Call No Man Father – Spiritual Covering Teaching Injuring the Church


Matt 23:8-12 “8But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 11But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.  12And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

The first small experience (that I noticed) I had with this was when I was in church and noticed the pastor kept telling us we needed to raise our hands.  People raised their hands, and I kept looking forward and listening for the message.  The pastor said we should raise our hands, say, “hallelujah” and worship.  I kept leaning on the chair in front of me and thought to myself about how I appreciated God.  He said it again, and I noticed he kept looking at me.  (The church was small, so I stood out pretty quickly.)  Feeling like I was the only one without my hands in the air and apparently holding up whatever was keeping him from moving on to the next thing he’d say, I stuck one hand in the air and hoped he’d say something else.  After service, I asked his wife if I was wrong from keeping my hands down because I didn’t think I should raise my hands just because someone said do it if I didn’t feel it in my heart.  She said it wasn’t about feeling it but being obedient to the prophet of God.  Prophet?  When did pastor become a prophet?  Who said he was a prophet?  Apparently, if I did as instructed, I was being obedient to God because the prophet (who was the one chosen to speak for God) knew how to open the windows of Heaven, usher in the presence of God and help us prepare for the blessings of God.

While I was in my charismania and listening to almost anyone that had a platform to teach, I kept coming across the term “spiritual mother or father”.  Juanita Bynum and Paula White stood out to me (again – didn’t know they were false teachers).  I listened to Bynum inform the crowd that God had told her she was a “mother in Zion”, a spiritual mother.  I saw videos that linked her to “Mother Boyd” and her spiritual daughters and Bynum’s spiritual daughters, armor bearers and disciples.  I watched videos that talked about people being “launched” into the ministry.  Of course, having no clue what was going on, I mentioned this to the pastor’s wife.  I watched a campmeeting teaching at Parsley’s church where Bynum basically told us we needed to sit under the pastor/spiritual father, take correction, be rebuked, suck it up and not leave until we had permission (may not have been the one message but several since I went through about 20 of them).  Well, nobody was kind enough to tell me I was completely off base, so I sought to try to make myself comfortable with my new spiritual siblings – didn’t work.  God was kind enough to remove me shortly.

Your spiritual covering is not a church.  For women, husbands are the spiritual coverings for their wives.  Men are not to have any covering on their heads because Jesus Christ is the covering.  1 Cor 11:3-4 “ 3But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.  4Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.”


So what is this spiritual covering/parenting/headship/discipleship movement being taught?

It’s basically a movement that got its start in the mid-70s under the idea that people were becoming Christians but not learning how to live in Christ or be His disciples.  It was supposed to be a mentoring program designed to help each new Christian be able to understand the doctrines of Christianity and Christian living.  In theory, it sounds good, but it went horribly wrong.  Here’s a quote from Bob Mumford, one of the founders of the discipleship movement:

–          “Accountability, personal training under the guidance of another, and effective pastoral care are needed biblical concepts. True spiritual maturity will require that they be preserved. These biblical realities must also carry the limits indicated by the New Testament. However, to my personal pain and chagrin, these particular emphases very easily lent themselves to an unhealthy submission resulting in perverse and unbiblical obedience to human leaders. Many of these abuses occurred within the sphere of my own responsibility.” – Ministries Today, January/February 1990

What ended up happening is the movement developed a pyramid of power disguised as an umbrella of protection.  Those who claim to be your spiritual covering and your spiritual parents will state that:

–          They are your elders/leaders and are responsible for your spiritual development.  You are to submit to them and let them be accountable to God if they are incorrect.  Your job is to obey as you would your earthly parents.  We’re supposed to follow their leadership basically until they believe we’ve graduated.

–          The only way you can be a true disciple is to study and learn under one.  You are a lone sheep that needs to be planted in a church so you can learn about God.  Not being in church or submitting to leadership makes you rebellious to authority.

–          Because they’re above us, they know more than we do.  We should consult them before making major decisions (even some minor ones) such as financial purchases and get their permission before doing anything in the ministry such as starting a Bible study or changing churches after a move.

–          They are covering us and protecting us from false doctrines and satanic attacks.

