John Bevere’s Covering Theology

John Bevere’s Covering Theology

Under cover means to be under God’s authority.  Authority is not popular in our culture because we have been infected with a democratic mindset and applied it to the kingdom of God.  This kingdom is ruled by a king and there are rank, order and authority.  To be submitted to that authority is to find freedom.  To rebel against it brings you in to bondage.  God’s authority is exercised through delegates such as parents, employers, government officials, husbands, church elders, pastors and denominational officials.  All authority that exists is God’s authority and God appoints all existing rulers (Rom 13).  To rebel against these authorities is to rebel against God.  Those that rebel bring judgment on themselves.  Too many people see themselves accountable only to God and not to authorities. 

Those who serve under a church authority become extensions of that person’s ministry and God puts one man in charge of a ministry.  Those in ministry are judged first on how well faithfully they submitted to their authority, not on the fruit of their ministry.  If there are two visions in a ministry one person is not submitted to God. 

Sin is ultimately disobedience to the authority of God.  The root of deception is disobedience to God.  Satan is continually tempting people to turn against their appointed authority.  There is a doorway (Gen 4:7) that we open to sin and demonic power when disobey God.  When we disobey our understanding and perspective is distorted.  Rebellion is witchcraft (1Sam 15:22) and witchcraft directly opens one to the demonic realm.  The more people rebel the more they give legal access to demonic powers to influence and control them.  In the church people are protected because no divination works against the church (Num 23:23) unless they put themselves under a curse like the Galatians (Gal 3:1).  When people disobey what God has clearly revealed they put themselves under the influence of a witchcraft curse.

All people ought to respect and submit to authorities even if they are evil.  Sometimes God has called us to suffer.  Sometimes it is God’s plan to have us suffer under harsh or evil authority.  God uses this suffering to further His Kingdom.  God will judge those in authority if they are evil or harsh (Rom 12:19).  Spiritual authority is promised to those that suffer.  The greater the hardship the more authority God gives you (2Tim 2:11-12).

The flow of God’s authority starts with the Father and flows through Jesus, next the prophets and the rest of the 5 fold church authority (Eph 4:8) and down to those the 5 fold ministers appoint.  There is a distinction between submission and obedience.  The bible teaches unconditional submission but not unconditional obedience.  If an authority tells you to violate something that is clearly written in scripture then you should disobey.  This however is the only exception. 

God instituted authority in the church with the full intent that people learn to recognize God’s voice through their leaders.  People will be judged relative to their submission to authority.  God is more interested in how well we follow authority than whether our methods work.  To resist delegated authority is to resist God’s authority.  We should not concern ourselves with discerning whether our leaders are correct.  This is not our job, it is God’s.  If we complain about our leaders we seed rebellion and will bring judgment upon ourselves. 

God instituted an order of authority in the home as well.  God has made men the head of the home.  Some women experience tension and unrest because they have assumed the weight and pressure of being the head.  This is a yoke to the wife but a mantle to the husband. 

There is a direct connection between faith and obedience to authority.  God’s power is released when people come under authority (Mat 8:9).

  1. #1 by Linea on July 6, 2005 - 6:05 am

    As I said, this concept is just about totally foreign to me and I have grown up and spent my life in an evangelical church. It sounds like a concept conceived in the age of reason and control. Figure out the box you fit in and learn to be content that you are there?

    I guess I grew up with the expectation that I was accountable to God, not to anyone in authority over me. I may need to submit to those in authority but my first alliegence was to God and my accountability was to him.

    Does this idea not smack of the obedience to hierarchy that exists in the Catholic church?

  2. #2 by Marc on July 6, 2005 - 11:16 am

    LT: I’d be interesting in hearing your opinion on this matter (I’m assuming this entry was all just what Bevere says).

    Linea: From what LT says here, it sounds like Bevere does expect us to give allegiance first to God. But as long as scripture is not contravened we are to submit to our pastor’s authority. Am I understanding Bevere correctly, LT?

