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The False Teaching of Delegated Authority
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THE FALSE TEACHING OF
DELEGATED AUTHORITY
A TERSE INTRODUCTION

One of the most abused and distorted truths that has emanated from the halls of Christendom is the issue of “authority in the church” and the damage that has been done because of it is beyond measure.

There is probably no better example of this distortion than in the false teaching of so-calleddelegated authority.”

Let’s get right down to it and expose this erroneous system for what it really is.  The following is a clear-cut, straightforward description of this teaching that is taken from a sermon by a pastor from a Baptist church in North Carolina.

QUOTE:

“God has ultimate authority.  God has the right, as the Lord, as the King, as the Master of the universe; He has the right to rule us.  But, He has delegated authority to certain parties on earth in order to equip them to serve those under their leadership.  God has delegated authority in the state; God has delegated authority in the church; God has delegated authority in the home in order to equip those that He has entrusted leadership to, to be able to serve well those under their headship.”

Now, I don’t mean to pick on this poor brother.  I don’t know him personally, but make no mistake about it, his words resonate loud and clear.  He gives a simple, clear, and perfect presentation of what is virtually spoken and believed universally among professing Christians as they meander about the halls of their local church institutions. 

An even crasser statement is this one made by another pastor from another church:

“Jesus, the Head and King said, 'I delegate My authority to MY duly-recognized office bearers'; …and therefore to reject delegated authority is an affront to God!”

Really!  And just where did Jesus say that?  Obviously, no relevant text was cited by the pastor.

Yet, the rank and file just sit back and take in this unbiblical nonsense, refusing to be a "Berean" and search the scriptures whether these things are so.  And what’s worse, the people not only just sit back and take it in; they all sit back together and applaud in agreement …..like clapping seals!

Well, there you have it.  This is what is preached and taught in virtually every local institutional church on earth. 
But here’s the priceless question:  Is it true? 
Are the foregoing quotes from these ministers truly based upon the Scriptures?

The answer is a resounding NO!

The false teaching of delegated authority in the church is based on a patchwork of biblical texts that are callously interpreted, misapplied and misconstrued.

Perhaps there are some people reading this article that are currently involved in a church which believes that Jesus has delegated some of His authority to “church leaders.”   For those of you who are questioning these teachings, let me reassure you.  Jesus, the King, delegating His authority to so-called “church rulers,” has no basis in scripture whatsoever.   

For those of you clapping seals who believe wholeheartedly in delegated authority in the church,  let me challenge you to read through this article; comparing scripture with scripture, and see if this teaching is true.
 
The proponents of this false teaching always paint their critics as either backslidden; heretics; or miserable prodigals who want to be in total control of their own lives and live in rebellion to God’s authority.  This is not true. 

A great many people believe wholeheartedly in submission, authority, and accountability, and at the same time also realize that unbiblical authoritarian individuals and unbiblical institutional church structures subvert, and actually DESTROY life giving fellowship!!
HOW, WHERE, AND WHEN DID IT ALL START?

Jesus has all authority.  He said so.  Nobody who believes in Him and in the Bible will ever question that.  But if that is the case, how is it possible for anyone else to have authority too?

Yes, Jesus said, “Not so shall it be among you…” Matthew 20:26
Yes, Jesus said, “All authority has been given unto me in heaven and on earth.”  Matthew 28:18

But, in order to find a way for Jesus to have all authority AND for a select company of individuals here on earth to have a lot of authority too, someone, way back when, had to come up with the idea of “delegated authority.”

Even before the death of the original apostles, corruption, distortions, and usurpations had already been taking place. Slowly but surely, the so-called delegated authority that some men purported to hold was not found in any truth they taught. 

Rather, it began to become vested in a “POSITION” or in an “OFFICE” that they somehow occupied.  In other words, if you were in an office or in a position in the assembly, it was assumed that you were automatically delegated authority over the assembly.  And it did not even matter whether you were teaching the Truth or not!

