X04.19.............Only The Pastor Can Do That---right??
Let's consider one particular "rule" that is probably in most Christian churches....
Only the pastor/priest/leader of the church has the God-given right to teach "doctrine" within the church. In other words--99% of the time, the church is taught by one man. Every Sunday--one teaching is given by one man--the pastor--the leader of the church. (Even when there is a "guest-speaker" he has to be "approved" by the pastor---right?)
This idea certainly is long-standing Christian tradition. The pastor teaches the congregation. Period. The pastor feeds the flock. Period He has the right to be the one person who teaches the doctrine to 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)
Probably this area of the Bible is rarely taught in your church. If we studied it with and open mind and heart we would see that the Bible, in the new testament clearly says that any believer has the right to teach within the church. If we studied teaching within the new testament we would see that it, like all the gifts of ministry, are gifts which are "given unto every one of us"--they are functions for all Christians to strive toward and operate in.
"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers....."(Hebrews 5:12)
the writer of Hebrews is scolding the church for not all ministering and serving God--at least being able to teach that by this time--"all of you ought to be teachers".
There is absolutely no distinction for anyone--pastor--elder--bishop--priest--to have an exclusive right to teach the doctrine to all the church. This is a very very strict tradition which comes to us from the very very strict and controlling ideas of the church of the dark ages.
How dark is it? How strict is this idea?
Well, it is very clear that the new testament bible gives the right to teach to any believer. The new testament makes the point over and over that God is inside of all of us--and that He can speak through any of us. The church in the bible met largely in their homes--in small groups. This type of meeting respected the ministry of individuals and focused on apostleship. The rules of the home meeting (which are being stated in 1Corinthians chapters 12-14) were that any believer could prophesy or teach (these are the ministries within the church--apostleship/evangelism are work that believers are supposed to do out toward the world)--but the rules say only 2 or 3 at any given meeting--not all at once--basically that we should take turns and listen to one another. Ministry working by love and common consideration--that is how the Bible describes it.
Well, it's obvious we have something different in our church tradition. Something darker--something much more strict and "ruling" (remember--"ministry" is service to others--and specifically NOT rule or authority over other believers--matthew 20:25-26--Mark 10:42-45--Luke 22:25-29!!!).
Most churches have the strict and long-standing rule that the pastor teaches the word to the congregation (the word congregation is only found in regard to old testament Israel--study it some time)--no one else has this right--and that is that.
Again we ask--how dark is this? How controlling is this idea?
Now, something which many Christian are unaware of is that "pastoral authority" is based on the old covenant Levitical priesthood. In the old covenant--one tribe of Israel had the God-given right to do the ministry in the temple. The Levites were the 'anointed--appointed--delegated authority' who had the right to do the "ministry of the temple" They collected and lived off the tithe. (of course their ministry was largely performing the sacrifices of animals and offering of grain-all sin offering--something which was a constant daily job for Israel to have their sin covered and keep up their part of the covenant).
This idea "fits' our idea of what a pastor is--right? The "minister" who has" authority" over the "congregation" (the congregation refers to the other tribes of Israel who could not do work on the Sabbath).
It seems to fit--right? (Let's not look at the book of Hebrews which specifically annuls the Levtical priesthood in the new covenant--along with all sin offering!)
But lets' look more carefully--with regard to teaching.
Question: Did the old covenant priest of the temple have the exclusive right to teach the people?
You know this!--Think about it--Jesus taught in the temple and in the synagogues--and he was not a Levite. Not only Jesus--but the other apostles did the same. In fact the church met in the temple in Jerusalem (now this is often taken out of context and used to say we ought to build temples--but think about it--it was not their temple--they were not paying the bills for it--they were going in there and teaching the Gospel--witnessing Jesus--something which got them into constant trouble--but they were obedient to God and did it any way!).
Jesus went into the temple, and taught things that were disagreed with by the priests, scribes and pharisees (the pharisees "sat in the seat of Moses"--they were the official old covenant rulers of Israel). The church which followed Jesus did the same thing--they went in and taught a Gospel which was hated by the priests and rulers of Israel (although the Bible says that some of the priest were later converted!--Acts 6:7)--now here is the point---Even though Jesus and His follwers were not Levites, and were going to teach something which disagreed with teaching of the priests--the priests and rulers of Israel realized that they had the God-given right to teach in the temple.
Even in the old covenant, there was no strict rule of exclusivity with regard to teaching. Any man of Israel could teach in the temple. The priests and pharisees of Jesus day realized that God could raise up a prophet from any tribe of Israel (He had done it before--most of the prophets of the old testament were not Levites)---and they had to listen--even if they disagreed with the teaching.
Now think about it again--
HOW STRICT ARE WE? HOW STRICT IS OUR TRADITION?