Those Who Rule Over You | The Institute for Creation Research
Those Who Rule Over You

“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation” (Hebrews 13:7).

The very idea that the church has “rulers” is resisted by many modern Christians, especially those in “autonomous” churches with “congregational” systems of governance. But in the last chapter of Hebrews, there are three commands given to Christian church members in relation to “them which have the rule over you.” Christ, the Head of the church, has assured that each true local church will have God-called pastors, elders, or other “rulers” to lead the church in its divinely ordained ministry.

Whatever these leaders are called, or however they are appointed, if they have indeed “spoken unto you the Word of God,” then the members of the church are commanded to “remember them” and their “faith follow.”

Secondly, they are commanded to “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account” (Hebrews 13:17). Thirdly, they are to “Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints” (Hebrews 13:24) with the word “salute” meaning literally “embrace” in the sense of glad greetings and fellowship.

The position of “ruler” in a church is not that of a dictator. The Greek word for “have the rule over” means more exactly, “lead.” God-ordained leaders are not “lords over God’s heritage,” but “examples to the flock” (I Peter 5:3). They must “give account” (4:5) to God for their faithfulness and shall receive “greater condemnation” if they misuse their authority (James 3:1). They need—and deserve—to have us remember them in prayer, embrace them in fellowship, submit to their leading, and follow their faith as long as they truly proclaim and follow the word of God themselves. HMM

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