The reality is that those at the top create positions that come right underneath them, those under them and all the way down to the congregation.  Each person that “launches” someone into a new ministry is revered and given a portion of donations, offerings and/or tithes of the person below him.  Blind and total obedience is expected under the belief of God-ordained authority and to be held accountable, but the leaders will not permit questioning of their actions.  Power-hungry leaders end up distorting Bible teaching, crippling Christians, creating mini cults and causing untold spiritual abuse.

Here is an example of Juanita Bynum submitting and repenting to her spiritual father, T. D. Jakes (both false teachers).  This whole sermon was geared around setting up for this apology to her “spiritual father” and being launched into her next level (Bynum gained more popularity after every appearance with Jakes).  The music helped set the tone while the majority of the women are moved to screaming and tears.  She was stripped of her pride and was told by God to repent and embarrass herself in front of tens of thousands of people after preaching, have Jakes bless and forgive her of her sins, enter a covenant with him and then skyrocket into her ministry?  Pt 4, she talks about all her spiritual parents and how we’re like the muslim community that call everyone a mother or father.  I skipped to part 5 that shows the act.

Please note: 1) She’s bowing/kneeling before him, 2) His words at 2:43 – “Thy sins are forgiven thee.” (Why is he speaking as if he’s Jesus?), 3) all the emotion and music going on and when it happens.  Really? Is all this necessary if you just wanted to issue an apology?

Juanita Bynum – renewed covenant pt 5 – being restored to as a “spiritual daughter”

They know it wasn’t necessary or Biblical.  This display is to reinforce to the rest of us that we NEED people over us to give us permission and their blessings before we step out of line and move without them.

1 Peter 5:1-4 “1The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2Feed 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; 3Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.  4And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

Mark 10:42-45 “42But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Although Jesus gave us those in the body to help build and edify us, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ with no one being above another or having more God than the next.  One may be more seasoned than another, but the same Holy Spirit that works in one works in another to teach and distribute gifts as He sees fit.  While making disciples is a command, one-on-one, daily communion or regular association to teach is not mandatory as the Holy Spirit, Who wrote the Bible, can teach us directly.  After the Apostle Paul’s conversion, he went away for three years to hear from the Lord directly and be taught by Him.

Gal 1:13-19 “13For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.  15But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.  18Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.  19But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.”

Not only does this create an unbiblical tie/bondage, the hierarchy system creates division within churches and gives leaders the go-ahead to make up additional, burdensome rules which lend to elitism/superiority complexes.  I came across this clip last year while reading people’s posts about what kind of seals, robes and rings they should get.  (Why each pastor and new bishop needed a seal is beyond me, but I found it interesting that people professing Christ were going out of their way to get the fanciest, most detailed and colorful crap they could buy to represent their ministries.)

I don’t agree with 99% of the people I read in those discussions and don’t agree with this guy.  I noticed that he’s started another movement to unite people under one banner similar to the shepherding movement (same concept – different stink).  It looks mighty popish to me.  UCCC website

(Notice how they all seem to require you to “enter into a covenant/binding until death agreement with them?  For example, many ministries like Creflo Dollar want “covenant partners.”  We’re permitted to enter into covenant with our spouses and with God.  I don’t see any other relationship permitted for me to commit myself until I die.  I could be missing it somewhere, but I don’t see it.)

While this discusses their ranks on a national level, it reflects the attitudes and behaviors of some of the local churches that have a hierarchy mindset.  (Ever wonder why you couldn’t sit in a certain seat or wonder why the main pastor gets the big, comfy seat while the others on the pulpit sit in folding chairs?  I did.)


Pecking Order Bishop Garnes – clip

He discusses clothes, cords, seats – Seriously, who thinks about this when coming to church?  He and the next in line can’t fly on the same plane for security/safety reasons?

Apparently, there are colors/uniforms to identify themknow your colors


I believe the main reason this spiritual parentage took off is because we had a generation come up without fathers in the home.  People became so desperate to have a substitute dad or father-figure in their lives, they jumped on the opportunity to have a pastor claim that title.  We need to come from underneath any church insisting on covering us and/or other churches and correct those calling brothers/sisters in Christ “dad, father, mom, mum”.    We have been reborn into Christ and have God’s seed in us.  Our only spiritual Father is the Lord.

