Church, General, Theology

Bloggers and Church Authority

Out of Ur posted an interesting discussion from the Elephant Room that touched on non-pastor bloggers and authority in the church.

In the panel discussing the topic are a couple of my favorite pastors: Matt Chandler and Perry Noble. I have respect for their ministries primarily because they have respect for God’s word. Also present were David Platt and Mark Driscoll, both of whom are also solid (if Driscoll is annoying and rude sometimes, he comes from a long tradition of cranky, rude preachers I have known and even liked).

What intrigues me about this conversation is that several of these guys blog extensively, especially Perry Noble. I felt that the article tried to give the impression that these guys were attacking blogging. I don’t think that was the case. They were, however, expressing concern about bloggers who God has not placed in pastoral ministry who are challenging and attacking those He has.

This is a very real issue. While I have several online friends who are not pastors and blog on Christianity, I do not view them in the same way I do other pastors. Whether people want to accept it or not, the Scriptures are very plain that pastors are uniquely gifted among the church (Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 5). We should never take leadership cues from those God has not chosen, gifted and called.

It is simply too easy to sound authoritative when you have no biblical authority.

That might upset the online Christian community, but it is biblically true.

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5 thoughts on “Bloggers and Church Authority”

  1. “Whether people want to accept it or not, the Scriptures are very plain that pastors are uniquely gifted among the church (Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 5). We should never take leadership cues from those God has not chosen, gifted and called.”

    Yes, but how is one to know whether a pastor is chosen, gifted and called? According to Barna research that I have read, many seminary graduates drop out of the ministry after several years for various reasons. Also it may be unknown to the congregation, but it many successful pastors (those that are able to earn a living from being a pastor) also struggle with the same sins as the congregation. Viewing pornography was mentioned in the research. Therefore, the success of a pastor may have more to due with personality and marketing than being chosen, gifted and called.

    1. I am a bit unorthodox on my view of pastoring, I suppose; but I believe that those who are chosen, gifted and called are a much smaller group than those who graduate seminary. (I was already pastoring before I attended seminary and was a senior pastor before finishing my master’s degree.)

      The recognition of God’s calling does not lie with a seminary or even with an individual. It is an act of the Spirit, leading a congregation to ordain a man (or woman) – to literally recognize the Spirit’s gifting in that person in that congregation. If we placed this responsibility in the hands of God’s people rather than basing it on their GPA and ability to interview well, I think the issues the research addresses would be minimalized.

  2. Don’t you think we all, as saved into Christ’s body are to study the scriptures for ourselves?…
    2 Timothy 2:15 KJV — Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
    Look what is said of the Bereans!…
    Acts 17:11 KJV — These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
    We, each one, are to :
    Colossians 3:16 KJV — Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

    The only way to know truth is to prove it in the scriptures.
    1 Thessalonians 5:21 KJV — Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

    1. Hi Bobby,

      We have a responsibility to study the Scriptures but we do not have the authority to interpret them independently of the Body. Paul makes it clear quite often that maverick teachers are dangerous and should be avoided.

      Blogs and social media have given a certain level of exposure to dangerous and sometimes even heretical teachers who have no authority to speak to matters pertaining to the Scriptures and the body. Unfortunately, they find a hearing in cyberspace and it “validates” their views. So, it is important that all spirits be tested, if they are of the Lord. And one test at the top of our list should always be “Is this person a part of Christ’s body? Is he under proper authority?”

      1. Hi Erik:)
        I agree . There are many false teachers. Sigh…
        Ultimately the scriptures are our defense… and are the truth. I fear many today trust in men and not God. I think this may come from ignorance of what is written. When Jesus was tempted, he said each time…”it is written”.

        Words matter. In Gen. 3 … not only did Satan in his subtly say “”yea hath God said?”… but Eve also added to what God had said.

        It is clear for me, we need to study and learn the knowledge God has written for our learning. Even in the OT, God said…
        Isaiah 3:12 KJV — As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.
        Isaiah 5:13 KJV — Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.

        Paul says Ephesians 4:13 KJV — Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
        This in the Greek is “full knowledge”.
        My point is that even if one goes to “church” and has a pastor, we still need to read God’s word ourselves and thus we will not be lead astray.

        Very interesting articles Erik. Thank you:)

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