a wife toward her husband. Ephesians 5:21-22 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  Obviously the "God given authority" or "exceptional knowledge" that many of the "gurus" invoke as the reason you should obey them does not fall into either of these categories.  One form of submission is within the body of believers (not Nicolaitans trying to rule other men's homes, whether near or far), the other is the submission of a wife to her own husband.

Those that rule over the church must not do so by means of Nicolaitan, guruistic power. They must come to the saints as men under authority to Christ and answerable to the brothers in Christ. They should be teachers and servants, not lords. 1 Peter 5:2-3 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.  

They should be getting more in line with God's word, not sloppier. Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

They should be watching for your soul. How can they do that if they don't even know you?  In huge churches, in churches where the pastor separates himself from the brethren, over the radio or T.V., or through the internet this is impossible!  They can't really know you - even through your emails. Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.  

We should be like the Bereans whom Luke wrote about in Acts. Acts 17:10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.  We should search the scriptures to see if what we hear from men is Biblical or not.

Let us be diligent that it not be said of us that we love to have false prophets and Nicolaitans rule over us.  Let us not love those whose deeds Jesus Christ hates.

Proverbs 29:25  The fear of man bringeth a snare:
but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.


background & graphics by Mary Stephens
updated 2022