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Authority in the Church Created 22 September 2017

Whatever is in your heart will determine your whole life: Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (Proverbs 4:23, NLT)

What is in your heart today is a function of what has gone through your mind, and what is still going on in your mind right now. What is in your mind, or has gone through your mind largely is a function of what has gone through your eyes and through your ears.

As a Christian we choose who to submit to and therefore who to listen to. So, in short, who you listen to, or not listen to, determines the course of your life (Proverbs 4:23).

We must come to realize that the choice we exercise in terms of who or what we expose our minds to (and therefore our hearts) relates directly to the authority we submit to in church; if we submit to the right authority we will have the right things go sit in our hearts. If we submit to the wrong authority, we will have the wrong things sit in our heart. As such, we need to know who the right authority is and who the wrong authority is - we cannot simply assume that all authority is right authority.

For instance, a person with a pastoral gift - and not a teaching gift - may end up unknowingly leading unsuspecting Christians astray. Or, a person with a prophetic gift - and not a pastoral gift - may end up demonstrating a kind of Christianity which is not compassionate, but emphasizing the need for correction amongst Christians. If you have the right guy operating in the wrong authority in church, you are bound to see people hurt, confused and disillusioned. Of that there is a lot happening within Christian circles. This is not to mention those who are not genuinely Christian (but perhaps think they are) and then 'leading' a church.

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16, NKJV)

Recently, I listened to a local man on the radio - an ex-pastor - who said that he had become disillusioned with Christianity having concluded that the Bible cannot possibly be true. A work colleague did the same on the back of the disconnect she saw between the Bible and what her pastor husband was doing in the church. I heard of another pastor from another group of friends who treats his wife terribly in private but projects the opposite view in public. As a Chaplain I have met many people who has questioned and turned from Christianity on the back of irregularities in church. What we see in Christian circles should lead us to ask how the now-atheist ex-pastor lead his church after his loyalty to Christ had dissipated?

The Bible teaches that within Christian circles you and I will without question be exposed to both right authority and wrong authority. In case this is not clear to you already, in God's Kingdom authority does not come by years of service nor does it come by studies or inheritance. So, to assume that father and son preachers, for instance, have the same or similar authority which is the basis of a son taking over from a father in pastoring a church is to make a mistake.

Video 1: Authority in the church:

Video 2: True and Substitute churches:

 

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Please consult the Bible and test what is written here. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in this area. Keep that which is good and reject that which is not Scriptural. Should you come to a different understanding than I please let me know - perhaps I can learn from you.

 

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