- Steven Lambert, ThD, Charismatic Captivation.
Real Truth Publications, 2003.
This book presents a comprehensive analysis of the shepherding movement from a
Charismatic perspective. It gives in-depth biblical answers to many of the false teachings in
the shepherding doctrine. Information about ordering the book may be found at the following
Real Truth Publications
- Frank Viola, Reimagining Church  David C. Cook, 2008.
Reimagining Church is the updated version of several previously released books,
including Who Is Your Covering? published by Frank Viola in 2001. Reimagining Church
and the former book on covering deal specifically with many of the errors taught in the Shepherding
Movement, and how we must understand the true nature of church authority and structure of the New
Testament church before we can effectively argue against modern day false "covering" and
Frank Viola's book postulates that the whole idea of "covering" is rooted in the practice of
heirarchical leadership in the church--that church members must have someone "over them"--either
a person or an ecclesiastical structure (See Chapter 11 on "Spiritual Covering"). This idea is refuted
by the idea that we are accountable to God (and therefore "covered" by Him).
One good feature of this book is that it not only exposes error, but also provides practical
ways of implementing true biblical practices in the church today. The idea that "the modern
clergy system is a religious artifact that has no biblical basis" is also very thought provoking
and relevant to the discussion about the false shepherding system (see Chapter 8 under the
heading of "The Modern Clergy System").
Note: "Reimagining Church" is available at Frank Viola's web site:
Present Testimony Ministry
- Ronald M. Enroth, Churches That Abuse.
Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992.
The author takes a sociological approach to abusive churches, focusing more on the patterns
that are found in all abusive groups and the psychological dangers to their members than on any
specific doctrinal errors. The examples of abuse come from a wide range of churches, and seek to
point out the common threads that lead to churches becoming abusive. The purpose of the book is
to answer the question: "When does a church cross the line between conventional church status and
While not focusing specifically on the shepherding movement, the book cites examples from some
groups that practice shepherding such as the Boston Movement (Chapter 6). One example given is
of a disciple "who obeys his discipler even if he doesn't comprehend what he's told. Because he
wants to have a teachable heart, he will fully obey and be totally obedient even if what he's asked to
do is contrary to what he would normally do or think" (p. 117). The author demonstrates how members
are manipulated into accepting these practices, and the type of psychological pressures they may
face if they try to leave.
- David Johnson & Jeff VanVonderen, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse.
Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1991.
This book, co-authored by two men in church leadership positions, takes a Christian counseling
approach to dealing with different types of spiritual abuse. Chapter 5 talks about the type of
spiritual abuse taught in the shepherding movement.
- Chuck Smith, Two False Doctrines: Shepherding or Dictatorship? and Christian
"Possession,"  Answers for Today, Costa Mesa, California.
Chuck Smith, pastor of Calvary in Costa Mesa, California, was one of the earliest mainstream
teachers to publicly teach against the shepherding movement. This booklet was published as
part of a series of doctrinal issues.
- Florence Bulle, The Many Faces of Deception.
Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1989.
Originally published under the title "God Wants You Rich" and Other Enticing Doctrines, this
was one of the few works in the early 1980's that exposed the shepherding doctrines as not only
unbiblical, but potentially dangerous to those involved in them. Chapter Six relates the story of a man who
died after being told to quit taking insulin in order to show his "faith" that God had healed him. While I
believe this is an extreme example of submission to a leader that would not occur in the majority
of Christian groups that practice shepherding, I do agree with the final conclusion that every detail of
our life should be under the Holy Spirit's control, and in following the Lord there will be no place for
man's manipulation that would take us away from God's will.
Chapter Five, "The Battle of The Sexes--Headship/Submission," provides an excellent insight
into the the true nature of submission through the biblical example of Abraham and Sarah and through
practical situations that occur to Christians today. The author presents an insightful discussion about
true and false "covering," and how following the shepherding movement's teaching will lead a couple
into a distorted and unhealthy relationship that the Lord never intended. Through the author's practical
examples about married couples, I believe a broader application can be made to anyone in a position
of authority or who is under someone in authority. I gained insights from this chapter that I did not see
while doing my own research on the shepherding movement.
- William MacDonald, True Discipleship.
Walterick Publishers, Kansas City, Kansas, 1962.