1 John 3:9 “9Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”


What does the Covering Heresy Teach?page
Shepherding Movementpage
The Other side of Discipleshippage

Human Coveringsaudio teaching

umbrella money water

* 6:10pm Edited to add: I just finished watching the “Renewed Covenant” teaching to make sure I remembered and was correct in stating the purpose for the teaching.  Yes, the entire 5-part series was designed to get the listeners to believe a certain way.

Bynum starts with a passage from Job and saying she’s a daughter and had no business taking credit for Jakes’s ideas.  She was a thief.  Anyone walking out of a church where some members follow is a thief for stealing members & splitting the congregation.  (Maybe they left for false teaching)  She accused the person who left of lying for saying they heard God call them to preach.  “You a lying wonder because you’re starting a church with something belonged to somebody else!”  (The sheep belong to Jesus – not the pastor.)  She got a “place in God” because she’s Jakes’s spiritual daughter.  She’s not to have assistants (armor bearers), collect an offering, expect anything but to be grateful to her spiritual parents, serve them, obey & appreciate the fact that father gave her “life”.  Spiritual children are to want nothing and run to defend their pastor/spiritual father when anyone speaks against him (damage control – preparing people to not listen when their false teachings are pointed out).  She’ll “break fellowship with that person that’s causing dissension.”  (Disfellowship/shun anyone that doesn’t agree with the pastor.) She’s carrying the seed of her father (spiritual father that’s her lifeline).  She keeps referencing Jakes but doesn’t state the Lord God is her Father.  God won’t bless anything and will put a shadow over anything that the spiritual parent didn’t bless (approve or give permission).  She has many spiritual fathers, but she’s forever in Jakes’s debt for putting her in front of people.

Pt 3 – God “told her” her name was too big for this foolishness.  5:33 – Who says “small” with the “a-okay” sign? 7:02 – “Your level is your ability to apologize when you ain’t done nothin’ wrong!”  She’s never going back to the days she had to preach in a storefront and do her own work?  Those souls aren’t worthy of her?

She wants to learn how to keep her integrity in her fame.  Play it on international tv.  She apologized for tearing the body of Christ in the Spirit – how was that done if no one knows what happened behind the scenes or why she’s up here?

This is the summary of the teaching in case you wanted to look back through it or wondered.  It’s very easy to get caught up in the emotionalism and agree at points like her speaking about being humble before God, but the teaching was completely wrong and setting people up to become trapped under leadership that refuses to follow God’s commands.

(Original post March 2012)


Call No Man Father – Spiritual Covering Teaching Injuring the Church — 7 Comments

  1. This is good; and I agree. Thank you for bringing it to fore front, and causing us to give attention to this type of going on. Please help me, by explain to me, how I would explain to others, when asked about this. ” Paul calling Timothy his son”

    Thank you….

    • Sorry for the delay. A lot of activity over this month. I also wanted to get feedback from a Bible teacher to make sure the response was on the right track.

      Basically, Paul was like a father to Timothy. Paul taught and trained him with what he knew, and they were most likely close like family the same way you might call a woman who loves and cares for you a second mother. It wouldn’t be the first time we see non-relative parent child relationships. We see sons of the prophets in the OT and John looking to care for Mary, Jesus’s mother, as his own mother in the NT.

      What we’re seeing in the spiritual parent movement is the “child” being told that if the “parent” is wrong, that the “parent” is responsible to God. The parent-figure here actually slides between God and the person trying to do right and puts the focus on himself. He makes the child report to him first and gain permission from the parent to do things God has already permitted or required him to do.

      So, really, the primary difference is that Paul always made God the focus of Timothy while today’s “spiritual parents” make themselves the focus with God or His blessings the reward for obedience to the parents’ instructions.

  2. I stumbled on to this teaching. I can honestly say it blessed and me. I feel that now and days “saints” are giving more credence to man than G_d. It answered my question: “If G_d called a person to start a ministry or to go into the hedges and highway to preach the Holy gospel, they couldn’t because they didn’t have a spiritual covering. I always believed that G_d should be our and anyone in ministry spiritual covering. Thank you so much for the scripture reference also.

