Biblical Support for Accountability

I hear all the time that the Church is supposed to keep people accountable. Leadership Journal, a magazine for pastors, had a link the other day to a Barna study that showed that most people think their churches are failures in providing accountability.

What? People think their church is a failure? No way. Come on. Get out of here. Anyway. . .

Furthermore, outside of “confess your faults one to another” (which, according to the context, has to do with healing people physically, not accountability groups), there isn’t much in Scripture about accountability groups. You will also notice exactly zero verses telling churches they need to keep people accountable.

Yet I keep hearing how men need to get together with men to keep accountable. Do we see this with the apostles in Acts? Do we see the disciples do this? Do we ever see Jesus praying with anyone, asking them how much wine they had at supper?

In all honesty, if you want to keep accountable with someone, that’s fine, I don’t think it’s wrong, I am amazed though how often we’re told to do this with so little backup from Scripture about it.

Anytime lots of people want to do something it’s probably not God’s idea. Talking about ourselves is what drives us, most experiences I’ve had with “accountability groups” is merely whining about yourself incessantly.

There is a person we will give an account to–Our Creator and Savior. There is plenty of biblical teaching on being accountable to God, very little about being accountable to man.

Perhaps our accountability groups become one more hurdle to keep us safe from that pesky Holy Spirit? We never see Jesus praying with an individual, but we see Him praying to His Father regularly. I’m probably just a cynic here, but show me from Scripture and I’ll reconsider.

5 thoughts on “Biblical Support for Accountability”

  1. Not the church’s responsibility. Ultimately, the individual is accountable for self. A novel concept these days. (I guess you’re not the only cynic!) BTW, I had a half glass of wine last night. :) But whether it was half-full or half-empty is an entire different subject!

  2. I wonder if people aren’t confusing accountability with discipleship? Perhaps these folks want to be discipled, and they want to be trained up in Christ, but feel they aren’t getting the support they desire. The pastor and elders of a church should be training up disciples, to train up other disciples. I believe accountability is part of discipleship, how are we dealing with lust, pride, are we reading scripture, and right on down the line.

  3. That could be, Paul, although I’m not that willing to put a positive spin on it. I don’t know that too many people are interested in discipleship more than they are looking for a shrink and replacing the church with psychological interventions–turning the Church into a 12-step support group. Perhaps that’s more of my cynicism though.

  4. I follow what your saying on that Jeff. Another factor that people overlook when they complain about the “church” is they don’t realize we are the church, made up of living stones. If we point our finger at the faults within the church we must include ourselves as part of the problem.

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