Thursday, March 05, 2009

Proper Church Authority and Submission To It

Ron McKenzie at Blessed Economist paints a portrait of pastoral authority in the church and what submission to that authority looks like. What Ron describes looks nothing like what most of the church today looks like. Quoting:

Christian submission is different from worldly submission, because its purpose is protection against error. Christians submit to an elder by giving the elder permission to speak in to their life. ... The elders will know the Christian well, so they will notice any mistakes. Elders have authority ask the tough questions, that no one else will ask. ... Elders must know their disciples well enough to see their hidden mistakes, and they must love them enough to challenge them, even at the risk of losing their friendship. Many Christians fall away when they make a bad decision or slip back into persistent sin. This often happens, because no one loves them enough to challenge them, at the time of their first mistake.

I constantly hear of people leaving churches in large numbers. What I never hear is how these people departed only after the shepherds left the other 99 sheep in the flock to pursue them. Either shepherds don't know their sheep or they know enough about how to control them with improper authority that they leave. I suspect both in today's evangelicalism.


  1. I think you have a great point. Authority in the church today generally takes the form of demanding blind allegiance.

    It's a shame really. If they would just get the love part of the equation right that might stop.

  2. Let me just say two words on behalf of submitting to authority, whether spiritually or however.

    Jim Jones.

    1)Discernment shouldn't be thrown aside or away.
    2)Not every one that IS a leader SHOULD be.
    3)Leaders are human and make mistakes. A good leader isn't afraid to say "I was wrong"