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
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"
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
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
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
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
Jesus taught with authority, unlike the Jewish
religious leaders (Matthew 7:29).
Jesus had authority because He taught the truths of God (John
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).