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Authority Figure in Churches
8-23-2007 | PaynoattentionManBehindCurtain

Posted on 08/23/2007 7:29:04 AM PDT by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain

There seems to always be a discussion going on about the authority of the Pope in the Catholic Church, but I have long wondered about the authority figure, government set up, in other denominations also.

I spent 10 years in the Baptist church, and after studying some on this topic, IMO, the Baptist's, independent, and Southern both, don't have it right either. I have seen in several Baptist Churches where they have "Head" Pastors/preachers, and "Associate/Assistant" Pastors, "youth" pastors. But in these churches the Head Pastors had the "final" say in any decisions or settling any disputes, he is in complete authority over the church, and answers to no one.

Does anyone else have a problem with this:)? Is this scriptural? Does anyone else see any evidence of "Head" Pastors, and "Assistant" Pastors in the early churches? I can't find it. I can't find that the Pastors duties involved decision making at all...they preached. From what I read there should be Elders, plural, to run the church, and Christ is Head (Eph. 5:23) ....how can there be more then one head??? I have asked several of these "head" Pastors to give me scriptural backing for setting up the church government this way. At best the scripture they gave me was very weak in support of this.

I'm sure there are some non-denominational churches around that are set up differently, maybe even scripturally:), I'd be interested to hear of any other's that follow a different pattern of government and why they are set up as they are. I think the churches of Christ come closest to being scriptural in their governing set up.

IOW's What does the bible say about who is the authority figure in a church.


TOPICS: General Discusssion; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: bishops; deacons; elders; preacher
Just curious as to others opinion on this topic. I don't believe I've ever really seen the topic discussed here, and it is, has been for a while, something that causes me great pause about the present day Baptist Churches.

Becky

1 posted on 08/23/2007 7:29:07 AM PDT by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain

Ping to read later


2 posted on 08/23/2007 7:37:20 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (As heard on the Amish Radio Network! http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1675029/posts)
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain

I would think that a head pastor of a local congregation would be considered in Baptist theology to be the equivalent of the “bishop” or “overseer” referenced in Timothy.


3 posted on 08/23/2007 7:40:20 AM PDT by wideawake (Why is it that so many self-proclaimed "Constitutionalists" know so little about the Constitution?)
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
Try this:

THE PHARISEES AND THE SADDUCEES ARE STILL IN CHARGE

A snippet from the above:

THE TRUE CHURCH IS NOT, AND NEVER WAS, A BUREAUCRACY. During the Reformation, when Luther and others were justifying their refusal to submit to the authority of the Pope, and the pyramid of bureaucrats he sat on top of, they found it necessary to assert that The Church was composed of all True Believers, irrespective of their denominational loyalties. This "Church amidst the churches" came to be known as "The Mystical Body of Christ", and every Reformer KNEW that by this designation, they were denying that the True Church could ever be identified as a single bureaucratic society. There isn't a Protestant Church in the world that dares to disagree with this, for their right to exist as separate and competitive entities is derived from it. They, every one, refuse to submit to any "spiritual authority" from outside their own denomination, no matter how much larger or older the other denomination may be. Furthermore, the world is now full of "independent churches", which submit to no "spiritual authority" from outside the four walls of their own building. The practical principle of The Reformation was that every God fearing man could read and understand The Bible for himself; and that the knowledge of The Bible gave him both the right and the obligation to separate himself from any "church" that he judged as heretical. One can only wonder how it is then, that they are so quick to re-establish in their own churches THE SAME KIND OF BUREAUCRACY that they once revolted against: and then condemn as rebels and backsliders those who refuse to submit to it.

4 posted on 08/23/2007 7:40:23 AM PDT by invoman
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
IOW's What does the bible say about who is the authority figure in a church.

Matt 20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

5 posted on 08/23/2007 7:43:17 AM PDT by invoman
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
I thought Baptist pastors could be fired. So, I thought, there was a kind of ultimate check on them. In the PepsiCola Church, at least on paper, there are checks and balances. It used to be that the laity "called" their rector but couldn't fire him once they had him AND he couldn't leave w/o the bishop's permission. But lay committees had almost complete discretion over what was spent.

