Submitting to Authorities Includes Church Leadership (Romans 13:1-3)

Abstract

I have not seen the view that submission to church leadership should parallel submission to government authorities expressed as often as some others, but it is so dangerous if it is used to support a leader’s ability to overlord a congregant that it is called out in this writing to demonstrate it’s error.

This article will show how that there are a relatively small number of relationships defined in the Bible which include authority in their definition.  We can break all relationships in our lives into two main categories:

  • Ones that have a measure prescribed responsibility and authority defined by the Word of God
  • Ones that have little specific responsibility and authority defined by the Word of God apart from the golden rule/greatest commandments

Having reviewed these relationships in the Word of God, we will be able to clearly distinguish that the relationship discussed in Romans 13:1-3 is specific to Government Authorities with Citizens and should not be applied to the relationship between ones leading in the church and church congregants.

It is inappropriate to generalize across the boundaries of separately defined relationships in the Word of God and generalize to give stronger authority to ones leading in the church than what is given to them through the balance of the Word of God.  It is very clear that governmental authorities have strong authority over citizens than leading ones in the church have over congregants.  This article will make it plain that the two should not be mixed.


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