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A Word for Your Pastor….

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This is a great post I read on brother Ian’s Blog:

http://ianvincent.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/a-word-for-your-pastor/

The Problem of the Modern Pastoral Role …

the commonly accepted notion of “sola pastora” (single pastor) is at odds with the NT. The Bible knows nothing of a person who stands at the helm of a local church, directs its affairs, preaches to it every Sunday, conducts its baptisms, and officiates its communion (or Lord’s supper).

The highly specialized, professional “pastoral role” of modern Protestantism is a post-biblical novelty that evokes a tradition of humane (but not so helpful) sacerdotal-ism! It is essentially a carry-over from Romanism (the priest). As such, it better reflects the weak and beggarly elements of the Levitical priesthood than anything found in the NT.

Just as serious, the pastoral role warps many who fill this position. Those who get seduced by the trappings of clerical professionalism are virtually always tainted by it. God never called anyone to bear the heavy burden of ministering to the needs of the church by themselves.

Perhaps the most daunting feature of the modern pastoral role is that it keeps the people it claims to serve in spiritual infancy. Because the pastoral role usurps the believer’s right to minister in a spiritual way, it ends up warping God’s people. It keeps them weak and insecure.

Granted, many who fill this role do so for laudable reasons. And not a few of them sincerely want to see their fellow brethren take spiritual responsibility. (Many a pastor live with this frustration. But few have mapped the problem to their profession.)

Yet, the modern office of “pastor” always disempowers and pacifies the believing priesthood. This is so regardless of how uncontrolling the person who fills this position may be.

Since the pastor carries the spiritual workload, the majority of the brethren become passive, lazy, self-seeking, and arrested in their spiritual growth. In this way, both pastors and congregations alike cannot help from being spiritually lamed by this unbiblical office.

While the NT calls Paul an “apostle,” Philip an “evangelist,” Manaen a “teacher,” and Agabus a “prophet,” it never identifies anyone as a pastor! In fact, the word “pastor” is used only once in the entire NT (see Ephesians 4:11). And it is used as a descriptive metaphor, never as an ecclesiastical office. This flies in the face of common practice. Today “the pastor” is regarded as the figurehead of the church. His name is exclusively splashed on church marquees all across America. (One wonders why other ministries do not appear on these marquees when they are given far more attention in the NT.)

In the final analysis, the modern pastoral role undermines the Headship of Jesus Christ. It has a spiritually crippling effect on the church. It robs God’s beloved priesthood (of all believers) of its full employment. Further, its mere presence diffuses and stalemates those “ordinary” believers who are equally gifted to shepherd and teach the flock. (Never mind that the Bible teaches that every church is to have multiple shepherds. Or that all members of the Body are to bear pastoral responsibility.)

Typically, if someone other than the pastor dares to shepherd or teach the sheep (even if he may be trustworthy, mature, and gifted), the pastor will feel threatened. He will then snuff it our under the guise of “protecting” the flock!

To be more specific and pointed, the present-day conception of “the pastor” is far removed from the thought of God. It puts the dynamic of NT community into an Old Testament straitjacket.

Yet regardless of the spiritual tragedies it engenders, the masses continue to rely upon, defend, and insist on the existence of this most unbiblical role. For this reason the so-called “laity” are just as responsible for the problem of clericalism as is the “clergy.” As Jeremiah 5:31 says, “The priests rule on their own authority; and my people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?”

If the truth be told, many Christians prefer the convenience of having someone other than themselves shoulder the responsibility for ministry and shepherding. In their minds, it is better to hire a religious specialist to tend to the needs of the brethren than to bother themselves with the self-emptying demands of servant-hood and pastoral care.

The words of the old prophet capture the Lord’s displeasure with this mindset: “They have set up kings, but not my me: they have made princes, and I knew it not…” (Hosea 8:4a).

In light of these sobering facts, one may intelligently ask how it is that the modern pastoral role remains to be the commonly accepted form of church leadership today. The answer lies deeply entrenched in the history of the Reformation. And it continues to be reinforced by current cultural imperatives.

In short, our 20th-century Western obsession with offices and titles has led us to superimpose our own ideas of church order onto the NT. Yet the very ethos of the NT militates against the idea of official-elders.

Scripture is equally at odds with the “senior pastor” concept. This is the common (but unscriptural) practice of elevating one of the elders to a prominent authoritative position. Nowhere does the NT sanction the notion of primos inter pares – “first among equals.” At least not in any official or formal way.

This disconnect between “the pastor” and the other elders was an accident of church history. But because it meshes perfectly with our acculturated Christian mindset, modern believers have little trouble reading this false dichotomy into Scripture.

