question of "how" regarding role of the preacher and authority

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by nodak, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. nodak

    nodak
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    Another thread I started this morning, regarding how the clergy in the local Baptist churches in different areas are addressed has morphed into a discussion of pastoral authority.

    So I thought I would ask a pretty basic one and get your ideas:

    For those that believe the scriptures teach the pastor is somehow or to some extent in spiritual authority over the church members, how did that happen?

    Baptist churches do not baptize babies or those not seeking baptism on their own.

    So, if a person voluntarily joins a church, would they be seen as giving up authority to the pastor?

    I'm having a hard time getting my head around how a voluntary association with like minded believers becomes somehow a matter of the clergy of that association being in spiritual authority over the individual.

    Would seem the member is just as free to leave as he or she was to join.

    (And of course would seem the church is just as free to boot'em out.)

    But voluntarily associating, or not, is very different from being under authority.

    Can someone explain the counter viewpoint to me?
     
  2. Zenas

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    I'd like to know that too. Just what does the Bible mean when it speaks of exercising authority? I have no experience with authoritarian churches.
     
  3. Jerome

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    Jesus spoke of such:

    Matthew 23:6-10
    [The Pharisees] love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.

    As did John:

    III John 9
    I wrote something to the church ; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say

    John Gill comments:

     
  4. Tom Butler

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    There is always going to be some tension between the concept of pastoral authority and that of congregational government.

    My view of pastoral authority is not that he has spiritual authority over the individual members. But he must have some measure of authority because the Bible clearly makes him accountable for the church he pastors. One cannot separate authority and responsibility.

    Deacons who consider themselves a "board" have it wrong. They are servants, first and foremost. Whatever clout they have is given them by the congregation.

    There is a reason for this. It is that deacons are (or should be) considered spiritual men, mature and wise. So, when they speak, people tend to listen. Their recommendations carry weight because they (under the leadership of the pastor), have considered the various solutions to problems and have arrived at a collective judgment.


    It is not an authority or power that deacons should seek. And the pastor's views should carry great weight. He should be given the benefit of the doubt in matters affecting the church. Further, the pastor must exercise the authority given him without being authoritarian. When you have a pastor who thinks it's his way or the highway, trouble is ahead.

    When you have one deacon or more who think they should "run the church," that church is heading for trouble.

    I've never been in a church which has more than one elder (the pastor), so I don't know how a plurality of elders functions in a Baptist church. I'm sure those on the Baptist Board who do have elder-led congregations can shed some light on that.

    And while a pastor may see his authority as coming from God, as a practical matter, it comes from the congregation. He may lead his congregation in a certain direction; he may even push some. But to try to take a congregation in a direction it does not want to go (or is divided about it) is guaranteed trouble.
     
    #4 Tom Butler, Jan 18, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2012
  5. Jerome

    Jerome
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    Wise words from John Reisinger:

    from "When Should a Christian leave a Church?"

     
  6. preachinjesus

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    I find claims to pastoral authority to be dubious unless there is an existing relationship where someone is under accountability with a pastor. As I consider the implications of NT theology and pastoral authority I tend to notice two things:
    1. Where authority issues exist, the call is always back to example of the leader
    2. The ultimate test for behavior or actions is whether it is emulating Jesus' example
    3. A pastor/elder is given authority by their proclamation of the Bible
    4. Authority for conducting the affairs of a local community is conferred by that body to its leadership
    5. When sinful actions exist there is a biblical method a confrontation and then a community led dismissal

    I understand the dilemma...we usually don't preach about the finer points concerning ecclesiology. (To our shame imho) I would say that authority is conferred by people onto a select, called few and only for the purposes of more orderly conduct and to have a an example. Spiritual authority is a touchy subject, particularly in a culture that is (at best) antidisestablishmentarian (just wanted to use the word...:laugh:)*

    As a pastor I believe my authority is conferred from the congregation I serve and is limited to leading our staff and functions of the operations of the local church we serve, to be able to perform the basic functions of pastoral ministry, to be able to have authority to clearly proclaim the Bible, and to lead in mutual accountability to Christ's example of conduct and life.*

    It is not my place, nor in my authority, to order people around, to demand money or service from people, to prate on emotions, or to use the local church to further my agenda. To be a true, spiritual leader is to resign my ego and elevate my example.

    Hope it gets things moving along. I generally find that pastors who get the most worked up about needing authority have either lost it because of their arrogance or never had it because of any number of reasons. The best authority is the kind generously and freely conferred for the betterment of the community.
     
  7. drfuss

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    #7 drfuss, Jan 18, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2012
  8. Tom Butler

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    Because of his calling from God, I consider my pastor (sorry) as the chief among equals.

    In fact, there must be one who has more authority than others, or else things will not go smoothly. That's the way it works in business, in the family, in every organization I know. Somebody has to be in charge.

    Although the congregation has ultimate authority, it is wise if it delegates much to the pastor.

    BTW, my pastor likes to be called simply Preacher. But he also answers to Brother Curtis, and to Pastor.
     
  9. mont974x4

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    It seems a lot of people have trouble submitting to God ordained authority. A study of elders(pastors,bishops and overseers) would be helpful. Remember these are biblical terms with biblical responsibilities.
     
  10. Oldtimer

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    The God called shephard that stands in front of me on Sunday morning is my mentor and guide. He teaches me. He challenges me when something I say is contrary to God's word. He encourages me. Often he yields to a higher authority, when he tells me to listen to the Holy Spirit to guide my steps.

    When I kneel at the alter or in my closet, the earthly shephard I'm following has the responsibility, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, get/keep me there. To help me grow in maturity in my faith. To move from milk to meat.

    For whatever it's worth that's what I believe a pastors role should be for each member of the flock God assigned to him.

    It's a different story when it comes to church "government". He and the deacons are in roles of authority as granted by the congregation, itself. And he has the God given authority to challenge what a congregation may decide, as a group to do. Just as the early churches were challenged by Paul to help keep them on the right path. The whole flock can choose to follow the shepard or stampeed.
     
  11. drfuss

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    Tom, I don't know if your "sorry" is in response to my post. If it is, then you missed my point. Jesus said when talking to another Christian, do not address that Christian by an elevated title, i.e. don't call him Pastor, Reverend, Teacher, etc. when talking directly to him. When talking about him to other people when he is not present, there is nothing wrong with using his position as a part of referring to him; i.e. The Pastor, Pastor Smith, Reverend Smith, Apostle Paul, etc.
     
  12. DaChaser1

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    whem my wife and I visited our current church first time...

    met the senior pastor and asked him "would you perfer me to call you either pastor or Dr?" he replied"why not just randy, after all thats my name!"

    spoke volumes to me now and then...

    As I have met pastors and teachers that made sure that we aclnowledged they spent time and effort to get their titles, and should be addressed accordingly!
     
  13. Tom Butler

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    Thanks for setting me straight; I did miss your point.

    While my pastor prefers simply Preacher, because that's what he is, I occasionally call him pastor because that's what he is. I don't consider it an elevated title, but on the same lines as Preacher or Brother.

    Question: What about Doctor? I've had two pastors with earned doctorates. The both still preferred Brother_____.
     
  14. drfuss

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    Our Pastor prefers and encourages us to call him by his first name: he calls us by our first names. As you said before, it speaks volumes about him.
     

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