By Revd. Dr. Idowu Ibitoye
1. Absalomic Trait: Disloyalty to Constituted Authority: The Absalomic trait also manifest itself in form of disloyalty to constituted authority. Disloyalty simply connotes the quality of not being loyal to a person, leader, country or organisation/church, it is simply unfaithfulness and betrayer. This spirit was found in Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus Christ just because of monetary gain. A disloyal servant can sell his boss/leader to the enemy and pretend he does not know what is happening. Absalom was disloyal to the king and created division in order to form his own government. The Signs and Signals of a disloyal follower include:
i. Selfishness: Those who are selfish and self-centered can be disloyal to the organisations they belong. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” Phil. 2:3. Persons that are selfish may be having the spirit of Absalom and such will not be absolutely loyal to the church or organization they represent.
ii. Grumbling and Fault finding: Grumblers and fault finding persons will not be loyal to the constituted authority and such may not finish well in the race set before them. “These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts and their mouth create swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage” Jude 16.
iii. Those who speak arrogantly: This is another manifestation of a disloyal person. Everyone must learn how to present his/her point in love and humility and not speak arrogantly to cause commotion or division. However, leaders must try to accommodate all manners of behaviours and mannerism, and ensure that such are discipled in the love of Christ.
iv. Flatterers: A flatterer is someone who praises people without being sincere, a sycophant. “Those who flatter their neighbours are spreading nets for their feet” Prov. 29:5. Every leader must beware of any man/woman who flatters for such do it to deceive and to profit themselves. At the end, a flatterer might break out of the main body and form personal empire.
v. Mockers/Scoffers: It is simply to jeer or laugh with contempt. Scoffing is a sign of the end time, “knowing this first, that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts” II Pet. 3:3. A scoffer will always laugh and speak about his leader in such a way that shows that his leader’s idea is stupid or silly and through this, discouraging others from accepting the leader.
Antidotes to Absalomic Manifestations in Contemporary Churches
It is evident and obvious that the Abasalomic spirit is manifesting in our contemporary churches and this is projecting the church in a bad light to the outside world. Below are some antidotes to this age long problem confronting Christendom:
a. Leadership by Holy Spirit: Church leaders must allow the Holy Spirit to lead at all times. When the Holy Spirit took over the early church, rapid growth of the church was glaring. Canal leadership must never be allowed in the church, both the leaders and the led must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and always allow Him to lead the church on every sensitive matter. When the Absalomic spirit entered Ananias and Sapphira and they lied against the Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit executed instant judgment and “so great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things” Acts 5:11.
b. Ecclesiastical Discipline: It seems the tradition of church discipline is becoming eroded and a thing of the past. Any act of indiscipline in the early and medieval church was disciplined by the church leadership. Cases like adultery, fornication, heretic teachings, etc. were not taken lightly. About 30 to 40 years ago the church was very active at ensuring the discipline of any erring member. However today, church leaders are afraid to discipline members found wanting in any unholy act, simply because the church does not want to lose members to other missions. Discipline is part of the sacred responsibility of the church and she must always engage in it holistically and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
c. Proper Discipleship and Mentoring: Jesus spent quality time to disciple his followers ranging from 12 to 70 members and they became effective when Jesus was with them and after his ascension, they were more productive. It was said of them “…do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” Lk. 10:20.
Many young contemporary ministers are not well discipled before their commissioning to pasture the flock. Joshua was well discipled by Moses, while Elijah discipled Elisha for the task. Likewise, Apostle Paul discipled Titus and Timothy before they were placed over the flocks of Christ. Every young minister must have a mentor who will serve as spiritual parent in order to guide and direct them in every spiritual matters. It was evident that Absalom was never discipled by his father and so he turned against him. Any undiscipled minister will always bite the finger that feeds him.
d. Fervent prayer: Absalomic traits has become a spirit in our contemporary church, it is only fervent prayer that can chase it out. Every local church must always pray for the spirit of love, loyalty and faithfulness among the leaders and followers. We must always remember that prayer is the master key!
e. Accountability: Accountability is defined as the “act of being responsible for what you do and able to give a satisfactory reason for it”. Everyone must have an accountability partner who could say the truth to them at any time and in any circumstance. Likewise, one must be aware that he/she will give account of everything to God and to the leader. Absalom acted in a manner that showed he was not responsible and accountable; this resulted in arrogant to the throne and constituted authority.
The characteristics of Absalom are evident in our contemporary assembly, denominational leaders must rise to stop this menace and restore normalcy in the church.
By Revd. Dr. Idowu Ibitoye