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Topic: Church Government

Authority and Submission

by Darrel Cline

We have been considering the requirements of God upon those who would be leaders in His church. (179) We have been asking the question: When God speaks, of what value is religion that disobeys what He says? (177)

One of the questions that the matter of divine requirements for godly, local, leadership raises is, Why is this local leadership so important? One of the answers we have already given in earlier articles is that leaders establish doctrine. The church will go the way the leaders go, and immature leaders set the church up to be a religious center, social club...just about anything but a church.

Another of the answers is that God requires the church to be in submission to its leaders. For instance, the Word of God, in Hebrews 13:17, says, "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 to you." And Jesus, even acknowledging the corruption of the leadership of Israel, said in Matthew 23:2-3: "The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not." Therefore, it is clear that submission to leaders is required by God.

This makes godly, local, leadership critical. God holds those who refuse to submit to the leadership of the local church accountable. Therefore, it behooves the church to have good leadership. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall in a ditch. If the leadership of the local church is incompetent, the followers will suffer significantly. If the followers do not follow, they will still suffer significantly because they are under a divine mandate to follow.

It is astounding how far religion has taken us from obedience! Because we are Americans, we think the church ought to be a democracy (or worse, a chaos where everyone does what is right in his own eyes), and when the leaders set policy, the members think they can violate it with impunity because they didn't get to vote on it. Interestingly, God has almost no use whatever for democracy. He knows that democracies always disintegrate to the lowest common denominator. His church is not designed to disintegrate, and He has no use for a democracy in His church.

But, by the same token, He has no use for religious groups who refuse to obey His requirements upon leadership either. Both the rebellious leaders who refuse to be qualified, and the rebellious followers who refuse to follow are anathema to God. He will allow them to pursue their religion and be deceived into thinking all is OK, but He only does so because He has planned a day of judgment to come in which He will unmask the rebels for what they really are: self-centered people who refuse to submit to His Word. Are you ready for His day of judgment?

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This is article #185.
If you wish, you may contact Darrel as darrelcline at this site.