Wednesday, 3 December 2014

'LEADERS' IN THE CHURCH... AND 'LEADERS' IN THE BIBLE! - THE TOPSY-TURVY WORLD OF RESTORATIONISM AND DOMINIONISM!


"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD."
(Isaiah 55:8)

"Of course I know where I'm going! I went to the 
New Wine Cymru Leaders' Conference, didn't I?
We sang 'Dancing Queen' by Abba. It was great, mun!"

These days, you can't move very far around the "Christian" scene without coming across organizations with a special interest in holding courses or conferences or providing resources for Church LEADERS. Existing leaders, emerging leaders, youth leaders, women leaders, prayer group leaders, cell group leaders... leaders are seen to be the essential ingredient in the preparation of a delicious, piping-hot Kingdom stew. Leaders are to be trained, mentored, equipped, anointed... and released... to do what? Well, to lead, of course! Or should that really read, to lead OFF COURSE?

A QUESTION. How many times do you think the word 'LEADERS' is found in the Bible (KJV)? I did a search to find out. The result was more than interesting!

Would you believe the answer is three? THREE! And would you also believe that all 3 references to 'leaders' are NEGATIVE ones? (And if you think that maybe by chopping the 's' off the end, 'leader' singular would fare better, then think again. 'LEADER' also appears in the total Text only three times!) For anyone who believes that the Word of God governs our lives and lays out where our priorities really lie, should not this fact give serious pause for thought? Here are the references to 'leaders':


"And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land."
(2 Chronicles 32:21)

"For the leaders of this people cause them to err, and they that are led of them are destroyed."
(Isaiah 9:16)

"Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."
(Matthew 15:14)

ALL REVEAL WRONG ACTIONS ON THE PART OF 'LEADERS' WITH DIRE CONSEQUENCES!


I then did another search. This time to discover how many times the word 'DISCIPLES' appears in Holy Writ. The result proved to be an absolutely amazing contrast to 'LEADERS!'

THE WORD 'DISCIPLES' APPEARS NO LESS THAN 232 TIMES! (WITH ANOTHER 24 FOR 'DISCIPLE' IN THE SINGULAR).

NOW IF THOSE FIGURES WERE FLASHED UP AT FULL-TIME ON THE SCOREBOARD AT THE MILLENNIUM STADIUM, WHICH SIDE WOULD YOU THINK HAD CRUSHED THE OTHER INTO THE MUD TO TAKE THE TROPHY AND GAIN AN ENTRY IN THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS?


"232 : 3!"

POINT IS THIS: INFINITELY GREATER PRIORITY AND SIGNIFICANCE IS GIVEN IN SCRIPTURE TO 'DISCIPLES' THAN TO 'LEADERS!' 

WHICH GIVES RISE TO ANOTHER QUESTION. WHY DOES SO MUCH OF "THE CHURCH" GIVE SUCH HUGE PRIORITY AND SIGNIFICANCE TO 'LEADERS' WHEN THE BIBLE VERY CLEARLY DOES NOT? I WILL VENTURE TO GIVE A REASON. 

IN A NUTSHELL, CHURCHES ARE BEING BUILT IN THE FLESH, TO THE DESIGNS OF MAN, AND REPLICATING WORLDLY BUSINESS MODELS, CREATING CLASSIC PYRAMID STRUCTURES, WHERE LEADERS ARE APPOINTED AND TRAINED UP IN THE IDEALS OF THE HIERARCHY TO DELIVER THE DESIRED SUCCESS AND EXPANSION OF ANY GIVEN ENTERPRISE. 

IT IS NOT THE KINGDOM OF GOD THAT IS BEING BUILT, BUT THE KINGDOM OF MAN! IT'S LAYING THE CLAY BRICKS OF BABEL, WHICH HAVE BEEN CAREFULLY FIRED WITH A "CHRISTIAN" GLAZING.


"What a mighty and magnificent tower this is gonna be!"

