Ministerial Authority

By: O.F. Fauss

Article 1

Ever since God called children of Israel from Egypt, and led them out by His strong arm, He has placed authority in those whom He chose to lead His people. There was an authority vested in Moses and Aaron, and in Aaron’s sons after him, that Israel could not question without paying the penalty. In the sixteenth chapter of Numbers is the account of Korah and the two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly. They were famous in the congregation; men of renown. But they met the judgment of God when they rose up in rebellion against Moses and Aaron. This story has always sounded a note of warning, and shows us that God will never fail to recognize the authority which He had given the leaders among His people.

The same principle is true concerning the New Testament church, of which we are a part. It is said of Jesus, the head of the church, that “. . .he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:29). Paul later wrote to Titus, “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority….” Again he wrote, this time to Timothy, “These things command and teach.” And yet again, Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

God’s methods in the Old Testament, executed according to His plan and pattern given to Moses in connection with the Tabernacle, were types and shadows of that which was to come. The Apostle Paul, in I Corinthians 10:1-10, calls our attention to the seriousness of some of the happenings among Israel, Then in verse 11 he warns, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” In many cases, the word of the priests and prophets meant life or death. God’s plan in establishing His priesthood with Aaron and His sons revealed His divine authority. God made it very clear to the Prophet Ezekiel that he was His mouthpiece (Ezekiel 3:17).

Jesus came into the world establishing a new and better covenant, and that upon better promises. His authority challenged the world. He was a contradiction to everyone He met. He called and ordained a ministry to carry on the church He came to build (Matthew 16:18,19). He vested an authority therein that challenged the very gates of hell. His instruction to the Apostles establishes the fact that they were to exercise His authority. This He made clear throughout the Book of Acts.

The Apostle Peter’s word in the fifth chapter of Acts brought “great fear. . .upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.” His instructions, given to the elders nearly thirty years later, were, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (I Peter 5:2,3). To this, the Apostle Paul agreed, when he called the Ephesian elders together, and said, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

To the Ephesians, Paul wrote, concerning the diversified ministry which God had given to the church, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of body of Christ.” Here we see the God-given authority and the ordained will of God manifested in the ministry of the church, to get the church ready for the coming of the Lord. It is God’s purpose to have a “. . .glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27). This depends largely upon the authority of the pulpit.

God chose the method of preaching to save them that believe (I Corinthians 1:27). Paul declared, in Titus 1:3, that God “. . .hath
in due times manifested his word through preaching. . . .” To the Romans this same apostle wrote, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Then, in the next verse, he asked, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard: and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Finally, in verse 17, he said, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Then it is through the authority of the pulpit, by the preaching of the Word of God, that He has chosen to save the sinner.

The seriousness and importance of the message of the pulpit is further shown by the ministry of reconciliation given to those who stand in the pulpit as God’s ambassadors. Such representatives speak from, and exercise, the authority of the kingdom they represent. Note the following: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us (ministers) the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

The message of the pulpit, when in God’s due order, has an authority of life or death. “To the one we (ministers) are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. . .For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ” (II Corinthians 2:16,17).

When Jesus said, “He that heareth you heareth me. . . ,” He was talking to those who should afterward stand in His pulpit. He
therefore vested in them His authority to direct the destiny of the souls of men. Indeed there is a woe pronounced upon the one who will blindly lead the blind. And also, woe to that person who refuses to be led and instructed by those whom God has anointed, and through whom He gives His message by the Holy Ghost.

The spirit of rebellion, patterned after the gainsaying of Korah, found among some of God’s people today, will cause those who are
guilty to miss being ready to be presented “without spot” at Jesus’ coming. Like Korah, some even go so far as to say that, since all of God’s people are holy, He can talk to the laity as well as He, can to the minister or pastor. It is true that God can do such, but according to His own word, He does not. In Amos 3:7 God said, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”

It is ordained in the Word of the Lord that the ministry must rule the house of God. This being true, it is also ordained that true saints will “obey them that have the rule. . .” over them, as Paul instructed.

It is evidenced throughout the Book of Acts, the only record we have, as our historical guide, that elders (the, ministry) exercised God’s spiritual authority in the earth. The saints submitted themselves to God’s method and order, and were blessed with those things promised in the gospel of the kingdom of God.

