Do you despise authority?

It is very easy to despise authority without even realizing that you are doing so. Especially living in our modern world which emphasizes independence and being a “self-made man”. In the quote below which follows a crucial verse that stresses the importance of leadership, Spurgeon says it well. A self-made man is a failure by definition. Maybe you are a pastor yourself, and your immediate response to this is to say “Amen, my people really should listen to me more!” But I ask you, who are you following? One of the greatest perils of evangelical church structures is that we have removed the concept of a single global pope, and replaced it with a myriad of mini-popes. Each of us can have a tendency to think that we have all the answers and we do not need to listen to anyone else. Are you at the top of a pyramid? Is there no one who you are submitted to? Do you see no need to learn from another? Then, with the respect that is due your office, I urge you to beware. For I fear that you are in a perilous position. Could it be that one of the reasons for the terrible statistics surrounding pastors resigning their ministry is simply that they were never meant to walk alone? Like many today, I react strongly against some of the formal, institutional structures that denominations bring. But, the solution to the ills of denoninationalism is not independence. God has designed us for inter-dependence and to be first a follower before we expect others to follow us.

Remember those who led you,
who spoke the word of God to you;
and considering the result of their conduct,
imitate their faith.


Some, under the pretence of being taught of the Spirit of God, refuse to be instructed by books or by living men. This is no honoring of the Spirit of God. It is disrespect to Him, for if He gives to some of His servants more light than to others—and it is clear He does—then they are bound to give that light to others, and to use it for the good of the church. But if the other part of the church refuse to receive that light, to what end did the Spirit of God give it? This would imply that there is a mistake somewhere in the economy of God’s gifts and graces, which is managed by the Holy Spirit.

—Charles Spurgeon, Words of Counsel for Christian Workers (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim Publications, 1985), pp. 112–113. cited in John Piper, A Hunger for God: Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1997), 182.

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