Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Clergy- Invitation to Idolatry?

Putting Pastors on a Pedestal

Traditional churches set up with the typical one-person rule are an open door for idolatry.  God never intended that we place one person over us the way we normally do with the office of pastor.  This is such a huge danger to the Body of Christ.  With this clergy/laity divide, we tend to think in terms of one group that is more qualified and thus more spiritual than the rest of us, leaving most people thinking that those in positions of  "leadership" or authority are on a higher spiritual plane than Joe Schmoe.  The human tendency is to elevate people in our thinking to a status that places them on a pedestal in our minds.

The draw into idolatry is so incredibly subtle.  It is such a danger to the Body of Christ.  For centuries, the Church has placed more honor than is due on its leaders, leaving the laity in a position of seeking the honor of men.  When we are drawn away from pursuing God into pursuing the honor of men, we leave ourselves wide open to the devil.

There are obviously many churches across this country that have honorable leaders, but that doesn't make the tendency to idolatry any less strong.  It is the whole traditional church setup that is so very dangerous in this area.  If the Body of Christ were to function as the New Testament dictates, in meetings that are led by the Holy Spirit and not by men appointed to rule over us, we would not fall into this deception.  The door would be shut.

The Old Testament is replete with exhortations to flee from idolatry and spiritual adultery.  The ruling class of priests and prophets in those days ruled over the people with an iron fist, demanding everything these people had, to the point of devouring widows' houses.  That poor widow that put in all she had in the offering that Jesus was witnessing did so out of pressure from the leadership to "give 'til it hurts."  The connection between the typical clergy/laity structure and abusive leadership is, in my mind, a very clear one.  It is so easy to fall into controlling ways when people gladly hand over power to those in leadership.
The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests exercise rule at their own hands and by means of the prophets.  And My people love to have it so!  (Jer. 5:31 Amp.)
The next move of God will serve to prevent this kind of abuse of power simply because men will no longer be in control.  The Holy Spirit will lead as God's people learn to hear His voice and just simply live their lives in the love of God, demonstrating that love to those around them. We will no longer be tempted to idolatry simply because there will be no pastor office.

In the book of 1 John, we are told that as Christians, we have the Holy Spirit so we have no need to be taught by any man (1 John 2:27), yet we dutifully file into a church service every Sunday to be taught by other men. We were never intended to subject ourselves to others to the point of being influenced by them without question. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, and to allow other people to take priority over the voice of the Spirit is just asking for trouble. Men aren't perfect and no one has all wisdom. Everything we receive from men is tainted at least to a degree. What we receive from men absolutely MUST be subjected to the Word and the Spirit. But we have had this so very backward for centuries, considering the voice of the pastor as authoritative. Jesus is the Head of the Church, and the Spirit is to be our teacher, not the clergy.

Idolatry and spiritual adultery are so very sneaky; they slide into our thinking through the traditions of men and we don't give it a second's thought.  God wants us thinking for ourselves; He wants us hearing His voice for ourselves.  He wants us devoted to Him, not to someone in leadership in a church.  Men fail, men make mistakes and men will lead us astray.  Be not deceived.  Put your hope in God, not in men.

Pulpit is free clip art from wpclipart.

by Jon Zens

Blog Posts

The Dechurched and the Next Move of God

The Dechurched, the Wilderness Experience and the Next Move of God
Liquid Church- The Shape of Church to Come
Righteous Judgment
Where's the Love?
Will the Real Church Please Stand Up?
Church- Consider Your Ways

Red Flag Churches

Red Flag Churches
What Does a Wolf Look Like?
Making the Decision to Leave an Abusive Church
The Spiritual Covering Doctrine
Spiritual Abuse Is Not Obvious
Hold Fast to the Head
To Tithe or Not to Tithe

Scripture Promises

Scripture Promises- Fear Not
Scripture Promises- God Is Faithful
Scripture Promises- Healing, Provision, Salvation
Faith, Grace and the Promises of God

My Newest Weapon- Thanksgiving

Quill pen is free image from Wikimedia Commons.

Red Flag Churches: Distinguishing Protection from Control

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