John Piper Says Bullying Pastors Abuse Authority and Should Be Rebuked

by Stephanie Samuel  |  published on November 7, 2014

Answering a listener’s question, John Piper told followers of his podcast that a bullying pastor is a leader who abuses his authority. The retired Bethlehem Baptist Church pastor said bullying pastors should be admonished and gave listeners of his Ask Pastor John program a scriptural litmus test to identifying such a leader.

Bullying or abusive church leaders manifest themselves in a number of ways, Piper explained. One of those manifestations is tearing down church members.

“One of the reasons you have to rebuke one person in the church is because they are hurting the sheep. They’re hurting other people and out of love and the up-building of the other people, you may have to get tough with a sheep-hurter or destroyer or a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” he explained.

A bullying pastor, Piper noted, may also lack patience. He inquired, “Is the pastor a temper problem or is he patient with all?” A pastor without patience will seek to push his teachings on the congregation without explaining them and may be quarrelsome.

Finally, he said bullying pastors are domineering leaders. “Does the pastor get down and live alongside his people, giving examples to them or is he always pompously pronouncing with a domineering sense of I’m a big shot in this church and you guys ought to toe the line,” he questioned. He said of the latter approach, “That’s bullying and that’s the opposite of what God calls his shepherds to be.”