It is no coincidence that churches and organizations at the very forefront of promoting and selling this whole upside down deal are ones that have embraced and work to the Restorationist pattern of church government (as they see it). In actuality, their supposed restoration of the "5-fold ministry," claiming Ephesians 4:11 as their mandate, is effectively moving the foundations of the Faith. They are not restoring, but are actually tearing down what was built upon the solid foundations laid by Christ and His Apostles, and raising a new structure of their own with new "apostles" at the apex of that power pyramid, with prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers forming the other tiers of authority below the (self-accredited) apostles' supreme governance. 

Appointing and training 'leaders' to fill these managerial posts is an essential part of not only maintaining, but expanding the Restorationist empire. It all has its roots in the Latter Rain heresy, with its Manifest Sons of God/Joel's Army false teaching whereby a host of holy super-troopers would win the world for Christ and establish His Kingdom on Earth PRIOR to His return!

In the UK, Restorationism manifests itself through the various branches and off-shoots of the British New Church Movement, of which Pioneer, Newfrontiers and Destiny are good examples, while internationally - from its US epicentre - it is known as the New Apostolic Reformation, under its chief apostle-that-isn't, C. Peter Wagner. The movement's all-conquering Dominionist mindset and 'Seven Mountains' worldview are completely at odds with what the Bible teaches about the End Times. Scripture warns us time and again that apostasy and not revival will be the order of the day when Jesus returns for His Bride at the Rapture, the "snatching away" that Dominionists are so keen to dismiss - along with much else! - in favour of their own self-cultivated and totally unscriptural eschatology, with a Church triumphant over all things on Earth. Did not the Lord Himself declare concerning His return:


"Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
(Luke 18:8)

Sounds much more like He's expecting to find a world filled with UNBELIEF, don't you think?

The entire Restorationist/NAR structure is shot through with Pit-deep delusion. Its leaders, having given themselves over to deceptions wrought by seducing spirits, in turn pass on these deceptions to those up-and-coming leaders who aspire to be something they ought not to be. As Isaiah declared, "For the leaders of this people cause them to err, and they that are led of them are destroyed." (Isaiah 9:16)

GOD DOES THINGS THE OPPOSITE WAY TO THE WAY THE WORLD DOES THEM. DOES NOT HOLY WRIT DECLARE:


"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence."
(1 Corinthians 1:27-29)

NOTE WELL THE CONCLUDING WORDS OF THIS PASSAGE: "NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE." DOMINIONISM CONTRADICTS GOD. IT SEEKS TO BESTOW GLORY ON THE FLESH, MAGNIFYING MAN ABOVE GOD AND MAKING HIM THE DELIVERER OF THE KNOCKOUT BLOW AND SECURING VICTORY OVER THE WORLD INSTEAD OF JESUS, EFFECTIVELY ROBBING HIM OF HIS RIGHTFUL GLORY!

"MINE is the Kingdom, the power and the glory!"

Men are following men, putting them on pedestals and trusting in their leadership. Fatal mistake! As Scripture warns:


"Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD."
(Jeremiah 17:5)

Though Dominionists declare their allegiance to the Lord, their determined departure from His Word sadly demonstrates that their hearts have indeed departed from Him and gone a different way, adopting the very same power structure of the world - the arm of flesh - which Jesus Himself told his disciples was the exact opposite of how things should be with them:


"But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all."
(Mark 10:42-44)

OUR CALLING SHOULD BE CLEAR. NOT TO BE 'LEADERS' BUT DISCIPLES! WE ARE TO SERVE GOD AND MINISTER TO EACH OTHER, IN A SPIRIT OF HUMILITY AND THANKFUL RECOGNITION AND REMEMBRANCE OF ALL THAT THE LORD HAS DONE FOR US. IT'S ALL ABOUT HIM, NOT ABOUT US!