I think the problem throughout is that church groups, parishes, congregations, whatever, are all more family like than nearly any other organization of comparable size and wealth. Parental vibes will happen. I'm just trying to be descriptive here, not prescriptive.

I do think that what Protestants (and many Catholics) forget about the Catholic Church is precisely that the ideal striven for is not that of a well run and equitable polity but rather that of a family.

I guess if I were going to research this puppy I'd look at the Apostolic Council in acts and then through the Pauline and Johannine epistles for whatever I could glean about "who told whom what to do".

6 posted on 08/23/2007 7:50:37 AM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: invoman
whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

Over the decades I have enjoyed pointing out that "minister" is the opposite of "magister", and that the word is related to "minus" - so that a minister is one who makes himself less (shades of Phillipians!).

I think a perception of the critical importance of this passage to understanding the calling is why Gregory "the Great" adopted as one of the sobriquets of the Pope, "Servant of the servants of God".

7 posted on 08/23/2007 7:55:12 AM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: Mad Dawg

**”Servant of the servants of God”.**

Don’t we all fall into THIS category?


8 posted on 08/23/2007 8:06:25 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

I hope so.


9 posted on 08/23/2007 8:29:56 AM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: invoman

In context, I don’t believe Jesus was speaking of the governing body of a church in this passage.

Becky


10 posted on 08/23/2007 8:52:44 AM PDT by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
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To: wideawake

I am under the understanding that in the Baptist church pastors are considered, bishops and elders All one and the same.

My question tho is more, how much authority does a Preacher have scripturally, what are his duties? Are elders the same as Preachers, scripturally? IMO, no.

Should there be a “head” Preacher, or should decisions be made by a group of men?, elders? or Preacher/Pastor?

Becky


11 posted on 08/23/2007 8:56:38 AM PDT by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
But in these churches the Head Pastors had the "final" say in any decisions or settling any disputes, he is in complete authority over the church, and answers to no one.

Actually he answers to everyone. The bills must be paid and if he makes people mad they leave. This is so much the case that it very often has a very negative effect on doctrine.

12 posted on 08/23/2007 8:57:04 AM PDT by DungeonMaster (concerning His promise.....not willing that any (of whom?) should perish but that all...)
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To: invoman

I do understand that. But that’s not really my question.

In the independent Baptist churches, for want of better way of putting it, the Preacher is like a mini Pope. He has authority over everything in his church. Is this scriptural? I don’t think so.

Becky


13 posted on 08/23/2007 9:01:03 AM PDT by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
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To: DungeonMaster

I understand that:), that is not my question? Maybe if I explain what I have come to think from my study it will help.

I have come to believe that Preachers preach. That’s it.

Any decisions that have to be made about anything should be done by the elders, plural, more then one, going to Christ in prayer, then reaching the decision. Wouldn’t that be more in line with scripture, Having Christ as the head?

Almost all the letters Paul wrote to churches are addressed to the elders of the church, Plural.

I believe the word “Pastor” only one time in scripture, and I have never found when the bible is speaking of Preachers that they are speaking of a head of the church.

Becky


14 posted on 08/23/2007 9:06:17 AM PDT by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain

Welcome to the Plymoth Brethren. :-D I’ve been with them, on and off, for almost 20 years....Yeah, all of 20 years.


15 posted on 08/23/2007 9:21:24 AM PDT by DungeonMaster (concerning His promise.....not willing that any (of whom?) should perish but that all...)
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To: DungeonMaster

Oh really:), I’ve never heard of them. I’ll have to look into them.

Becky


16 posted on 08/23/2007 9:26:23 AM PDT by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain

They tend to have a naming convention for their churches, which they don’t really like to call churches because “The church is the body of Christ”, is; “town or street where located, ‘bible’ or ‘gospel’, ‘chapel’ or ‘assembly’”.


17 posted on 08/23/2007 9:32:16 AM PDT by DungeonMaster (concerning His promise.....not willing that any (of whom?) should perish but that all...)
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To: DungeonMaster

What is there position on how to be saved? on OSAS?

