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.

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. There are several errors and misunderstandings that occur due to this heretical practice. So far I have talked about the error and weakness of misunderstanding what is an overseer.

The second error or weakness is the Misunderstanding of Leadership. I am referring to leadership in the Kingdom of God and NOT a business or the world’s leadership – these are not the same. A leader is to be a servant from the start. (Matt 20:26) He is not to climb a ladder to ascend to a position of high ranking and then attempt to humble himself as a leader. He is to be a servant – that is it. Servant and minister are basically the same word. If we serve, in the biblical context we do lead from that position of washing feet. Leadership is never ruling. This is reserved for Christ. Leadership is needed, but it is more like the skeletal structure of the body, not the skin. It is never the head. The skeleton is never to be seen. If you see someone’s skeleton they are either very sick or possibly dead. Biblical leadership is unseen and supports the ministry of the body. If all we see in the body is the leadership, then that congregation, denomination, or even a fellowship of ministers is very sick and possibly dead!

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 anointing.

I started this discussion by relating to a conversation I am having regarding the development of a church’s governmental and leadership structure as prescribed by their By Laws. In my last post I discussed the error of replacing the headship of the church with a man rather than keeping Christ as the head. This leads us to the second error. That error is 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. This leads to many problems within the Church and I would like to discuss of few of those here. This has been major error which is in direct relation to the first error previously discussed (The error of replacing the headship of the church with a man rather than keeping Christ as the head).

The problem is rooted in the tendency that men (and women) want to be in power. Therefore, there must be an “us” (the clergy class) and a “them” (the laity class). How does this happen? Sometimes they set themselves up as a separate category of disciple or class of believer. Then they proclaim that if you want to grow, if you want to mature, if you want to have gifting and even our degree of anointing, then you must allow us to govern, rule over you as your overseers. There are even claims of financial success, prosperous lives and good marriages if you remain submitted to this man or system. This cuts the believer off from the head who is Christ and replaces Christ with an elite class of clergy. We see that this happened historically and it originated in the Church out of Rome as well as the perversions of pagan practices of the Constantine era.

It does not matter if the church structure minimizes the titles and offices normally labeled as clergy. If they continue to set a group apart as being superior or closer to Christ because of their anointing or position the same erroneous practice is at play. The clergy laity system ignores the biblical pattern of a body and has established a hierarchal order based upon the professional and the non-professional Christian. There is no biblical precedent for this at all. This class system causes several errors and weaknesses in the body of Christ. I will be discussing in later posts six of these errors or weaknesses:

  • A misunderstanding of overseer
  • A misunderstanding of leadership
  • A misunderstanding of anointing
  • Ignoring the priesthood of all believers.
  • A departure from making disciples of Jesus Christ
  • The development of a separate entity other than the church of Jesus Christ

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 overseer.