A New Authority

            Post modern thinkers in the church are doing their best to deconstruct everything that may have been given to us by modern/American thought processes.  One of the things I may need to agree with them on to at least some degree is our view of leadership.  Although some postmodern Christians, it seems, would eliminate all authority if given half a chance, I believe that authority is a fact of life and one that God uses to guide his church. (Rom 13:1, 2 Peter 2:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:12).  The question merely remains:  How is authority to function in the church?  Is it to remain a hierarchical structure like the Old Covenant Priesthood, albeit with a friendlier face?  Or are we all to walk in the Priesthood of the Believer where we all have direct access to God and function in the gifts he has given us and those “over” us are more like air traffic controllers directing people but not commanding them.  Are the rolls of Pastor, Apostle, Evangelist, Teacher, and Prophet job descriptions and title or gifts that people operate in? 

            I do believe that men should make a living by preaching the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:14) and I would never begrudge a man the ability to take care of his family but I do see one major problem with the full time ministry,  the Church as a whole has asked men and women to open their wallets and shut their mouths.  Most people feel powerless to effect change in their community because that is the job of the Pastor.  A friend of mine says “Your wallet will never replace your hands,” and I believe this is correct.  So what are we to do?

            Do we move into the egalitarian philosophy where we are all on a level playing field and no one is any better than others?  I don’t think that works any better than military hierarchy, it can lead to anarchy.  But where is the middle ground, it is obvious that Paul acting as an apostle took authority over the churches he planted, to the point of kicking people out due to their lack of repentance, a sermon you will almost never hear about today.  The apostles in Acts 15 took charge and because Jesus had given them authority to bind and loose things (which has nothing to do with binding demons or loosing riches) they determined what was the doctrine for all Christians for years to come.  I feel like I should be providing some answers at this point but I am still working this out so all I have is questions.

2 responses to “A New Authority”

  1. Well, I have to like the article – you quoted me!

    I’m actually facing a ‘shell shock’ situation by moving from my old church in Columbus, OH to my new church in Phoenix, AZ. I was under a very authoritative structure at my old church, but my new church is much more laid back. This culture shock has force me to face very similar questions about our rolls as ministers and congragents… still, no answers…

  2. I’m going to have a culture shock actually going back to my church family. I’ve been away for about 4 months.

    It’s going to be wierd.

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