The Authority of The PastorĖ2
by Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered October 14, 2006
Titus 2:15 "These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee."
The Root of Pastoral Authority
What is the root of a Pastorís authority? Is it all the years in Bible college and seminary that give a pastor his authority? Or, is it his ecclesiastical title? I was ordained in the late 60ís and given the official title of Reverend. Is that what gives a pastor his authority? Several years ago, I completed my work on my Ph.D. I have an earned doctorate. Is being called a "doctor" what gives the preacher his authority? The answer to those questions no! Letís begin looking atÖ
False Philosophies of Authority
Some pastors assume near dictatorial authority over peopleís lives in temporal choices and issues of life. I remember one pastor telling one of the ladies in his congregation that she was forbidden to come to my wifeís Bible study. He could have expressed his reservations to her, but he has no God given authority to forbid her from attending a Bible study. Her husband could have done that, but not the Pastor. A pastor can offer his opinion, counsel and exhort in temporal matters, but he has no god given personal authority dictate.
There are numerous Churches that claim authority equal with or above the Bible. The Roman Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah Witness and some Pentecostals make such false claims. There is on "apostolic succession" and "living apostles" today.
Many bow down at the altar of education and intellectualism. While I certainly am not against a good education, a good education neither saves a person nor makes him spiritual. (see 1 Corinthians 1:19-21; 1 Corinthians 3:19; Acts 4:12-13).
This type of authority is probably the most popular today. They base truth, not on the word of God, but on emotions and feelings. People who hold to this philosophy make statements like Ė "I know this is true or right because I feel it is." Or, "I know it is true because I had this experience." Feelings, emotions and experiences are not reliable standards by which to measure truth. They are often fickle, unreliable and deceptive. The Word of God is to be our STANDARD of Faith and Practice.
The Real Root of Pastoral Authority
So what does gives the Pastor his authority? First, it is the call of God. Through the Holy Spirit, God impresses upon the heart and mind of a person that he wants him in so called full time Christian service, ministering to His Church. He gives the man he has called a compelling inward desire to do His work. That is what we read about in 1 Timothy 3:1 "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." The word desire means just that. It means "to reach or stretch out," and is used only in the Middle Voice, signifying the mental effort of stretching oneself out for a thing, of longing after it, with stress upon the object desired. God puts the desire to pastor in a manís heart when He calls him.
Charles Spurgeon identified the first sign of God's call to the ministry as "an intense, all-absorbing desire for the work." Those called by God sense a growing compulsion to preach and teach the Word, and to minister to the people of God. You see, that is what a preacher is to do Ė PREACH. The first thing that gives the Pastor his authority is the call of God.
There is a second thing that gives the Pastor his authority and that is preaching the Word of God. Paul made it clear to two young preachers that they were to "preach the word" (2 Timothy 4:2) and hold "fast the wordÖ" (Titus 1:9).
The Pastor has spiritual authority as along as what he teaches and preaches conforms to the Word of God! He is not to preach social theories. He is not to preach psychology. He is not to preach his own opinions. He is not even to preach what the people want to hear. He is to preach the Word of God! But why?
Romans 1:15-16 "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
1 Peter 1:23 "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."
It is the Word of God that brings salvation. Paul called the preaching of the cross "the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18).
We should also look at Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
The pastor who preaches the Word of God has authority, because it is the word of God that brings conviction. Some people are hard, however, remember Jeremiah 23:29 "Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?"
The Word of God also builds up the believer. It shows us what is right, what is not right, how to get right and how to stay right. We see this in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
A pastorís authority comes from his call from God and his faithfully preaching the Word of God. The Scribes and Pharisees didnít have Godís authority because they were teaching religious traditions and not the Word of God. Turn to Matthew 15:1-3 "Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?" These Jewish religious leaders invalidated the Word of God by spinning it to fit their purposes.
Jesus taught with authority, unlike the Jewish religious leaders (Matthew 7:29). Jesus had authority because He taught the truths of God (John 7:16-17).
That is what Paul tells Titus to do -- Titus 2:15 "These things [the truths of the Word of God] speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee." Speak means to preach, teach, reveal and disclose, with the intent of making Godís Word clear to those who are listening so that they know the truth.
Exhort means to urge, persuade and encourage the hearers not only to hear that truth but also to do the truth. When you know the truth, you become accountable to do the truth (James 1:22). That brings us to the word rebuke. The word means reprehend severely, chide, admonish, to call to account, or to show one his fault. The idea is get the person to admit their wrong and turn from it. One preacher put it this way: "The eyes of the sinner must be opened to his sin. The mind of the misguided must be led to realize the mistake. The heart of the heedless must be stabbed broad awake. The Christian message is no opiate to send men to sleep; it is no comfortable assurance that everything will be all right. It is rather the blinding light which shows men themselves as they are and God as He is."
Most church-goers today donít want to hear demanding, authoritative preaching telling them that God is demanding and authoritative. When the preacher declares "thus saith the Lord" and declares "right is right, wrong is wrong, and wrong is sin he is often call him legalistic, puritanical, insensitive, judgmental and unloving.
People in our culture, even Christians have bought into the devilís lie. Their minds are polluted with the philosophy of relativism and therefore, absolutes are harsh. Husbands donít take their headship of the wife and family seriously. Wives donít obey their husbands. Children donít obey their parents. And, few live holy, separated lives before God.
Parishioners want preaching that is broad-minded,
entertaining, ego-building, and above all, non-judgmental,
non-directive and non-confrontational. But, thereís a BIG PROBLEM!
That kind of preaching in not biblical and makes God sick. The
authority of the pastor comes from faithfully preaching the Word of
God. And, when he faithfully teaches and preaches the Word of God,
he is to be obeyed. (Hebrews 13:17).