In the March 13, 2015 edition of the “Sword Of The Lord”, the publication's editor Shelton Smith compared ministry to the act of driving.
In one of the the remarks, he observed that one hand must be on the wheel.
He expanded on that declaration by saying, “At the church house, someone has to be in charge. A leader is a necessity. The pastor is the scripturally appointed, God-anointed person to be the leader.”
Smith further clarified, “Many of our churches are sitting idle and getting nowhere because just before they put the pastor in the driver's seat, they tied his hands behind his back...So let's get real! And let's be scriptural about it! Let's get a driver who knows how to handle the vehicle and let him drive it. Amen!”
Very well then.
Let us be scriptural about the matter in compliance with Shelton Smith's admonition.
Where in the corpus of divine revelation is blind obedience to the pastor commanded?
If anything, it seems that quite the opposite might be called for.
Acts 17:11 reads, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scripture every day to see if what Paul said was true (NIV).”
Let's continue a bit with the driving analogies.
Despite dealing with her own doctrinal challenges as she navigates reconciling the demands of celebrity and the Christian faith, Carrey Underwood exclaimed “Jesus, take the wheel.”
How is what Shelton Smith is arguing for that much different in kind than the papal infallibility and the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church where those in the pews are expected to keep their mouths shut if they want to be considered acceptable members?
If anything, isn't the pastor more of a tour guide than a driver that is not to be questioned or challenged?
For is not Christ or the revealed Word of God in Scripture the one theoretically driving this bus?
In the age of the child predator, the fit parent reinforces in the mind of their offspring not to get into a vehicle with someone they don't know, don't trust, or have a suspicious feeling about.
In this day where all kinds of abuse (both spiritual and physical) is taking place in a variety of churches across Christianity's vast theological spectrum, contrary to the impression given by the likes of Josh Harris in his book “Stop Dating The Church”, you as an individual created in the image of God are free to get off the bus of a particular congregation any time you want.
A minister that insists upon broad pastoral powers without teaching that these are curtailed within explicitly delineated boundaries has neglected his responsibilities in a manner not that markedly different than an intoxicated motorist as he veers into lanes in which he ought not to travel.
By Frederick Meekins