Authority in the Church can only be established and maintained by a Churches leadership living in a Godly manner and by the word of Scripture. This is how the Holy Spirit bears witness to their authority to others. If a leadership chooses to cast itself adrift of living in a Godly manner and/or not according to Scripture then that leadership has lost all Biblical and spiritual authority. It cannot claim to be living in Truth.
Now they can make convincing and well sounding arguments for why they believe they still have authority, they can say that the “Holy Spirit” has “quickened” them to a so-called “fact” that may seem to lend credence to their authority but if what they are doing does not line up with how the Word of God says they should conduct themselves or deal with Church issues, then they are speaking falsely.
Now the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 5 deals with how Church Members are to be treated and in 1 Timothy 5:19 he talks specifically on how to deal with accusations brought against “Elders” of the Church:
“Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.”
Also our Lord Jesus Christ says in Matthew 18:16:
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
Paul wrote 1st Timothy to his understudy Timothy on how he should conduct himself as a minister of the Gospel, and Paul himself based his instructions to Timothy on the words of Jesus Christ, so how much more should all of us who call ourselves Christians base our instructions on the words of our Lord Jesus Christ? If as leaders we ignore those instructions then we claim to be above Jesus Christ, and therefore prove ourselves not to be of God.
Any “claimed” revelation to any person cannot contradict how the word of God tells us to conduct ourselves to other Christians. And this is a very important point to remember.
I write this article as I recently left a church which not only chose to ignore the instructions that the Word of God gives us on how to conduct ourselves with other Christians and especially leaders and elders, but chose to act unethically and then one of its leaders chose to claim “Special Revelation” from the Holy Spirit which also contradicted the Word of God on how the word tells us to address and resolve serious issues within the church.
My friends it is wrong to bring any unnecessary division, but sometimes division is necessary to identify those who are teaching truth from those who are not, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:19:
“For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.”
Those who are approved are those who live by the word, and we know that they live by the word by their words and their conduct lining up with the word. And the only way we as Christians can tell if what they are saying or doing is lining up with the word is to KNOW the word.
My wife and I resigned our membership in our church after we followed the Lord’s instructions in Matthew 18:16 and Paul’s instructions in 1 Timothy 5:19 in bringing to light a serious issue with what one of the Leaders was saying and teaching. We resigned not just over this teaching issue but only after we found that the leadership did not feel it needed to conduct itself in relation to this issue in a Scriptural manner as leaders and worse yet not even in a commonly accepted ethical manner.
It is always a deeply troubling thing to be forced into a situation of not only having to resign a church but then to have to deal with the blow of leaders whom you formerly respected conduct themselves in an unbiblical and unethical manner.
However as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:19: factionalism has a way of determining who is acting in Truth. And it is similar to the “Law of non-Contradiction” and that law says: “when two dissimilar principles of truth are presented, only one can possibly be true, but not both”
As Christians our principles of Truth are based on the Bible, and when there is a division or factionalism, Paul is saying the group that is living in truth can be recognized by their words and actions lining up with the Bible. And when there is a serious issue of where leaders are conducting themselves or speaking words in contradiction to the word of God then how a church deals with that issue has to be determined by the word of God.
Sadly in our experience with our former church, the leadership in all their actions in how they dealt with the issues that we presented to them showed themselves not to be living in truth.
Now to be clear, on why I write this article it is not in any way generated by a desire to prove myself right. It is to point out the danger of allowing leadership to continue to act as leaders when they refuse to act and speak according to the Word of God, and then to further compound that danger by claiming “revelation” that contradicts the Word of God on how such issues are to be dealt with. As by their position as a leader they can cause many others to fall.
As once you cast yourself adrift of conducting yourself according to how the Word of God tells you to conduct yourself then you are ripe for deception and “lying spirits”.
We are all fragile earthen vessels, and God does not give “revelation” to anyone that contradicts his written word, as this takes the glory away from God and points it to a fragile earthen vessel, and those earthen vessels who claim that revelation as truth should be pointed out and avoided.
In our current “Post-Modern” society where the very idea of Absolute Truth is under attack as never before it behooves all churches that claim the Bible as the absolute truth to conduct themselves in a manner that brings Glory to God and establishes in the eyes and ears of non-Christians that the Bible is indeed the absolute and unchangeable word of God on how we should live and conduct ourselves.
The sad case is even our so-called conservative Church Leadership is undermining the faith in that book which they hold so dear! At an ever increasing rate those who choose to defend the word of God, attempt to conduct themselves in how that word asks us to, and to simply ask that their Christian leaders conduct themselves as the word asks them to conduct themselves as well, are being labeled in the same way as the worst of the worst Post-Modern Relativists label those, who live by the word. As those who just want to be right! When in reality it has nothing to do with wanting to be right. it is knowing that as Christians the power of our testimony, is the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit can only dwell in those who rest and live in the truth of the word. This is the only power we are given as earthen vessels to influence a dying world.
As Christians we can never have a hope to impact the hearts and minds of those who reject Absolute Truth if we do not live that Truth. As the Holy Spirit will not bear witness to our words. Our country is falling not due to those who are not Christians it is because of those who claim to be Christians do not live as Christians, and our churches and church membership are rapidly declining and faith in the institution of the Church is rapidly diminishing, because far too often the Churches leadership conducts itself in not just an un-Biblical manner, but in ways that violate commonly accepted ethical standards.