Greetings from down under everyone! I am son of thunder from australia where presently we are experiencing yet again wild extreme weather. Heat waves in perth and flash flooding in queensland. But anyway im not here to talk about those things, but rather i want to discuss the issue of authority. I grew up as young christian thinking in terms of authority as it related to pulpit ministry or platform speaking per se, and as it related to "full-time" paid ministry. We all had views on the bible of course - but the buck stopped with the pastor(s). In fact the buck especially stopped with the senior pastor.And so this was my understanding of authority as a teenager. I had my personal walk and relationship with the lord - and could share scriptures with other believers - but thats it. Thankfully though the protestant led movement spearheaded by martin luther got christianity back on track to the point ... Where individual/personal relatioship was accepted without men mediators. We have thankfully progressed some since the time of the reformation and at least "the individual" walk with the lord with christ as mediator was both restored and acknowledged. Thankfully luther restored that aspect! However apperently luther still very much believed in a top-to-bottom hierarchy structure and the "one bishop/pastor" rule of authority.Four hundred or more years later and not to much has changed. Pastor is the ruler of the synagogue (i mean the church) and his voice carries ultimate authority. His opinions rule over ours. His voice has more weight and clout than ours. End of story.I didnt take me long as a young christian to realize the authority of the pulpit and platform ministry. I had my own walk with god of course and could freely call upon the lord, and i could even express my views and findings in scripture with others of like minded faith. But i had no real voice of authority or say ...unless i was a minister. I had to accept this principle like everyone else. This is how it works right? The only way to change that was to get training and seek to enter the ministry. But apart from this all views and opinions ultimately must be in submission to the elders and shepherds.Like it or not thats the way it is. Its been that way for a long while now still even after luther restored christ as mens mediator - and not the priest.In one sense of the word i accept and respect this is the way it is and exists in the current model of the church. However for the better part of the last 6 years ive sought a biblical balance on these fundamental issues. Ive subsequently done some extensive reading and research ... trying to keep an open and impartial position.Personally speaking i dont think there will be any major changes to this current format. The authority and voice (rests for the most part with the ministry) all views must conform with that which expresses itself from the top. These days that will usually be in the form of the pastor. In by-gone years it was the bishop or the priest.However to some degree this tide is a changing and these pillars of authority are in some cases coming down! That is coming down to make room for the "individual" to be more functional in the body - and express there gifts and talents in the lord.Its no secret that whilst i acknowledge leaders - i also promote individuals functioning in there own gifts and callings in christ. Over the years ive come to believe more in "body ministry" and a more shared equal status under the headship of christ. And leaders who lead by example and experiece - fulfilling a nurturing and caring role in the body. Rather than an autoritarian role and mindset... And i would suppose (not that my opinions count) that nowadays i believe the giftts of pastor, teache are primarily for the purpose of equipping others - into - there ministry. With the clergy/laity difference being dead and buried - in view of all us being (priests) and all having a ministry and calling - in the body!!!Authority figures will always be there who sadly intetrpret authority as a power play. Much like diotrophes in 3 john. But john was more than a litlled displeased at his heavy handed bullying style of leadership. And mind you he just loved... he just loved ...to have pre eminence among them. Mmm.Furthermore thinking on his life (diotrophes) He certainly made his status and position well known to everyone - and to that of johns company. However, his style of autocratic bullying leadership was highly condemned of john and censured as an evil way. I believe in an equal shared status - more these days...with christ as the head of the church.Anyway my thoughts. Enough said. Thats where im at. I believe in apostle, pastor, teacher ...of course ( as gifts ) to equip others into there callings. With no one person in the body meant to stand out above others. That is reserved only for one man - the man christ jesus!!!!