Don’t play the Korah card

Simone Weil on Affliction
No man, Lord - Reflections on John 8

BibleI have been in a couple of situations where concerns were brought to a pastor who then likened the one who brought the concern to Korah attacking Moses. While I understand the temptation for a leader to deal with a complaint in this way, that temptation must be resisted. Not only is it inappropriate, it does nothing to fix the situation (unless of course the leader’s goal is to eliminate any other opinion than his own).

Playing the Korah card is wrong for the following reasons:

  • Nowhere in the New Testament do we have any indication that pastors are on a higher spiritual plane than those they lead. To play the Korah card assumes an authority that I do not see granted to an individual elder.
  • Whenever the ruling body of the church is mentioned in Acts, elders (plural) are mentioned. It is a group of elders and not an individual that provides leadership to the church. A leadership team takes personality conflict and personal blind spots out of the equation. A group of elders can hear the complaint and assess the appropriateness of what is being said and respond to the complaint in grace and truth.
  • My own experience is that when someone complains about me, there is usually a kernel of truth in the complaint that needs to be addressed. To dismiss the complaint by playing the Korah card is to reject an opportunity to be lead into growth by the Holy Spirit. Growth requires that we own the part that is true.

Keep in mind that Korah’s rebellion was ultimately against God and it was God who dealt with that rebellion. Moses did pray for God to reject Korah’s offering but Moses did not directly do anything against Korah. We should learn from Moses’ example.

A better way of dealing with the complaint is to bring it before the other elders so that they can sort out what is true and what is not in the complaint. This speaks to the importance of having a ministry team that can work together to speak into the blind spots of each other.

So, if you are a church leader who is tempted to play the Korah card when someone offers criticism, bite your tongue, bring it to God in prayer and ask for help from your fellow leaders to respond appropriately.

Everyone will be better off if you do.

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Mark McIntyre

A follower of Jesus Christ who shares observations about how Scripture should impact the church and the world. Mark is the original author and editor of Attempts at Honesty.
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Simone Weil on Affliction
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  1. says

    Perfect timing Mark! I follow Rabbi David Levine down at Beth Israel in Florida and just listened to his podcast last night called the “Three Wrongs of Korah”, starting out by pretending to “care” like Moses’ father-in-law had, plus he and his fellow rebels were not content with where God had placed them, and the responsibilities God had entrusted them with. Though Moses warned Korah, his heart was hard and his conscience seared. A HUGE LESSON-not only did Korah pay, but His family, the other rebels and their families….do you think if discipline still happened we would have so much sin tolerated in the church or false gospels like the proserity and word faith being celebrated and MAN “picking and choosing” what or what not to believe in God’s inerrant word? i think HOLY would take on a whole new priority, but then again, warnings didn’t change Israel’s behavior, and man’s love of sin runs deep.

    But your assessment is right on, like don’t be jumping to conclusions without getting other informed opinions from a wise team

    • says

      Thanks for this. Yes, discipline still needs to happen in the church. And yes, there will be some, like Korah, who are seeking to disrupt the body for their own ends.

      My struggle is that I have been in two church situations where the pastor saw any suggestion or complaint as coming from the “spirit of Korah.” This is a dangerous game to play and in the end hurts the body of Christ.

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