The Authority Of The Church

By David J. Stewart

"Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." —1st Peter 5:2-4

       The Authority of the New Testament Church is the Word of God. Jesus is called THE WORD OF GOD in Revelation 19:13. Jesus is the FOUNDATION of the New Testament Church... "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1st Corinthians 3:11). Jesus is the Authority of the New Testament Church.

Jesus is the Living Word of God and the Bible is the Written Word of God... "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:1,2,14). Jesus is the Word of God incarnate.

The Bible is the believers FINAL AUTHORITY on all matters. This is the insurmountable difference between Christianity and all other religious beliefs, teachings, dogmas and philosophies. People frequently ask me why I think my beliefs are correct over other people's beliefs. I readily explain to them that everything I believe is based upon the premise that the Bible is God's Word. That's why I believe the way I do. My entire perception of everything I believe is from a strict Biblical perspective. The King James Bible is God's inspired, inerrant, preserved Word. I am as narrow-minded as the King James Bible!

The Church is Not a State Licensed Organization

The Church is a group of "called out believers" who assemble in Jesus' name (Matthew 18:20). Anytime a group of born-again believers assemble together, a local New Testament Church has formed. The idea of a universal (i.e., Catholic) Church is not taught in the Scriptures. Certainly, every believer is a part of the overall Body of Christ; but a distinction must be made between the Body of Christ and the local New Testament Church which Jesus began in His earthly ministry. There is NO universal church today. All believers throughout history will be gathered together for the first time at the Rapture (1st Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1st Corinthians 15:51-54). The Rapture could happen at any moment. Even so come Lord Jesus! The Bible teaches a local New Testament church based upon the early church in the book of Acts and the Epistles. God has given us an example to follow in the Scriptures.

Philemon 1:2 speaks of having a church in one's home... "And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the CHURCH IN THY HOUSE." Again we read in Colossians 4:15... "Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and THE CHURCH WHICH IS IN HIS HOUSE." You don't need a government license to Biblically start a church in your home. You don't need a big building with chandeliers, padding carpeting, a pulpit, a choir, pews and an alter. Your home can be a church if it's a gathering place for Christians who desire to study the Word of God, win the community to Christ, contend for the Christian faith, stand against the evils of society, help the fatherless and widows, and fellowship with other likeminded believers. But remember, to be a church the Final Authority must be the Word of God.

501C3 State Licensing Brought Evil Into Our Nation—Silencing Our Pastors About Blatant Government Crimes, tyranny and Housing Theft.

Churches in America are by law required to obtain a 501C3 State License to operate legally. This is unbiblical. It is not the government's place to approve or disapprove the existence of a church. The true agenda behind the 501C3 program was to cripple and silence America's preachers against government crimes, tyranny and massive theft of taxpayer dollars.

, to By applying for a license, permission is being sought to start a church. We don't need the government's permission to form a church. The Church is not a business organization, although it may legally function as one, with elected or appointed officials who manage it. But the state licensed organization is NOT the New Testament Church. A New Testament Church is a group of local believers in the community who gather together in Jesus' name for the work of soulwinning (Acts 20:20), helping the fatherless and widows (James 1:27) and edifying one another in the Lord (1st Thessalonians 5:11).

So any state recognized religious organization that is not preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT a Biblical church; and any religious group that is not composed of born-again believers is NOT a church in any sense of the term. America is saturated with licensed religious organizations, so-called "churches," that aren't even operated by Christians. Consider the Mormon Church, which is NO church at all. They are unbelievers who openly deny the deity of Jesus Christ. Just because the state gives them a license doesn't make them a church in God's eyes. Mormonism is a sex-cult, founded by sexual-degenerate Joseph Smith in 1830. The Church is NOT an organization.

Man Has NO Authority in the Church

Sadly, the authority in many churches today is an arrogant board of directors, a greedy pastor, a pompous pulpit committee or some other power-hungry governing body. Anytime men are in charge instead of the Word of God; you don't have a church, you have a cult.

The Bible gives us basic instructions concerning what church leadership is supposed to be like...

"Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." —1st Peter 5:2-4

Here are FOUR Biblical principles on church leadership:

  1. Pastors are to Feed the Flock. Titus 1:3 states: "But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour." It is the preaching of the Word of God that changes men's lives, brings sinners to Jesus Christ for salvation and causes a community to repent.

    The average so-called "church" nowadays is a big joke, more resemblant of a Las Vegas entertainment club than a church. Rock music has no place in the church. The average churchgoer is woefully ignorant of the Scriptures because of a lazy, scoundrel pastor who preys upon the flock; rather than feeding and nurturing the flock with the Word of God. The Bible is Truth and any preaching that avoids the Truth is NOT Biblically preaching!

