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That's an awesome question. Here it is what I learned through the Bible and through my personal walk with God: Pastors are not spiritual owners of the sheep. According to the Bible they are not allowed to exercise dominion over the sheep, but should give them guidance and examples starting with their own lives (1 Peter 5:1-3). Those who exercise dominion over the sheep are rejecting one of the most clear and specific instructions that the Bible gives to shepherds. But if occur, we can always pray and ask God to guide us somewhere else, where we can spend more time with what is good, serving and getting stronger in God, than dealing with spiritual wounds. Oppressive leaders can kill the sheep. When we study about authority in the Bible, we clearly see that spiritual leaders are not meant to have domain over the people, but to teach the ways revealed in the Bible, show live examples, and correcting with love, gentleness, patience, and perseverance. We can also see that the scope of their authority is pretty much limited to the spiritual realm, even though their advices can impact all areas of our lives. "They watch over our souls" (Hebrews 13:17), and not for the way we water our plants, toast our bread, paint our houses, size of shoes we use, etc. However, when one of those daily attitudes affects our spiritual life, they might (and should), alert us. So we need to be open to that, and have good esteem for their words. The Bible clearly states that we need to respect and obey them, in case what they say is not contrary to the Biblical teaching or doesn't contradict a superior request, such as the words of our parents, spouses, etc. Sometimes it can get complicates, and difficult to decide who to obey. But God will always give us wisdom and understanding (when we ask for it with faith). So we don't need to be worried when the time to take a decision comes. Just pray, fast and trust God. He is for you, not against you. He will help you to take the right decision. Just be humble, pray, and ask for wisdom. In normal circumstances, though, the Bible already gave us the instruction: run from false teachers, from unwise pastors, from oppressive leaders. The same Bible that says that we should obey our shepherds, also say things like: 1) Be aware (avoid) of the wolves; 2) Jesus set us free, so be wise and alert, and do not let yourself be put under slavery again... under the law of man and traditions of man that can control and oppress you, and are not according to the New Alliance; 3) Salvation doesn't belong to one specific denomination, so seek peace and a life that will allow you to be spiritual strong and healthy so you can help others. Otherwise you would live hurt, spending your time and strength fighting against the false teaching and hurting words you hear, to the point of having no emotional, mental or spiritual capability to help others. But once in a healthy environment, you will be healed and strong enough to help others. So ask God to guide you to a place where people knows how to exercise leadership, where the pastors have wisdom and love in the way that they treat the sheep, where the community is gentle and graceful, firm when necessary, but always with display of love, purity and grace in their own lives. And then, submit yourself to this leadership, respecting them as loving fathers who have zeal to our spiritual progress, valuing their words with great esteem. In the end, if you are already under an oppressive leadership, ask God to guide you somewhere else. It is not a sin to change the local community of faith where you serve and is served. Remember that no place will be perfect, but you can definitely find a place where the leadership knows how to exercise leadership, and are truly interested in your spiritual progress. Just be careful to do not shop for leaders that will pet you and let you do whatever you want. It is a dangerous thing to shop for friends and leaders that will conform to whatever you desire. Sometimes we need be confronted. We need people willing (and able) to correct us, even when we think we are completely right. But if after praying and being humble for a good amount of time (to make sure that God is speaking to us, and not our emotions), if the Holy Spirit is still telling you that something is not right in your community and that you should look for another place, you can and should do it. But even while doing that, remember to pursue peace with all people, and to leave in good terms, with love and respect, not cursing or speaking evil about anyone. Let God deal with that. But do not rush to leave the place you are. Take your time. Let God move in the situation. Wait for the time of the Spirit. So, after praying and fasting, you understood that God told you to move to another place, now you can use very important instruction of the Bible to look for another place. As we saw, it is very important for us to be in a place where the leaders are wise and have a Biblical way of live. Be under bad leaders is terrible. So here it is God's revealed instruction: by their fruits you will know them. The false pastors and even the true pastors that are not living according to the Scripture (for some reason) have one or more of these fruits: they seek their own interest first, quick to correct and slow to help, rude in the way they point people's sin and flaws, tell people what to do all the time (quick to speak, and slow to hear), make people feel condemned of sin without making them also feel encouraged to fight against it and without offering help, speaks more about money and authority levels than about Jesus, repentance, faith and the Cross, etc. But the pastors that are wise and lives accordingly to the Scripture have these fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, quick to hear, do not negotiate the Word, speaks the truth even when it is difficult, do not seek compliments nor focus their lives around money, when point people's sin also help them to feel encouraged to fight against it and offer their help and assistance, humble spirit, rather go after the lost sheep than to seek fame through big audiences, etc. In summary, we can say with no doubt that the Bible doesn't give to pastors an absolute authority over the sheep, but encourages them to have zeal to our spiritual progress, to give example with their own lives, and to act with love, gentleness, patience and perseverance when the time for correction comes. We, on the other hand, should give them all the respect and have great esteem for their advices, and imitate their faith. We can not be precipitated to reject their words, but examine everything according to the Word. So if to keep the peace and a good environment in our community we can do some personal loving sacrifices, it would be the best thing for us to do. But sometimes it can get bigger proportions, being overwhelming to us, making us constantly wounded, draining our strength and joy with Christ. When something like that happens, we should have a humble spirit, and first pray and fast before anything else. We need to ask God to interfere in the situation, to bless our leaders, and to speak to us and with them. Most of the times it will solve the issue, since our God is a living God, and defend the oppressed, specially of those who subject themselves to Him. We should also show practical displays of love for all leaders, since their are also humans and need our help sometimes. Then, after some time of prayers and fasting (what can be days, weeks, months or years, only God knows), if you still feel lead by God to move to another place, you don't need to feel guilt. God will take care of them and of you, but maybe it is His desire that meanwhile you be somewhere else. "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." (1 Timothy 4:16). Make sure that you are not just seeking to hear what you want. But if you move to some other christian community by the guidance of God, it is all good. Just make sure that, in what depends on you, to keep the peace and the love with your previews leaders, respecting them, and not cursing or speaking evil about them. Let God deal with His own servants. And as you go to another community, remember that even there you will be required to do loving sacrifices to keep the unity and the peace for the Kingdom's sake.