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the assembly of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 
Acts 20:28-30

False teachings were already in the assemblies, leading them into abuse and distortions, right there among the very "elders of Ephesus" and in "all they in Asia", before the apostles died and while they were yet ministering to the people.

Of this you are aware, that all those in the province of Asia were turned from me, of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.  2 Timothy 1:15

"Asia" is where Paul spent the bulk of his time, and where he received the bulk of his persecution.  It happens to be the same area which as a type of the entire Babylonian, orthodox Christian church, the book of Revelation is addressed:

John, to the seven assemblies which are in the province of Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him Who is and Who was and Who is coming, and from the seven spirits which are before His throne. Revelation 1:4

The apostle Peter knew what was taking place in these gatherings and it provoked him to write to the same people who were "wresting" the words of the apostle Paul before the apostles had even died:

As also in all the epistles, speaking in them concerning these things, in which are some things hard to apprehend, which the unlearned and unstable are wresting, as the rest of the scriptures also, to their own destruction.
2 Peter 3:16

The apostle John, who wrote the book of Revelation, also wrote the following concerning what was already being done in the church, before he was ever sent to Patmos:

I write somewhat to the ekklesia, but Diotrephes, who is fond of being foremost among them, is not receiving us.  Therefore, if I should be coming, I shall be reminding him of his acts which he is doing, with wicked words prating against us, and not being sufficed with these, neither is he receiving the brethren, and those who are intending to he is forbidding, and is casting them out of the ekklesia.
3 John 1:9-10

In the early church, there existed a man who thought of himself as one who held a high position and occupied an awesome office in God’s assembly.  I’m sure he said to himself, “After all, Jesus has delegated authority to me to rule in His church.”  Diotrephes was a controller.  He controlled what his brethren should read and who they should fellowship with.  He would have nothing to do with the apostle John. 

So, when John wrote the church, Diotrephes squelched the message.  He maliciously gossiped about John, refused to welcome the brothers, stopped those who wanted to welcome them and put them out of the church.  Diotrephes was a good example of the kind of delegated authority mentality and rulership that we are examining.   John describes the actions of this arrogant, despicable scoundrel in his third epistle. 

Where did Diotrephes get this authority to exclude believers from their fellowship…even John?  Think about it! 

He didn't get this authority from Jesus, even though he may well have claimed so.  He might very well have said, “I am clothed with the authority of Jesus.  Jesus, the Head and King said, I delegate My authority to my duly-recognized office bearers and failure to obey them is rebellion against God!”

NO!  Jesus didn’t say that at all!  Diotrephes assumed it for himself and the people believed and accepted it

Diotrephes misrepresented Jesus and falsely assumed his delegated authority posture.  To be sure, he had his band of followers.  They may have followed him for a variety of reasons but they followed him just the same.

In reality, his “delegated authority” came from all those who allowed it to happen; those who had no Scriptural right to do so. The people may not have "called him Rabbi" or “teacher” in theology, but looked upon him as such in PRACTICE.

No different as when the Israelites failed to listen to Samuel.  The believers (unto whom Diotrephes “ministered”) failed to listen to Jesus and the apostles.  They preferred instead to have “those who have been delegated with authority”; they preferred to have "church officers" moderate their discipleship and their fellowship and then, after all was said and done, they were tyrannized by them. 

They failed to obey Jesus’ teachings, warnings, and example.

I suppose Diotrephes would fit in pretty well among the “leaders" of many churches today.  But even John, the apostle of love, found this kind of ecclesiastical arrogance and despotism too intolerable to go unchallenged.  Freedom is too dear to be lost!

The fact that WE DO have so many “Diotrephes” in the church today is a great tragedy.  But the fact that many people shrug their shoulders and do absolutely nothing about it is an even greater tragedy.

"All they which are in Asia" had forsaken Paul.
Peter tells us that those in the churches he was addressing were "wresting... the... scriptures."
John tells us that he was not received by the church, and those he sent were "cast out of the church".

