Armor-Bearers, PPA’s, and Other Such Nonsense {guest post}

{There is a younger generation rising up. And with all force of the Holy Spirit they speak boldly. This post is one of those voices crying from the wilderness. To keep from focusing on the writer, this person prefered a new name for the blog. Paz, who is born the first time somewhat reserved; born again as a dedicated temple of an outspoken Holy Spirit.}

Not long ago I was surfing the net, cruising some ministry websites, looking at different men and their ministries, when I happened across something that the Holy Ghost pointed out to me.   He just kind of poked me.

I was viewing a large, international church ministry in the south, thousands of members strong and with a wealthy, well-known pastor.  Somehow I got onto a page that talked about the “PPA’s” of the church, what they were, and their elite calling, so to speak.

Now, I had never heard of such a thing, but this pastor has a troupe of them; “personal pastoral assistant” is their full-length title.   Apparently they are something of a cross between the traditional “armor bearer” so favored by the institution of the church, and Secret Service agents.  A body guard and personal attaché all rolled into one.

These PPA’s protect the pastor from dangers both physical and otherwise.  They surround him at all times; no one can approach him without a PPA running interference, especially if he is on his way to the pulpit.  If someone touches him as he is preparing to deliver a message, “they might disturb the anointedness on his life.”

This is where the Holy Ghost poked me.

He just kind of came up in me, with authority, like He is the Guide of the Church or something.

I had never really thought much about armor-bearers, one way or the other.  Didn’t really have a reason to care.  But as He percolated within me, I started caring.

I became just as indignant as He was.

As I looked into it, I discovered that an armor-bearer is nothing more than a pretty prop, both eye-candy and essential workhorse, for a man and his agenda.  If you say it with enough reverence in your voice, pretty much anything sounds holy.

Tell me where in the scriptures does Jesus, or any apostle, endorse the idea of an armor-bearer?

Men of importance and stature had armor-bearers.  Servants didn’t.  Jesus didn’t.

Jesus Christ didn’t have armor-bearers; He had disciples.  And the apostle Paul followed His example.  Paul even went so far as to tell his readers, “follow me as I follow Christ.”  Jesus told us He came to serve, not be served.  Paul worked in mutual service with and supported those who traveled with him, not the other way around.

And the very idea that touching someone could “disturb the anointedness” is ludicrous.  Jesus walked around in the crowded, narrow streets of ancient towns with people packed around him like sardines in a can.  When the woman who was bleeding touched him and he felt the Power in him go out to heal her, he asked who touched him.  The disciples said, “What do you mean ‘who touched you’!? We can barely breath they’re packed around us so tight!”

Now Jesus had more anointedness in his little finger than I am sure this pastor has in his whole body.  Jesus’ anointedness wasn’t disturbed.  What does that say about the anointedness in this man?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge the man his bodyguards.  I am sure he needs them.  I don’t have to agree with his doctrines to see that.

But seeing a famous, wealthy businessman or celebrity walk around with bodyguards and personal assistants doesn’t bother me.  Seeing someone slap God’s name on it and make it “Christian,” make it a “holy duty,” does.  The Holy Ghost takes offense when you carelessly assign things to Him like that.

Now, using David, as Saul’s assigned armor-bearer, as an example to Christians today is a  popular argument.  But Saul isn’t exactly a role model for us, folks.  David was a very real warrior in an ancient culture; he wasn’t an armor-bearer because it was “Godly” or because God told him to enter that “ministry.”  It was just his job as a military man!

It’s a very wide stretch to say that carrying your pastor’s Bible, praying for them as a special “duty”, folding their laundry, arranging their schedule, etc. is anything close to what David did or was supposed to do, or would do today.  Or that believers anywhere, anytime, are supposed to have or be “armor-bearers” for each other.

The only time the apostle Paul mentions armor, he tells us to take it up our own selves.

As I researched the subject of armor-bearers (as I said, I was admittedly ignorant), the stink stunk more.

I decided there was probably no better way to get quick info than to simply Google the term.

So I did.  I just picked one of the first sites that popped up and nearly squeaked.  It didn’t get any better as I went on either.

The following is a short compilation from different sites.  All were ministries or churches.  All pretty much defined an armor-bearer as a personal slave, without ever using those exact words.  To be clear, I have only listed some of what I felt to be the most egregious points.

