Submission, Obedience...

Discussion in 'Fundamental Baptist Forum' started by James_Newman, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. James_Newman

    James_Newman
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    This is a topic sure to bring out the best in us ;) What is God's will concerning obedience and submission according to scripture?

    Hebrews 13:17
    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.

    I see this as a command to submit to church leadership, the pastor if you will. How far would you follow this commandment and why?
     
  2. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    I had always taken, “Them that rule over you,” to imply governments. I always thought this was simply a command to obey the laws and rules of our nations. To extend this to church leadership makes pastors ‘rulers’ instead of ‘servants.’ If our church leaders truly will “give account” for us that puts an almost impossible responsibility on their shoulders.
     
  3. tinytim

    tinytim
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    I believe it is talking about pastors. But as in all verses, we cannot build a doctrine with this verse alone... we must balance the verse out with the other scriptures that teach the facts that we as pastors must lead by example, care for our flock, and be servants.

    If you take this verse alone without the balance of the rest of scripture it would give a dictator/pastor the ammunition he needs to abuse his flock.

    We do have an awesome responsibility to watch over the people God has entrusted to us. We will be responsible for what we feed the flock, and how we care for them.

    If I fail to warn someone of something, If I fail to care for someone when I should, or if I fail to preach the whole truth, then I WILL be held accountable when I stand before God.

    I take my calling seriously.

    And I have a great bunch of parishoners.
    They all respect me. They trust me. They love me..

    Do they blindly follow me? No...
    I am teaching them to think for themselves.
    We do believe in the priesthood of the believer.
     
  4. James_Newman

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    Thats too convenient. You would have to explain in what capacity the government watches for our souls. Where do you find that pastors are only to be servants and not rulers? The fact that church leaders will give account should cause them to tremble and truly consider how they lead their churches.
     
  5. tinytim

    tinytim
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    I believe these verses balance out the verse in the OP.
    When taken together, it completes a full picture of a church working together.

    1 Peter 5:2-4
    (2)
    Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
    (3) Neither as being lords over [God's] heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
    (4) And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
     
  6. James_Newman

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    I think thats another subject though. How a pastor should rule is definitely something that scripture has much to say on. But from the other side, we members of the church have to find the proper balance for our part. I think in this day and age, we tend to give ourselves more weight in the equation than is proper. The pastor's authority is limited, but we ignore his counsel at our own peril. I think of times when my pastor has told someone something would happen if they did not heed his warning, and lo and behold he was right. Is he a prophet? No, but he is a pastor, which office was given to the church for a specific purpose.

    Ephesians 4:11-12
    11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
    12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
     
  7. tinytim

    tinytim
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    I think you are right..
    I am just concerned that a lot of times people depend so much upon what their pastor says that they forget to listen to the Holy Ghost.

    This can make them lazy.
    I would rather have a church full of people that listen to God, and are able to study the Bible, than a church full of "yes" men, that agree with everything I say.

    As a pastor, I can tell you I am not always right. (but if you ask, you didn't hear it from me... this is a secret pastors know, but hope others never find out!!)
    I have learned from others.
    I appreciate disagreements sometimes...

    I know of a pastor that his church always agreed with him... why?
    They just didn't care about ministry.. it was easier to agree with him.

    He went to another church where people do care about doing ministry, and they question his suggestions... He told me that he loves that, because it shows these people care enough to do it the right way.

    I feel that when a pastor and his flock are listening to God, the pastor's opinion will sound alot like God's opinion. They will all be on the same page.
     
  8. 2 Timothy2:1-4

    2 Timothy2:1-4
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    This passage is clearly speaking of pastors. By the way leadership with the right motive is also a servant. But the leadership in the church is not like the leadership in the world. This is where the mistake is often made. Leadership in the church is to be in submission to Christ.

    There seems to be a very ungodly fear of runaway pastors. So to protect themselves from such extra biblical standards are put in place. The problem most liekly exists in the hiring of CEO's rather than recognizing God's call on His man. When we add all kinds of extra biblical standards for determinig Pastors and we all but completly set aside prayer, fasting and the Word of God then we have trouble. And the wrong man is put in place.

    Background checks, credit checks, congregational questionairs have replaced biblical standards for the call of the Pastor. God can tell those who are seeking a Pastor that this is the wrong guy without knowing all these unnecessary things. Progress has really replaced the basics of Christianity in so many ways.

    Then the church decides it wants to take time to trust the Pastor before he is really the Pastor. Sometimes it takes years to do this. How ungodly. It is a complete lack of faith that God called this man to this church. Which in most cases He hasn't. And it is sinful.

    When we get back to biblical principles concerning the Pastor then we will have less to fear. The pastor is the leader in that God delivers His message to the church through the Pastor. This has been the way God has worked throughout history. We should be careful not to overstep God's means of leadership. Israel found this out the hard way in numbers 16.
     
  9. AlexL

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    From the 'other side' (i.e., congregation), we need to have a humble attitude to the leadership of the church, and 'submit' one to another. They are accountable for what they 'feed' us. If we sit there complaining and murmuring about the leadership of the church, then we have lost a valuable lesson in submission and humility and being too proud.

