Expounding the More Perfect Way….Jesus Christ and Him Crucified Acts 18:24-28


One Religious Leader said to another Preacher of my acquaintance, “You obey what I say because you are accountable to me; if it is wrong, then I will be responsible and not you.”

This is fallacy and totally unscriptural. There is no such circumstance in the Bible of one person doing something wrong and someone else being responsible for it. Almost the entire Catholic Church is made up of this falsehood, while many Protestants fall into the same category. However, everyone is ultimately going to answer to God for their own actions; at that time, they will not be able to point a finger at anyone else, but they will have to take responsibility themselves. The Scripture says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4). Likewise, they must take responsibility now!

The Scripture also says, “Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith …” (Heb. 12:2).

This doesn’t say to look to a Religious Denomination or to an earthly Priest or even a Preacher, but “unto Jesus.”


While it is certainly true that the Lord has set in the Church “Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers” (Eph. 4:11), these leaders have no authority over people, even their followers, only over evil spirits (Mk. 16:17–18). Actually, no Christian, of any capacity, has any authority over another; submission as taught in the Bible is on a horizontal plane, not on a vertical plane. The Scripture says, “Submitting yourselves one to another …” (Eph. 5:21).

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the various Churches (most of which he had planted), he never one time ordered anyone to do anything, but always politely made his request: “I beseech you, brethren” (Rom. 12:1; 15:30; 16:17; I Cor. 1:10; 4:16).

If anyone were to have the right to claim spiritual authority or require that people be accountable to him, Paul certainly would have been one who did. However, Paul followed the Lord, and such authority was not given to him or to any other man. The Lord reserves that exclusively unto Himself as the “Head of … the Church” (Col. 1:18).

Actually, the highest and only spiritual authority on earth is the local Church, made up of “called out Believers.”

When Jesus addressed Himself to the Work of God on earth and to its individual members, He addressed Himself to local Churches, and more specifically to the Pastors of those Churches, such as “the Angel of the Church at Ephesus,” and so forth (Rev. 2:1).

He did not address Himself to the headquarters Church in Jerusalem or to a denominational headquarters because, in Truth, such did not exist. While there was certainly a Church in Jerusalem, and even though it was a very strong Church, it did not serve as an imperial religious headquarters.

Correspondingly, the Bible teaches that the local Church carries the highest spiritual authority there is. As a result, accountability should be confined to the leadership and people of the local assembly. Nothing from the outside should take authority over that particular assembly or its people (II Cor. 2:10; Rev. Chpts. 2–3).

Accordingly, younger Ministers in the local Church should submit themselves to the leadership of that Church (Heb. 13:17). Peter said, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder …” (I Pet. 5:5).

However, both Hebrews 13:17 and I Peter 5:5 are speaking of the local Church, not some outside, unscriptural denominational religious office.

There is every evidence in Scripture that accountability should be to a local Church: both to its apostolic leadership and to its people (Acts 13:1–5).

When there was a problem in the Church in Corinth, and it seems to have been with one of its leaders, Paul dealt directly with the Church relative to what should be done, because he had been asked to do so (I Cor. 5:1; II Cor. 2:3–11).

There is no incident in the New Testament Church in which problems were handled other than through the local Church, other than the one meeting recorded in Acts 15 which had to do with Doctrine, and which involved all the Apostles.

It should be understood that when we speak of the Church, it is not an all-inclusive term covering all Churches of a particular Religious Denomination, for example, but, instead, refers to a local, indigenous assembly which might well have branches, but which answers to that one particular Church and not to a Denomination or group of Churches.

As we have previously stated, when Christ addressed the seven Churches of Asia, He addressed each Church individually and did not link them together in the slightest, except that they were all a part of His Body.

Even though particular Churches may have a common bond of Doctrine and a like sense of purpose, spiritual authority and accountability begin and end with each assembly, and even more specifically with the Pastor of that Church. He answers directly to the Word of God and to Christ through the agency of the Person of the Holy Spirit.


Of course, the answer to that question is simple inasmuch as all accountability begins and ends with the Word of God. While the Scripture commands that younger or Associate Ministers in the local Church submit to its leadership, such submission can only be given as long as the Word of God is fully adhered to. This would hold true for the lay membership as well as for the Ministerial Leadership.

To give an example, since the 1960’s, quite a number of people have been Baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues in Churches which do not believe this Biblical Doctrine.

As a consequence, if the leadership of those particular Churches demands that all such actions cease and desist, then submission comes to an end simply because its leadership is unscriptural.

However, such individuals should not cause problems in that particular Church, neither should they attempt to usurp authority over its leadership. To be Scripturally accountable, they should quietly leave and associate themselves with a different Church that adheres to sound Biblical Doctrine.

Man-made accountability has no validity with God, and most of what is labeled accountability in modern circles will find no counterpart whatsoever in the New Testament Church.

True accountability is demanded by God and is far more stringent than that demanded by man, because the accountability required by the Lord covers every aspect of one’s life and service, not just a part.

~J. Swaggart Ministries

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