For example is the Pope of any more authority of Gods word than a local Baptist, or Methodist minister?
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Fair warning, I am a Protestant! I Corinthians 1:11-13 - For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," and "I of Cephas," and "I of Christ,." Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? All of us are born equally in the image of God. All of us are born equally sinners in need of forgiveness. We are all equally forgiven when we accept Christ, and we are all equally indwelled by the Holy Spirit. We all have the same capacity and ability to read and understand Scripture through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I would urge caution when someone claims to have some sort of special authority over others. We all have the same Spirit, and His role is the same in all our lives - to point towards Christ. We all also have the same capacity to sin. However, as people we are all simultaneously on the same journey, and on a unique journey. We are all at different places in our sanctification (process of becoming more like Christ). Some are more educated about Scripture, and some are less biased than others. We all need mentors in our life, people we believe are wiser than us and can encourage us in our journey, as well as we all need to be mentors to those less mature than ourselves. I personally would hold the opinion of my Pastor in higher regard than a 13 year old who accepted Christ yesterday, but regardless of what either said - I would look to Scripture and pray and trust that the Spirit is capable of guiding me towards the Truth. But at the same time, unless we're discussing one of the few core Truths of Christianity, I would recognize that I could still be wrong.
The person you should follow is Jesus Christ. The group you should be involved with is the body of Christ. Do not place your faith in any one man or group of men. If you are a Christian, then you follow Christ by way of the Word of God through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You are not a Paulian, or a Peterian, or a Jamesian or a Johnian. In the same light you also are not called to be a Popeian or follower of any other modern day figure. Why not? Man did not create you, sustain you or provide you with salvation. Jesus Christ did these things and to Him alone you owe everything. It is for the love and desire to follow and serve Jesus Christ that we think, say, do the things we do. Let your "trust and faith" be in Jesus alone. This being said, Jesus did provide you with resources to aid in your Christian walk. 1Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11 tells us that God appointed apostles, prophets, "teachers", miracles, gifts of healing, helping and administration, etc. God has spiritually empowered some select men to be preachers and teachers. These are people who are part of the body of believers. A Christian needs to be in a place where the whole body is present. Otherwise, you miss out on some of the benefits of the Holy Spirit Who empowers these members of the body of Christ. However, always be sure to measure everything you hear and say through the filter of God, which is His Word. Remember that in Acts 17:11, the apostle Paul preached the message of salvation to the Bereans and commended them saying that they accepted the Word with eagerness, but went home each evening and "examined the scriptures" each day to verify that what Paul told them was true. This pleased Paul because it was clear that the people's trust and faith was in God, not in Paul. Likewise, you should be the same in your walk with Christ. Remember that no one else can have your relationship with Jesus in the same way that any relationship you have is between you and that person. However, others who look upon your relationship can give you advice when they see or hear things that would lead them to believe you are weakening your relationship. Teachers of the Word are put in place by God for that very reason, to help you strengthen and enhance your relationship with Jesus Christ. They are supposed to advise and guide you according to God's Word. But remember that responsibility rests upon you to verify that what you have heard is within God's will for your Christian life and walk. Measure everything! Example: the Pope recently stated that he could not bring judgement against a priest if he was homosexual as long as he was searching for God. Yet, God's Word stands in judgment against anyone who is not of sound character and moral principle as a leader in the body of believers. Paul's instructions to Timothy were filled with requirements for overseers in the church. It is clear that in the context of these letters as well as the whole of scripture, a man given to any of the elements that God's law was established to condemn cannot be a leader of the church. As such, the Pope stands in opposition to God's Word on the issue of homosexuality in the priesthood. When we stand in opposition to God, we are either being knowingly rebellious, or we are proclaiming ourselves to be smarter than God. Neither of these is an appealing alternative. Also remember that God's Word is unchanging and timeless. Regardless of the fact that scripture was written thousands of years ago, God's Word is as relevant today as the the day it was first inspired through the pens of the prophets and apostles.
