Summary: Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good. - Titus 3:1 The topic of submission to authority is one that is not very popular especially in the modern american Church. Many are taught th ..
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good. - Titus 3:1
The topic of submission to authority is one that is not very popular especially in the modern american Church. Many are taught that it is more spiritual and holy to be independent in their relationship with God apart from other earthly authority. This authority that is repudiated is pastoral leadership, church structures and even at times secular authority. The reasoning is that Jesus has set us free from having to relate to God through no mediator except the Lord. Many other Bible verses are used to further the ideal of Churches being fully autonomous (not accountable to other churches or controlled by other leaders). At first glance these ideas seem good as they follow what human nature itself desires, independence, freedom and its own sovereignty. Yet we have to ask that the Lord thinks in relation to this subject as his ways are usually not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). When we look back to the apostolic Church in the Book of Acts we actually find a group of believers who were shepherded and guided by Apostles that knew and followed Jesus. From there we see many others raised up into leadership positions to serve and help guide the new believers in the Lord. We do not find a every man for himself environment. Even if we parallel the way families in the culture were more unfiied and there was great respect for elders, compared to today where there is very little respect for family structure and older people.We are sorely lacking the concept of submission to authority from the very structure of our homes in our modern culture.
The Apostles continually exhorted believers to be submitted to secular authorities (Romans 13) as well as all other rulers and family members (Ephesians 5:21-33). When we choose to not submit to authorities we start to traverse the path of satan who ended up in pride not submitting to any authority except himself. When we do not submit to shepherds in the body of Christ we become unto ourselves the sole authority of what we think is right and wrong. When we do not submit to others we say we know more then all others and cannot be really shown truth. Early Apostles and Overseers were not only teaching believers, as that was one requirement (1 Timothy 3), but they lived godly lives as an example to believers of how Christ acted. So for an early Elder of a Church to teach on humility and not practice it would have been meaningless. They were fathers spiritually to the people and examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3). Jesus emulated this practice of disciples who lived with him for 3 years. In history there were many groups of people who did not fit in with the larger established Church, yet in their choice they still found God-called leaders and submitted to them. When we are outside all Churches we need to find godly leaders to submit to who are following Jesus Christ. Though there is modern apostasy in some older established larger Church movements this should not cause us to leave all authority and movements of the Lord. To stay in the narrow way is to follow the way of submission the early Apostles and believers emulated for us.