Friday, November 21, 2008

Jesus taught plainly in regard to the proper role of leadership, speaking against those that "lord" over others. He even taught that He did not come to be served, but to serve others. In Mark 10:42-45, Jesus said,

"You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you... For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve..."

He stated that we as Christians are not to lord over others, abusing our authority as the Gentile leaders did. Jesus says, " shall not be so among you."

A scripture commonly used to justify abusive control and authoritarianism by the leaders of some churches is Hebrews 13:17 that instructs believers to, "Obey those who rule over you..." These leaders think that this means they have blanket authority over the flock entrusted to them and that they can proceed to take control over the personal lives and personal faith of believers. The word obey in this passage literally means "to be persuaded by" in the original text. Nothing in this verse gives church leadership unrestrained control over the lives of others. Instead it teaches believers to consider the example set by truly loving, God-fearing, servant-leaders that lead us to Christ.

In short, those that wish to act as dictators are not fulfilling a calling of God but are instead elevating themselves into a position to serve their own self-interests and ambitions. They step outside of biblical teachings for the purpose of fulfilling their desires to control the lives of others. Some of the greatest leaders in the Bible--Paul, Peter, John and even Jesus Himself--explicitly taught against those that wish to "lord" over believers. Ironically, those that claim "authority" themselves reject genuine authority--that of the scriptures and of the Lord Jesus Christ.


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