You have to wonder if today’s church leaders ever read Matthew 23. If they did, it would give them pause.
The kingdom of God does not need human leaders. Its power structure is entirely Divine, and therefore not subject to any form of corruption. For this reason, Jesus cautioned against forming any sort of power structures in His name. He said we should not allow ourselves to be called rabbi, teacher, father, or leader. There was a time when God needed such leaders. This included the time of ancient Israel, including the time of the church in the New Testament. Since then, however, the kingdom of God has arrived (see The Kingdom of God is Here and Now in this Introduction) and God Himself is doing the leading of every human heart.
Who are today’s Pharisees? Church leaders are the most common example. They present themselves as being over the flock of God – or rather some portion thereof. Thus they divide God’s flock. God did use overseers in New Testament days but that was only until the kingdom of God came. For this reason Peter told the shepherds to prepare for the coming of the Chief Shepherd who would assume oversight of His flock (1 Peter 5). Some leaders, however, would be unwilling to yield the sheep to Him and for this reason Paul said some church leaders of that age would seek to draw away the disciples to themselves (Acts 20). This spirit has animated church leadership ever since.
If you read the apostles’ writings you see that they left no plan of succession (whether it be popes, bishops, or local pastors) because the only person to whom they planned to hand over the church was to the Lord Himself. Woe to those who seek to take His place by trying to be a leader in the kingdom of God. Rather, we should be servants to the King who is able to interact with each of His subjects individually.
The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible.