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Government or No Government in the Church

Can we all agree that the devil is a liar and a deceiver? Can we all agree that he is in the business of corrupting God’s creation and, corrupting God’s way all together? The problem is that because of these corruptions we change God’s ways all together and end up corrupting ourselves. Examples: 1) Folks fake speaking in tongues; so, I don’t allow tongues in my church. 2) There are a lot of false prophets; so, I don’t allow the prophetic gift to manifest in my church. 3) People are misinterpreting and confusing folks with Scripture, so it will be all about the Holy Ghost from now on. And the list goes on and on. I am sure you can think of a few examples yourself.

One of those examples is in relationship to church’s structure. I am careful not to use the word government, but that’s really what it is. A different kind of government, nevertheless a government. 

This rebel against church government according to the institutionalized church is justifiable because… it is un-biblical. So, as believers, we are not called to submit to such. Submitting to such is following men-made mandates and not God’s. However, resisting Church structure is… well… un-biblical. We are not hippies; we actually have an order.

The problem is not leadership in the church; that is biblical. The problem is the way that leadership have been conducted through the centuries. First Peter 5:1-3 tells us,

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. (ESV)

I think that there are many verses that speak about leadership in the Bible, but this one tells us what we, essentially need to know, about the spirit of church leadership, according to Scripture and, what not to do:

  1. We are called to shepherd the church: Hebrews 13:17 tells us, “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.” (KJV) This is our priority, to watch over their souls (mindset, decision-making and emotions). If, as a pastor, you don’t have time to shepherd the flock God gave you, you are not doing your job. Pastoral guidance is extremely importance for all of us.
  2. We are called to exercise oversight over the flock: The word oversight here is the Greek word episkopéō; meaning “To regard, give attention to. To look upon, observe, examine the state of affairs of something, look after, oversee.”[1] Oversight does not mean:
  3. Under compulsion, in other words, you must love what you do.
  4. For gain, in other words, we don’t do this for money.
  5. Domineering over those in your charge; in other words, we are here to serve, not to lordship over anybody. If anybody rejects pastoral guidance, let them go and pray for them. We are not to lord over them.
  6. We are called to be an example to the flock: Well, to be an example we must be close to them, fellowship with them; they should be able to see us in more than one setting (The Sunday morning show). Jesus shared his life with the 12 disciples. This idea that pastors and leaders are called to separate from the flock they are called to pastor is insane. You can’t pastor if you don’t get closer to them. That’s why in the book of Acts we see folks meeting at home. Meeting at home is not a starting point for a church… it is the Scriptural structure of the church as we come together according to Acts 2:42. 

What I just said does not take away from the fact that we are all called to participate in our gatherings and bless each other with our gifts. Beloved, this is not a one-man-show and, what I just said does not position leadership as greater than the flock, we are all equal, but we all have different roles and, different responsibilities.

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

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