Posted by Jeremy Kimble […]
We have been discussing the idea of shepherding in the church, and one of the main verses that speaks to this reality is found in Hebrews 13:17, which states, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” Pastors are called to watch over the souls of their people, knowing they will give an account to God of the way in which they did so. This shepherding ministry is here connected to the submission of the church to pastoral leadership. However, as we think about how we are to function as pastors and congregants, there are limitations to this authority.
Matt Perman recently cited a text from John Owen on this matter. Owen deftly steers a clear path for both churches and pastors to see the lines of demarcation in relation to the authority one has over the lives of congregants. This is a good word to recall in the midst of this series. We are called as pastors to shepherd and teach authoritatively, but never in a way that detracts from the authority of the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. May we read this excerpt with care and seek to function properly under the rubric of Hebrews 13:17 within our churches. Continue reading →