Corruption, distortion, usurpation in the assemblies was an accomplished fact, even before the apostles were dead.  Down through two-thousand years of church history, how much more forsaking, wresting, and corrupting has Christendom become.
CAN IT GET ANY WORSE?

Now, the false teaching of delegated authority is bad enough, even if it just stopped right here, but it doesn’t. 

What’s even more worse is that it then spreads like an unstoppable blob; like a poisonous-fanged, out-of-control vine creeping into every area of your life!

Incredibly, I have seen people who claim to have been delegated authority, absolutely control the entire lives of others, all in the name of God, and yet claim that all they were doing was being a SERVANT.

One of the many errors behind the “delegated authority in the church”  teaching is that it "waters-down," or in some cases, even denies the believer’s direct access to God.  It makes a believer’s right standing with God contingent upon submission to the so-called delegated leadership

Being careful not to state it in so many words, the fact is that the false teaching of delegated authority in the church is a direct denial that Jesus Christ is the believer’s sole Mediator between himself and God.  Instead, “one delegated with authority from the King” is introduced as an additional mediator.

The believer must, in effect, have their standing with Christ, in addition to having their standing with their spiritual leader as well.  There are people in congregations right now, who are being taught that even some personal details of their lives must be opened up to the leadership.  This is done through “pastoral counseling” and is said to be, "true submission to those who have been clothed with delegated authority from Jesus" and supposedly creates, "humility."

This is a lie that goes right back to the beginning in Genesis.  It always was a lie; it always is a lie; and it always will be a lie.

What it does is to deliberately foster bondage for the believer and creates religious tyrants out of those claiming “delegated authority.”

Jesus said that such a state of affairs must never exist among His people. Matthew. 20:25-28, Mark 10:42-44, Luke 22:24-27.  (More about this later)
JESUS' COMMAND TO HIS PEOPLE

Concerning His people, Jesus says that they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 
(John 17:14) 

Jesus goes on to say two verses later, They are not of the world even as I am not of the world.

Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world.  His people are not of this world. They do not talk like the world.  They do not act or operate like the world.  If anything, His people “turn the world upside down!” Acts 17:6

According to Jesus, what is one sign of worldliness; of carnality; of acting like flesh?

And Jesus said to them, (His disciples) You know that they who are accounted to be the  rulers of the nations exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority over them are called benefactors.  But it shall not be so among you: But whosoever may be wanting to become great among you, let him be the servant of all.
Matthew 20:25-28; Mark 10:42-44; Luke 22:24-27

Jesus describes this idea of having authority or rule as the governmental concept that is in the world - the concept of governing that the world goes by!

Jesus says that the world has leaders who "exercise authority" over others.  In the world, rulers use power and have authority over others, and this is considered to be beneficial.  In the system of the world, it is thought to benefit you if you allow another person to have authority over you. (“…they are called benefactors…”)

The concept of having authority, whether it be delegated or otherwise, is clearly the system that Jesus describes as being the governmental system that is in the world and He says this about it: But it shall not be so among you.

Jesus’ Kingdom works backwards from that of the world.  Jesus could not have been more clear on this issue.

"It shall not be so among you,” He said directly to His disciples.  If there is a direct command in the Scriptures, this is one of them.  The apostles followed this command.  Their leadership was one by example and inspired teaching, not by dictate and neither by delegation!

In no uncertain terms, He says not to utilize this type of system in the church, but rather to utilize His system of government:

".........but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that does serve. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. Mark 10:43-44

In the system that Jesus describes, the chief, the ruler, the one who is great among a group of Christians, shall be the servant of all; not someone who “has been delegated authority” to rule over the others.

If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
For I have given you an example, that ye also should do as I have done to you. John 13:14-15

And again, let me repeat to be clear, Jesus is not saying that if someone happens to have a position of authority in the world, that this is not a valid authority structure.  He is saying that this type of structure is not to be used in His Church.  "It is not so among you" applies to all Christians! 