In his last message to the church, Peter said, “The Lord knoweth how to. . .reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.” The words “government” and “dignity” refer to those ministerial gifts which God has set in the church (I Corinthians 12:28), “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry…” (I Samuel 15:23). The meaning of — iniquity is rebellion against divine authority. And David said, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18).

Since the ordained authority of God’s pulpit is so serious, it affects not only the laity, but the ministry as well. This solemn warning from God through Jeremiah still stands: “Behold I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them. and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness. . .” The pulpit is no playhouse; it is not a place for foolishness. A lighthearted, careless, indifferent ministry is a reproach to God’s church, just as much as is a rebellious and disobedient flock.

Ministers should always rightfully use the authority given them by God and saints should be taught to respect that authority.

(The above material appeared in an issue of the Pentecostal Herald.)


By: Clyde J. Haney

Article 2

It is always when leadership stands silently by, that the cause of God and the Church hangs in the balance. If ever the United Pentecostal Church should cry for leadership that will break the silence of a compromising age and stand for the cause, it is in this momentous hour.

It is estimated that out of the rank and file of humanity only two or three percent are leaders; the rest follow. What will be their
destiny? The Church does not need segregation strategist on the sin question who specialize in telling how far one can participate in the questionable before he actually sins. These so-called strategists have been the downfall of all holiness movements.

The day came when they decided not to be total abstainer. Leadership let down its hair. They decided the dance wasn’t evil in itself. It was certain types that were evil. Some were permissible. Thus, today, the dance floor is patronized by many who once looked on such as evil. The deck of cards, so despised by some of these holiness movements, one day was introduced to them as not being evil in themselves. It wast he way they were used. Thus Bridge and Solitaire waked into their churches and introduced themselves as a new friend of the membership. The whiskey bottle so hated by old-time holiness orders, one day was polished up and introduced to men as desirable, if used for a social glass and not to excess. The theater totally abstained from by these same groups–by the same method became no longer evil in itself–all because of weak leadership. It was the kind of pictures they chose to see. On and on the world made its inroad into their ranks.

We quickly respond with a “Thank God, that’s not our church movement.” BUT WAIT! Is not the same technique being used today? Do we not hear men say, “It’s not the instrument that’s evil. It is the way you twist the dial and the way you segregate the channels.” So in many a Pentecostal home that frowned on the theater comes the once rejected movies, despite the fact that state textbooks tells us, “Television has endowed children with a worldliness that give us pause.” Its effect on the cultivated man is just as serious for he is made to submit to programs he doesn’t care for.

When the Spirit of God finally leaves these homes, churches, and the children whose minds are corrupted, and their souls are finally lost in hell, it will be the watchman who didn’t cry and warn, who will have hands dripping with their blood.

In Ezekiel 33:6-9, we read, “But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. . .” Ezekiel was told that God had made him a watchman unto the people to warn them of their sins and of the man died in his sins unwarned, his blood would be required of him as the watchman.

No true minister can afford to be silent on any issue that allows sin and the world to filter into the lives and homes of God’s true people. Thank God, no minister in the U.P.C. needs to feel he is radical or bringing division if he takes his stand against immodest dress and television. He would not only be standing for Bible standards, but would also be supporting the by-laws and Articles of Faith of our organization. Indeed it is those who fail to warn who should have a feeling of condemnation weighing heavily upon their hearts.

Oh, man of God, “is there not a cause?” Cannot we see and hear the Goliath of our day defying the Church of God, saying, “Send me a man”? Will the leadership of our day hide in the shadows of neutrality and self-complacency, and try the technique of being the heroes like David and Paul?

Paul cried, “Be not conformed to this would: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. . .” Then again he said, “Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

God grant that our ministry of the United Pentecostal Church shall never be guilty of calling the unclean, clean: and the unholy, holy: but may we ever be pronounced in our convictions.

(The original source of the above material is unknown.)


