X0627...........A Problem With The Pastor Being the Levitical Priest
First of all, is the "pastor" of the Christian church, based on the Levitical Priest of the Old Covenant?
Well, some will say yes, some will say no, most will do all they can to avoid the question.
The Levitical priests...
Had authority over the congregation
Collected and lived off the tithes/offerings
Operated and ran the house of God/sanctuary
Were the only ones authorized to do the ministry within the House of God/sanctuary
Were anointed/ordained/appointed to do this work by God
Have you ever heard any of these terms used to describe the pastor of your church?
We hear these terms used all the time to describe "pastoral authority" within the Christian church.
They come, Biblically, from the description of the Levitical priesthood in the old covenant.
So is this valid? Should Christians be using these old covenant definitions to create the powerful and prevalent "pastoral authority" which very much defines and runs the church?
Well, the Bible in he new testament says, point blank, that in he new covenant, there is not supposed to be a "levitical priesthood"..
Heb 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
When was the last time you heard a teaching on his in your church?
Not often we think!
The new covenant gives a priesthood to every believer..
1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual
house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices,
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Some thing else not often taught, and when it is taught, it is usually followed by a strict warning that even though you too have a priesthood--it is NOT the pastor, and it is MUST be "under the authority of" the pastor.
Pastoral authority is a huge thing in the Christian church, you must admit!
Well, what is so wrong with this?
There are many things wrong with it.
The biggest thing is that since we are operating by this principle, we are NOT operating by new covenant ministry.
"Ministry" according to the new covenant, is a gift which God has ordained in everyone.
"Ministry" according tot he new covenant, are gifts which are meant ot "edify the Body". Ministry is something which is meant to add to and buildup Gods' kingdom in he earth. this certainly is exactly what Satan does not want! the Bible does not say that worship edifies the Body. The Bible does not say that building a building edifies the Body. No. the Bible says that ministry, operating through many people, edifies the Body.
So, the more ministry, the more people are going to be saved, healed, delivered, fed and set free.
The more ministry we have, the more the Gospel will be spread.
Ministry is meant ot be encouraged and be given every opportunity to grow within the church. It is meant to be utilized to it's fullest potential and not be limited. It is also not supposed to be authority over others within he church.
These are the biggest problems and effect of "pastoral authority"
But in this study we just wanted to focus on another aspect.....
The fact is, that the Christian pastor is not the levitical priest in a very big (and dangerous) respect.
In the old covenant, the levites did have God's authority to minister in the temple. But what exactly did that mean?
Well, it meant that they had a very well defined job to do. Take a glance at the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy and Numbers. Most people skip these books in their Bible reading (since it talks mostly about how to sacrifice animals and make offerings of crops to God. The thought that most Christians have is that these instructions have nothing to od o with being a Christian, since this is he stuff that Israel had to do in the old covenant to get their sin forgiven. And they are right.
But look at all those pages a and pages os instructions. This is all the "stuff" that the Levite had to do.
In the old covenant, it took an entire tribe of israel, working nearly full time, to carry out all these instructions. They had to slaughter animals, and burn animals and make shewbread, and wave the grain and heave the grain and place the blood of the animals in specific places and so on and so on.....
The fact is that the Levites had an awful lot to do--and they were doing all of it so God would forgive the sin of Israel. It had to be done =on an constant and ongoing basis--it was a full-time job--it was a lot of work--it was a ministry--it served God and helped others. But it is very clear that Jesus did away with the sacrificial laws with His actions on the cross (aren't' you glad!) and we don't have to do all his stuff any more.
And certainly Christian churches don't' sacrifice animals or do any of this stuff.
But here is where the problem lies.
In the old covenant, the Levites had a lot of very very thorough instructions on how to carry out their ministry. They had, what you might call a "constitution".
Let's make a comparison.
In our country, we have a president.
We give him (or her) authority over us, but, we also have a constitution-- a set of instructions which the president must fulfill and live by, which carry very clear and specific limitations to the presidents authority.
This system works pretty well, as far as human government can be devised (and it was devised by some very good and smart Christians who understood Biblical principals seemingly better than most church leaders!) But the important point to understand is that the given authority has a set of instructions to follow, which are defined by law--a "constitution".
The Levites had a very thorough set of instructions to carry out. they didn't just "have authority over" Israel to do whatever they wanted.
And here is the problem.
There is, Biblically, no set of instructions for a "pastor" to fulfill.
There is no "constitution" for a Christian pastor to follow.
A pastor certainly does not do what a Levitical priest did!
So what does a pastor do?
Basically whatever he (or she) thinks is correct.
The problem is that a Christian pastor does not have a constitution.
Now, I realize that many churches have put in place a set of rules or board of governors, or have given the right to vote to the congregation...but this also is not Biblical.
The fact is that the pastor of the Christian church does not have set of rules to follow and does not have a set of functions to do.
Of course, if they want to be successful, they will do what tradition demands.
They will do what people ask for.
They will follow (and enforce) a set of non-biblical rules of function, which have been handed down by tradition, which people expect them to do.
They will make the church fit the expectations of the people, IF they want to be successful.
Is this correct?
Is this what God wants?
Has anyone asked Him lately?