Home About Us Apostolic Free Library Questions & Answers Guestbook Order Online Search The Network

How far does pastoral authority go?

Submitted: 9/14/2007
Post a comment or
ask a follow-up question
Question: I have an issue that we have been dealing with in our local area. We have been attending a church for the past several years. It is not the church we were saved in, as a work transfer brought us to this area, and this is the church we have been in since we got here. When we arrived, there were 'issues' that bothered us with this church, but we chose to overlook them. (Things such as extreme materialism and worldliness). Well over the past several years, this church has gone on a downhill spiral to where there are no standards left, and everything (even salvational doctrine) has been compromised in the goal of building a bigger church. We know we can no longer be a part of an assembly like this, as it has left the teachings of God. We went and visited another church, in the hopes of finding an assembly that still believes that the bible means something, and were called out from the pulpit, that we didn't have permission to be there from our 'pastor' and we needed to figure out what church we were going to. I was astounded. I brought this up to a mentor, the person responsible for leading me to God to begin with, and they saw nothing wrong with it. Am I being unreasonable? I feel like I am someone's property and have to appease some master, and it isn't God. I guess I am just trying to find some input from a neutral source. Your response would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: We have suggested the following criteria for evaluating whether an assembly is one where you can find spiritual safety and growth:

1. Do you sense the presence of God in the meetings?

2. Do the people, including those in leadership, seem to genuinely love God and one another?

3. Do the people, including those in leadership, seem to genuinely care about you?

4. Is the atmosphere spiritual, joyful, and godly?

5. Is the Bible esteemed as the Word of God and is it taught without compromise?

6. Are the fundamental doctrines clearly biblical?

7. Is there openness and easy access to needed ministry?

8. When you leave the meetings and functions of the assembly, do you feel refreshed, blessed, and edified, or do you feel discouraged and spiritually battered?

Our position is that if there is no assembly within 30 to 40 minutes from where you live, then you should relocate to where there is a strong assembly. As the head of his home, it is every man's responsibilty to connect himself and his family with a local assembly where they can thrive spiritually.