Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jesus' Instructions To His Leaders

"Instead of a Show" by Jon Foreman

"Bishops and professors and TV preachers and apostles have given themselves the authority of the Christ. So listen to them, obey them, but whatever you do, don't follow their actions.  They talk about some good things, but they don't do them. They talk about love and righteousness, but they don't live it out.

"They load people up with ideals and responsibilities as if the poor folks were semi-trucks, but they are all about making others do the work they won't do themselves.  I'm not saying they don't do things-- sure, they pray, they preach, they lead, they administrate, they command, they comfort, they rebuke, they budget-- but it is all about themselves.  They work for their own name, for the growth of their power, for their church they are building. They love to be noticed.  They wear large crosses and have robes and collars so they will be seen as religious leaders.  Why?  So they can be noticed in assemblies and the pastor lunches and the charity meals.  They dress so they will be seen as their title.

"How they love titles!  They love to be called Reverend and Bishop and Father and Elder and Apostle and Pastor.  But don't you be called Reverend for only One is be revered above others. Don't you be called Bishop  for only One directs men's souls.  Don't be called Father, for there is only one Father and He is in heaven.  Don't be called Elder, for that takes from the glory of the Eldest who created the world. Don't be called Apostle, for those who take on such titles were not sent.  Don't even be called Pastor for Christ is the true shepherd and His Holy Spirit alone leads along still waters.  Remember, not one of you us above the other.  Christ alone is the head and you are all equal in each other's eyes.

"Do you want to truly be greater in God's eyes?  Then be a servant without calling yourself Minister.  Clean toilets for the brothers, clean the dishes of the hungry whom you just fed, shelter the homeless, clean the vomit of drunks and wash the clothes of the filthy. Do the most demeaning tasks and thank God for them. For only the most humble will be raised by God.  But those who try to impress others by their pride will be crushed by the Defender of the Poor."

(Updated version of Matthew 23:1-12)


  1. Refreshing recast, Steve!

    One question, though. What do you make of the tension between Jesus words here and the fact that his disciples did indeed use vocational or relational terms such as elder, teacher, pastor, bishop, even father, etc..?

    Josh Coles

  2. Good to hear from you, Josh!

    There are certainly titles used in the NT for leaders. However, the titles used were either descriptive terms ("overseer" "those sent") or terms that didn't hold much authority. I don't think Jesus actually rejected the use of titles per se, but the use of titles as a show of authority, as if position communicates authority. Jesus stated that authority is shown through service, not through social station. A title is the use of a social station to demand respect. I think Jesus was specifically talking about that.

  3. Much agreed.

    You must understand I'm a "caveat man" :)


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