In sum, the modern pastoral role is little more than a one-size-fits-all blending of administration, psychology, and oratory that is packaged into one position for religious consumption. As such, the sociological role of pastor, as practiced in the West, has few points of contact with anything or anyone in the NT! From: Who is your covering? By Frank Viola

(This is not a blanket endorsement of Frank Viola)

Written by Sean Scott

April 9, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

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  1. I’ve read several of his books. I question some of the conclusions he draws, but I believe this particular quote is probably right on. Growing up in a pastor’s home, I have seen first hand how the pastoral office can destroy it’s holder as well. No single person can cary the burden of an entire congregation. The only thing that gives me pause is Paul’s clear exercise of authority over the churches he wrote to, particularly the Corinthian church. His letters do suggest that he was not the sole authority, but he definitely asserted himself. It has been a struggle for me though, since I do believe the modern church structure is harmful yet I am as certain as I have ever been that God wants me to continue working within the one I attend now. I respect my pastor for the love he has for the people and willingly submit to his authority.

    Larry Thacker Jr.

    April 11, 2010 at 11:16 am

    • Hey Larry, Great to hear from you. I think what Ian wrote is right on. It really helps, as he says, to look at the nature of Paul’s authority and how he excercised it. It definitely seems miles apart from the type of authority that is exercised in most churches today. As I see it there is no basis for what we see going on Sunday after Sunday which is basically one (sometimes two) men teaching or preaching week after week while the rest of the “body” just sits there and listens. It hardly looks like a functioning body. And if we look at the instruction Paul gave the Corinthians we see the each person, as long as there was order, was able to contribute when the Saints came together. It was almost as if Paul was encouraging or expecting the Lord to speak through more than just one person. Imagine that! Unfortunately, that’s almost heresy today. So, churches continue to do what they’ve always done…make room for a teacher or preacher to excerise their gift alone at the expense of the rest of the body exercising their gifts and growing together. Instead of making disciples that grow into maturity with each other they gather people to listen to them preach sermons every week. Even if the sermon is biblical and edifying it still falls short of the practice we see outlined in the New Testament for when the Saints gather together.

      Sean Scott

      April 14, 2010 at 3:53 am

  2. Very valid questions regarding authority. We would want to outline the nature of Paul’s authority: What kind of things did he command and give orders concerning? And what kind of things did he not try to exert authority in?

    And, what kind of things do many in the pastoral office today exert authority over?

    Paul was careful not to usurp the leading of the Holy Spirit in the local churches, thru the Body there. If we take Corinth as an example, His authority was moral. He didn’t tell them what to do concerning their day to day functioning, unlike a modern spiritual “authority”, who wants to CONTROL people.

    The nature of his authority was totally different bcos the nature of the church was different. The two can’t be compared, even, and therefore the two types of authority don’t carry over into the other.

    ian vincent

    April 12, 2010 at 11:49 pm

  3. Thanks brother. I quoted that on my blog bcos it’s helpful.

    This morning i had a flashback to the first few years of my life in Christ, 87-90. I recalled how that i knew i was called by the LORD to preach and teach, and i did go out very soon after my conversion and preach in the open air malls of Perth.

    But in relation to the church, as i knew it, the only role models i had were people like Kenneth Copeland. Gasp! That was the only way forward i could see. If i was to serve the Body of Christ i would have to go down the accepted route, observing all the protocols along the way, and finding a niche among the other ‘ministries’.

    That was a dead end. Thank God!!

    Trying to serve God in a paradigm created by man, not God.

    What a temptation. You could go along with it, and play the game, and get a comfortable position and income, but you know that you would be sinning against your conscience and would have to answer for it at the judgment.

    Therefore, our example to others younger in the faith is of PRIME importance. Our lives should demonstrate to them what the church is supposed to be, otherwise they may think that famous preachers on TV are the role models and examples for them, which would be disastrous.

    ian vincent

    April 14, 2010 at 4:19 am

  4. Concerning ‘big-time’ preacher/evangelists with monolithic churches, vast family compounds, super-jets, mechanical toys galore, and the like: it just seems strange that someone who would claim to serve God would live like the god of this world.

    Strange, in that, not many people seem to give it much thought or notice the gigantic, pink elephant in the middle of the room.

    Very …. bizarre ….

    So, I just keep nodding and smiling at those taken captive by the nightmarish gibberish doled out to the cult (as opposed to true culture) of modern Christianity.

    And where there’s grace, I speak the truth (which is often).

