The Spirit of Diotrephes Print E-mail
by: James Griffin

The fellowship of the New Church Order is less than a year old and yet has already become an international fellowship with hundreds of pastors around the globe. The NCO has placed itself under the umbrella of the Apostolic World Christian Fellowship and been endorsed by its leadership including the Bishop Samuel Smith. Unfortunately, as often happens in such cases a Spirit of Diotrephes has raised in opposition.

Diotrephes’ entire story is told in two verses; 3 John 9-10. The Apostle John was suffering personal and malicious attacks by Diotrephes, who had even started throwing people out of the church who dared to question him. It warrants slowing down at this point and re-emphasizing just whom he was criticizing. THE Apostle John, the beloved disciple of Jesus Christ, indeed one of the three of His inner circle, author of five books of the New Testament including its only book of prophecy.

In a similar spirit there have been some persons of influence within their denominations who have maliciously slandered the NCO and thereby not only questioned the doctrine and character of its founders, Bishop Kenneth Phillips, Dr Wendell Hutchins, and Prophet Jonathan Suber, but by proxy also questioned the judgment of the august elders of the AWCF, including Bishop Samuel Smith. Not content to stop at oral attacks one leader even submitted an article to the official organ of his denomination, (which was published without attempt to verify the facts), thereby prompting this response.

This article actually accused ministers of the NCO of somehow simultaneously promoting the incompatible doctrines of Latter Rain and New Age, all without a single quote or verifiable reason given.

The New Church Order from its inception has stated its roots in and adherence to Classical Apostolic Doctrine. It is merely a change in paradigm of church governance and methodology. Namely a confederation of like minded ministers who seek to escape the isolationist, elitist, and authoritarian mentality which seems to permeate so many denominations and their leadership.

The author went on to insinuate that the leadership of the NCO eschewed Paul’s call to modesty. Ironically enough in the entire article the author never gave a single example of which Biblical standards had been abandoned nor did he himself care to enumerate these “standards of modesty.”

While the gospel is immutable and eternal, each generation, indeed to a degree each individual must define modesty. Even the Apostle Paul recognized that it is entirely possible for the exact same act to be sin to other person and yet not another. Modesty is and always shall be to some degree culturally relative. For example there are parts of the world where the average American “holiness Pentecostal” female would be considered a shameless hussy for daring to go out in public with her hair uncovered and legs exposed below the knee.

On the other hand there are certain acts and spirits which have always been and always shall be sin. One of the chief, which God Himself calls an abomination is “he who sows discord among the brethren,” indeed one of the original Ten Commandments is “thou shalt not bear false witness”. To maliciously spread falsehoods and slander; to openly oppose proven Apostolic leadership rises to that level.

Such a spirit of Diotrephes whether propagated by ignorance or as a means of personal political gain needs to be recognized for what it is, sin. There is no better way to serve the enemy than for the unbeliever to see such vicious and unwarranted infighting with the Bride.

Perhaps such brethren would be better served praying and seeking God for ways to bring unity to the body of Christ? Who knows how many more millions would have been reached over past decades if the resources wasted by such arguments and articles had instead been channeled toward reaching the lost.

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