Becky


18 posted on 08/23/2007 9:34:55 AM PDT by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
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To: DungeonMaster
Actually he answers to everyone. The bills must be paid and if he makes people mad they leave. This is so much the case that it very often has a very negative effect on doctrine.

Another snippet from part 2 of the article I posted above (emphasis mine):

When you visit one of these churches for the first time, you are confronted by a closed society that is dominated by a few influential "volunteers" and their families, around whom most of the activity centers. If you manage to offend any one of these "key people" you are "on the outs" for good. It will do no good to appeal to the others, or even to the Pastor, for the determination to keep these "volunteers" pacified and cooperative will overwhelm any sense of obligation to Truth: and this is a perfect picture of how bureaucracies work! Even if you are able to gain a little sympathy from the Pastor, he is usually surrounded by a "board of directors" that like to be called "elders", whose main qualifications for a position of "eldership" are their power to split the church; their capacity to give or withhold money; and their readiness to close ranks instinctively against all intruders. The Pastor is unlikely to risk alienating one of "them" in order to defend you! This "circle the wagons" and "break out the weapons" mentality is typical of every bureaucracy whenever one of the bureaucrats is challenged. The Pastor KNOWS that he has simply been "hired" to fight their battles for them; and he has no liberty to follow his conscience or to denounce their errors. Many a young man full of avowedly pious ambition has entered the ministry, only to end up drowning in compromise in order to keep his "job". Wherever the Holy Spirit reigns, the right men are recognized by those who obey the Spirit: NOT because they are admired by the world; NOT because they are quick to flatter their superiors; nor because they are pledged to affirm and defend a "party line" in disregard for The Truth. The Holy Ghost SAID, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them (Acts 13:2): they didn't take a vote; they didn't hand out ordination certificates; and afterwards, neither Barnabas nor Saul displayed any respect of persons (James 2:1) for those who SEEMED to be somewhat (Gal.2:6). But today, anyone who wishes to obtain respect and authority in the churches, must be ready to speak great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration FIRST (Jude 16). In every other area of life, we denounce those who "hear no, see no, and speak no evil" for their own advantage as "boot lickers", "brown nosers", and worse.....but when it comes to religion, somehow, this kind of pandering for personal profit and popular approval gets relabeled as "humility" and "loyalty". You know what I mean.

19 posted on 08/23/2007 9:57:20 AM PDT by invoman
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
What is there position on how to be saved? on OSAS?

There are many different groups of BP. They all believe OSAS and the more conservative ones are all pretty much in line on election. I've been to a more liberal one also known as "Chapel Brethren" and they are about 50 50 on election. They have unpaid Elders, always more than one, and the most important "meeting" "gathering" "assembly" thingie is "The Lords Supper". It is about 50 minutes, unlead, where everyone sits before the emblems {bread and wine} and individuals (male) will suggest a hymn, pray, or open up something from the Bible. It ends with taking the emblems. Just like you might imagine from reading Corinthians.

20 posted on 08/23/2007 10:00:28 AM PDT by DungeonMaster (concerning His promise.....not willing that any (of whom?) should perish but that all...)
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain

Oops, BP is supposed to be PB.


21 posted on 08/23/2007 10:03:01 AM PDT by DungeonMaster (concerning His promise.....not willing that any (of whom?) should perish but that all...)
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To: invoman
which submit to no "spiritual authority" from outside the four walls of their own building.

Because, biblically, there isn't one.

22 posted on 08/23/2007 10:09:36 AM PDT by DungeonMaster (concerning His promise.....not willing that any (of whom?) should perish but that all...)
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain

Check out ‘Megashift’ and the ‘Open Church’ by Jim Rutz, a couple of very cool books that caused trouble in my church. lol :p


23 posted on 08/23/2007 10:15:07 AM PDT by ovrtaxt (Sworn to oppose control freaks, foreign and domestic.)
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To: invoman

I’m sure there is some truth to this, every denomination has it’s problems but a church being led by a group makes more sense to me then having one man incharge of everything.

Becky


24 posted on 08/23/2007 11:53:06 AM PDT by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
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