Some of the “duties and qualifications” of an armor-bearer, if you’re looking to sign up, are:

  • be chosen and appointed by the leader (not yourself and not God)
  • eagerly gain victories for the leader
  • make the advancement of the leader your most important goal in life
  • instinctively understand the leader’s thoughts
  • never give way or falter under harsh treatment
  • always completely accept and whole-heartedly support the leader’s way of doing things
  • follow orders – quickly and correctly
  • never be too “familiar” with the leader in the course of your duties

Gag me.

This stuff isn’t new, people!  The Nazi’s perfected it years ago!  In fact, every organization/group/cause that exalts a man has used this exact recipe for centuries.  To promote, or even allow it, in the church is spiritual abuse, and it not only angers me, it grieves both me and the Spirit within me.

There is only one Leader I follow, and His Name is Wonderful.

Satan has twisted mutual submission and Godly service into man-service.  The real thing has been mutilated into something unrecognizable.

Many, if not most, people serving as armor-bearers right now are either 1) in idolatry to a man/woman, 2) being spiritually abused and taken advantage of because of their own lack of knowledge and wisdom, or 3) both.

To those who are currently being served by armor-bearers, I say, “Be very careful.”  God Himself says He will personally take up the cause of the disadvantaged.  He is the Defender of the defenseless.   He is their personal Champion.  One thing God has taught me is that He absolutely loathes abuse of the nobodies.

You don’t want to have anything to do with something that makes God that angry.

I understand that the running of the institution requires multiple levels of assistants, peons, and lesser-peons.  But get rid of the institutionalism and all that goes away.  The only thing left is the Bride and her Head.

But that is another subject for another day.

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About Geneva

The road in my rear view mirror is marked by hard places. My Guide has been faithful. He came into my life and I was branded. Marked. Labeled. Ridiculed. Judged. Stoned. But the road ahead always looks grand and full of light! The furnaces from the past have only caused the fire of His Spirit to burn hotter. The edicts of man have tried many times to make me bend in worship to him, yet I have met the true Flame who delivers me in every furnace!
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4 Responses to Armor-Bearers, PPA’s, and Other Such Nonsense {guest post}

  1. Hi Tammy,

    I always think that people like these serve their clentelle’s wishes very well. You can hear whatever you want to hear, if you pay the right price. But, to hear the true gospel of Jesus Christ is a free gift.

    Lou Barba

  2. Pingback: when a church needs a personality survey {instead of Jesus} to guide group cohesion | eatinglocusts

  3. Collin McMullen says:

    Great post – we must always be careful of not doing things for the sake of men and ‘religious’ reasons. Remember however that according to the New Testament churches are supposed to be structured – the pastor is not any more important than any servant, he is only held more accountable, and a pastor serves as well, and there has to be an infrastructure to be able to do what Jesus has asked us to do. Are there abuses of this in the church? Of course – and some denominations are worse than others! We all have to keep pride and selfishness from gaining a foothold daily. Remember though: An ‘armor bearer’ is actually just an extension of an encourager – we are all meant to encourage each other and serve each other (even lay down our lives for each other). Serving isn’t being a slave to someone, however it is being willing to be ‘less than’ someone. Pride wants to say ‘hey what about me – I am no one’s servant – I only serve God’! Serving is a kingdom principle – a heart principle, and exactly what Jesus showed us to do. By serving and encouraging for your pastor and leaders you are in fact serving Christ.

  4. Paz says:

    I disagree with your first statement, “we must always be careful of not doing things for the sake of men and ‘religious’ reasons”. That is not enough. There are simply some things we have no business doing period, no business trying to pass off as “godly”. And I believe armor-bearer is one of them. I also disagree with the spirit, if not the exact language, of your second statement, “New Testament churches are supposed to be structured,” only because I can find absolutely no evidence in scripture to support the modern church’s structure, including the office of pastor. Any such structure that is outlined in scripture is so completely different than what is done today as to be unwelcome in most churches. What we as Christians today hold to be ‘the Pastor’ did not even exist in the first century. The writings of Paul, Peter, and John did not create this role, later church leaders did. And if there is no “man up front” acting as the leader in a given church body, there is no need for any supporting roles. I do agree that we are all to encourage, serve, and esteem one another above ourselves, but I am not of the opinion that there is any room for traditional armor-bearers in fulfilling this command. This is primarily because armor-bearer service is a one-way street, not a two-way street as all Christian relationships should be. Armor-bearers are therefore not extensions of encouragers. Encouragers are a gift given by the Spirit to the Body; armor-bearers are men’s gifts to themselves.

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