    I’ve been delivered from being a spiritual carnie at a three-ring circus.

    Now, I’m just an ordinary saint: made uncommonly common by Christ!

    Mark and Vicki Finger

    April 27, 2010 at 4:34 am

  5. I thought this was an accurate and well-reasoned blog. However, a good friend vehemently disagreed. In response, I dug into the Scriptures, and this is what I came up with. I hope it blesses the discussion.
    ———-
    Mat 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
    Mat 18:16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
    Mat 18:17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

    The point: Jesus didn’t direct someone to take their problem to a pastor, an elder, or any other authority, as one might expect in a modern context. He simply says to take along another person or two (presumably believers). After that, the church will certainly do. It also seems logical that Jesus meant a smaller fellowship than the masses people call churches today when he mentioned “the church.”
    = = = = =
    Mat 20:25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
    Mat 20:26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
    Mat 20:27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,

    The point: Here, Jesus gives us the model of leadership, which is servanthood, and also tells us that it should not look like the world’s way of structuring authority, which is a model of power & lordship. Modern churches have clearly not listened to the words of Jesus, as nearly every church in existence takes its governmental structure from a worldly model, putting one man at the top, with maybe a few close underlings, and then attempting to loosely stay near Scripture by forming some kind governing body (like a “board of directors”) they will call “elders,” so that it will sound more biblical.
    = = = = =
    Acts 13:1 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

    The point: In Antioch, we see multiple leaders, none of whom is described as The Pastor or “senior” in any way.
    = = = = =
    Acts 15 (the entire chapter)

    The point: This chapter clearly shows how church governance is supposed to operate. It is very clear that no human is in charge of the proceedings, discussion, or the decided solution. It is clearly God deciding the matter by moving among them and guiding them to unity by His Holy Spirit. This was very likely a gathering of the apostles plus elders from not only Jerusalem but also various churches from the surrounding areas. Nevertheless, those in authority there were “apostles and elders,” both plural, with neither asserting authority over the other; and there is certainly no indication of one person presiding over the whole thing.
    = = = = =
    1Co 6:1 When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?
    1Co 6:2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?
    1Co 6:3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!
    1Co 6:4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church?
    1Co 6:5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers,
    1Co 6:6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?

    The point: Does Paul urge these believers to go to the senior pastor or even to a pastor to work out their differences? No. Does he request that they bring the matter to himself, as the apostle and founder/planter of the church? No. He simply makes the point that surely there are some godly believers (simple laymen will do) in their fellowship wise enough to resolve the disputes. This is a mark of flat leadership and representative of the accepted priesthood and involvement of all believers. In other words, no one stood out as being “in charge” or more qualified (by position) than everyone else – unlike today.
    = = = = =
    1Co 9:6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living?
    1Co 9:7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
    1Co 9:8 Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same?

    The point: It’s very important to note the authority that Paul appeals to in discussing this question of whether he and Barnabas had the right to financial “benefits” from the Corinthian church. He does not appeal to some position he did or didn’t have. He appeals to the authority of God from the Word. This is the model for modern church authority. There are several people (elders) sharing equal authority over a Body of believers, but God alone is to be the highest authority over that Body. God alone is the Great Shepherd (Pastor).
    = = = = =
    1Co 12:20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
    1Co 12:21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
    1Co 12:22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
    1Co 12:23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,
    1Co 12:24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,
    1Co 12:25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

    The point: This passage speaks authoritatively against the “us and them” you literally see when you go to a modern church service. You see the “honored ones” on stage, under lights, with microphones, doing everything. You see the “less honorable” in the plain seats, in the lower light, on the floor (not elevated), expected to remain quiet & follow the leaders. The honor that is supposed to be evenly spread among the Body, according to this passage, is woefully out of balance in the modern church. Even if one cites home groups as a remedy to this problem, (a) the problematic services continue, (b) the home groups often follow to some degree the form and hierarchy of the larger services, and (c) the home groups are an extremely recent development, surely borne out of pastoral recognition of the failure of the “main” services to fulfill biblical responsibilities. Thus, the home groups function more as a “Band-Aid” than a solution for an ongoing, recognized problem.
    = = = = =
    1Co 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
    1Co 12:28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.
    1Co 12:29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?

    The point: Paul defines who the church is by listing spiritual giftings. Notice that they are all plural. Also notice that there is no pastor listed, which goes against the modern emphasis placed on that word. Also note that if you equate pastors with teachers in this passage (which is what they often do in the modern church rather than “shepherd,” which is what the word “pastor” actually means), then you have to concede that teachers comes after prophets, and where in the world is the ministry of prophets in the modern church service?
    = = = = =
    1Co 14:26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.
    1Co 14:27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret.
    1Co 14:28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God.
    1Co 14:29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.
    1Co 14:30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent.
    1Co 14:31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged,
    1Co 14:32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.

