Is Tyranny the Trademark of the American Church – Land of the Free?

The United States fought the war for independence from England for one primary reason – to end what was perceived as the tyrannical rule of England. This fierce focus on freedom and independence has been a constant theme throughout US history, something in which we take patriotic pride.

Ironically, entire Christian homeschooling curriculums are built around the central theme of American patriotism.Yet, the state of the American church shows some very different trends.

To be sure we’re calling a spade, a spade, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page in defining tyranny.

Tyranny (

  1. arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority.
  2. the government or rule of a tyrant or absolute ruler.
  3. a state ruled by a tyrant or absolute ruler.
  4. oppressive or unjustly severe government on the part of any ruler.
  5. undue severity or harshness.
  6. a tyrannical act or proceeding.

Is it tyranny when a pastor insists on absolute control in the church? Is it tyranny when he ousts members who disagree with him over his mismanagement of funds or when he fails to report a staff member’s alleged sexual abuse of a child in the church?

Is it tyranny when a pastor insists that all within the church consider his teachings “God’s word” to those in the church – to the point they are literally inspired by God and must not be questioned or disobeyed?

Is it tyranny when a husband demands absolute control over his wife’s every thought and action?

Does tyranny accurate describe an abusive pastor, church leader, church system, spouse, or parent? The parallel is powerful and scary – and yet the church wants to not only excuse tyranny in the name of godly leadership, it wants to applaud and encourage it!

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;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.Matthew 20:25-28