Those who practice; those who promote; those who teach that leaders in the church have been delegated authority by Jesus and are to rule over His people, exercising that so-called delegated authority, are perpetrating, inciting, and condoning the sin of division in the assembly.  And, "If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom will not stand." Mark 3:24; Matthew12:25; Luke 11:17

The division in God’s assemblies that are caused by the false teaching and practice of delegated authority is not just a mistaken or misguided outcome that we should just live with.  It is a willful sin committed by men.  There are some Christians who recognize this problem of delegated authority and division, but believe that the reality of the situation today is simply unavoidable.

They have been conditioned to co-exist WITH THIS SIN instead of seeking to eliminate it.

Those who are content to tolerate it in the assembly are tolerating sin and ultimately accomplices to it as well!

Christians today are to receive their instructions concerning leadership and authority from the teachings of Jesus, not from the institutional concepts of the world; not from "your church fathers,"  and not from your current seminary teachings!

"...For that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God." Luke 16:15

To those of you who are now scrambling around, scratching your head to try and think of some argument to the contrary, like:   "Well, that's your interpretation of Jesus' words.  That's not what He is saying about authority?"

That's not what He is saying?  REALLY?

Jesus' command is made crystal clear by the context

He contrasts the phrases "exercise lordship over" and "exercise authority over" with the concepts of being a "servant" or "slave".

Now let me ask you a question.  Is being a "servant" or "slave" normally thought of as a person who is in authority or in a position over others? 

I’ll tell you this.  So-called church leaders today, who cover themselves with their “delegated authority deportment,” can’t even bear to listen to the Truth, much less try to answer it. 

Servants and slaves do not command, control, rule over, or have any authorization for anything.

They serve under!

"If anyone wants to be first, he will be last of all and servant of all." (Mark 9:35;  Matthew 23:11-12).

This is completely upside down and backwards to the way the authority concept in the world is structured. 

Remember that Jesus condemned the use of positions in His Church again later when He said: "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi', for only one is your Teacher and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth your 'Father', for only one is your Father and He is in Heaven. Nor are you to be called 'Leaders', for only one is your Leader, the Christ." Matthew 23:8-10

Read those words again.  Just as in keeping with His previous statements, here, Jesus is condemning the use of any such religious title.  Jesus, in these few sentences, is making it very plain what the nature and quality of leadership in His assembly was going to be.  His leaders would NOT assume titles or positions of authority.

Any man who claims to hold a position of authority in the church, delegated or otherwise; any man who claims that "he is clothed with the authority of Christ"; any man who claims "ministerial dignity" or that he "occupies a sacred office,"
that man is a complete and total fraud and directly contradicts the teachings of Jesus Christ!

Jesus created a totally new concept of leading by serving people; not delegating authority to them!  

Any so-called "church leader" who occupies these man-made, false offices of authority and teaches others to recognize them in contradiction to the Scriptures, cannot be considered a true leader guided by the Holy Spirit.

They are the wolves that Jesus earnestly warned us to flee from. 

From these rebels against the Lord and His Word we must separate ourselves so as to not bring His judgment upon ourselves.  If we are serious about following Christ, how can we remain party in perpetuating a system of “Delegated Authority in the church” which contradicts the very essence of the ekklesia our Savior purposed to build?  When is enough, enough?

Within His Church, there are no hierarchical positions of men.  There is only a hierarchy of One.  Everyone and everything is directly subordinate to Jesus Christ! "And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over all things for the Church." Ephesians 1:22 

There are no managerial positions in the Church, for each Christian is a priest who reports directly to the Head, Jesus Christ.  Ezekiel 34:23, John 10:16, 1 Corinthians 11:3

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." 1 Timothy 2:5

No one in the Church is required to report to any intermediate position, for each person is directly accountable to God and God alone. Matthew 12:36, Romans 14:12, 1 Corinthians 7:24, Hebrews 4:13

In the Scriptures, Christians may have exercised authority over things such as evil spirits and diseases (Matthew 10:1, Mark 3:15, 6:7, Luke 9:1, 10:19), but never over each other.

There is only one position of authority in the Church and it is held exclusively by Jesus Christ.

