DOES YOUR PASTOR HAVE AUTHORITY?
There is a popular teaching that if you are unhappy with your pastor, you are probably being abused and should leave your church. Granted, if a leader is immoral, dishonest, or teaches false doctrine, he should be removed from leadership or you should remove yourself.
However, many Christians are being led to believe that the pastor has no authority, and if he exercises authority he is being abusive. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is impossible to have responsibility without authority.
The Pauline Epistles are doctrine for the church of this dispensation; and the Pastoral Epistles are written for pastors regarding their character and duties. These are 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. In the first four verses of I Timothy, Paul instructs Timothy to “charge” preachers to teach no other doctrines than that which he had received. The word “charge” is the same as to command. You cannot command without authority. This same “command” is given again in verse 18. The reader will also see the impossibility of obeying the Bible without some pastoral authority.
Christians are being led to believe that the pastor has no authority, and if he exercises authority he is being abusive or controlling.
Chapter three gives the moral requirements for pastors and deacons. Without pastoral authority, it would be impossible to make any decisions on these matters. In chapter 4:11, he says, “These things command and teach.” 1 Timothy 4:11. This command cannot be obeyed if the pastor is stripped of his pastoral authority.
In chapter five Paul tells Timothy who should not be cared for by the church. The young women should not become dependent on the church for material needs. See verses 3-16. Concerning elders, and their salaries, Timothy must exercise discernment.
“Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.” 1 Timothy 5:21. The pastor must exercise authority to do his ministry. The Devil would love to strip him of it, and make you believe you are being abused. Your real problem may be that you are simply rebellious against the Scriptures, and justifying it by calling it abuse.
Some people are so thin-skinned that when they are rebuked, they think you are abusing them. Thus, these writers and speakers who attack pastoral authority and responsibility want you to believe you are a victim. That way they can rescue you from these mean old pastors. Something is rotten in Denmark.
…writers and speakers who attack pastoral authority and responsibility want you to believe you are a victim.
We need not continue through the Pastoral Epistles; they only confirm what has already been established. You expect your pastor to be responsible for the direction, teaching, and leadership of the church. He cannot do this without authority.
Some writers seek to exclude you from your pastor and church that you might court and follow them. They seek your support through the sale of books. The goal is to remove you from your church so you will become their followers. Unless your pastor is in the category mentioned in the first paragraph, you should settle down, go to work, follow, and support your pastor. If you cannot take correction or rebuke from the Word of God, you will never mature as a Christian.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.
Thank you, Dr. Blue, for addressing such topics! Churches today need protection – either from abusive pastors or from deluded members.
Don Cline says
Pastor Blue. Hope you are well. We have met numerous times over the years between Yakima Bible Baptist, Fellowship Baptist and currently Olde Tyme Baptist here in Calgary. Thank you for this post. Unfortunately responsibility without authority is where too many of our churches find themselves today. Folks simply don’t understand that Pastoral Authority provides the freedoms we need to rest in our Christian faith.
Thanks again, Don
Ken Blue says
Thank you brother Don. I hope all is going well with you. Thanks for your good words