    Anyway, this is all very interesting and explains some of what is happening at our church…

  3. #3 by Leighton Tebay on July 6, 2005 - 11:21 am


    I think it is vaguely familiar to Catholicism but from what I understand of the modern day RC there would be some significant differences.


    You are correct. All of us must submit to our delegated authority as long as they don’t tell us to contravene scripture.

    I will begin posting my opinion tonight or tomorrow.

  4. #4 by Van on July 16, 2005 - 2:22 am

    Ahh. Authority is a dangerous topic. I know first hand a Christian cult who practiced authority like this. Pastors who often advocate blind devotion are doing so not to gain power for God but for themselves. Do a google search for “Greater Grace World Outreach” for one example of a church who was destroyed by such a view on authority.

    We should never ever give any human unquestioning authority, its a form worship and that belongs only to God. Obey yes, off a cliff, no.

  5. #5 by Presley Watson on May 16, 2008 - 4:15 am

    Submission does not mean to throw our free will out the door. But to allow a God called leader to point and root us in the great shepherd Jesus Christ. A true leader does not strip the people of the call and vision to do the leaders call and vision but releases people to fulfill the call and vision in their life that God put there to begin with. TRUE leadership will build in the people how to abide, obey, and submit to God.

    Acts 20:28-30 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

  6. #6 by Nichole on July 25, 2008 - 8:09 pm

    I just recently came out of a bible based cult. They leaned heavily on the teachings and videos by John Bevere to validate their teachings. It is my opinion that, Bevere’s teachings on covering and submission to authority have a tremendous potential to lead to the spiritual abuse of Gods people. 2Cor 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand. 1 Peter 5:3 – Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being
    ensamples to the flock.

  7. #7 by Richelle on January 5, 2009 - 8:36 am

    I to have recently escaped a christian cult that used bevere’s teaching. Even if the leadership was mis-applying or over simplifying scripture, you couldn’t disobey because that meant you were divisive and offended. Hence the book “bait of satan.”

    Authority teachings are a NO WIN situation! and put people in subjective positions. That is something I belive Jesus came to get rid of in the spiritual. Yes we have it in government…but I’m not sure it should be present in church.

    p.s. I am a pastors wife, but not an authority…a servant:)

  8. #8 by Angela on February 10, 2009 - 7:47 am

    How interesting that most of the people I meet who have serious trouble with this authority and spiritual covering question are mainly WOMEN. It is really tragic for this whole era of feminism just really blinded you on this subject. Don’t you think it strange that whenever you hear a teaching on this subject something rises up in you that you cannot controll and you just really can’t submit. I bet you ladies have trouble to submit to your husbands sometimes, and maybe to leaders at church.
    1. First of all, the fact that Bevere’s teaching is sometimes misused doesn’t mean that it is not correct!!! How could it? Just look at how many aversions and tragedies there were in the Church history, still we don’t say that therefore the whole Church is bad?! Satan is very clever, knows exactly how easy it is to mislead women and that authority is soo important, and uses this tool in a great measure.

    2. Linea if you think of Jesus’ words that say “Wifes submit to your husbands…” as a ‘box you fit in and learn to be content with” then I’m really sorry for you, cause you have not yet discovered the power and the joy and God’s favor that comes on you when you live a life in which you submit to your husbands, leaders, pastors, etc.

    3. The funny thing is that you ladies probably think of submitting wifes as really weak women who just can’t face up to their husbands. Well, let me tell you that I am a very strong-willed, confidend woman, and find it a great strength to be able to submit to my husband. It is far from a weak thing to do, as my own character would rebell against it on any given day, but I make a conscious effort to not to do so. So it is actually the much harder choice. It is very easy to rebell, and it is very hard to submit! Thus it is obvious that the harder thing will be the godly thing, as you cannot for a moment think that the devil would make it difficult for you to rebell…nooo…the evil ways are always the easy ones out of a situation. (at least in this point i’m trying to make here 🙂

    4. I too have heard of cults, but who hasn’t. They were always around and always will be! Especially now that whereever I go I see signs that Jesus is coming back soon. That’s why we have to keep asking the Lord for discernment every single day!!