  3. please read this scripture and explain to me. 1 Corinthians 4: 15 Paul said even though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ I have begotten you through the gospel. therefore I urge u to imitate me. Y Is Paul telling them to imitate him.

    • I believe the reason Paul is speaking to these Believers this way is because he has a special relationship with them because he taught them the Gospel of Christ and cares deeply about their spiritual development. I think it would be similar to being a mentor to a group of youth. The more time you invest into teaching them and helping them to reach their potential, the more you are concerned that they might follow someone into trouble and destroy their lives. If you know that you are walking in integrity and are modeling appropriate living, you might encourage them to live like you live because you know you won’t mislead them. That’s not saying that others don’t have something valuable to contribute or teach them. It’s saying that you have a special place in your heart for this particular group of people and want them to succeed. Similarly, Paul knows he is pressing toward Christ with all that is in himself and wants those he’s led to Christ to do the same because he loves them in the Lord and sincerely desires that they live for, love, and glorify the Lord also.

  4. Thanks you very much pastor for this message, please help me, I am one the sons who feel that I was ill treated by my spiritual father and I have facts that cause me to leave the church, and now I’ve been joining churches and everytime I join each church I don’t feel the sense of belonging and I’ve to prostitution and adultery and I can’t find my way back to that love relationship with God and His has departed from me. What can I do to be in an accurate place with God?

    • Hi! I’m sorry you’ve been hurt, especially from someone who should have been guiding you instead of mistreating you. To clear things up, I’m not a pastor and have no desire to pursue that role. I’m merely someone who had/has many questions. I study and write notes at different times and try to share resources for others who may not have the time. I understand the desire to join another church and feeling disconnected or attending and wondering why it feels “off” but not being able to put your finger on it. It could be due to the role/mentorship relationship you once had, or it could be that there are certain things taught that you just can’t overlook. I don’t know if “joining” churches is you attending regularly or you visiting and soon after deciding you should be part of the church. With so much that has happened, you may need to visit on different days, attend different services (like a Sunday school, prayer session, etc.), meet with a pastor/elder to get questions answered, learn about their beliefs to find out if the beliefs are just for appearance or are taught, find out what expectations they have of members, and pray that God help you find a good location and not just one that initially looks okay. Something to think about…I have seen many who were in a spiritual father/son/daughter relationship get so tied to and attached to the idea and person in position that they began to value that “father” more than God. They had been taught that this person basically needed to give the “okay” for almost every aspect of their lives. That dependence ended up draining bank accounts, damaging marriages, and causing years of stress and depression because people were trained to check with the person before checking with God. If you were in that position, you may feel detached from God because someone else put himself in that place while teaching you that was his responsibility. If you go to another church seeking a replacement role model/mentor/father, then you will continue to feel distance from God, but you’ll also be torn about churches. Role models, especially elders, are great for coaching us, but they’re human and make mistakes or have misunderstandings. If we place God’s responsibility on them, they’ll fall every time. Hopefully, you’re giving yourself time to heal. The spiritual parent model tends to be imbalanced and create a dependence on the individual to hear from God or make decisions (creating doubt in yourself and your abilities to understand God’s Word and desire for you) while also creating a desire for you to seek approval between unnecessary rebukes and reinforcement praise. The result can be an addictive relationship or similar to those in domestic violence relationships where the victim knows the relationship is toxic but doesn’t believe he/she should/can leave. When you’ve become accustomed to that kind of dynamic, you can find yourself seeking out people or relationships that will repeat those patterns or produce those former feelings (similar to how a woman may leave on abusive relationship only to enter another, possibly worse, abusive relationship). God does not create that type of turmoil and stress. I think the best way to rekindle your love for God is to hear from Him. Read or listen to recordings of Scripture. The Word refreshes us. It’s God’s own thoughts, desires, plans, etc. given to us. Read exactly what it is that God wants and how to get into strong fellowship with Him. God doesn’t disown His children, so just return and hear what He desires. (think prodigal son and the father’s welcome)