Remember the movie, “The Wizard of Oz?” From this story, you can make a relevant application in regards to today’s church situation and its so-called authority structure.
To recap very quickly, as Dorothy and her companions finally fetched the wicked witch’s broomstick and returned to see the Wizard, they are met with thunderous roars, fire, smoke, as well as yelling and screaming from the Wizard. How dare they challenge him and his authority as they seek to present the Wizard with the witch’s broomstick.
The fire, the thunder, the smoke, and the roars are all very intimidating and cause Dorothy and her friends to cower into submission…….until…..UNTIL her little dog Toto, runs toward a closet area and pulls back a curtain to reveal a little man hiding behind a facade of authority and power; talking through a microphone, pulling levers and flipping switches to make noise, smoke, and fire. All very impressive and a big show until he’s finally exposed and says, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”
Do you see the correlation? The so-called Wizard is a power abuser. He’s a depraved man who has lusted after power, authority, and control, and through scheming and planning, he has achieved his lust-filled hearts’ content – albeit through a facade and a very impressive show. When someone uncovers his charade, they become the problem and must be silenced.
Oh how very relevant indeed in today’s local institutional church.
The “Wizard’s” of today (so-call pastors and elders) are no different. Those who position themselves as “having authority, control, and rule” over God’s people do so under a charade and a facade of a supposed and imagined “rule and authority.” Many leaders literally refuse to see Christ as the suffering Servant; as the one who told His disciples in regards to exercising authority, “Not so shall it be among you!”
How utterly ironic that the teaching in today’s local institutional church on authority and leadership is exactly the type of leadership style Christ specifically warned His disciples not to practice!
The Lord’s call to "let this mind be in you" falls upon deaf ears to the majority of the “Wizards” in the local church.
Why did Jesus emphasize that the great in His kingdom must not be at the top of the pyramid, but at the very bottom, as servants of all? The answer is that one does not command from the bottom. One does not make decisions which are binding on others when he is at the bottom. One cannot throw his weight around; bark out phrases as “my pastoral authority,” or demand submission to some fabled “office” when he is at the bottom.
The only way he can do that is to stand behind the curtain; hope nobody will notice; (indeed, actually teach that it is wrong to notice); and then, continually pull the levers and flip the switches, making a good impression of control and authority.
And so, as a result, the modern “church leadership” system has rejected the command of Jesus and has done just the opposite in putting themselves on par with the elite, at the peak of the pyramid! They do bind their will upon others. They do issue commands. They do demand unquestioning obedience to their will. They do “bind the consciences” of the tender sheep. They not only rule, they rule as absolute monarchs. Their decisions are not subject to review by anybody. They do not submit themselves to the many. They require the many to subject themselves to them.
And all of this they do, not by scriptural example, but by pulling levers and flipping switches.
When you look at the Apostle Paul's example in writing to the brethren in Corinth and Galatia, you can see very clearly that it goes contrary to the principles of the so-called “eldership rule” that we see coming from the local institutional church. There were serious relational problems, doctrinal problems, preeminence problems, control problems, and a host of other issues in both places! Yet Paul did not write the elders to straighten out these problems. He wrote the members and put the burden on the many.
Yet again, we can see that in today’s local institutional church system of “rule by elder,” the Apostle Paul’s practice and application is an example to be avoided! It has been replaced by the “Wizard of Oz” in his chamber of horrors!
We see men, standing behind the curtain, putting on their show. We see men hollering and screaming with spittle flying out of their mouth: "WHO ARE YOU TO CHALLENGE MY DIRECTION AND AUTHORITY?"
We see men defying the Lord, commanding that ...“You must address me as “Pastor.”
We see men commanding submission unto themselves, teaching that "....submitting to me is submitting to God....”
We see men seizing upon, and then usurping "the authority of Christ."
We see men operating their "local church institutions" like the Wizard of Oz’s chamber!
What has been done? The local church has become an organization of our own design.
Christ's sheep have been corralled, mistreated and imprisoned by these false, manipulative Wizards (thieves and robbers) for many, many centuries. The feelings, the thoughts, the suspicions and questionings of the average “Christian church member” are continually quenched as they are being silenced into submission to their overseers. If they dare speak up, they are immediately beaten down and exposed as misfits and heretics.
For many of the simple believers who attend these local church institutions, its time to stop casting your pearls before these spiritual swine. These Wizards (pastors) who occupy their chambers (pulpits) are smart and they are clever, and they understand human nature. They know how to deceive and they know how to destroy.
Until the people's eyes are opened and they finally come to realize and act upon the fact that there is a pompous, manipulative, and deceitful ruling class of “church leaders” who will stop at nothing to advance their destructive, self-serving agendas, they will be doomed to a lifetime of bondage and darkness.
If only the people will have the eyes to see and the courage and bravery to stand up, walk over to the closet
and tear down the curtain!
Many need to heed the admonition of the apostle Paul: "Neither give place to the Devil."