    5. Richelle, I’m really surprised about the fact that you are a pastor’s wife. As a pastor’s wife you must be in a place of authority and you say that it is a no win situation??! Your opinion will probably change when you come accross somebody who will not respect your authority. Let me tell you it is a very frustrating thing. I remember reading an article in Moody Magazine few years ago with the title “when you shouldn’t follow blindly” by Kima Jude, and she really made some great points in it. Let me quote:

    “When do we obey authority, and when do we say firmly , “No, I will not do that, and I will not follow your leadership”? Such questions call for case-by-case discernment, rooted in God’s word and informed by the Holy Spirit. Most of us are familiar with the biblical calls to submit: one to another (Eph 5:21), wives to husbands (v. 22), and children to parents (6:1). First Peter 2:18, while addressing slaves, provides insight on how to relate to our employers, and Romans 13:1 instructs us to submit to governmental authorities. Hebrews 13:17 calls for submission to our spiritual leaders. In short, submission pleases God.
    Yet the Bible also commends believers for their refusal to submit to authorities. Consider Shiphrah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives in Exodus who refused to kill the boy babies as commanded by the Pharaoh. (1:20-21) Later in Exodus, the entire account of the Israelites’ flight from Egypt is a narrative of God honoring disobedience to ungodly authorities. So is the account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being thrown into the furnace when they refused to worship the gold image (Dan. 3:6) and Obadiah’s protection of the hundred prophets of God (1 Kings 18)
    These passages mean that we should always obey the authority over us, when it takes its place UNDER God, but never when it takes its place OVER God. We are granted the right to disobey ONLY when there is an ungodly situation that would cause us to do something ungodly. Then, and only in these cases it’s not our right to refuse to submit, but our duty.”

    I am fully aware of situations where to submit was a total act of cowardice, and also situations where authority was much abused, but that doesn’t mean that we can let our old nature and pride rise up in us and not stop to ask the Spirit for a minute to see what He want’s us to do.

    Richelle you also said that Jesus came to get rid of it….that is very incorrect. Jesus, when he walked here on Earth, he demonstrated spiritual hierarchy in a major way when he said: that he is only doing what the Father told him to do, and he is only saying what the Father told him to say. Can you be more submissive that that!!!!

    I’d like to finish with a story of a woman in our church, who caused lots of head-aches to my pastor. She also thinks that the only person she has to submit to is God. She is 50 something, still praying for a husband, occasionally taking home someone with her, then falling in sin by sleeping with that man. And she has been kindly warned many times, nd told off, but she is convinced, that she’s doing the right thing, because she hasn’t heard any warnings “from above”.

    Those who live by the principle of “only obeying God” often forget, that it WAS ACTUALLY GOD who told us to obey the government, our church pastors, our leaders, our husbands, our parents. It WAS HIM! And when you obey all these people, that’s how you obey HIM really! So when you say that you obey only God, remember this tiny detail.

    God bless all of you,
    (wife of a missions organisation director+worship leader, pastor’s daughter-in-law)

  9. #9 by Leighton Tebay on February 10, 2009 - 7:54 am


    I don’t see any difference in the gender of people who oppose covering theology. People oppose it because it isn’t biblical and taken to the point Bevere takes it, it becomes another gospel as Jesus is no longer the head.

    I’ve written extensively on this topic at


  10. #10 by Dorothy on February 28, 2009 - 12:57 pm

    As one who has come out of a cult, I am very concerned about someone submitting to a pastor “even if he is wrong”. Having to get his permission before leaving the church (and being threatened with God’s judgement if you do) is incredibly dangerous!! That is precisely how cults maintain their control over people and manage to continue functioning in their abuse.
    If you look up the original meaning of the word “pastor”, you will see that it means “shepherd”. In Israel, shepherds LEAD, not DRIVE, their sheep. Jesus said His sheep know His voice and follow Him. If a pastor is operating in a Godly, scriptural manner (as Jesus did), he will not have to dictate – people will gladly submit to him. I have experienced both kinds of leadership, and have found that dictatorial leaders create an unbelievable oppression in the lives of their followers.

