Pastoral AuthorityBy Pastor Boffey on Sunday, April 18, 2010.
PASTORAL AUTHORITY Authority: “Power or right to enforce obedience; moral or legal supremacy; the right to command, or give an ultimate decision.” I. Our age is much characterized by a breakdown of authority. A. Consider the defiant rebellion against God's order promoted by women's liberation and feminism. GEN 3:16; 1CO 11:3, 7-9; ISA 3:12. B. Consider the exaltation of “children's rights” in a time when children increasingly defy parental authority. 2TI 3:1-2. C. Consider the exaltation of “workers' rights” which challenge the order of God in employer/ employee relationships. MAT 20:15; TIT 2:9-10. D. Consider the increasing disrespect and defiance of civil and police authorities. E. Consider also the revolt against ministerial authority. 1. Churches are sometimes ruled by deacons or women. 2. Biblical pastoral leadership is often regarded as tyranny, Narcissistic Personality Disorder or cultish. 3. The entertainment industry generally portrays ministers as being uneducated simpletons, closet pedophiles, con-artists or extremist radicals. 4. Fueling and exacerbating the problem are scandalous ministers that bring reproach to the order of God. ROM 2:24; 2PE 2:2. 5. Since true ministers represent Christ, they especially are the objects of Satan's attacks. F. Submission to authority and the godly exercise of authority is a mark of Biblical faith. MAT 8:9-10 ct/w 2PE 2:10. G. By nature, ALL have a problem with authority. 1JO 3:4 c/w 1JO 1:8. 1. Law: “A rule of conduct imposed by authority.” 2. Because of our fallen nature, sin takes “...occasion by the commandment...” (ROM 7:8). All that is needed to prove that we have a problem with authority is for a rule of conduct to be set. II. Proper authority is ordained of God. ROM 13:1-2; JOH 19:11. A. All creature authority is derived. God alone is endowed with independent power. 1TI 6:15. B. Resistance of God-ordained authority incurs damnation. ROM 13:2. C. Even imperfect or abused authority is to be honored within certain limitations. MAT 23:2-3; 1PE 2:18; 3:1. D. The pastor is God's ordained authority over the church. HEB 13:7. E. The pastor acts on behalf of Christ. 2CO 5:20. F. Reception of Christ's minister is reception of Christ. JOH 13:20. III. A review of the names of the pastoral office and the corresponding definitions indicate the pastor's authority. ACT 20:17, 28; TIT 1:5-7; EPH 4:11; 1CO 4:1-2; 1PE 5:1-2. A. Elder: “An elder person, lit. or fig.; a parent; an ancestor, forefather; a person superior in age, senior...4.a. In ecclesiastical use. A literal rendering of Gr. presbuteros|, the title given to a certain order or class of office-bearers in the early Christian Church.” B. Bishop: “A spiritual superintendent or overseer in the Christian church. An overlooker, inspector, a watchman.” C. Overseer: “One who oversees or superintends, a supervisor, esp. one whose business it is to superintend a piece of work or a body of workmen.” D. Superintendent: “An officer or official who has the chief charge, oversight, control or direction of some business, institution, or works; an overseer.” E. Steward: “An official who controls the domestic affairs of a household; supervising the service of the master's table, directing the domestics, and regulating household expenditure; a major-domo.” 1. Regulate: “To control, govern or direct by rule or regulations; to subject to guidance or restrictions; to adapt to circumstances or surroundings.” 2. Control: “To exercise restraint or direction upon the free action of; to hold sway over, exercise power or authority over; to dominate, command.” 3. Major-domo: “Chief of the house.” F. Pastor: “ad. L. 'pastor-em' shepherd, lit. feeder, giver of pasture; a herdsman or shepherd. 2. A shepherd of souls; on who has the spiritual oversight over a company or body of Christians...” G. Minister: “A servant, attendant; one who acts under the authority of another; one who carries out executive duties as the agent or representative of a superior.” IV. Biblical examples of church business show the church acting under the guidance of a minister. A. Ministers guided the selection and ordination of the first deacons. ACT 6:1-6. B. Ministers guide the membership roll of the church. The minister acts as a porter of God's house. MAR 13:34. 1. Porter: “One who has the charge of a door or gate, esp. at the entrance of a fortified town or of a castle or other large building, a public institution, etc.; a gate-keeper, door-keeper, janitor.” 