    Tragically, most churches today are woefully lacking a genuine man of God who faithfully teaches the Word of God. This is why so many churches are merely social clubs were elderly people gather to sing a few hymns and then have coffee after the service while they gossip. A pastor can only preach what he is, and that's the big problem in America. Preachers are dime-a-dozen; but where are the men of God, who walk with God, rightly dividing the Word of Truth, and having a burning insatiable desire to preach the Truth?
  2. Pastors Must be Sincere in their Calling. No pastor should enter the ministry who is merely looking for an easier way to make a living, i.e., filthy lucre. I know a pastor who used to be a used car salesman. He decided to enter the ministry as a pastor so he wouldn't have to get his hands dirty anymore working on cars. He's a bum! He doesn't belong in the ministry. He doesn't have a pastor's heart; sadly, he pastors his church the same shifty and dishonest way that he sold used cars.

    The Bible teaches that a man of God who desires to pastor should do so—not as a means to escape working a secular job, nor as a means to bilk people out of their money—but rather, from a good and honest heart that loves THE TRUTH and desires to reach people for Jesus Christ. Honestly, I think it would be a wonderful thing if 100% of all the churches in America lost their tax-exemption today. It would force pastors to become more honest. The church is not about owning millions of dollars in property and buildings. That is an organization.  The church reaches beyond earthly religious kingdoms built by men.

    I am not against owning property and buildings; but that is NOT what the Church is about. No pastor should live "high-on-the-hog" at the expense of his congregation. I am leery of church leaders who make frequent trips to places like the Holy Land and Hawaii at the expense of their members (most of whom could never afford such a vacation). If anyone needs a vacation, it's the poor guy stuck in a factory 48-hours a week, working with a bunch of God-hating heathens. Why should ministry leaders live so good? It's selfish.
  3. Pastors are NOT to Lead as if They Own the Church. I once heard a pastor get angry and exclaim, "This is my church!" Well it must have been because it certainly wasn't God's. In his own self-righteous eyes he was the big honcho, the big man on campus, Mr. Big Stuff. In reality, he was a very little man with an big ego, a short fuse and a serious spiritual draught in his life. The Bible didn't matter to him, which is why he regularly critiqued my stand for the King James Bible.

    Now please don't misunderstand me, I'm 100% for hellfire and damnation preaching from the pulpit. I don't have a problem with a preacher who calls sin by name, yells from the pulpit, and gets mad about evil (In fact, I have a problem with a preacher who doesn't do that). I'm all for Billy Sunday style rip-snort and hollering preaching against sin that uplifts Jesus Christ, exposes sin by name, and gets the Devil on the run. But the Final Authority of the church is God's Word and NOT what the pastor thinks or does.

    Catholics have woefully perverted the Scriptures to teach that their priests have extensive powers to forgive sin, fabricate their own doctrines and even require sexual-favors from innocent children and nuns. Though not official dogma, the preponderance of over 12,000 sex-abuse claims against the Catholic Church since 1950 is irrefutable evidence of their sick abuse of priestly power. This is what happens when men take control of the church. Ministers are not supposed to take advantage of their congregation in any way.

    I have a problem with is any ministry leader that directs his people away from the plain teachings of the Bible. For example: Thousands of preachers all across the U.S. and Canada idolize John MacArthur, who teaches the damnable heresy of Lordship Salvation. Consequently, the heresy of Lordship Salvation has woefully infiltrated many of America's churches because of his heretical influence. If ministers would follow the Word of God instead of John MacArthur, then they would know that salvation does not require one to forsake their sins to be saved... "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
  4. Pastors are to Lead by Example. Ministers should be Christlike examples for their congregations to follow. The pastor is to be the greatest servant of the people... "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant" (Matthew 23:11). In most churches today, ministry leaders help themselves more than anyone else. The little bit of pocket-change that Pat Robertson gives to the poor is peanuts compared to the money they're raking in at The 700 Club. Perhaps that's why he refuses to disclose where the money's going to the Better Business Bureau... "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you... And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not" (2nd Peter 2:1,3).

    I know a pastor who continually pressures his congregation to give more money, even at one point pressuring them to cash-in their children's college savings. That's just unchristian. It doesn't reflect our faith in God very well when we make money AN ISSUE. Pastors who insatiably want to build more buildings and start new projects, at the expense of placing heavy financial burdens upon his church membership is wrong. We're experiencing an economic recession in America at this time; but the average pastor is still living high-on-the-hog at the expense of his church. This is not Christian. There's nothing worse than a money-grabbing pastor. A genuine man of God won't bilk his people for money, or teach strange doctrines to lure them into giving more.

