X04.15.............Of Course--Christ is the Head
Most of what we speak about at this website is actually agreed to by many church organizations----at least in principle. But what we are challenging mostly, is the "format" of church operation---something which almost no one ever questions.
Here is an example of what we mean....
The Bible tells us plainly, and often, that Christ is the Head of the church. He is the Head of the church (the word church means "body"---and obviously not "head"--right?---Biblically we are all members of a body---and no one is the head but Christ)
The Bible tells us that Jesus is the "only Potentate" of the church. This means that Biblically He is the only One who has the right to have authority over the church. The Bible never says that he appoints certain people to be "potentates" within the church---nor does it say that anyone within the church has authority over the others within the church.
We have heard these things preached from many a pulpit. "of course---Christ is the Head of the church"---(and everyone say "amen"). Christians agree that this is so---yet---here is our challenge.....
How can Christ be the Head of the church, if we have a format of church operation, where every song, and every word spoken is already preordained by the leadership of the church?
Where does Christ lead us---if we have every "beat" preordained by the chosen few of leadership? Where does He get the opportunity to give us direction, if we have a well established format, the specifics of which have been carefully put together by the "ministry", the "clergy" of the church?
Now there are arguments to our challenge.....
1. "God has all power and authority--He is sovereign---if He wanted to interrupt our meeting, He certainly could!"
This sounds like a good idea---but does it ever happen? Maybe, in some churches, there is "allowance" for anyone to speak a word by the Holy Spirit (if they can shout over the loudspeaker!). Yet those words rarely if ever, affect the direction of the church, or give direction to the purposes of the church. The Holy Ghost can speak in some churches, but he has to be "approved" by the pastor---and the word that the Spirit speaks will have to "fit" into the format and be in agreement with the already established direction that the pastor has for the church. In the Bible, the utterance of the Holy Ghost gave Christ's directions for the whole church--and specifically directed the witnessing of the Gospel (read the book of Acts--it happened over and over again).
Maybe, it would be a whole lot easier if we just let God give us direction--and be directed toward the purpose that the Bible establishes for the church--which is THE WITNESSING OF THE GOSPEL!
2. "God is the ONE who established the format of church meeting--it's all in the Bible"
"Well, someone has to feed the sheep"
Um, isn't that operating the church on a parable? Jesus gave a parable example of feeding sheep and this analogy is used later in the Bible to say that the leaders of the church ought to "feed that flock".
An awful awful lot is read into these out-of-context statements. Theoretically these are the statements which establish "pastoral authority" over the church--give the pastor the "rule"---and establish the format of church operation.--Wow--does anyone read the Bible? If we focus so much on these ideas, we ignore all the teaching that Jesus gave about NOT exercising authority one over another amongst ourselves (Luke 22, Matthew 20, Mark 10---and many other examples as well)---we also ignore the huge example of apostleship that the new testament Bible gives us. We ignore that Bible doctrine that says that all believers have a ministry--all believers have a calling--we all ought to witness the Gospel---and we ignore the "commandments of the Lord" as stated in the book of 1Corinthians about how things ought to be when we are together--which clearly give everyone the right to speak, teach and sing within the operation of the church....
¶ How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. (1Corinthians 14:26)
We also ignore our own history. The fact is that the format of the church service was established by Roman emperors about 1700 years ago. They forcibly made everyone in Rome into "Christians"--and so the things that "church" had to focus on, were ruling over the people. Since (theoretically) everyone was a Christian, the format of the church became worship and teaching--there was no more need for apostleship, and the witnessing of the Gospel was only for distant missionaries in heathen countries.
These ideas carried through western European tradition--the church a type of "nationality"--the leader of the country the "head" of the church (this was protestant belief--not just catholic!)--the church "service" a strict format where leadership (ministry?) ruling over the people--the only ones allowed to speak--the function of the church NOT the carrying of the Gospel out to the world--the feeding of the poor--caring for the homeless--praying for the sick--casting out the devil--meeting the needs of the world. Instead the church establishes itself as authority, and spends most of it's time, effort and money operating a building which is used once a week for a n hour or two, and when we are together, nearly every word is preordained, by leadership and tradition.
So, is Christ the Head of the church?
I don't know--you tell me.