WE ARE TO BE SERVANTS, TO DO HIS BIDDING, NOT HAVE SERVANTS TO DO OURS! THIS IS OUR CALLING IN HIM. THIS IS WHAT IT IS TO BE A DISCIPLE!

ASSUREDLY, IF WE BLINDLY FOLLOW BLIND LEADERS, IT IS ONLY A VERY DEEP DITCH THAT AWAITS US!


"Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples."
(Isaiah 8:16)

"According as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the LORD."
(1 Corinthians 1:31)


19 comments:

  1. Much needed message, and I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 12:9...
    "And [God] said unto me, 'My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength [in you] is made perfect in [your realizing your] weakness.' Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

    Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, be glorified.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, with its most pertinent Scripture!

      When we puff ourselves up, and think ourselves to be more than we are, would that we remember the words of John the Baptist, and apply them to our own selves:

      "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30)

      Best wishes, in Jesus' mighty Name,
      Rob.

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  2. Just wondering what you make of scriptures such as

    "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith." (Hebrews 13:7 esv)

    "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you." (Hebrews 13v17 esv)

    "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ." 1Cor11v1 esv)

    And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ"
    (Ephesians 4v11-12)

    Not to mention all the passages about establishing elders and what kind of men they need to be.
    I understand your concerns with ungodly leaders, but don't throw the baby out with the bath water - we need godly leaders for our growth, protection, direction and discipline.

    I thank God for the leaders He has put over me in my life for my covering, sanctification and growth in grace.

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    1. Hi!

      I'm sorry, I thought the article spoke clearly on the subject of right and wrong priorities in the Body, and particularly in reference to the errors and false teaching of Restorationism and Dominionism, conjoined twins which have their own distinct reasons for majoring on leaders (which might more accurately be termed MISleaders!) as outlined.

      The baby isn't being thrown out, just the bathwater...

      In Jesus' mighty Name,
      Rob.

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  3. So just to be clear - you have no issue with the concept of the appointment of and submission to godly leadership as laid out in Scripture?

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    1. I have been clear. Are you the anonymous blogger of 'Watching the Watchman' by any chance?'

      I'd appreciate it if you would have the grace to properly identify yourself!

      In His Name,
      Rob.

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  4. No, I'm not - I have no idea who you're referring to. My name is David and I'm a Christian from Pontypool. I'm just not sure that you have been clear. Who are the elders / leaders to whom you are accountable? If you don't mind me asking?

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    1. Hi David, and thank you for saying who you are. Anonymity is a constant problem.

      I'm sorry if you feel I haven't been clear. In answer to your question, I meet with other Christians, but not as part of a formal "church" as many would understand the term, with a structured leadership. I trust this gives sufficient clarification?

      In Jesus' Name,
      Rob.

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  5. Hi Rob,

    I listened to a sermon on the weekend and basically the topic was the apostate Mega churches that are rising and will be in opposition to the true body of Christ, the remnant left will have to hold meetings in homes, persecution will increase even from these so called churches who will not tolerate the True teachings of Christ, but wish to have their worldly pyramid system of leadership in the church and partake of the ecumenical agenda. Compromising with other faith groups, heralding a one world religion, serving the created rather than the creator,, Jesus poured out his all as the suffering servant.. there is no servant heart or humility in the Mega business Church.

    Blessings Rob for these great articles.

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    1. Hi, and thanks so much for posting this comment, with its sadly all-too-true synopsis of the great Falling Away being evidenced before our own eyes in our own time, and what undoubtedly faces the uncompromising remnant of true believers.

      It is good to be reminded that there are still some men of integrity in the pulpit who are not afraid to risk all by making a stand and warning their flocks, at a time when so many shepherds are feeding upon the sheep rather than shielding them from harm!

      Best wishes, and many thanks for your very welcome support!
      In Jesus' Name,
      Rob.

