Pastoral Authority vs. the Authority of the Bible

 

The job of the pastor is to preach and pray.  There are other minor jobs that God gives the pastor, but nowhere in the Bible does God tell the pastor to dictate every little thing in a man’s life.  Christians should grow up enough to find out what the will of God is for themselves.  All Christians are priests right?  Today, many Independent Baptist preachers act like only they know what the will of God is and their members do not.  They treat their members like they are babies.  Unsurprisingly, that produces members who are babies.  A Bible Believer should believe that the Bible is the Final Authority.  Many Independent Baptists act (or even believe) that their pastor is the Final Authority.  1 Peter 5:1-3 and Mark 10:42-43 clearly show that a pastor is not to say things like, “Because I said so.” They should do things because God wants them to and because they are the right things to do.

Independent Baptist pastors are famous (and here the perception is true) for making people do things and strong arming them into submission.  Examples abound and they are not limited to the issue of skirts, haircuts, who to marry, what job to get, and what car or house to buy.  The pastor has no business telling his members what God wants them to do on issues not clearly delineated in the Bible.  Oftentimes, he has less than 10% of the information that the member has and has spent way less time praying about the subject.  I have seen a pastor send a man to the mission field and I have heard the statement, “When I tell you to go talk to someone, just do it and don’t think about it.”  

Obviously, the great issue that arises is this: what happens to a congregation when the pastor falls from the faith?  If the congregation has been taught to blindly follow the pastor, then of course the congregation will blindly follow the pastor into his apostasy.  This is not a just a hypothetical situation.  This has happened and it will continue to happen, sadly.  But the problem is started by preaching that points men to the pastor and not to the Bible and the God of the Bible.  But this, by definition, cannot be fixed because a listener is supposed to “despise not prophesyings.”  Men are taught that everything said from the pulpit is from God.  That is not Biblical.  “Despise not prophesyings” is balanced out by “prove all things, hold fast to that which is good.”  If the preaching does not match the Bible then dump it.  No matter who is preaching.  A good pastor should tell his congregation to do this.  But often they do not. Because they are scared they will say the wrong thing and get called out.  Everyone is scared of being called out.  Most just say, “Despise not prophesyings” in order to not have to deal with the issues.  No one is infallible.  Only Popes are stupid enough to claim it.  Sadly, many Independent Baptist pastors claim something similar.  They will never admit it, but they act like they are as infallible as the Pope himself.

Pastors will admit that they have made mistakes in the past, but then does it not follow that they will make mistakes in the future?  Without any doubt they will.  So why would a Christian be expected to turn their brains off and blindly do everything he is told?  Biblically he is not.  Sure, God has given certain men a plan for the ministry.  But that does not mean that he will not make mistakes, even when issues of the ministry come up.  No man knows all the ins and outs of a situation, even their own.  Anyone should be open to criticism.  They are not speaking for God if the reason is, “Because I say so.”  Always go by the Bible.  That is good advice for Independent Baptist pastors and anyone who has ever lived or will live.

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