Peter, John, and Paul (Acts 2:42) did not have a complicated or complex church structure. There was a pastor/shepherd of the church who was chosen by one of the apostles. The apostles (Jude 1:17) were in the beginning, the only elders. They also chose those would be bishops (Titus 1:7-10)and deacons (Philippians 1:1). (Note: bishops were assistants to the elders.) In the early N.T. church these were the most likely positions of leadership: 1) Bishop, 2) Pastor, and 3) Deacons. As the apostles were martyred or died, then new elders were chosen( normally from experienced bishops).
The pastor was the chief shepherd or leader of a local church. The deacon (or deacons) were those who served the church body and assisted the pastor in his responsibilities within that local church. Contrary to modern churches, the deacon (s) were only advisers (not decision makers) to the pastor and helped him take care of the needs of that local body. A deacon might become a pastor if God called them or the Holy Spirit led them to take on that responsibility.
The Elder’s chief responsibility was to advise the local church pastor on correct doctrine and observance of ordinances such as the Lord’s Supper (communion) and baptism. An elder would be responsible for a number of churches in an area or region such as Galatia. The Elder would often write letters to his local churches and visit them when needed and warn them of any heresies or false prophets in their area. The Elder would be the one who stressed the teaching of correct doctrine. (2 John 1:9)
The most intriguing question that we must now ask is: “what really is biblical leadership?” Before we answer this question, we must make some initial remarks. It is imperative that we understand what authority defines biblical leadership and how we define the source of that authority.
If we do not have a solid foundation to base biblical leadership, then everything will be open to question. For English speaking peoples, that solid foundation is the KJV of 1611. (For details on why I believe this see https://www.sqbooks.com/?page_id=1640. This page is under tab 2- Doctrine/Bible.) It is hideous to see what many of the new versions (perversions??) do to what is laid out in the KJV. Many experts (I use that term loosely) have man’s head knowledge but do NOT have Holy Spirit knowledge. Without the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit, how can carnal men come close to properly determining God’s Truth? I think the following verses tell the story: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim 3:16-17)
If Bible Revisers depend upon man’s wisdom, we will never have a bible that gives us a true source of authority. This is where the KJV of 1611 is very different. Dr. Charles Barrier in his little book Looking For The Lamp lays out the reasons for the KJV being God’s word and authority. The KJV went through a seven level intense process before it was finished and printed. The only revisions to it have been to correct printer errors. Otherwise its content has never been changed. When we use the KJV of 1611 as our biblical authority, we can then see what true biblical leadership looks like. (See Pg 3. for conclusion)
True biblical leadership will be based upon what Jesus taught his disciples and how they fleshed out his principles of leadership. We have already visited what the disciples did and how they picked and taught their students. These were believers that thought nothing of dying for what they believed. They set the pattern for what a pastor would be willing to face to teach correctly the Doctrines of Christ. This is not the pattern for our present day church leadership.
Present day church leadership is focused upon man-made rules and man-made authorities who have little or no Holy Spirit knowledge. What they put into operation is based upon human bias and usually no input from the Holy Spirit. How can what they do in a church really supersede what God says is the right way to do things? Jesus said to preach the Gospel not put programs in place that tickle ears but do not emphasize or teach the Doctrines of Christ. Jesus is the all-knowing Son of God, but degreed men who think they know more than God emphasize man-made processes over the teaching of the scriptures. Keep in mind that man-made degrees stress man’s approval not God’s!
When the wisdom of man overrides the wisdom of God, the church is headed for trouble. This is what sets the table for the apostate church of the last days. Furthermore, world governing bodies like the U.N. are pushing for one world religion. This will make it easier for them to control the church crowd and subdue it. John in Revelation gave to them the message that Jesus wanted the churches to hear. Most of them got chewed on for not following what Jesus wanted done. His messages to the Revelation churches were a preview of the Apostate Church of the Last Days. We are close to the end. What happens to the church of today over the next decade or so will not be pretty. God surely will not tolerate many more days of the Apostate Church. Make sure you are in God’s Will as we see the day of reckoning approach!
A couple of posts back, we left you with this thought: The most intriguing question that we must now ask is: “what really is biblical leadership?” Since we have given some thoughts on man-made church leaders, we will now try to answer this question. Scripture gives us much information about godly leaders. A church (local body of believers) is to be led by a God called pastor or shepherd.
This pastor or shepherd will have a “fire” in his belly that compels him to teach the Doctrines of Christ and the truths of the Bible. He will feel that his first responsibility is to preach God’s Word. He will probably have the heart of an evangelist and the fervor of a sold out servant of God. He will be a man of prayer and a student of the Bible. He will have a close circle of fellow believers who he can trust to serve the needs of the church body. He will also be a good listener for those of his local assembly in order to meet the needs of God’s church. Rarely will you see or hear him promoting himself as this is contrary to what scripture teaches. He will be a protector of his congregation.
The above description should be what a local body looks for in a church leader. What has been described is the “ideal” pastor. This is what a local body should look for in a shepherd leader. It may be an exception for a church to find such a shepherd leader, but it should be the example that they look for. Preaching the Gospel and teaching the correct doctrines is what will keep a local assembly from slipping into apostasy. Remember, prayer is a key item in finding a God-called shepherd leader. Why? God knows the heart of his shepherd leaders.