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  6. I am posting here a comment received from a reader who emailed it to me, as for some unknown reason he was unable to get the comments box to work for him. (If anyone else experiences a similar problem and would like a comment to appear, please email it to me at watchman4wales@yahoo.co.uk and I will copy and paste it in for you).

    Hi Rob
    A few thoughts on your recent blog and comments from an anonymous reader who quoted from Ephesians, Hebrews and Corinthians. To start the wording in Ephesians 4 is in the King James
    and he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the whole body of Christ:
    The wording and grammar is important, for instance, The word ‘some’, is used four times, the commas, the colon and semi-colon are all important to this verse. It is also notable that Christ is spelled, quite rightly, with a capital C and yet all others apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, saints, ministry and body are all first letter lower case. Eph 4 11-12 is a clear example of the Word being rewritten, perfecting to equipping, and words and grammar written out for example use of ‘some’, commas and semi-colons. This effect has been used by your anonymous reader.
    Those that quote this verse believe in a ‘five-fold ministry’ and usually set themselves out as ‘leaders’ and ask their congregation to ‘submit’ to their ‘authority’. We should be asking why do they need to do this, the answer is in their self interest.
    To those so called ‘leaders’ I say this:
    The text in Eph 4 does not confer any right of authority merely recognises an office or gift. Neither does Eph 5 or 6 or Hebrews 13:17 confer ‘authority’. The words used in text obey, obedience, submit, subject do not convey a seniority or level of authority on those with these gifts. In 1 Cor 13:2 Paul who has many gifts places no importance other than what they have been given for. In 1 Cor 12 he goes further and talks of one body with Christ as the head he does not say the arm is this, the eye is this, it is clear we are one body but that the members should have the same care for one another and from this body comes office and gifts. Again In Romans 12 So we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Is this not a form of equality? Christ died for us all, he is the head and we are all in the body.
    One thing I am more and more clear about is the structure of the Kingdom of God and the ministering of it. In verses 25-28, Ye Know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. Clearly referring to the Roman Empire, a military dictatorship, a hierarchical structure, authoritarian, ruthless, quick to move, ….but it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you let him be your servant: Even as the son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Mark 9:35 If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all and servant of all. Similar in Mark 10:31, Luke 9:48 also 1 Peter 5 2-3. Not a dictatorship, but chosen amongst the members and the chosen servants to the members, it should be a privilege to speak not just to listen.
    And how is this Kingdom built Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; Acts 4:11, Matt 21:42, 1 Peter 2:4-7, Rev 21:14 and what do the foundations support…the members…from which come Eph 4:11…to do as Christ did…to minister, to serve, or oversee the body of Christ not with authority but using their gifts.
    The beauty is that the Kingdom is not as you would first think but the other way round. Those who think they should have, don’t.

    John

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    1. Thank you so much, John, for sending me this very detailed comment.

      It is indeed a thoughtful, thorough and pertinent analysis of the Scriptures dealing with the issues of proper leadership, and I very much hope that your sound critique will be widely read and digested, particularly by those who teach, or have been taught, the Restorationists' deeply erroneous interpretation of Ephesians 4:11. May eyes be opened to the stark contrast between the ways of God and the ways of man!

      This is such an incredibly important matter to get right. There is a world of difference between SERVICE and SERVITUDE!

      Thank you again, and every blessing to you and yours,
      in Jesus' mighty Name,
      Rob.



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  7. Hi John, it's the anonymous poster from above (or David from Pontypool as my following comment says). FYI I didn't tablet with the wording or grammar I simply cut and pasted from the ESV - the translation that I use. Whereas I completely agree that we are all equal in the sight of God and absolutely agree with what you say about the 'upside down' nature of the Kingdom. But you have only addressed one of the scriptures I mentioned. I wondered what your take was on Hebrews 13v7 (I'll use the King James Version as that seems to be most commonly used translation on these blogs):

    "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."

