Positional Authority or Relational Authority is the current debate among many in the church today. Most religious leaders want to maintain the religious traditions handed down by men because they guarantee and protect their existence.
On the other hand, there is a new army of Christian leaders that understand that the only right they have to function in their gift doesn’t come with a title and a seminary certificate but by the living example of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ before God’s people.
As the Body of Christ returns to the headship of Christ, it will operate and function differently from the years of religious traditions since the Bible was translated. The problem is that the men who translated the Bible into the common language of the people had a religious virus.
This virus is called the clergy-laity division*. The virus creates offices and positions between God and man. The clergy are God’s special class, and the laity is the common religious folk who listen to and take orders from the clergy. The clergy claim to have a positional authority to do so. The system sells the lie that the dumb laity cannot understand God correctly without the work of the clergy so that the clergy can demand the ultimate intention of the virus–the responsibility of the laity is to provide for the clergy.
The virus of positional authority is not found in the Koinonia Greek text of the original manuscripts but was added from years of religious traditions of men. They created seminaries to make sure the virus remained. Since seminary training revolves around knowing the Bible and religious traditions not the Lord, the human mess perpetuated the transfer of the virus to the church of today.
I hear some of you now saying, “You can’t separate the two. The Bible is God’s word.” While that is true, it is the original that contains God’s word not the virus. The full sum of God’s word is greater than just what we find in the Bible. The Lord left the Holy Spirit so He would lead us to all truth which is Christ Himself. The scriptures tell us that the Lord Jesus Christ himself is the Truth, the Way, and the Life.
How do we know when scripture is speaking Truth and when are we reading words adjusted by those that had the virus?
As saints begin to know the Lord, the Holy Spirit will bring a fresh revelation or Rhema that will contradict the teachings of men. Such as this verse, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” The religious system taught that the word of God in that verse was the Bible, but in that time there was no Bible. The Greek translation for Rhema speaks to our daily hearing the Lord’s voice by the Holy Spirit, not reading the Bible or hearing weekly sermons.
As soon as we understand our relationship with Christ is daily and not through men, the party is over for the weekly religious system. No positional authority means no right to control others. No required weekly attendance means no collection of money. In order for the system to remain active and alive, traditions and definitions were developed that contained the virus.
One of the many words that must be redefined is the word ministry. They taught us that only the clergy can have a ministry. They misuse the word ministry as a position with a certain religious job or assignment by God. Scripture, when read through the lens of the Holy Spirit, teaches us that every saint has ministry. Your life is your ministry, not based on your position but your relationship, whether it is caring for your family, cooking, washing dishes, or going to work daily to provide.
We are the Lord’s ministers twenty-four hours a day. There is no religious–secular division. All your time is spiritual whether you are teaching about Christ or living an example of Christ while you change a diaper or work at a computer. He gave us gifts which we are to use every day, not just on Sundays. There is no disconnect from the presence of God in our lives via the Holy Spirit that lives within us.
Christ’s love in us is the only fuel that moves a true minister. Relational authority keeps going when positional authority gives up. Doctrine can teach you what to do, but only love will keep you doing it!
I know many of my theological peers wish to make this topic more profound, but real Christ life is simple. Simple fishermen and illiterate slaves had to understand it. We don’t need another Church Council of “high-falutin’ bigwigs” to hand down definitions to us again. We just need the Body of Christ to wake up and return to the direct leadership of the Lord.
Yes, sometimes the Lord calls us to follow men because of the testimony they have lived before us, but it will be the Christ in them that the Holy Spirit shines the spotlight on. Relational authority is a beautiful thing. Our own Lord modeled it before us here on earth. We are all equal, but we are not equally gifted, nor should we be. A body has many parts and all the parts need to do their part.
I challenge you to say no to positional authority and learn to hear the Voice of the Lord for yourself so you can move in unison with His Body in the coming days. For some it will literally be the means to your survival.
*For more information on the Clergy-Laity division the great video by Jon Zens
For more on Relational Authority see the book Fueled by Love by the author