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Friday, July 27, 2012

The Myth of Church Leadership (3)

In my first post on this topic I challenged my readers to check out my claim (which many may think is radical and utterly false!) by what the scriptures clearly teach on this subject. Those who have been willing and have taken the time to list all scriptural references to the words “lead”, “leadeth”, “leading”, “led”, “leader”, “leaders”, “leadership” and  words of similar meaning such as “guide”, “guides”, “guidance” , “direct”, “direction” and  “directors” etc will be well aware that all such references in scripture are roughly divided into two groups: -those referring to God as the leader or guide of his people and those referring to mortal men who lead others.

Firstly, You will have found, as I did, that there are roughly  90 instances in Old and New testaments where God leads, directs or guides. He leads in the right way, in His way, in the way we should go, in light and truth, beside still waters, in paths of righteousness, to keep his statutes, in a plain path, in safety, in the way everlasting, into the way of peace, into the land of uprightness, by the springs of water, in the way of wisdom and in right paths.  He leads His own sheep out, gently leading those that are with young, He leads from evil, into blessing,   into all truth, to repentance, into the love of God, into patient waiting for Christ and finally unto living fountains of waters and wiping all tears from His people’s eyes.

Secondly, You will have found, as I did, that there are about 50 references in all the scriptures when mortal men lead, guide or direct.  In only about 10 of those instances was such leadership of benefit and blessing. Those cases were only when Old Testament people were lead by Gods appointed leaders such as Moses and Joshua, when Israel was lead into battle by divinely appointed leaders and captains and once in the New Testament when Saul of Tarsus was lead by the hand when he was physically blind.

In all the rest of the cases of mortals leading or guiding, Jeremiah’s declaration is most appropriate: I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.  And the prophet Micah warns us all, “Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide.”  Apart from mortal men being specifically appointed to leadership by God Himself,  leadership by mortals is always “into a way that is not good”, i.e.  God’s people are lead by mortal men into captivity or prison, into error, wickedness, destruction or death, into judgment before governors, councils or their enemies. The blind lead the blind into the ditch, into Babylon  or into idolatry.

Thirdly, It is most important to notice that not once in all the NT is any mortal man or woman appointed by God to the responsibility of leading, guiding or directing other people.

Furthermore, if one is actually going to lead others, it is crucial that the leader have the trust or confidence of those who are lead.  So a study of all that the scripture has to say regarding where our trust or confidence should be placed is most instructive…

Fourthly, If you were to look up all the instances in scripture of the various forms of the words “trust” and “confidence” you would find about 130 scripture passages which declare that God alone is worthy of our trust,  instruct us to place our confidence in Him  and describe the many blessings and benefits of doing so.

And Fifthly, by way of contrast, there are about 60 instances where we are forbidden to place our trust or confidence in man, in his gods, his wealth, his wisdom  and where the follies, curses, harm and destruction of doing so are clearly described.  Among these are many instances of warnings about trusting a friend or even your self!

It is for all five of these reasons above that I maintain that leadership by mortal men or women in the church of Jesus Christ is a myth without any scriptural support!  When men or women are appointed to or assume leadership in the church it is a sure sign of rebellion against Christ and disobedience to the Word of God!  While these words seem very harsh and critical, I also want to make clear that I do not believe that everyone who has been appointed to or has assumed positions of leadership in the church are wilfully and knowingly rebelling against God and His Word.  Likely the vast majority, like myself for many years, are simply following a religious culture which has been steeped for centuries in a “leadership” mentality and believes that such is entirely Biblical!

I am simply saying that it is high time to search out the foundations of this teaching, recognize it for what it is, reject it and return personally and corporately to the scriptural mindset of being followers of God as dear children!  As each of us radically adjust our thinking to acknowledge and follow only One Leader, our Lord Jesus Christ we will exert a far greater influence than any professed “leader” ever could!  If each of us purposes to be the best follower of Christ that we can possibly be,  we will in turn become examples to encourage other saints and those who do not yet know our Saviour to also follow Him.

(more to follow in the next post regarding followers of Christ exerting powerful influence on others by example. But let me encourage you to “flesh out” this subject for yourself and others by your own comments questions and observations in “comments” below or in personal emails to me at

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