And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: ~ Ephesians 4:11-15
Why is it that even among sincere evangelical Christians who sit and listen to sermons week after week we have a generation that is being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine? It is because the senior pastor has usurped the authority of other members of the body of Christ in the local church. I do not mean to say that all senior pastors are willfully doing this, but it is the end result of their position. The typical evangelical church structure, along with the senior pastor position, is mostly foreign to scripture and is a sad carry over from Roman Catholicism. Even among sincere Godly men the fruit of following these empty traditions is undeniable.
Thinking of the scripture above, it would be more honest if we got a new version of the Bible that read “And he gave some to be senior pastors; and below him some associate pastors; some children’s pastors; and some music pastors; for the retardation of the saints”. It’s really interesting to look at how the senior pastor came about and rose to such prominence. An honest look will reveal that it is based on the papist system and not on the word of God. It is not an innocent matter of how we do church either; it is a matter of stunting the growth of the body of Christ. Where were teachers listed in the epistle to the Ephesians? How about in this letter to the Corinthians?
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? ~ 1Corithians 12:27-30
They are listed simply as members of the body of Christ, amongst the other giftings given to the Church. Yet I doubt many could say with a straight face that today’s senior pastor is viewed in such a manner.
Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. ~1Corithians 14:29-33
One of the most ridiculous things I have seen in this area is a senior pastor of the AOG church we used to attend stop a man from prophesying during a quiet time. I believe the man to have really been speaking prophetically in accordance with the word of God (and he had done so in the past too) when the senior pastor tells him to be quiet from the pulpit because he was just starting to speak when the old prophet started speaking. The senior pastor then said something along the lines that “the Holy Spirit can’t be speaking through you since I think he wants to speak through me, because God is not a God of confusion and disorder”. This was done in front of the whole Church, and even as a young believer I knew something was out of line but who would dare question the almighty pope (I mean senior pastor, that’s what Protestants call their pope). Yet that is what we have accepted as normal and what Christ hatefully calls the practice of the nicolatians. Even the spirit of the prophets is now subject to the protestant pope. Here again is a more honest writing of 1 Corinthians 14
Let the senior pastor speak week after week, and let the others sit quietly and take notes. If anything be revealed to another that sitteth let such a one remember who it is that has the reserved parking spot and keep it to himself. For you are not the senior pastor and so you must hold your peace until after service. And the spirits of the pew warmers, prophets, and everyone else for that matter, are subject to the senior pastor. For God is not an author of confusion, that’s why he distinguished the important guy by placing him on a stage.
Brethren, I do not write these things lightly or want to be seen as being negative or tearing down and never building up. But the Lord has confirmed this word to me today and I submit it in humility.