If you believe yourself to be a Christian, herein are your marching orders from your Lord and Master Himself!

Remember Jesus' words, ''If you love me, keep my commandments.''

If you refuse to follow the directions that He has given in these passages of scripture that have been set before you, then Jesus says, to you, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" Luke 6:46

The false teaching of “delegated authority in the church” is clearly man-made and is  man-sustained.  Believe it or not; like it or not; this is the description of what’s happening in today’s local institutional church system encompassing a wide spectrum of denominations. 

It is a teaching that is fueled: 1) by pride 2) by greed 3) by lust 4) by power, 5) by money, 6) and by control. 

It is a teaching that has gone far, far “beyond the things which are written.”

Jesus was the greatest leader because Jesus was the greatest servant!  "If I then, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example in order that you should do as I have done to you." John 13:14-15

Jesus taught His disciples to be leaders by serving others, not by delegating authority to them!

"How then are leaders in the church supposed to lead?" 

By following Christ's example and His example is the most powerful argument against the idea of a delegated, ruling, controlling, authoritative structure in His ekklesia.  Did He teach and model one thing, only to turn around and build something else?  Did He come serving, only to elevate His people’s status later down the road?

The Lord has never intended any man, or group of men in His assembly to be delegated authority and then to exercise special delegated authority by which to rule over His people.  His leaders were to GUIDE and SERVE others, and to be EXAMPLES.

And they did GUIDE. They did SERVE

THEY SERVED FROM THEIR HEARTS; NOT FROM DELEGATION!
THE STRANGLING OF JESUS

Many local institutional church systems have no choice but to resort to teachings like “delegated authority and control” in order to preserve their unbiblical doctrines, practices, and structures. How else are they going to run an efficient local institutional church system with that unpredictable Holy Spirit running around?

If they don't have sufficient control and authority that "Jesus has delegated" to them, they fear that heresy will run wild among their ignorant masses.  After all, perhaps some of their members are not even Christians! 

So, in order to prevent any un-wanted outcomes, they structure all of their “services” and meetings so that there is no opportunity whatsoever for any opposing view to be presented.  They will not allow any input from their congregation during their “services,” and if they do, it is typically done in a limited and very controlled manner.  Any opposing viewpoint would obviously be wrong, heretical, or demonic since it did not come from their leader; the one who "has been delegated authority."

In effect, what is happening is this:

Inside the typical local institutional church “worship service,”  the Headship, the Supremacy, the Kingship of Jesus Christ is being strangled!  Imagine that. 

The One whom they say has delegated to them authority to rule in His assembly, this same man or group of men then turns around and strangles His Authority and Rule!  How so, you say?  By directing the entire “service” toward one person!

And of course, I’m NOT talking about Jesus!

You, the pew sitter; the clapping seal, are being limited to the knowledge, gifting and experience of just one member of the body - “the pastor, who has been delegated authority.”

Am I going too fast?

Where is the freedom for our Lord Jesus, the King, the Head, the Supreme, to speak through His body at will?

There isn’t any!

Where, in this so-called “worship service,” may God give a fellow believer a word to share with the whole congregation?

Nowhere! 

Jesus Christ has no freedom to express Himself through His body.  He can’t because He too, is rendered a passive spectator, just like all the rest.  The pre-planned and strictly ordered “worship” that has been arranged by “His duly-authorized representatives” allows for no such thing, and deliberately so! 
A TERSE CONCLUSION

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ." Colossians 2:8

Yes, as the pastor from North Carolina indicated in our terse introduction, “God has ultimate authority.  God has the right, as the Lord, as the King, as the Master of the universe; He has the right to rule us….”

No one has any problem with this particular section of the pastor’s quote. 

