Kingdom Authority
Wednesday, May 4, 2011

 

“He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” (Titus 1:9)

 

                As we look across the landscape of the Church today, we see many varieties of governance, most of which have no foundation in Scripture.  And when governance is non-biblical, then needless to say, much of what is taught is unbiblical.  The Roman Catholic Church in the past week has been feverishly working to apply “sainthood” on a truly great man (according to the word all believers are saints).  And I firmly believe that Pope John Paul 2 will be honored like few others in history.  However, the governance of the Church by a pope is a model not to be found in Scripture.  The popular American model of Church government is to treat it like a democracy.  Let the entire people vote on everything from the appointment of the pastor to the color of the carpet in the nursery.  As much as I believe that Christ shudders at denominations, I also believe the spawning of non-denominational churches has left a landscape of churches being led by people who do not live under any authority at all.  There are dictator pastors who are blown by every wind that blows and the people become disillusioned and fall away.

 

                The biblical model of Church is one of eldership.  The church is to be led by a group of men whose lives are dedicated to “sound doctrine,” and the trustworthy message of Scripture.  These men find dedication to God and His word the central core of their lives and out of that dedication comes an extraordinary service to the people or the flock with whom God has entrusted them.  Nowhere is there a dictator, pope, or pastor under no authority.  Nor is there any biblical model where the direction of the church is established by the vote of nominal believers.  Eldership is the key to a devout and growing church.

 

                God has given us many passages which clearly outline what an elder is and his basic qualifications.  In Acts 6, they are charged with “prayer and ministering the word.”  And in Titus, twice Paul says they are to be men who hold firmly to sound doctrine and the “trustworthy message as it has been taught.”  And for the modern church, “as it has been taught,” means Scripture.  That is our foundation for life in the Kingdom of God.  When a pastor is king and dictator and takes the church in whatever direction he is moved (be it from a bad meal of enchiladas, a screwy dream, or a supposed message from God), and that direction is not filtered through men who hold firmly to sound doctrine, abuses occur.  And likewise, when the church is treated like a democracy, and power is given to people who do not spend time in the word, prayer, or even true worship, then likewise abuses occur.  They are moved along by every whim of modern thought.  They vote on things (such as practicing homosexual pastors, or adulterous pastors) which God has already spoken clearly on.

 

                Sadly the results of church without biblical authority have caused a blight on the landscape of the Kingdom of God.  And when that happens, people fall away – either into legalism, liberalism, anti-illectualism, intellectualism, experientialism, or just plain apostasy.  The love of Christ, the transforming power of the Kingdom, and the radical way of living a godly life in Him is forsaken for the whims of modernity or the tunnel vision of a pastor who submits to no authority.  And in the process we lose the very thing Christ prayed for the night He was betrayed – unity and love of one another.

                 Biblical authority, established by the Holy Spirit in Scripture, must be restored to the Church for the Church to be the force in the world that God intended.  Selection of elders is central to that process.  There can be legitimate debate on what the meaning of Paul was in the various qualifications.  But no debate has meaning unless it is based upon God’s word.  Look at your church governance.  Is it ruled by popular vote – then at its very core the church is not biblical.  Does it have elders who are not men?  Then your church is more concerned about political correctness than God’s word.  Is your pastor a dictator, having no authority to guide him?  Then you have been bluffed and bullied by charisma instead of sound doctrine.  Men of God who “hold firmly to His word,” must rise up and take control.  And if they are not allowed to, then they and the people they love and serve, must shake the dust off their sandals and walk away.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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