    If you look at the words "Obey", "rule over" and "submit" in the Greek you'll see that they are strong words with strong implications indeed. Are they licence for dictatorial leadership? Certainly not! But do they teach that God in His grace raises up leaders to exercise Godly authority over the flock to whom they serve as under-shepherds after the manner of Jesus? Absolutely! I thank God for those who "have the rule" over me and pray that God will help me to submit to their godly leadership and obey their biblical teaching for His glory and the good of His people. When there are no godly shepherds, the sheep are most at risk of wolves!

    Happy Christmas.

    David

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    1. Hi David!

      If John wishes to respond, I'll gladly publish what he has to say. In the meantime, may I respectfully offer a few thoughts of my own concerning Hebrews 13 verses 7 and 17?

      I think the essence of correctly-observed Biblical obedience and submission is that truly Godly men in a position of leadership will have a genuine servant's heart, and will have the very best interests of the flock as their absolute priority. Thereby, somebody who is taking a wrong path can legitimately be properly corrected, so that hurt to themselves and others can be avoided, or at least rectified. Then, in an attitude of rightful respect - something which can only be earned, not demanded! - obedience and submission on the part of someone so corrected will take the form of something like, "Thank you, brother, for your sound counsel, and pointing out the relevant Scriptures to me. I can see now that what I was doing or saying was wrong; your intervention and taking me to one side to gently explain all this to me has undoubtedly been for my benefit and the benefit of those who I might have affected adversely, and of course I'm going to go along with what you say."

      A leader's role is surely one of guiding and guarding others, righteously shielding them in Christian love rather than wielding a worldly sword of managerial authority over their lives. Leaders' conduct has always to be in line with the Lord's own teaching on such matters, as outlined in Mark 10:42-44 and quoted in the article.

      An enormous problem facing us all in these perilous Last Days is that so many shepherds ARE the wolves, or the friends and followers of the wolf pack! It's getting ever harder to find truly Godly leadership, worthy men of dedication and sound doctrine who selflessly watch out for the sheep rather than feed upon them! Wolf-shepherds use and abuse Scriptures like Hebrews 13 verses 7 and 17 to secure power, privilege and prestige for themselves, and exercise fleshly control over individuals, families and congregations. Such a travesty must surely be deeply displeasing to God? As I remarked in my response to John's observations, there is a world of difference between SERVICE and SERVITUDE!

      In Jesus' mighty Name,
      Rob.

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    2. Hi , I went to a church for years until they brought in membership ! I did not agree with some of the 30 odd page booklet we were given and raised my concerns with those in 'authority'. I was told if I did not agree with the leaders why not leave the church then. Also one said 'what if we put you out of fellowship'? Such love displayed....not. Needless to say I left the church because of heavy shepherding coming in.......now churchless...but still in His Church of which I've been a member for many years and have been involved in many different churches over the years and just watched error seeping in ....so slithering . Now looking for His True Church Believers maybe a house fellowship? These Acts 29 lot too have people deciding to become leaders....I thought it was God who raised up ''leaders'' not some ' I've been to bible college student ' who is not yet wise to 'lead'.Most of the elders in the bible were in fact just that......been around for a while and had wisdom. But there seems to be a new move of youth leadership which reminds me of the a placard I seen in a shop.''Teenager leave the house and get you're own place now whilst you still know it all''. Silver hair is a sign of wisdom too ! God Bless You Carl

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    3. Hi Carl, and thank you so much for getting in touch!

      I believe a story like yours will resonate with many an ostracized brother and sister in the Lord who has made a similar stand. It can mean entering a most incredibly lonely and testing wilderness experience. And such a scenario is only going to be increasingly encountered, as the Falling Away bites ever deeper as the world lurches ever closer to the reign of Antichrist!