Jesus Christ is the Supreme; the Paramount; the Absolute; and Only Ruler of God’s people today…yea, over all of creation!  This authority; this power; this rulership the Father gave to Christ

“when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church.” Ephesians 1:20-22

On Zion, my sacred hill, I have installed my king  Psalm 2:6
 
I have exalted one chosen from the people  Psalm 89:19

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder  Isaiah 9:6

And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him  Daniel 7:14

All things have been delivered unto me of my Father  Matthew 11:27

All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth  Matthew 28:18

All things have been delivered unto me of my Father  Luke 10:22

The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand  John 3:35

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all the things into his hands…  John 13:3

Even as you gave him authority over all flesh  John 17:2

…And one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through him  1 Corinthians 8:6

For, He put all things in subjection under his feet  1 Corinthians 15:27

Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name  Philippians 2:9

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence  Colossians 1:18

And in him you are made full, who is the head of all principality and power  Colossians 2:10

Has at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds  Hebrews 1:2

You did put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he subjected all things unto him, he left nothing that is not subject to him  Hebrews 2:8

Who is on the right hand of God, having gone into heaven; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him  1 Peter 3:22

No one has any problem with any of the statements made in these verses.  Jesus has all authority. 

But if someone dare mention that absolutely NO ONE is allowed to usurp His position in the assembly by screaming, “delegated authority, delegated authority,” and then you give them the scriptures proving that these things are not to be done in His assembly, suddenly there’s a problem.  There’s a BIG problem.  Imagine that!

Someone has even argued that  “if Jesus has all authority, then surely, He must have the authority to delegate some of His authority to others.”

Again, no one can disagree with this, but that’s not the question.  The question is not whether Jesus could delegate authority to others?   The question is, did He?

And the answer is a resounding NO!

Why haven’t some of you ever heard this information before?
 
Why in all your years as a professing Christian, while attending your local institutional churches, have you never been shown this error of delegated authority by those who professed to be Bible teachers? 

If the truths that have just been presented cannot convince some of you of the false teachings of delegated authority, then I'm afraid nothing could.

How could something so obviously true have been lost in favor of the wild and carnal speculations that pass for “sound bible teaching” in our day?

Genuine Christians need to be on guard and to stand firm because the fiercest opposition they will often encounter will come from the very men who say they are "God's leaders."

With only the rarest of exceptions, none of these church leaders who teach that they have been delegated authority from God can ever be objective in reading an article like this because it exposes their role as the unbiblical authority figures in an unbiblical church institution that the people look up to, and in many cases, who pay their salary, fringe benefits, and other perks. 

Many of them literally earn their living as those who think that they have been delegated authority!

It is very easy for them to be self-deceived, actually believing that they are “busy for the King,” as they go about, parlaying their perceived delegated authority. Such is the astonishing power of deception.

Yet, Jesus' teachings on how His assembly is to be structured stand true.  They are formed from the example of a servant.

God’s people are recognized as leaders in the assembly by serving others (Matthew 20:28, Romans 16:1-2, Colossians 1:25) and being examples by the way they live (1 Corinthians 11:1, 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9, 1 Peter 5:2-3).

Again, God's true leaders SERVE from the heart; NOT FROM DELEGATION!

If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.   John 13:12-17


Ken Cascio
Webmaster


You might also be interested in this related article:  Biblical Leadership; Then and Now
ENTER THE NICOLAITANS

But this you have, that you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Revelation 2:6-7

In the same way you have people among you who follow the teaching of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent therefore; or else I come to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth. He that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 2:15-17

The doctrine of the Nicolaitans was that of a religious hierarchy of delegated authority who claimed to be over those who merely sat in the pew.  The term, "Nicolaitans," comes from the Greek, #3528, nikao-nik-ah'-o: to subdue, conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory  and  #2992,  laos-lah-os': a people.

The term, "Nicolaitans," literally means, "to conquer the people."  This should speak volumes to some. 

