"Shepherds and Accountability"
The following are my thoughts on the above subject. I request all our members to ponder on the above issues and give your comments through the forum.
1) Are the Shepherds to provide care and protection to the sheep entrusted to them?
These quests has been revolving around the Christian community for several years; Bible has always abundantly been clear about the issue, but the preachers of the bible conveniently de-emphasis and ignore the issue completely. If anyone has ever addressed the issue, then, inner groups will soon be zeroing in to that individual and does character assassination on them and marginalize them as well as portray them as a villain, and no one cares about their integrity.
Religious Heads ought to take care to seek God's face and then faithfully execute the vision of the church to accomplish God's purpose, as well as heed to the bleating of the sheep. Religious Heads should be consistently communicating the vision given by Christ to the people while equipping them to take on the role that God has ordained for each member of HIS church.
2) Are the 'Shepherds' subject to Accountability?
A common error that is found in most churches is the misconception of the accountability of its Religious Heads. A Religious Head may take his direction and vision from God, but that does not nullify the biblical mandate for accountability. To neglect accountability is to set Religious Heads up for a fall and is contrary to Bible. Religious Heads are also human beings and are subject to all the trials, struggles and temptations that are common to each believer. Even Yeshu had to go through it. God never promised to shelter a Religious Head from temptation nor did God promise us that a Religious Head would never deviate from God's vision. A Religious Head's role is to serve the community as a good Shepherd in the way God has intended and equipped him to serve.
A Religious Head was never intended to sit high above the people or to be worshiped by the people. A Religious Head and all church leaders should be following the example of Yeshu who humbled himself and become a servant to others. Pride destroys but God always honors humility. A Religious Head is on equal footing with the lowliest position in the church. God equips and ordains each member of the church for different & various duties within the church; however, each individual has equal worth and is measured by God according to faithfulness, not status.
Religious Heads have high points in their life and they too will have to walk through the valley. No Christian will go through life without struggling spiritually from time to time. Every human will get excited about things that are not God's will and allow emotions to drive their decisions at some point in life.
Even a Bishop can mistake his emotions for God's voice and God never placed the directions to HIS local body in the hands of one man. The Bible says that a wise man with knowledge will seek wise counsel and in a multitude of counselors, there is safety. Bible makes it clear that we are supposed to submit to governmental authorities such as the Police Department and obey the laws of our land (like ruling of Courts, pay taxes, obey traffic laws, live peaceably, etc.). We are also commanded not to set up authoritarian systems within Christian churches.
If we follow the Bible's mandate for Bishops and church leadership, wise counsel will always be available to a Religious Head. It is easy for one man to get sidetracked on an issue, but if all the Religious Heads of the church are following God, it is very difficult for a church to go astray.
In the Bible, examples for accountability are seen on every level of leadership. Moses was held accountable; godly kings were subject to accountability; Religious Heads in a Church are held accountable to one another and to the Religious Heads of other Churches; Pastors are accountable to the Elders and even the Apostles were held accountable by Elders and each other. No one was exempt from accountability.
In error or misconception, some Church Members think that because the Bishop is the head of the local body, he is accountable only to God and God alone, but scripture teaches a different doctrine. If the Apostles whom God used to write the Scripture were held accountable, and the great Biblical Leaders who led God's own people had to be accountable to one another and to the body of people, why would we think that a Bishop is exempt from it?
The first symptom of a spiritual lacuna & struggle in a leader is the desire to break off accountability. Ungodly leaders in the Old Testament rejected accountability. We can see that even godly leaders like King David rejected accountability before falling into sin/astray, but sustained his Godliness by choosing to listen to Prophets and Good Council.
GOD alone is our only Lord & Master. Let HIS Will alone sustain in HIS Own Chosen People.
Compiled and Forwarded by:
Rajan P. Kuriakose