    The point: This passage really speaks for itself. “Each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation…”? Where in the world is this today? “You can all prophesy”? How would this work in a congregation of 500? Paul says let “the others weigh what is said,” as opposed to “let the senior pastor (or pastors) weigh what is said,” which is assuredly what a modern church would say. In this passage, Paul describes what day-to-day, normal church should look like. Needless to say, modern church looks absolutely nothing like this.
    = = = = =
    2Co 13:10 For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.

    The point: Some may wish to paint this verse in the light of a church Body having a senior pastor or top leader. The fact is that Paul was an apostle, which means that he planted churches (“fathered” them, in a sense – I Cor. 4), as he did in Corinth. The role of an apostle was (and is) to win converts; plant churches (in person, not by proxy, as most do today); teach, admonish, exhort, and encourage the faithful; maintain pure doctrine; provide an example for them to follow; and move around from Body to Body as the Lord directed. The word “apostle” means delegate, ambassador, or one who is sent. Naturally, God may have the apostle remain in one church for a while, as He did with Paul in Corinth (for a year and a half); but eventually, God will move the apostle on to minister to other churches. This is the nature of the apostle gifting and is thus, by definition, utterly incompatible with the modern role of single or senior pastor. It is even incompatible with the definition of pastor. How can you shepherd sheep if you’re here today and gone tomorrow? 99% of pastors in today’s churches set up shop for life (or work toward that end) and then retire on the church’s dime. Therefore, to call them apostles and to assign them the authority thereof is a gross error.
    = = = = =
    Gal 2:6 And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)–those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me.

    Gal 2:9 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

    Gal 2:11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.

    The point: Notice how Paul dispenses with any hope we might have of placing roles of undue authority upon the leaders of the church then. He basically says, “We’re all the same. God is the one with the authority here, and His truth will prevail.” Notice also that Paul simply opposed Peter, who was an apostle and probably an elder as well in Jerusalem. Did Peter assert some kind of local authority or office in order to quiet Paul; did Peter ask Paul to go to his office, so they could speak privately? No. It was man to man, servant of Christ to servant of Christ, right out in the open in front of the whole group.
    = = = = =
    Gal 6:1 Brothers, if a man is overtaken in a fault, you the spiritual ones restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted.
    Gal 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the Law of Christ.

    The point: (from the article) [Having a senior pastor or one person designated as “The Pastor”] diffuses and stalemates those “ordinary” believers who are equally gifted to shepherd and teach the flock. (Never mind that the Bible teaches that every church is to have multiple shepherds. Or that all members of the Body are to bear pastoral responsibility.)
    = = = = =
    Eph 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

    Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
    Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

    The point: Here is our one and only passage in the entire New Testament with the word “pastor,” which is describing the spiritual gift of “shepherding people.” Very likely, in a Body there will be more than one person with this gift of “pastoring,” especially the larger the group gets. This just makes good sense if you follow the metaphor of shepherding which Paul is using.
    = = = = =
    1Ti 3:2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
    1Ti 3:3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

    1Ti 3:8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain.

    The point: Notice that Paul does not say “The Overseer.” Clearly, there is to be more than one. Then he goes on to describe even more leaders (deacons). Clearly, the Body was meant to have widely distributed leadership, with some possible guidance from apostolically gifted (i.e. itinerant) people who would travel about to visit churches and teach, rebuke, exhort, set an example to be imitated, etc. (as delineated above), like Peter, Paul, Barnabas, & Silas did.
    = = = = =
    1Ti 5:17 Let the elders who rule (preside) well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

    The point: Once again, “elders” is plural, and we have no person presiding over the rest. It should also be clear that this plural group of elders is sharing the responsibility of preaching and teaching to one Body of believers. Once again, this is extremely rare in modern churches, where one man does the lion’s share of the preaching/teaching, and under the title of “pastor.”
    = = = = =
    2Ti 2:1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,
    2Ti 2:2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

    The point: Does Paul tell Timothy here to set up shop as the Senior Pastor and to assemble a quality, reliable staff around himself? Quite to the contrary, Paul tells Timothy to share all he has learned from Paul with other men who will share the responsibility. Good, logical reasons for this are abundant: wider accountability, more even spreading of the burden/labor, less stress on the Body if one person dies or has to leave, etc.
    = = = = =
    2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
    2Ti 3:17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

    The point: The implication of this passage is that any man (not just those who graduate from seminary) who diligently and properly studies the Scriptures and allows the Holy Spirit to teach him is qualified to teach the Body.
    = = = = =
    2Ti 4:5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

    2Ti 4:9 Do your best to come to me soon.