    However one should exercise biblical discretion. If your pastor is not feeding you properly and you cannot submit (i.e., there is false teaching or no evident love), then most likely you need to come out of the church you have submitted yourself to and find a biblical one.

    I recently left such a church, where the members just agreed with everything the pastor and deacon said. Noone has ever questioned anything. We tried but it fell on deaf ears, so we just prayed. We tried so hard to submit and even lasted nearly two years, but had to face facts that although the doctrine and preaching was technically sound, there was no love of God in that church, the preaching was dead, having a form of godliness (legalistically) but denying the power therein, and not one person had been added to that church in fifteen years because of a personal witness or evangelising. We are now in a proper church and under the 'authority' of the pastor.

    Submitting does not mean relegating all spiritual growth to the pastor and blaming him when we go astray. We are all called to 'renew' our minds. The pastor cannot do that, we have to choose to.
     
  10. rbell

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    very well said.

    • it is wise for a church to know its pastor's history. We're blessed with a system that allows us to know, sometimes, when there's a "bad apple." Credit checks and background checks shouldn't be ALL there is...but you better believe I wanna know if my pastor-to-be has issues in these realms. I've known several churches that wish they would have done a background check. I as a minister welcome these avenues of accountabliity.
    • Yes, we should obey and submit...insofar as we are able to obey God in the same step. Thank God for the Priesthood of the Believer...the Holy Spirit is able to tell me if my pastor's off base. Whether it's Ted Haggard, Bob Gray, or anyone else with less spectacular failures--if the pastor's leading folks astray, we're not under obligation to obey him. Rather, we should speak out against his sin.
    I see what you're saying...but let us never forget the priesthood of the believer. God is quite capable of speaking to any Christian, even if the church is without a pastor. The people of God can hear directly from Him.

    But we must also temper that with understanding that there are many valid reasons to remove someone from leadership. They shouldn't be done lightly or flippantly, but neither should said deficiencies/rebellion/sin/etc. be ignored.

    I'm a bit hesitant to say, "God called this man" or "God didn't call this man." In one of my churches, the church languished for quite a while during a pastor's tumultuous and ineffective tenure. Many questioned if God had called him there or not. But even though things were rough, I saw God work in some people's lives during that pastor's tenure. I also saw some people who had been passive in serving God take a more active role during that tenure. And in the months following this pastor's departure, this church endured through difficult circumstances and learned to trust God. They also learned to be peacemakers. Had this pastor not been there, I wonder if all those things would have happened.

    All that to say that I'm very hesitant to make final judgements on whether someone was truly "called" or not (particularly if there's not a clear Scriptural violation going on).
     
  11. Steven2006

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    I also feel that this verse is talking about pastors. I feel that we are instructed to show them the honor and respect that they deserve as men called of God to pastor and preach. As to your question of how far? I would say that out of respect I would go along with something even though I might not necessarily be convicted of, as long as it didn't go against my convictions, if that makes any sense. I will give an example.

    At my church the pastor believes it is better for a woman to wear dresses skirts instead of pants. Yet I have never not once seen any judgment or ill attitude to those that might not. All they request is that if your are participating in a church function where you would be representing the church ladies do not wear pants. I have discussed this with them and basically they are not militant about it, was told in my home I (husband) am the one that will answer to God, and we should follow our personal convictions on such matters. So in this situation my wife and I have enough respect for the pastor to respect his wishes, even though my wife mostly wears pants around the house or shopping. Now if my pastor was militant about this and tried to make us feel wrong or pressured into her not wearing pants all the time, I think that would be going to far, and would look for another church. But I am happy that has never happened, not once not in the slightest degree, from he or anyone.

    I hope that helps to answer your question.
     
  12. James_Newman

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    That is a good example. You say that your pastor recommends women should wear dresses, but allows that some may disagree and that it is between them and God. Maybe some pastors go further and preach that women shouldn't wear pants, and if they do they are going against Deuteronomy 22:5. Not that they would disfellowship over the issue, but that it is a strongly held conviction and is preached as such from the pulpit. Would you see this as the pastor overstepping his authority, or that you would have a biblical reason for disobeying and/or leaving the church? How did you decide that was as far as you would allow your pastor to go?
     
  13. Hope of Glory

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    And some have forgotten to read the words in their Bibles or simply dismiss the actual words in favor of "what the Holy Spirit directs". Not that allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you in your studies, but if you simply dismiss the words because the "Holy Spirit" is leading you contradictorily to them, then I have my doubts about who is guiding you. That's how a lot of cults get started, especially when you combine complete dependence upon the pastor with dismissal of the actual, written words.

    In response to what RBell said, I agree that background checks, etc. can be handy tools, but should not be the only final authority.

    For example, does he have a police record? Was it the result of youthful rebelliousness before he turned his life over to God, or was it embezzlement from he previous church?

    Does he have lousy credit? Was it due to a medical calamity or was it due to the new 100" plasma screen TV's, cruises, expensive new cars, etc.?

    Does he have a DUI because he habitually drove drunk, or did he take prescibed pain medication then drive? (I know of one case where this happened recently when an emergency phone call was made from the ER and the individual left without thinking about it.)
     

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