If you build a house and it looks like a corn field – what is it? It’s a corn field! When we discuss church structure, we have what we build it to be. I have been discussing the error of replacing the headship of the church with a man rather than keeping Christ as the head and setting up a system that creates a class system within the body of Christ (laity and clergy) rather than allowing for each believer to develop/mature under the leading and lordship of Christ in community. I have talked about the error and weakness of misunderstanding what is an overseer, misunderstanding of leadership, the misunderstanding of anointing, and ignoring the priesthood of all believers and the departure from making disciples of Christ.

In this post I will be discussing the development of a separate entity other than the Church of Jesus Christ. The practice of establishing a clergy class leads the members to submit to another Christ. This could be a leader, a system, an organization or something other than Jesus. These churches are Christ’s in name only. They may have many valid believers in their ranks, but as an organization they serve another because they have pledged their allegiance to another (who is a member of the clergy) rather than to Christ. This can even happen in organizations who minimize the clergy system. If they establish a class of leadership such as their governing structure prescribes it is not far from the governmental structure of Roman Catholicism. The senior leader (pastor, overseer, apostle, director, CEO, president, superintendent etc.) is being the pope, the other leaders his ranks of bishops and clergy, and the members serve the church and the edict of the leadership rather than Christ. It wasn’t until almost the third century of the church that leaders became and official ruling class and this quickly led the Church into the Dark Ages in which we are still attempting to escape. There was always leadership, but never as an office. This practice was a reaction to the desire of Constantine to initiate the same system he saw in pagan religions. This was a system of priests, temples and sacrifice attempting to make Christianity acceptable to the masses as well as conducive to his system of control or leadership. He wanted to endorse this new religion, but in order for it to work under Rome’s rule it had to take on the characteristics of Rome and her pagan practices.

Conclusion to Church Structure

Let me conclude this series by saying that the comments I have made are not a judgment of individual’s relationship with Christ, but the practices in which I have described. I have participated on one level or another in all of the erroneous practices I have discussed in this series. While I was functioning this way I never thought I was in error. In fact I assumed I was doing things the right way. Could it be that we are many times blinded by the traditions of men and the status quo and never able to break out of the mold in which we were raised up in? I ask that you take a long look at your structure, systems, government and leadership development practices, discipleship tools and church membership training and analyze it to determine if Christ has been removed from the process; or are we even willing to go deeper and see if he has been removed from the head as our King, our Lord and our God.

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When we discuss church structure, there is a tendency to get lost in the details of governmental theory and attempting to develop a way to control Christ’s Church. Up to this point I have been discussing the error of replacing the headship of the church with a man rather than keeping Christ as the head and setting up a system that creates a class system within the body of Christ (laity and clergy) rather than allowing for each believer to develop/mature under the leading and lordship of Christ in community. So far I have talked about the error and weakness of misunderstanding what is an overseer, misunderstanding of leadership, the misunderstanding of anointing, and ignoring the priesthood of all believers.

The fifth area is the departure from making disciples of Christ. This error causes the members of a church to serve the system in which the clergy/professional leadership have erected and become a disciple of that system or individual rather than of Christ. Making disciples is at the core of the church’s purpose and the clergy laity divide has greatly hindered that purpose. This has led to denominationalism, sectarianism and the development of a clergy elite in the Church. The new apostolic movements or ministerial fellowships are not exempt, in fact many have fallen into the same trap, building kingdoms of men’s ministries rather than making disciples of Christ whose allegiance is to His Kingdom. Certainly the intention of many is not to forsake Christ and His Kingdom, but the structure and system in which they have designed and promoted leads to this error.

In my next post I will continue to share the errors and weaknesses of creating a class system within the church and discuss the error of the development of a separate entity other than the Church of Jesus Christ.

I have been discussing the error of replacing the headship of the church with a man rather than keeping Christ as the head and setting up a system that creates a class system within the body of Christ (laity and clergy) rather than allowing for each believer to develop/mature under the leading and lordship of Christ in community. So far I have talked about the error and weakness of misunderstanding what is an overseer, misunderstanding of leadership, and the misunderstanding of anointing.

The fourth area I would like to discuss is the practice of ignoring the priesthood of all believers. When it is clear that every believer has within him or her the spirit of Christ, and they are now priests and kings then to place them in a category of being lesser in the body of Christ is not only error but is an affront to the work of Christ’s grace and redemption. If someone does not allow another member of the body of Christ to function in the work of Christ on earth because they have not attained some degree of education, financial responsibility, joining an organization, or submission to an individual; they are ignoring what Jesus has done for them. They are ignoring the position in which cross brings them to in society by submitting to the King of kings. Every member of the body of Christ has the ability and the freedom to minister as the Lord has gifted them and instructed them. He is their head. He is the administrator of those gifts via the Holy Spirit. To not allow them to preach, serve communion, teach, pray, lead small groups, baptize and serve others based upon some qualifications beyond what scripture teaches is to ignore what Christ has done.

When this practice is done in the church, the members who are held back refrain from growing in Christ beyond those who are over them and their growth is stunted to the maturity level of their ruling class or clergy. The only way to break out of that cycle is be ambitious and practice carnal ways of advancement or to ignore the clergy class and possibly leave that congregation of Church group. This causes them to be labeled many times a rebel, when it is really the other way around.

In my next post I will continue to share the errors and weaknesses of creating a class system within the church and discuss the church’s departure from making disciples of Christ.

So far we have been discussing the error of replacing the headship of the church with a man rather than keeping Christ as the head and setting up a system that creates a class system within the body of Christ (laity and clergy) rather than allowing for each believer to develop/mature under the leading and lordship of Christ in community. So far I have talked about the error and weakness of misunderstanding what is an overseer and the misunderstanding of leadership.

The third area of error and weakness is the misunderstanding of anointing. There is no evidence in scripture that there are levels of anointing, but there are diversity of gifts. These gifts are determined by God, not man. The anointing we receive is Christ’s anointing in us (1 John 2:20-27) The Spirit of Christ is in us and leads us into all truth, teaches us, convicts us of sin and righteousness. It is not for the purpose of position other than the position that all believers have in Christ as priests and kings (1 Peter 2:9; Rev. 1:6, 5:9). Therefore all believers are equally anointed and destined to rule under Christ. The anointing should not determine position over others or to establish a clergy class based on that anointing. In regards to the diversity of gifts the New Testament teaches that we are not to judge or position ourselves based upon that gifting (1 Corinthians 12:14-26). We are a body and all members are equally important though some may have greater value based on the needs of the body at that time, but not based on the position of the individual.

In my next post I will continue to share the errors and weaknesses of creating a class system within the church and discuss the ignoring the priesthood of all believers.

We have been discussing church structure and the error of a class system or clergy system in the body of Christ. This error leads to several errors or weaknesses. For the rest of this series, we will be discussing several of those errors and weaknesses.

The first error or weakness we will discuss is a misunderstanding of overseer. An overseer is not a ruler but one who looks over the flock to protect her from wolves and to find places of safe “pasture.” It is not a controlling office setting policy and leading the affairs of the Church, but “looking over” the church (its members) and providing watch while the flock works (does the work of the ministry). Overseers do not rule, direct or control – they watch. It is a role of a servant seen in the background if seen at all. They are not the prominent ministers in the congregation, they are on the sidelines watching – overseeing. This is not a position at the top of a hierarchy, but a function of serving. It usually designates those in the congregation who were older and more experienced.

In my next post I will continue to share the errors and weaknesses of creating a class system within the church and discuss the misunderstanding of leadership. Let’s make this a dialog – what have you observed and learned?