It seems to me that when Jesus told his disciples they were not to be called "Rabbi" or "Teacher," nor were they to "call anyone on earth your father," he set limits on the authority one human was allowed to exercise over another. There is only One in whom we can safely put our complete trust and only One to whom we can fully surrender control, and that is our heavenly Father (Matthew 23:8-10). Jesus' model of leadership was clearly that of someone who "serves," not someone who wields control over others. The role that Paul (briefly) outlined for apostles, prophets, pastor-teachers, etc., was to meet the spiritual needs of people who were members of the body of Christ (Ephesians. 4:11-16). One of the central beliefs of the Reformation was the priesthood of all believers. The Reformers argued, that having access to scripture and the illumination of the Spirit, Christians were not dependent on the teaching or control of others (cf. 1 John 2:27). Moreover, Paul indicated that a characteristic of "false apostles" was to enslave and "devour" Christians (2 Corinthians 11:13, 20). And what could be more clear than Peter's admonition to "elders" that they were not to be "lording it over those allotted to your charge," but to lead by "example"? (I Peter 5:3)
The authority of a Pastor for his flock or of a husband for his wife doesn't mean to control or be above. Jesus modeled spiritual authority through submitting His life and tearing down spiritual strongholds. He had the authority to cast out demons and He went about teaching meekness, freedom and healing the broken heart. Yes a Pastor has authority but it is the authority to protect you against the powers of darkness. With that authority comes responsibility for proper teaching and raising up into spiritual maturity just like a parent and child. Godly authority isnt imposed. Jesus died for us in order to take authority even over death so now we have the keys. The keys (love and forgiveness) give us authority.
There is a difference between submit & surrender! We choose to humble ourselves to someone in submission, A leader, a boss, Police/law, a wife to her husband etc yet not fully surrendering to them giving them there right to choose or removing there freedom. Then with Jesus it is way beyond submission it is complete surrender. In that surrender we are fully giving ourselves to Jesus unconditionally and completely, we pick up our cross denying our will to follow Him.HUGE difference. We can take direction from authority IF it aligns itself with the Word & with Jesus in our hearts. Yet we never give complete control. We do give complete control to Jesus for our lives!
No! We must submit to each other, Ephesians 5:21 says. But Hebrews 13:17 also tells us to obey and submit to our leaders because they watch over our souls. But I wouldn't say they have complete authority over us, Jesus Christ must be first place and in my opinion He is the first and He should have complete control over us. My friend it is a very thin line between submitting and controlling. Make sure you have your quite time with Jesus and allow Holy Spirit to be your number one teacher. God bless, hope this helps
A pastor is to be a servant. He is not to be an authority in any persons life except his own family. Even though many believe they are the authority over their congregation, which is not true. This attitude is unbiblical. A pastor is to represent Jesus Christ, just as we all are, and not to have his own agenda. In the world today, many pastors have their own personal agenda. You hear about them on the evening news almost weekly. If what your pastor says to you from the pulpit or in person, does not line up with scripture. Rebuke him, even reject him, but in no way listen to him.
Make the Lord your pastor, and Him alone. (Matthew 23:8-10)
That means that man made rules and regulations like the pharisees had it in the old days, they had there own rules and don't you dare break them....Now what do we call the overseer of the church, when Jesus told the disciples to shepherd His flock, and Shephering is like a Pastor with sheep, so we have to go back and forth on this one, but I know what you mean, espeacilly with those religions like catholism, etc...
I really appreciate all the responses. I was told that we should not visit other churches on sunday unless we are preaching or have an engagement but other than that we should be at our church. It did not sit well in my spirit. I want to be les by the spirit and go wherever he leads me. I now feel forced, guilty for not being there on sundays and confined. I believe and know God died allowed himself to be crucified so we could be free.
Complete? NO. Does he have authority over you? YES, with regards to Faith and Morals, nothing else.
Jesus alone is all authourity, for all authority has been given to Him. the pastor is human with human frailties as we ourselves have many faults. let's not condemn, but pray on all occassions in all circumstances. Your pastor is limited in his authority, he has authority to preach the gospel and authority to proctect his sheep. Pray for revelation, indepth of insight and knowledge to be given him and watch the Holy spirit at work in him. All praise and Glory to God the Father.
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