Gen. Stanley McChrystal flew back from his Afghanistan command to faces President Obama today regarding charges of insubordination for statements made in Rolling Stones paper. This case flashes back to General Douglas MacArthur’s meeting with President Harry S. Truman over a disagreement about the Korean Conflict. MacArthur was fired.
Insubordination is the refusal of a military officer to obey his (civilian) superior (the President, who is Commander in Chief), an officer or soldier is expected to be insubordinate to the point of mutiny if given an unlawful order, as with Hitler’s officers tried at Nuremberg .
However, Christian insubordination: teaching doctrine contrary to the Commander’s Words, refusal to submit to pastors or dividing the church, should be of far greater concern to Christians. There is an historic record of this among God’s people.
King Saul’s insubordination to God brought these words from Samuel: “For rebellion (insubordination) is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (I Samuel 15:23).
Paul sent Titus to Crete because of insubordination: “For there are many unruly (insubordinate) and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 1Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake” (Titus 1:10-11).
Paul warned the leaders of the church at Ephesus about insubordination: “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. Therefore watch, and remember …” (Acts 20:29-31). We are told by God’s Word, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves : for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).
The question about McChrystal’s insubordination is what his punishment will be. The bigger question is what will our punishment be if we are insubordinate to our Lord or His leaders?