    2Ti 4:11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you…

    The point: Though many may wish to portray Timothy as some kind of model for the modern pastor, Scripture instead is quite clear in presenting him as more or less a protégé of Paul (i.e. primarily an apostle). This means his responsibilities were wide and varied, like Paul’s, and could hardly be conceived of as pertaining to one Body of believers in one place for long, just like Paul. However, even if he were in such a role, we can reasonably assume from the rest of Scripture that there were other elders among that Body who were also teaching, preaching, evangelizing, etc. and that Timothy did not have any permanent local authority over theirs. (i.e. Like Paul, he may have had authority as an apostle in terms of protecting doctrine, but he was not tied to any one, local church as we see today, with pastors in authority staying in one place indefinitely, and often for decades.)
    = = = = =
    Tit 1:5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you –

    The point: Once again, we have another protégé of Paul, a fellow apostle who went around helping to establish proper leadership structure and order in new or young churches. And what was this structure? Equal elders. Yet again, there is no mention of one person in charge or as a head.
    = = = = =
    Tit 2:15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

    The point: The “authority” Paul is speaking of here is twofold. While it partly represents Titus’ authority as one of several elders in this Body (or as an apostle), it is also representative of the highest church authority. Paul is encouraging Titus to exhort & rebuke with the authority of the Word of God. That’s where the authority comes from. Paul would undoubtedly encourage any other elder with these exact same words, thus ruling out any idea that this passage presents Titus as some kind of modern, pastoral head over this Body.
    = = = = =
    Jas 5:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

    The point: Finally, we see a directive to seek the leadership of the church, but is it one man? Or is there one senior elder whom someone should call? Or an apostle? No. No one is elevated over the others. We have one Master, who is Christ (John 13:13). And we are to practice mutual submission, out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21).
    = = = = =
    1 John 2:27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

    The point: (from Eddie Snipes) The Holy Spirit gives the anointing to every believer. Many Christians do not believe that God can reveal truth directly to them; therefore, they become dependent on books, study materials, teachers and even study Bibles. Every person who has the Holy Spirit has the same anointing that all great teachers and preachers have. God never intended for the Christian to be dependent on a spiritual leader to understand truth. The teacher of the Word has two roles in the Christian’s life: teach those who are immature how to follow Christ (1 Corinthians 3:1-3, 1 Corinthians 4:16, 1 Corinthians 11:1, Hebrews 6:12) and bring those who are growing into constant remembrance of the truth, so that we don’t forget or let spiritual principles slip from our focus (1 John 2:21, 1 Corinthians 4:17, 2 Timothy 1:6, Titus 3:1, 2 Peter 1:12-14, Jude 1:5). If you take the time to look up these passages you will see that to the immature, a teacher is to show themselves as an example for others to follow; and for the mature, a teacher is to constantly put people into remembrance of the truth. A teacher’s role is not to make others dependent on him for truth, but has the purpose of bringing others into a Christ-centered focus. Again, this is not the way of today’s church.
    = = = = =
    3Jn 1:9 I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority.
    3Jn 1:10 So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

    The point: This is the one example I could find of someone occupying a role akin to that of a senior pastor who’s in charge. Regardless of this man’s behavior, John still brings to light the fact that he has “put himself first” and has usurped authority that does not belong to him. Notice also how John states that this man “does not acknowledge our authority,” not “my authority.”
    = = = = =
    Type: Old Testament priesthood

    The point: There was a high priest in authority in the Old Testament. After him, there were numerous divisions of priests who served at more or less the same, equal level of authority, or privilege, as it may be better stated. Drawing the comparison to today, who is the high priest? Jesus, of course. And who are the other priests who are subservient to the high priest? As born again believers, we all are. And “we are unworthy servants. We have only done what was our duty” (Luke 17:10).
    = = = = =
    Type: Jesus & the apostles

    The point: In spite of the self-serving attempts of the Roman Catholic Church to claim otherwise, Jesus never appointed a single, human leader over the apostles, and thus over the church. Instead, He gathered twelve apostles and formed an inner circle of three, whom He took into a deeper level of confidence. Yet, after all this, He still made His statement in Matthew 20 that a disciples’ role was to become the others’ slave if he wanted to lead and “be great.”

    Braden

    May 23, 2010 at 12:11 am


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