Soul-winning is Not a Method of Church Building; It is a Command

This is very interesting. God wants us to be active soul-winners (Proverb 11:30); not church planters. There are many people who go around the country starting churches, but God commanded us to go soul-winning (and never once to go start churches). There's nothing wrong with starting new churches; but what we must beware of is getting caught up into building ministries rather than publicly evangelizing the community with the Gospel, going door-to-door as the early Church did in Acts 20:20 (they had a 20/20 vision for the Lord).

The following excellent excerpt is taken from Dr. Jack Hyles masterpiece book, ENEMIES OF SOUL-WINNING, chapter 10...

1. Soul winning is not a method of church building. It is a command from our Commanding General. Occasionally someone will come to the Pastors' School at First Baptist Church of Hammond, spend a week hearing and seeing the soul-winning emphasis here, and go home to win souls and see his church grow. This growth may continue for several years, and then it may level off. Often this same pastor will then go to someone else's pastors' school to find other methods by which he can build his attendance. Soul winning is not a method; it is a command. We are supposed to go soul winning and do soul winning if our churches grow or if our churches decrease in attendance. An increase in church attendance is simply a delightful product of soul winning; but if such an increase does not occur, the command of the Great Commission is no less valid.

We are likewise commanded to baptize people upon their acceptance of Jesus Christ. If the church grows or not, the Great Commission is still valid. We are to win souls, baptize our converts, and train our converts to win souls.

2. Our command is not to build churches. I know of no place in the Bible where we are commanded to build churches. Matthew 16:18 tells us that it is Jesus' place to build the church. It is our job to obey His command. I am not in the church-building business; I am in the soul-winning business, and I'm doing my best to conserve the results and to build a spiritual hospital for the healing of wounded Christians and a dining hall for the feeding of God's people. It is easy for us in obeying the Great Commission to oft times enjoy church growth. Then our motives become wrong, as we decide to build churches rather than win souls. The motto of my ministry is, "I will not use my people to build my work; I will use my work to build my people."

3. Where are the converts? In Luke 17:12-19 we have the story of the cleansing of ten lepers. Only one returned to express gratitude, and our Saviour asked the question, "Where are the nine?" (Luke 17:17) The answer is found in the same verse, "Were there not ten cleansed?" Regardless of where the nine are, they were cleansed. This is the big thing. It was nice for the one to return to express gratitude; it would have been nicer for all ten to have returned, but the main thing about this story is that all of them were cleansed. Now, I'm not saying that all the people who walk the aisles in our churches to receive Christ are sincere; but I do believe that the percentage of people who are genuinely saved who walk the aisles in the churches under attack by our dear brother is just as great as the percentage of the churches who have lesser numbers profess faith in Christ.


Amen and amen!

Jesus is the Foundation of the Church; Not Peter

Jesus Christ Himself is the Foundation of the Church. Peter is NOT the head of the church, and never was. Jesus Christ is the "Rock" (Greek, "Petra") upon which the New Testament Church is built. This is made abundantly clear by Peter himself, in 1st Peter 2:7 ...

"Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner."

Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone, the Foundation, upon which all Christianity is built. It is blasphemy to teach that a mere sinful man, such as Peter, could be the head of the Church. This is typical Catholic brainwashing. The name "Peter" in the Greek means "petros" (i.e., a small stone or rock); BUT, Jesus is referred to as "Petra" (a large rock or mountain) in Matthew 16:18. In the original Greek Jesus said, “Thou art petros [a little piece of rock], and upon this Petra [bedrock] I will build my church.” Clearly, Jesus was NOT speaking about Peter, because Peter was only a small stone. 

Every believer is a member of the Body of Christ, and when two or more of those believers come together in Jesus' name, a church has formed. The Authority of that church is the Word of God, Jesus Christ. Matthew 7:28-29, “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For HE TAUGHT THEM AS ONE HAVING AUTHORITY, and not as the scribes.” God is an authoritative God, Who raises up authoritative preachers, to preach from an authoritative Book.

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.” Amen! When we teach or preach the Word of God, we can do so with authority knowing that we have the PROMISES of God to back up everything we say. There is no controversy if you believe the Bible.


Men are NOT the authority of the Church. Although a pastor or deacon board may have authority over an organization; this is NOT the church. To qualify as a genuine New Testament church, then the Word of God must be the FINAL AUTHORITY.

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