William MacDonald has written a concise yet rather complete work on the meaning of being a
disciple of Christ. The author means to challenge Christians to follow Christ completely. It is certainly
not easy, but Mr. MacDonald offers practical steps, and more importantly, the scriptural basis for
taking up our crosses and following Him.
One of the best sections of the book is about faith. The author says faith is based upon some
promise of God or portion of His word. The Holy Spirit takes that promise and applies it to the heart
of the believer.
Shepherding has misapplied faith by saying we should obey our leaders just because God has
put them into a leadership position. Much can be done in the Kingdom of God thorough faith, but
true faith is based on God's word and not just the "hope" that if we follow our leaders everything will
turn out all right.
It is interesting that in the several chapters of Mr. MacDonald's work, there is no chapter about
obeying our elders to be true disciples of Jesus Christ. Instead, we are to rely on the voice of Christ.
Anyone who sets out to follow Christ can be sure that many escape routes will loom up before him. He
will be given numerous opportunities to turn back. Other voices will call to him, offering to cut inches
off the cross. Twelve legions of angels stand ready to deliver him from the path of self-renunciation
and sacrifice. (p. 16)
This quote not only demonstrates what true discipleship is all about, it also assumes that we as
disciples can hear the voice of the Lord. We do not need to listen to others to hear what God is saying.
The author does not exclude the possibility that God could speak to us through others in the church,
but this is not the focus of hearing Christ's voice and being disciples of Him.
The original book is out of print but reprints are available in book stores and on the Internet.
Recommended Reading (Out of Print)
- Bob Buess, Discipleship: Pro and Con.
Bob Buess, Van, Texas, 1975.
In this self-published book, Bob Buess takes an early look at the neo-discipleship (shepherding)
movement from the perspective of the Charismatic Movement, with an attempt to maintain unity in
the body of Christ. The author tends to explain shepherding as a series of "excesses" of bibilical truths,
such as excessive authority, submission, etc. Even though the book claims to explain both the pros and
cons of discipleship, there are very few "pro" arguments about neo-discipleship. There is a section in
the book, however, about "True Discipleship," the kind taught by Jesus in the Bible. One of the things
I enjoy about the book is that it lists just about every error taught by the shepherding movement, along
with a biblical refutation (even errors and teachings I had not thought about).
Biblical Commentaries and Lexicons
George Ricker Berry, The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Green New Testament with
the Authorized Version.  Chicago: Wilcox and Follett Company, 1897.
Colin Brown, ed., The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology.
Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.
Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, A Hebrew and English Lexicon
of the Old Testament: With an Appendix Containing the Biblical Aramaic.  Oxford:
The Clarendon Press, 1968.
Benjamin Davies, ed. A Compendious and Complete Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the
Old Testament, 2nd ed.  Boston: Ira Bradley & Co., 1875.
Matthew Henry, Commentary On The Whole Bible.  Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan
Publishing House, 1961.
Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.
Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1967.
James Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.  New York: Abingdon Press,
Joseph Henry Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.  New York: American
Book Company, 1889.
W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.  Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming H.
Revell Co., 1940.
John Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation (A Commentary by John F.
Walvoord).  Chicago: Moody Press, 1971.
Robert Young, Analytical Concordance to the Bible.  Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B.
Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1970.
Shepherding Movement's Published Source Material
Note: New Wine articles are available on-line at the web site of Charles Simpson Ministries:
New Wine Magazine
Charles Simpson, "Covering of the Lord," New Wine, Dec. 1973, pp. 28-31.
"Forum: Discipleship," New Wine, March 1974, pp. 27-31.
Derek Prince, "Discipleship, Shepherding & Authority," New Wine, February 1976, pp. 11-15.
Derek Prince, Discipleship, Shepherding, Commitment.  Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.: Derek Prince
Charles Simpson, "Making Disciples," New Wine, March 1974, pp. 4-8.
Submission and Authority
Bob Mumford, The Problem of Doing Your Own Thing.  Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.: Bob Mumford,
Bob Mumford, "Understanding Spiritual Authority" New Wine, Dec. 1973, pp. 23-27.
John M. Poole, "What a Shepherd Can Expect from His Sheep" New Wine, May 1974, pp. 4-8.
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©2005-2012 Steve Coleman