  11. #11 by Frustrated Feminists on March 20, 2010 - 9:37 pm

    @ Angela, # 8
    Gosh, where do we start?
    “I bet you ladies have trouble to submit to your husbands sometimes, and maybe to leaders at church.”
    And darn proud of it. We quote Genesis 1, where God made man and woman together. Equal. No one submitted to the other. They were under God’s authority. There’s an often overlooked aspect within the church that sometimes, people can be wrong. So, if the Church authority is wrong, why would we dishonour God and obey man? What if this EARTHLY authority goes contrary to God? We can’t be faithful and honour God by sinning, the two are contradictory. As to the idea that having something rise up in you that we can’t control, that’s a good and God given-thing. Jesus got really angry at the temple, fully justified, and drove out the sinners in the place. Wouldn’t that suggest that that which rises up in us means there is something wrong?

    As to the topic of hierarchy, is it not rather unnecessary? After all, when Jesus died, it allowed for ALL people to have a direct relationship with him, which included divine communication. Angela, you are wrong when you criticize Richelle for being wrong. Jesus came to break down authority. This is evident in his refusal to listen to or obey the Pharisees. They were his authority on Earth, substantiated by the Old Testament–God’s chosen people. Yet, obeying God’s authority took priority over that of obeying Earthly (male) authority. In Jesus’ teachings, the Pharisees were wrong, often, and Jesus didn’t submit to their teachings anyway. He stood up for God’s truth. Given the choice, we’d rather be like Jesus. But hey, we’re in the minority here. 🙁 And one more point, Jesus submitted, yes, but to God’s authority. You said that yourself.

    Angela says: “Jesus, when he walked here on Earth, he demonstrated spiritual hierarchy in a major way when he said: that he is only doing what the Father told him to do, and he is only saying what the Father told him to say”. – However, the relationship between God and Jesus is not a matter of hierarchy, but of partnership. Afterall, they are three persons in one. At the very most, this is a divine hierarchy that has absolutely no possibility of being recreated on Earth. We;d all have to be Jesuses and Gods incarnate in order for this to work, but we’re all simply human, creations of God, our higher power. Proof-texting in order to confine one group to the authority of the other is a sad use of scripture. After all, Paul said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. Galatians 3:28. This speaks of only God’s authority, not human’s.

    Angela’s comments have infuriated us beyond our means of rebuttal here. We hope our really short response will inspire the feminists in all of you. There is plenty more to say, and breaking apart your misogynist argument for the subjection of women is a sad commentary on the mental abuse the Church has invoked on it’s female population (in numbers, usually more than that of the male). God never said I love one gender more than the other. It’s true humans are God’s prize creation, so why would we demean any part of that by even fathoming the idea that men hold authority over women. God, holds authority over women, no one else. We hope and pray that you will learn to love yourself, as a woman, and respect yourself as a self-determining individual, rather than a submissive, subjected, oppressed, self-loathing, hypocritical, (but husband-loving) wife. We think that anyone who puts human authority over that of God’s, can not truly love themselves (for instance, when you submit to and obey your husband, even when he’s wrong). Don’t knock feminists. They see the world in ways God has yet to reveal to others. After all, God created us, and loves us too, and don’t you dare forget, or negate that point.

    God bless all of you,
    Christina & Pam,
    (sisters of Christ, a missions oriented director, leader of worship leaders, pastor’s faithful congregationalists, every Sunday)

  12. #12 by Hagere on June 14, 2010 - 3:22 pm

    Hi all check this podcast out regardign sumbmission and authority.

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