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Accountability vs. Authenticity

Because our religious systems are behavioral conformity systems, they all play the accountability card as the reason for their existence. They must hold people accountable as their reason for existence. What impact does accountability have on real community? Does it endear people more to Jesus, or just encourages them to hide more deeply the nature of their struggles and doubts?

How did accountability systems impact you, whether you were the one holding others accountable, or the one being held to account? What motivations of the human spirit does it play on?

I remember having an accountability partner once and not wanting to meet when I had a bad week, especially if I fought with my wife that week I would want to stay away from him. I only wanted to meet on the good weeks. Once when I was thinking about accountability I realized a very clear illustration of how accountability is a law based as opposed to a grace based concept is how we respond when we notice a police officer driving behind us holding us accountable to traffic laws. I don’t appreciate him and it makes me nervous and I can’t wait until he turns and goes a different direction than the one I am driving. I think we should ban the word accountability from the Christian vocabulary.

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This issue is really troubling me. Ever since me and my husband decided to step away from IC, some of our closest friends have become rather harsh with us. Their number one question, which we are unable to answer yet, is ‘What about accountability?’ they ask!! Aren’t we supposed to be accountable to the leadership and to the members??! Frankly, I’ve never thought of it and have never taken time to process it. But what I really want to do now is to be able to address it and maybe provide a proper response to this irksome question. Please someone, share more and help me think this through? Thankyou.

Hi Harshika. Our accountability is to Jesus - all authority is his. In a fallen world we need the authority of governments to keep order but in the kingdom of God as we are learning to listen to Jesus - His is the only authority we need. Years ago I did a study on the one another’s in scripture - looking them up in a concordance. I think I found about 30, the best known one being as I have loved you - love one another. Be accountable to one another is not one of the one another’s in scripture. The way I see it - if I could get to the point where I am following all of the one another’s that God has given us in his word - all 30+ of them - perfectly and flawlessly all of the time every minute of everyday - and I couldn’t think of anything else to do with my time - then maybe that would be the time to consider the one another not found in scripture but only in church tradition - be accountable to one another.

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Absolutely not. There is nothing in Scripture that makes you accountable to other members of the body or to leadership. Some can be twisted to that, but if Jesus told his disciples not to “lord over” like the Gentiles do, then they should not be asking for it. There is love in the body and love respects and listens and encourages and yes has an honest discussion with someone when it feels like they are going astray, but that is not accountability. That is love and it only works inside relationships not inside institutions when the accountability is to the rules and expectations, not an encouragement to discover how we follow God.

As I see it. Hope that helps,

Wayne in Thousand Oaks, CA

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I have always been a little suspicious of the so called accountability groups. The groups seemed a bit controlling and almost like a cult that wanted to keep track of everything you were doing.

It also seemed like you had flawed people that were trying to help other flawed people become infallible, which seemed impossible.

I have also wondered where was the accountability to God aspect of the issue, and where was the living by faith and trusting the Holy Spirit to guide people. It seemed to be totally absent… It seemed like it was merely the manipulative efforts of men and works done in the strength of our flawed flesh (or merely self-effort).

Even as a young pre-teen boy, I thought the whole accountability group dynamic seemed odd and like it was just a bunch of nonsense… So, I basically refused to have anything to do with any of the accountability groups my whole life.

Bailey, NC

You didn’t miss anything.

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In Gal 2:1-8 Paul makes it very clear that he felt accountable to no one except Jesus. Not even Peter, James, and John to whom Jesus had given special privileges. (Mt of transfiguration, present when he raised Jairus’ daughter, asked to accompany him when he was praying on Gesthemene.)
And Heb 13:7 says, “Yield to those leading you, and be submissive, for they watch for your souls, as those who must give account, that they may do it with joy and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you.” Heb 13:17 MKJV

And then we have the following verses:
1Co_14:34 Let your women be silent in the churches; for it is not permitted to them to speak, but to be in subjection, as the Law also says.
Gal_2:5 to whom not even for an hour did we yield in subjection, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
1Ti_2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
1Ti_3:4 ruling his own house well, having children in subjection with all honor.
Heb_2:5 For He has not put in subjection to the angels the world to come, of which we speak.
Heb_12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh who corrected us, and we gave them reverence. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?

And finally we have, “But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” 1Co 11:3 MKJV

And this last one would seem to indicated that there is a hierarchy of accountability. So, along with 1 Tim 3:4 it reads this way: children to parents, wife to husband, man to Jesus, and Jesus to his Father.

Though we are to be submissive to those taking the lead amongst us, are we accountable to them? The scriptures don’t say so, and they certainly don’t say we are accountable to one another (outside the family arrangement,) though we are to be submissive to one another. (Eph 5:21)

Hope this has shed some light on the subject of accountability.

If there are other scriptures that would modify my perspective, I’m certainly open to considering them.