By: Arnold H. Browning

Article 3

The words of our text are found in Paul’s comparison of the old and new covenants of God which He has made with His people. The old covenant was a ministration of death, written on stones; glorious, but a fading glory; and a covenant of condemnation. The new covenant, of which we are partakers, was a ministration of Spirit and Life, written on the hearts of men. A ministration of righteousness; and much more glorious than the former since it would never be superseded or replaced. Seeing the permanency of this glorious gospel and realizing its truth and power, Paul declared, “Seeing then that we have such a hope, WE USE GREAT PLAINNESS OF SPEECH” (II Cor. 3:12).

These are surely the days, mentioned in the letter of Paul to Timothy, when men would not endure sound doctrine but would have itching ears. They would want teachers who would not go against their lusts but would tickle their itching ears with something soothing and pleasant. II Timothy 4 :2-4. Regardless of a universal desire for the above mentioned looseness the words of the Apostle look us in the face as a pointed finger and bids the ministry to preach the word, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Something tells me there is a demand for plainness of speech, positive preaching, and declarative sentences. Preachers, your congregation needs to know, in words they cannot mistake, what the Bible teaches. It is your direct responsibility to teach the cardinal doctrines of divine truth and to prepare your people for the coming of the Lord.

You must teach the fundamentals, i.e., faith toward God, repentance, water baptism in the Name of Jesus, and baptism of the Holy Ghost. It is a shame that a person could sit in our congregation for a few weeks and not know the difference between the Oneness of the Godhead and Trinity doctrine. How absurd that we teach no difference between water baptism in the Name of Jesus and the Trinitarian formula. The Truth of God should be championed and all error exposed and refuted. Only truth, and obedience to the truth, will save men.

But, we cannot confine all of our ministry to the teaching of basic fundamentals that put men into the Kingdom of God, i.e., being born of water and Spirit. We must go on as we are told in Hebrews 6:1-2, leaving the fundamental principles, (PLEASE NOTE: NOT DISCARDING THEM), and teach also those things which pertain to the perfecting of the saints of God. Remember that Paul said in I Cor. 14:7-8, “And even things without life giving sounds, whether pipe or harp, except they give a DISTINCTION in the sounds, how shall it be known what was piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” My friend, we need plainness of speech in dealing with the holiness requirements that are necessary for real
sainthood. People should not sit in our congregations for years without knowing the outward and inward requisites for true holiness as taught by the Bible. Modesty in dress, for both men and women, demands some attention and explanation from the pulpit. The hair question, i.e., long, uncut hair for women, must become a part of our teaching.

People who have attended certain churches for years have informed me that they had no teaching along these lines and did not know what was required. How can we refuse to Lift our voices and ignore the evils of movies and television? People should know the stand of the church against these evils that are invading the living rooms of the homes of America. God has an indictment against the priesthood as recorded in Ezekiel 22:26 where he said they had violated His law, profaned His Holy things; they had put no difference between the holy and profane; neither had they showed difference between the unclean and the clean. The minister must show the difference, and much of that must come through his teaching ministry.

Inward holiness must not be neglected. Envy, jealousy, hatred, evil imagination, backbiting, gossiping, selfishness, dishonesty, all these must be shown in their exceeding sinfulness to men. It is not my idea that a minister should preach only one line of thought, or as some say, “Just ride a hobby”. Neither do I think that certain things have to be mentioned every time a minister comes to the pulpit. Furthermore, I do not believe that the pulpit should be used in an advantage to serve the flesh, to get someone told, or to get something off our chest. Gal. 5:13. But surely the pulpit is a place that demands clarity of speech and the certain sounding of the trumpet that men might know all of the truth and prepare for the battle against the wiles of the devil. God forbid that we ministers shirk our obligations to man and to God, and regardless of personalities, finances, persona] esteem, principalities or powers, let us declare the whole counsel of God.

One of the most boring, tiresome, and unprofitable tasks is to listen to a speaker who does not make himself clear and you never know what he is trying to say. He leaves you in the dark, he leaves you guessing and it is so easy to guess wrongly. He is like the old game we used to play as children, going round and round the mulberry bush, but actually getting nowhere. Make yourself clear. Use plainness of speech. A group of people will sometimes cry, “My leanness, my leanness. Woe unto me. The treacherous dealers (ministers who will not proclaim all the truth of the gospel) have dealt treacherously with me.” Will we preachers sell the people short or will we tell them the things that will make them ready for the Great Day of God?

(The original source of the above material is unknown.)

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