2. The minister has the authority to baptize, even in the absence of the rest of the church. MAT 28:19; ACT 8:38; 10:48. 3. A minister instructed the church at Corinth in the execution of church discipline. 1CO 5:1-13 (note esp. vs.3-5, 13). 4. A minister instructed the same church in the restoration of the excluded member. 2CO 2:6-8. C. A minister was to oversee the financial support of widows. 1TI 5:3-21. D. The whole tenor of the N.T. is instruction of the church to action by an elder operating within the framework of God's law. E. In each of the above examples the church is TOLD what to do, not asked what they want to do. 1. There is nothing wrong with a pastor considering the suggestions of his people. 1CH 13:1-4. 2. However, he must not heed the desires of the people when to do so would conflict with the will of God. 1SAM 15:24. 3. Ultimately, a pastor must do that which he judges to be right in God's sight. 1TI 1:19. 4. A pastor/elder/bishop/overseer/steward/minister of God's house is FIRST the servant of Christ and must please Him. 1TH 2:4; GAL 1:10. 5. Consequently, the church members' estimation of his service must be a lower priority with him. 1CO 4:3-4. 6. A pastor cannot yield his oversight to church members who think they know better than him as to how to run the church. 1PE 5:2; JOH 10:12-13. V. Believers are to obey and submit to their pastor's rule. HEB 13:7, 17. A. Rule: “To control, guide, direct, exercise sway or influence over.” B. Control: “To exercise restraint or direction upon the free action of; to hold sway over, exercise power or authority over; to dominate, command.” C. A pastor cannot rule a people who will not be ruled. He can command and exemplify obedience but he cannot force it. 1TI 4:11-12; 1PE 5:3. D. The pastor must not rule capriciously for himself, but execute authority constructively according to the Scriptures for Jesus Christ, Whom he represents. 2CO 5:20; 10:8; TIT 1:7. E. Church members are to follow the pastor's FAITH, which is grounded in and bounded by the word of God. ROM 10:17. 1. Church members have a responsibility to prove their minister by the Scriptures. 1TH 5:21; ACT 17:11 ct/w PRO 14:15. 2. Paul is the rule by which to measure a minister. PHIL 3:17-19. 3. Believers owe no obedience to a minister who defiantly teaches contrary to the Scriptures. ROM 16:17-18; TIT 3:10-11. F. A pastor may exercise his private judgment WITHIN the framework of Scripture. 1CO 7:25, 40. 1. The pastor decides the number of songs, etc. in church services. 2. The pastor decides the frequency of communion. 3. The pastor decides when a brother may fill the pulpit. 4. The pastor may regulate a church expenditure without the approval of the whole body. 5. The pastor decides the policies for the daily government of the church such as voting procedures or determining what constitutes forsaking of the assembly. G. Church members are to follow the faith of their pastor considering that it ends with a crown of glory. 1PE 5:3-4. F. Members must attend to the ministry of their pastor if they are to be fed and saved by his ministry. 1TI 4:16. VI. Believers are to KNOW THEIR pastor and ESTEEM him very highly in love for his work's sake. 1TH 5:12-13. A. Know: “To recognize in some capacity; to acknowledge; to admit the claims or authority of.” B. Esteem: “To regard as valuable; to think highly of; to Feel regard for, respect.” C. The pastor is OVER his people IN THE LORD (i.e. in rank in the church). 1PE 5:1-2; HEB 13:17. D. The pastor is not only over his people, but he is also to be AMONG them. His ministry is both public and personal. ACT 20:20-21. E. Saints should highly value their pastor in love, not in hero worship. Remember, heros may develop feet of clay and nobody is irreplaceable. F. This high esteem is rendered for their work's sake, not for their person. 1. The pastor is human like the rest, but God gives him his work for which he is to be esteemed. ACT 20:28; AMO 7:14-15. 2. With the office comes a weightier responsibility. ECC 10:1; JAM 3:1. G. The office of the ministry is to be magnified. ROM 11:13. 1. Magnify: “To speak or act for the honour or glory of (a person or thing); to glorify, extol.” 2. It is not narcissism to speak highly of the office of God. H. Avoid fault-finding missions relative to your pastor. Fault-finders may find more than they bargained for. PRO 16:27; PSA 64:5-7; ISA 29:20-21; JER 20:10-11. I. Do not advertise or magnify your pastor's faults. GEN 9:22 ct/w 2SAM 1:20. J. Do not revile the man God has sent to rule over you. EXO 22:28 c/w ACT 23:5.