Absolutely not. We follow NO man on earth. Our eternal hope (our calm, confident assurance) is in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Our duty is to look to our God-breathed scriptures and to listen as the Holy Spirit speaks to us. Catholicism is an example of "religion," as is Islam, Mormonism, Christian Science, Jehovah Witnesses. Christianity is NOT a religion. It is a one-on-one personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. He is the only One that guarantees eternal life. He does it without imposing commandments, rules and regulations. He does it without requiring a structured approach to salvation with no rules attached, and with no works that you have to perforn in order to remained saved once you have turned your life over to Him. STOP wasting your life in "religion." Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Come to Him today: John 14:6, John 3:16-17, John 3:3, John 5:24, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 10:8-13. Sincerely embrace and confess Romans 10:8-13, then join a local assembly of born-again Believers who love our Lord Jesus and who will live with Him eternally. Questions? Just ask right here and now! :-) Don http://www.booksie.com/don_watson
Mr Munachiso Okorocha( Enugu Nigeria) The Lord Jesus Christ gives us leaders in every generation, but we are not to follow sheepishly without being guided by scripture. We must all the time be led of the Spirit, judging every spirit, and convinced by the Word that they are leading correctly. A leader who is of God will be meek in accepting where there is wrong in leadership using the Word of God as the sole platform of judgment. We only would follow them as they follow the Lord Jesus Christ; He has given us the Holy Spirit and we need the leadership of men who are raised and instructed for every purpose by Him, men with undeniable testimonies. "and by a Prophet, the Lord led Israel out of Egypt, and by a Prophet was he preserved" Hos 12:13. Today we have individuals in the five pulpit Ministries, "...for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the Ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ". We have a role here, and that is that we earnestly pray for and encourage them, knowing that as men, they may sometimes be overtaken as it happened at the end of Moses' Ministry because of worldly pressures. "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God, whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation" Heb 13:7. All the Biblical leaders of old were people of like passions as we are today, and there is no "superiority" of faith. Personal commitment in obedience and ability to hear clearly from God makes the difference. The scriptural precepts are very clear and discernible and should never be for the appropriation of any decadent nor sinful movement given to fleshly and world-conscious and not Word-conscious opinions. Christians need the right leadership to follow; the Spiritual growth process recommends it.
My short answer would be this: God tells us in His Holy Word, the BIBLE, "to take up our cross and follow Him". He tells us "to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and mind, and lean not upon our own understanding but put our faith in Him and His righteousness and He will direct our paths all the days of our lives." HIM, JESUS CHRIST is the only one, person or entity we are to follow and worship, for He is GOD, our savior, our redeemer and lover of our very souls". Nor do we put our trust and faith in things for "all things shall pass away" and "the devil roams about like a roaring lion, seeking to whom he may devour". Study His Holy Word of Truth, The Holy Bible, ponder, think, meditate and learn His "words of divine guidance, blessings promise of eternal life." ""Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you."" --Andy--
this is what gets so many Christians in a confused state. while it is always good to have teachers and instructors that can illuminate the Bible for you, you don't have to ask your pastor, your mother, the guy next door or ANYONE for that matter what your instructions are. as it says in Scripture, Paul is your leader. see his epistles for proof. examples... 1 Corinthians 4:16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. Galatians 1 "Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus." we are to follow the Gospel of Grace as delivered by Paul...nothing more, nothing less. his epistles are there for any and all to read and follow. he has the authority. you are not to be following Jesus Christ in his ministry in earth for your instruction. He tells you repeatedly throughout the Gospels that He is there to fulfill the ministry to the Jews, NOT Gentiles. the mystery that was hidden until after His death was that He was to bypass Israel after they rejected Him as king and go thru one Jew, Paul, to bring the Gospel of the Resurrected Jesus Christ as the deliverer of Gentiles and Jews on equal footing based on belief on His resurrected glory and his death as the atonement for the sins of each individual. while all Scripture is for edification, you have to understand: to who was it written, when was it written, why was it written and does it make sense in the context you are in according to the dispensation the Lord has outlined. failure to follow clear instructions outlined by Paul Epistles is what Satan uses to create confusion in the Body of Christ on earth...us. it's all there: Paul is your Leader...read it, live it and follow it
