Friday, November 21, 2014

Guarding Against "Protestant Popery" and "Spiritual Abuse"

Are we, who are Christians, to submit to the authority of our pastors? Of course we are. Hebrews 13:17 commands 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."

But that authority (or rule) is not absolute or unlimited. Pastors who demand unquestioning submission are guilty of abusing their power and authority.

Singer/Songwriter, Bible Teacher, Reformed Apologist and Evangelist, Steve Camp wrote;

"It is significant to note that a pastor of a church possesses no inherent authority over the church by virtue of office alone; it is only through that which Scripture affords him that gives him a position of authority. Where Scripture exhorts, he may exhort. Where Scripture calls for obedience, he is to call the church to obedience. Where Scripture edifies, he is to edify. And where Scripture commands, he is to command. But where Scripture is silent, he cannot be vocal and has no inherent authority. He may pray for the flock, he may give wisdom when weighing the facts or circumstances of a particular situation, he may counsel from the principals of the Word, but he possesses no authority. He, in other words, is to guard against spiritual abuse, by faithfully honoring and submitting to the Word of God by which he is thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). And then in response to that truth, humbly serve the flock of God as an under-shepherd of Christ."

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