Apparently there were some professing Christians in Ephesus and Pergamos who did not obey Jesus' teaching and example, but instead, created a hierarchal, ruling class of "Nicolaitans" who set themselves above the people in the assemblies.  But Jesus directly rebuked them saying, He "hates" (Revelation 2:6) the sin of the Nicolaitans and anyone who holds to that doctrine and/or practices that doctrine should "Repent therefore or else I am coming to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth."  Revelation 2:15-16

Can anything be more frightening than those words?  And yet.....AND YET, do churches today even care?  The very idea of a “church” actually voting on, and then actually electing, and then actually installing a man into an office and position in which he has supposedly now been delegated authority to rule over the people is completely incompatible with the words and example of Jesus and the resulting sins are well-documented:

usurping a believer’s responsibility to be a priest (1Peter 2:5,9, Revelation 1:6, 5:10, 20:6)

exercising authority over other believers (Matthew 20:25-28, Mark 10:42-44, Luke 22:24-27)

acting as intermediaries for God (Hebrews 8:11, 1John. 2:27)

self-absorbed instead of building up others (Ephesians 4:12-13)

making decisions on their own initiative (1Thessalonians 2:13, 2 Peter 1:20-21)

taking places of honor (Luke 20:46-47, 14:7-11, Matthew 23:5-7, James 2:1-4)

passing judgment on others (Romans 14:4,13)

wearing and loving religious titles (Matthew 23:8-10)

perversion (Titus 3:11), etc., etc., etc.

This does not mean that there isn't any type of leadership in the Lord’s assembly.  God has elders (literally “older men”) as well as others, to guide and to be an example to their fellow believers. (See, "The Eldership Cookbook") 

But those in the church who have fabricated these hierarchal systems of delegated authority to rule, control, and exercise dominion as ecclesiastical high priests are sinning in direct violation of Jesus Christ's commands and example!  (Matthew 20:25-28, Matthew 23:11-12, Mark 9:35, Mark 10:42-44, Luke 9:48, Luke 14:4, Luke 22:24-27, John 13:4-10, John 13:14-15, etc., etc., etc., etc.)

Also, these unbiblical man-made hierarchal inventions are causing yet another problem: the sin of division, a division that creates barriers and separations between fellow believers on the basis of their perceived power and authority.  It is Satan, along with his ministers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:15) who are roaming around, seeking to thwart God's purpose.  They work overtime to influence strife and division among the saints.

This divisive, evil spirit was already working again, even back in apostolic times. 

Need I remind you again of Diotrephes in 3 John 9-10?  And John closes that section concerning Diotrephes with verse 11: “Beloved, do not be imitating the evil, but the good.  He who is doing good is of God.  He who is doing evil has not seen God.”

In Jude 1:19, Jude writes, “These are those who cause divisions, soulish, not having the spirit."  And who are these people that are causing divisions?  From the context, you find out who they are from verse 12: "These are they who are hidden rocks in your love-feasts when they feast with you, shepherds that without fear feed themselves."

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he warns them in the last chapter, Romans 16:17-18:  “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them that are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which ye learned: and turn away from them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Christ, but their own belly; and by their smooth and fair speech they beguile the hearts of the innocent.”

There are many other Scriptures as well, but the one that stands out from all the rest is Paul's letter to the saints at Corinth that dealt in large measure with divisions in their midst.  In the first chapter, he deals with this problem directly. (1 Corinthians 1:10-16).  He told them that there should be "no divisions among you."

In verse 12, Paul describes the kind of divisions he means: "...each one of you says, I am of Paul, or  I am of Apollos, or I am of Cephas, or I am of Christ."   Paul then asked, "Is Christ divided?"  The answer is an emphatic "NO!"  Christ is not divided.  You are His Body, and His Body is one.  Therefore, you should not be divided and separated one from another.

He repeats this in Chapter 3 and says, “For you are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you strife and division, are you not carnal, and do you not walk after the manner of men?  For when one says, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are you not carnal?"

Paul connects the divisive spirit of the Corinthians to carnality or worldliness. Carnality is the opposite of spirituality.  It is of the flesh.  It is worldly.

Paul listed "strife" and "division" with "fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, ... jealousies, wraths, factions,… parties, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like," stating emphatically, "that they who practice such things SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD" (Galatians 5:19-21)

Isn’t promoting "strife and division" a serious offense to God?













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