This morning I was so much enlightened again regarding God’s ordination of the members in the Body. As believers in Christ, we are all simply “members of the Body” and that’s it – none of us is higher or lower, but rather we are on the same level. Just like in a family though, some of us may have a higher capacity or growth in life, and therefore we have different functions / manifestations of our function – but intrinsically, we are just brothers and sisters, members of the Body of Christ, where Christ is the Head and we are the Body! Even more, according to God’s New Testament economy, there is no permanent, official, or positional leadership among God’s people today. Even the elders when they are ordained by God and appointed by the apostles, they are not just one in every church but more than one in the church – we see that in the church in Jerusalem there was Peter, James, John, and others. This plurality in eldership shows that all the elders have the same status but at one point or in certain situations / matters one may have a higher capacity than others and will therefore take the lead. At another time or in another situation/matter, another elder takes the lead since he may have the greatest capacity in that situation. Through this plurality of the elders / leading ones in a church there is no definite appointed leader, or “a pastor” / “an elder” who is the “supreme authority” in a church – rather, the absolute leadership and headship of Christ is being regarded, preserved, and respected!
It is not God’s will that a particular believer, no matter how mature in life or gifted he may be, would be singled out from all the other believers to occupy a place of special proeminence, while all the other believers in the church passively listen to him and submit to his authority! This would be an abomination, and it comes directly against the Headship of Christ! I love this quote from brother Watchman Nee(The Normal Christian Church Life),
God has ordained that several elders together share the work of the church so that no one individual should be able to run things according to his own pleasure, treating the church as his own special property and leaving the impress of his personality upon all its life and work. To place the responsibility in the hands of several brethren, rather than in the hands of one individual, is God’s way of safeguarding His church agains the evils that result from the domination of a strong personality.
Once we see this principle of the Body of Christ, so practical today in the local church life, we will be saved and preserved from making any divisions in the Body and we will keep the unique oneness of the Body under the Headship of Christ! You see, when there are more than one involved in the work – either in eldership or in taking care of the needs of the church / the saints – they depend on one another, coordinate with one another, and even learn to take one another’s way instead of doing things on their own and taking their own way. In an experimental way, they discover and apply the meaning of bearing the cross and denying themselves, and they have the opportunity of expressing practically the truth regarding the Body of Christ. Each one learns to honor and appreciate the other, considering others’ portion even higher than his own. As we take the leading of the Lord and we deny ourselves in this way, the element of mutuality and the oneness of the church is being preserved!
As a balancing word, we also need to see that there is no intermediary between us and the Lord – we can go to Him directly, and we are directly related to the Head of the Body! At the same time, we cannot be an intermediary between others and the Lord – the others need to go to the Lord directly and fellowship with Him, deal with Him, and be related to Him as the Head of the Body. The Lord is so wise – on the one hand, there is a direct relationship between Himself as the Head and all the members of the Body, and on the other hand He arranged that there would be some who would take the lead(in some situations / matters) and all the members of the Body in their vicinity/related to them obey the Head of the Body by being one with these “temporarily leading members”! We are both members of the Body and under the sovereignly arranged plurality of eldership in the church life – safeguarded, preserved, and together keeping the oneness of the Body under the Headship of Christ! [enjoyment from the morning revival on the Living Under the Unique Headship of Christ and in the Unique Divine Fellowship]
Amen, thank You, Lord for Your arrangement and Your ordination! Save us from relying on others instead of coming directly to You as the Head! Also, thank You Lord for the eldership in the church You placed us in! Bless their being related, their taking the lead, and their coordination! You are so wise, Lord, and we just Hold You as the Head!