Tag Archives: pastoral authority

Pastoral Authority

If you’ve ever heard your pastor use the word’s “touch not the Lord’s anointed” to refer to…himself, you probably have been a fundamentalist.

It is the great irony of fundamentalism that after having decried the centralized control of the Roman church, fundamentalist churches each hasten to set up their own local pope who speaks to them ex cathedra on matters of Scriptural interpretation and practice. Based on the passages most often used to justify this dominance, one can only assume that the local church pastor fills the roles of prophet, priest, and king with a generous helping of apostle thrown in for good measure. Not bad for a position where the only entrance requirement is an invisible “call” to preach.

Since the fundy pastor says he will be called to “give an account” for the minutest details of the lives of those under his care, it only stands to reason that nothing is outside of his purview. Some of the more extreme will even say that since the authority of the church stands above the family, the pastor is responsible for the decisions made in each home down to where each child goes to school and whom they marry. Resist this “man-of-god” at your own peril; the pastor may not have she bears to do his bidding but he does have a deacon board.

Of course, most fundamentalists will tell you that we are all merely sinner saved by grace and that the ground at the foot of the cross is all equal. Some parts are just a bit more equal than others; and evidently some also come with a direct line to God’s will for everyone else’s life.