I ask simply, was one man ever supposed to have preeminence in the church? And as simply I answer: YES! The man Christ Jesus, Head Pastor of the a course in miracles youtube channel , is that man!

Have humans ever tried to have such preeminence? In III John we are introduced to such a man. Somehow he had seized the reins of the church. He came against other ministries. Those who tried to bypass him and receive the ones he rejected, were thrown out of the church by him. His name was Diotrephes.

John, who introduces us to this man, also is given a vision of the Throne Room of Jesus. Surrounding Him in that glorious place were 24 elders! No one stood out in that crowd but Jesus. Let it be so in the church today. Jesus is not threatened by several men receiving their instructions from Christ and passing them on to the church. But when one man assumes this responsibility…Well, for one, John would tell us:

One man should never rule the church!

Consider the Ephesian church, later blessed by John’s presence, but founded by Paul. In Acts 20, we read of Paul’s farewell to them. You will note that he did not call for “the pastor.” There was no such individual! He called for the elders, and reminded them that they are called to be overseers (also translated bishops). And he says they are to shepherd (pastor) the church!

Paul, furthermore, is seen in the book of Acts appointing elders (plural) in every church that he founds. (See chapter 14). I think that it’s fair to say that Paul would tell us:

One man should never rule the church!

What about the churches addressed by the apostle Peter? (I Peter 5) His comments also are addressed to elders(plural), whom he likewise calls overseers, and whom he, also, commands to shepherd, or feed, the flock. Now Peter and Paul didn’t agree on everything, but they agree on this:

One man should never rule the church!

Much has been made by the Roman Institution of the “successors of Peter.” Well, here they are, tucked away in I Peter 5: the elders of the church.Plural.

No, neither John, Paul, or Peter seem to have anything to offer in the way of monarchy style church government. After these apostles, or their representatives (also apostles) like Timothy or Titus, had laid the foundation in a new area, their first task was to appoint elders who would teach others in a selfpropagating manner until the return of Christ.

Interesting to note is that these apostles almost always address their letters to the “saints”, not exclusively to the leaders. Even Jesus, dictating letters in the Book of Revelation, addressed only the “messengers” of the churches, that is, those who would deliver Jesus’ message.

Something went wrong with the simplicity of those early churches, and the specific commands of the apostles. The evolution toward a pyramid structure, superimposed on the Body, with a “Holy Father” at its top was slow but deliberate through the centuries. The Roman system that evolved was nothing more than the pagan system that had already existed in Rome, Greece, Babylonia, etc.

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