What is elitism?
“Elitism — an elitist view on the part of the group members, who seem to feel that one is a substandard, unenlightened, or unspiritual person if they are not part of their particular group. If people seem to glorify a group or man more than God something is often wrong with the group. Groups that think they are better than other Christians are usually worse.” 
In his book Churches that Abuse, Ronald Enroth says
“The charmer will make his or her followers feel “special” . By constantly emphasizing how dramatically unique, important, and effective the group’s ministry is, he or she will make those who participate in the group feel that by being part of something superior to what any other ministry is doing, they are themselves superior to other Christians. Their identity with the group elevates their thoughts and feelings about themselves. The mixture of being charmed and made to feel special is a cocktail that intoxicates the followers. They will believe and do things they ordinarily would not.” 
It is human nature to want feel special and unique, while the word of God teaches us to stay humble and loving. Instead, churches like TPM take advantage of this human tendency and enslave the believers into thinking they are better than those outside the church walls. Isn’t it ironical for a church that has published a book titled “Human Pride and Divine Humility”, pride and elitism seems to have permeated every crevice of our minds? The fact that when the words “God’s church” is heard from the pulpit, we equate it with TPM, speaks volumes of how far we have gone.
TPM’s Claim to Elitism
TPM Claim Elitism within the Christian brotherhood. To get an idea of what I mean by that, let’s look at some excerpts from TPM publications.
- “These Levites and priests are a type of the consecrated servants of God who forsake their all and sacrifice their lives for the sake of the gospel. Only such a group of servants of God, together with Christ, can prepare a glorious Church for His Coming” (Tabernacle, Page 89)
- “Peter was a married man. However for the sake of the kingdom of God he forsook everything viz, houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, wife, children, etc” (Here’s The Answer, page 116)
- “A real servant of God is a born servant of God. He is not a self-styled preacher, neither is he the product of man-made institutions such as bible colleges and seminaries” (New Testament Ministry Part 1, page 14)
- “The servants of God….should not depend on salary, but should live by faith. Only such can help us prepare ourselves for His coming” (Here’s The Answer, page 101)
- If you ask an average TPM believer, he/she will say this church is better than the rest because we don’t wear jewellery, we wear whites on Sundays, we don’t keep a television in our homes, we don’t even touch wine, we don’t take medicine, our ministers are celibates, we don’t celebrate Christmas like “those worldly Christians” etc.
Straightening the TPM Twist
Now that we’ve got an idea from their own words as to how TPM sees the rest of Christendom, it is the time we look into the word of God to understand how the early apostles lived.
- Did Peter abandon his wife like TPM claims? This idea is easily refuted by 1 Corinthians 9:5 which says his wife accompanied him during the ministry.
- Did not Paul work to support himself? Yes, he did. (Acts 18:3, 1 Cor. 9:15–18, 2 Thessalonians 3:8-10)
- Did not John take Mary to his own home? Yes, he did (John 19:27)
- Did Paul say he had a “higher calling” just because he was single? No. In fact, Paul said he was equal to the rest of the apostles who were married (Galatians 2:8, 2 Corinthians 11:5, 1 Corinthians 9).
As for why believers consider TPM to be better than the rest of Christianity, the standards we use aren’t scriptural at all. Nowhere do we see a prohibition on medicine or wine, nor do we see any rules on white dress or celibacy. Instead what we see here is a church has made a bunch of unbiblical rules and then feel better about themselves because they follow those rules. That is utterly tragic.
So, what’s the big deal about elitism?
- Elitism is like cancer. It has a way of spreading to every fiber of our being without warning. It blinds us from realizing that eternal life is a gift that we receive freely because of God’s grace (Romans 6:23) and because of this, anyone who is saved is not better or worse than anyone else.
- Elitism destroys the love we must have for our fellow Christians. It makes us look down on other Christians. Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude (1 Cor 13:4). Instead, elitism has a way of making a believer look at themselves and boast, and feel better about themselves because of the number of rules they follow.
- Elitism makes one judge harshly and based on outward appearance. We judge whether a person is a true Christian or not, based on how they dress and on whether or not they’re worn jewellery. This is like the judgment of Pharisees during the 1st “The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.” (Luke 18:11).
A modern-day rendition would sound something like this “God, I thank you I’m not like these worldly Christians who wear jewellery and take medicine”
- Elitism makes a church blind to its faults. It makes us love the approval of the church leaders more important than God’s approval. Look what happened during Jesus’ ministry. Even though the Jewish authorities believed in Jesus, they did not confess because they were afraid of being excommunicated.
“Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” (John 12:42,43)
- We are to be the light of the world. Instead, what the world sees in an elitist Christian is the fact that he is trying to show himself to be better than the rest of Christianity. Elitism makes one point to ourselves and our church instead of God.
The Damage done by TPM
Someone once said, “There are no extraordinary Christians, but being an ordinary Christian is an extraordinary thing”.
“For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave the opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” — 1 Corinthians 3:4-7
Conclusion: TPM is openly elitist. TPM says non-TPM ministers aren’t “real servants of God” and non-TPM believers are not part of Christ’s bride (since to be Christ’s bride one has to follow all of the TPM rules like not take medicine etc). TPM has taught believers to think there is no better church in this world than TPM.
The cure for elitism is to go back to scripture and be rooted in it. Everyone who is saved by grace through faith is adopted by God into his family and are co-heirs with Christ (Eph 1:5, Romans 8:17). In the eyes of God, there is one church. That church is made up of every truly saved believer irrespective of the building they choose to gather in on a Sunday. Sadly, as long as unbiblical doctrines (which is the very reason for elitism and spiritual pride in TPM) are preached, there is little hope. I hope and pray TPM discards these unbiblical doctrines and goes back to scripture.