Christ the Head of the Church pt. 2

THE LOCAL CHURCH

Even though Paul as an Apostle definitely had Spiritual Authority, still, he could not force the Church at Corinth to do what the Holy Spirit through him had stated concerning this matter. He could only point out the correct direction, and it was up to them to follow it to its conclusion.

When one considers that Paul had planted this Church, and that many, if not most, of the Converts there had been brought to Christ under his Ministry, one would think that he had the authority to say and do whatever. However, the Holy Spirit as is here obvious, limits that authority to pointing out direction.

This means that it is terribly wrong for any outside influence to exercise dictatorial control over the Local Church. While they might advise and counsel, even as Paul did here, which is the pattern given by the Holy Spirit we are to follow, that is as far as it should go. When Religious Leaders, so-called, who have been elected by popular ballot, and in no way are Apostles, etc., exercise dictatorial control over the Local Church, they are in fact abrogating the Headship of Christ, which causes the Holy Spirit to cease and desist all operations. Consequently, some Pentecostal Denominations are all but totally bereft of the Working and Moving of the Holy Spirit, and for this very reason. They have instigated a secular type Government in the Church, which the Holy Spirit cannot condone, because it is not Biblical.

HEADSHIP IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

The Greek word for head is kephale.” It is used much like the Hebrew word ro’s,” which refers to the head of a person, the beginning of a month, the source or mouth of a river, etc. The Greeks viewed the head as the superior member of the body, the seat of reason and authority.

Kephale appears over 75 times in the New Testament, usually to designate the literal head of a person or animal. In certain Passages, we need to know the background of certain New Testament sayings before we can understand them.

For example, “Do not swear by your head” (Mat. 5:36) is a reference to a Rabbinical Judgment that one who makes an oath “by his head” (by his very life) cannot be released from the oath under any circumstances.

Other sayings, such as Jesus’ assurance of God’s Care as expressed in the statement, “The very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Lk. 12:7), are easily understood.

There are, however, three theologically significant uses of “head” to which we need to pay careful attention. They help us gain insight into issues of great concern for Christians today.

CHRIST, THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH

The New Testament pictures the Church as a living organism, a Body of which Jesus is the Head (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Col. 1:18; 2:10, 19).

A review of these Passages suggests that Christ’s Headship emphasizes His role as Sustainer, Protector, Organizing Principal, and Source of the Church’s life. The Passages emphasize Jesus’ exalted position so that we may have complete confidence in Him. We respond to Him because He is Lord and the only One with wisdom and motive to direct us into God’s Perfect Will.

AN ORGANISM, NOT AN INSTITUTION

On the other hand, the New Testament pictures the Church not as an institution but as an organism (something which is alive—a complex structure of interdependent and subordinate elements whose relations and properties are largely determined by their function in the whole).

In the place of institutional principles of organization, the New Testament advances organic principles of organization for the Church (Rom. Chpt. 12; I Cor. Chpt. 12). In fact, Jesus stressed the importance of rejecting all thought of rank in relating to fellow Believers (Mat. 20:25–28; 23:8–12; Rom. 12:3–8), which means that even though all Preachers of the Gospel should be respected as should be obvious, however, all man-instituted Religious Offices, are to be looked at as administrative only and never in the position of Spiritual Leadership.

In thinking about Leadership in the Church it is important to recognize the fact that Jesus is the Sole Head of the Church, the only Lord. Whatever Leaders are within the Body of Christ, they are not superior persons of higher rank whose office gives them a right to direct and control other Believers.

~J. Swaggart Ministry

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