      But be encouraged, brother! God has reserved Himself a remnant who have not bowed the knee to Baal! Just this month a few like-minded, concerned born-again believers found each other and met up. We have high hopes in the Lord that a regular (perhaps monthly?) get-together will now occur in the New Year somewhere in the South Wales area for real fellowship, encouragement, prayer and discussion. Whereabouts are you? If you (or indeed anyone else reading this!) is interested in this venture, please email me at watchman4wales@yahoo.co.uk so I can keep you posted of developments!

      Silver hairs are most welcome - I have plenty of my own :)

      Every blessing to you, Carl, in Jesus' mighty Name,
      Rob.

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    4. Hi Rob

      My response to David is below

      John
      --------------------------------------------

      Hi David

      You wondered what my take was on Hebrews 13: 7 and 17 the verses are quoted below as well as 24.

      Hebrews 13:7
      “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.”

      Hebrews 13:17
      "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."

      Hebrews 13:24
      “Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.”

      My first thought is that “them” is not named and is in the plural, for example, use of “all” in verse 24 and “they” in 17. We are given information in the verse as to whom “them” are; from verse 7 Remember...who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. And verse 17 for they watch for your souls. “them” must include those from the past and the present who have spoken the word of god. See also 1 Tim 5:17 it says “let the elders who rule well...” In other words those with a deep understanding of the word of God who are to do as Christ did…to minister, to serve, or oversee the body of Christ.

      My second thought is that it does not say “that rule over you” but does say “that have the rule over you” This wording differentiates between the State and Christianity, hence my reference to Roman rule and Christian rule in my previous comment, Christian rule being the word of God. Please understand that I am not suggesting ignoring the State as it says in Mark we should render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. However we are told by Paul we are in a race, and there are rules to this race, it is these Christian rules that are referred to here. So when the minister, who serves, explains those rules we listen, that is how we obey. It is the rules, the spoken word of God, that we submit ourselves to not the minister.

      My third thought is that there is clearly a warning to ministers in verse 17, they watch for our souls and must give account to God. If they rule well they will have great joy at our obedience to the rules, for we will win our race and our soul will be saved. If they rule badly they will feel grief, a consequence of our soul not being saved. The salvation of our soul is their purpose and is what would be “profitable” to us.

      My final thought is how far apart are we on this issue, you will of course be able to answer this from your own point of view. I also thank God for ministers who have a deep understanding of the word of God and are prepared to teach it not demanding authority but using their gifts. My question to you is does Heb 13:17 “teach that God in His grace raises up leaders to exercise Godly authority over the flock to whom they serve as under-shepherds after the manner of Jesus? I do not see that elaborate interpretation in these verses could you please explain how you have arrived at this? Have you taken this view using different verses perhaps?

      John

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    5. I am grateful to John for his detailed emailed response to David's comment (of 24th. December), which is published here. He has some very astute observations to make on these Scriptures dealing with obedience and submission! Much food for thought!

      In Jesus' Name,
      Rob.

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  8. John

    Thanks for your reply. Happy to clarify where I got that final thought from. I guess it comes largely from 1 Peter 5:1-4 which Peter addresses directly to elders and exhorts them to "shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory." I draw several things from these verses. Firstly, that elders are both called shepherd other sheep (the terms elder, pastor and shepherd are used interchangeably in the NT). This is where so much confusion comes in as many would simply say that Jesus is the Great Shepherd and that all Christians are sheep of his pasture...which is of course true and right! But here Peter tells us that elders are also called to function as shepherds over the sheep. However, no elder ever could or should take the place of the Chief Shepherd, Jesus, hence my use of the phrase 'under shepherds'. I mentioned 'after the manner of Jesus' because Peter lays out what the oversight of these shepherds should look like (or how a biblically qualified elder should lead) and I'm sure you will agree - it's the kind of shepherding that Jesus models for us: "not under compulsion, but willingly, not for shameful gain, but eagerly, not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock". Finally, this little passage concludes with a reminder that they are not the chief Shepherd, Jesus is, and that He will come to reward those who have been faithful with a crown.

    Hope that helps.

    Happy new year to you.

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