Do I have to obey my Pastor?
Todays Question: I read your article on Gods Timing, and
was really blessed by it, but it also brought discouragement.
Im at a point in my life where all I want to do is be about
my Fathers business. I have such a passion and desire to
teach the Word and to win lost souls, but when I went to my
pastor, his response was, "No, wait and submit." I was
so hurt because I totally feel that God is pleased with these
desires. Im not a noviceIve been Spirit-filled
for fourteen years, and I have submitted and served. It makes me
wish I never would have gone to my pastor for permission. Now,
Ive left that church. Can you point me to any where in the
Scriptures where it says we have to get permission to teach or
Bible Answer: The doctrine of
submission has been abused by many church leaders. Without
knowing all the details, it appears that your former pastor
misused his authority.
It is true that the Bible teaches submission to authority, but
it also informs us that there are several levels of authority,
and with each higher level, more submission is required.
The highest level of authority is Sovereign Authority.
The Bible says,
Everyone must submit himself to the governing
authorities, for there is no authority except that which God
has established. The authorities that exist have been
established by God. (Rom 13:2)
All governing authorities derive their authority from
someone greater than themselvesGod! This is why they are
called delegated authority. Delegated authorities derived
their authority from God, which makes them subservient to Him.
The only authority they have has been given to them by God.
On the other hand, God never received authority from anyone.
He is the architect of authority. Authority began in Him. We call
His authority, sovereign authority.
No one but God has sovereign authority. Sovereign authority
can never be disputed. If you dont like what God tells you
to dotoo bad! You must obey without question. You
dont have a right to argue with Gods commands. His
commands stem from sovereign authority.
Now listen, no one can demand your obedience in the exact same
way that God can, including your former pastor.
Peter was forbidden by the religious authorities to preach.
What was Peters response?
But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves
whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than
God. (Acts 4:19)
Peter differentiated between sovereign authority and delegated
Whenever delegated authority demands something other than what
God demands, you must obey and submit to Gods authority. To
do otherwise is to rebel against sovereign authority.
Atrocities, like the Holocaust, have been permitted because
people obeyed the delegated authorities instead of sovereign
authority. Cults have been formed because people obeyed religious
dictators instead of God. Spousal abuse is often exasperated
because women were told by others to submit to their malevolent
However, whenever delegated authority does not demand us to
disobey God, then we should obey them. As in the case with
abortion, delegated authority (our government) permits this evil
as they do other evils, however they dont impose this evil
on anyone. No one is forced to get abortions, such as they do in
China. Since the government does not impose abortion we cannot
rebel against the government in this case.
This is why its wrong for us in the pro-life movement to
break the law, by trespassing, bombing clinics, or, worse,
murdering doctors who perform abortions. You see, since the
government only permitsdoes not force abortionswe
must abide by this law until the law is overturned.
This brings us to an important point: How do you know whether
or not delegated authority is commanding something that is
contradictory to Gods com-mands? Could not delegated
authority simply claim that God told them to tell you to obey
their commands? How do you know whether they have overridden
The answer is simple: In order to protect us, God would have
to make known to us His commands so that we would know what He
has commanded. Thankfully He has. The Bible is the sole authority
for our lives. So in a practical sense we live by veracious authority.
Veracious authority is authority based on truth. If something is
the truth, it doesnt matter what any other authority has to
say. Truth overrides all delegated authority.
As in your case, the Word of God commands you to preach the
gospel to every creature. Your pastor said, "No, wait and
submit." Where does God say to wait first before you preach?
He said to the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were
endued with power from on high. Once they were endued with the
power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, "Go into all the world
and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 15:15).
When there is a difference in interpreting the Bible with
those in authority then you must go by your conscience. This is
called the authority of the conscience. Paul writes:
Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the
authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also
because of conscience." (Rom 13:5)
Conscience plays a high role in authority. Whenever a person
transgresses his conscience, then he has sinned. The conscience
is given to him as a judge to decide between debatable matters.
Debatable matters include drinking, dancing, movies, clothes,
etc. Matters that are not up for debate are drunkenness,
lewdness, pornography, immodesty, etc.
In conclusion: the four levels of authority are: first
sovereign, second veracious, third con-science, and fourth
As for your ex-pastor telling you not to preach, do it anyway.
Simply dont do it in his church.
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