To follow or not follow a religious group or leader should be based on principle and character rather than admiration. In the particular case of following a religious group or leader, it should be based on whether such a person fits in what scripture tells he should be. It is impossible to do without leaders, only if they do not intend to assume powers they should not. I am a Pentecostal Born Again Christian. As so, we do not believe in universal religious leaders. We believe that Jesus the CHRIST is the universal head of the Church and He directs it by the Holy Spirit. We do not believe in universal headquarters of the Church. We believe that the headquarters of the Church is in heaven. However, denominational heads are necessary. We also have leaders in pastors without whom, a church may not be. As Pentecostals, we do not follow any religious groups, we only keep and follow scripture as it is, and seek to follow in the footsteps of CHRIST. As a Christian, there is no reason why I shouldn't follow someone as long as they equally follow Jesus (1Cor 11:1). I follow a leader in whom I can envisage the required materials to guide me to heaven. That is the one major reason I chose to be Christian. However though, the following should be more telling of who a Christian leader should be: 1.Follower of Jesus the CHRIST. 2.Takes scripture as it is laid down in the Bible. 3.Have the character. Follower of Jesus the CHRIST A leader in Christian leadership must be one who follows and submits to the authority of CHRIST. After all, the whole philosophy of Christianity is all about CHRIST without whom, it could have never been. In 1Cor 11:1, the Apostle Paul is only in position to instruct the Corinthians to follow him for one outstanding reason; he follows CHRIST. It was not for who he was/is, it was/is for what he had chosen to follow; CHRIST. To be a Christian leader, you have to have committed to following CHRIST (the cornerstone of the Christian Faith). Takes scripture as it is laid down in the Bible. He must take scripture as it is laid down in the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16-17), "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.Without scripture, one may not lead as required by God. Christian leadership isn’t about prestige; it is about guiding a people into the right path which leads them to heaven. Such was the basic mission of CHRIST. He gave up all so that He could lead a soul out of hell to heaven. As that, Christian leadership should be sacrificial, should not be selfish, it is not about self, it is about the led. The Bible is the lead guide of any Christian, how well or badly used defines the destination of an individual. If one is guided by instructions as they are in the Bible, there is no reason why I shouldn’t follow them, if they happen to be in a position of leadership. Have the character. A leader must be exemplary (1Tim 3:2-12), (Titus 1:6). For he is called so because he is in the lead. How he leads tells much what the led become. A Christian leader should not be a leader for himself, but for the people. Such must manifest in their character. A leader must not be emotional, must be one with a mission, from which he can’t be swayed by rumors, insults or provocations. This is how Jesus defeated the devil, He first defeated him by character, and finally by the crucifixion. His character created our confidence in Him. A leader must have the confidence of the led. Such, only comes by having a consistent exemplary character. A leader, who can fulfill the above, could be assured of my confidence and allegiance in and to them. If you are to lead in Christianity, you must lead with CHRIST with and in you. To have or not to have the authority should depend on whether you follow CHRIST as the overall head and model of the Church. CHRIST grants the authority. It is all about CHRIST.
As a Christian, we should follow the teachings of the Catholic Church, which are divine and true, coming from Jesus Christ himself. He established this Church 2000 years ago, when he said to Peter, "You are Rock and on this rock I will build my Church". We should follow only Christ, and all his commandments, both written down or passed by word of mouth. Jesus is king and the Pope is his vicar, who is not impeccable, he also makes mistakes, echoing Peter's exclamation "Depart from me Lord, I am a sinful man", yet the Holy Spirit protects him from teaching error. If you have been away from the Catholic Church, I urge you to take a second look. Come Home.
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