David Lipscomb on Church Authority


Whenever a man or set of men...assume to exercise authority in a church by virtue of some official appointment, or to assert, they have rights and authority as officers above others and assume to exert their rights without the full consent and approval of the members, they should be resisted even to the disruption of the body. They are lording it over God's heritage, and are exalting their authority at the expense of the authority of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. One man, in the assertion and maintenance of the Divine will, has as much authority as another, more than a thousand ordained ones in disregard of that will. The only reason we have seen from Scripture for appointing certain individuals to special work was to see that neglected work was performed. The seven at Jerusalem were appointed to see that the Grecian widows, neglected in the daily ministration, were fed. Titus was sent to set in order the things "wanting" and to place Elders in their proper work.

Whenever a man in the church of Christ claims authority or exercises power merely on official grounds, he is essentially a pope and claims the prerogatives of papacy as fully as does he of Rome. He may be a smaller one, his sphere of action may be more limited, but the principle is the same. All the evils of the papacy arise out of the claim of the Pope and his council to decide questions by virtue of official position. --Gospel Advocate, 1877, Page 232.