Leadership is the unconditional key to building God’s work on earth. It is the breakdown of Biblical leadership, in fact, that is the chief problem today. Leadership, such as those mentioned in the last installment, is the major contributor to the secular direction the Church has taken. I do not wish to sound unkind or divisive, but I want to be totally, absolutely, exclusively Biblical in building God’s Church, and the fact is that that is not the approach of the majority of Church leadership today. We are not attacking anyone here, we are not being personal, rather we are discerning truth from error according to the Word of God alone.
The foundation for building God’s work revolves around what Scripture calls “spiritual gifts,” and specifically the “office gifts” as declared in Ephesians 4:8 and 11: When [Christ] ascended up on high, he . . . gave gifts unto men . . . And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. Spiritual gifts are essential to all earthly ministry. Without them, in fact, the Church can not possibly function. Without the gift of teaching (Rom. 12:7), for example, there would be no one to teach and preach the Word so people could grow. Without the gift of ministry (service), nothing would ever get done within the Body. Paul deals first with gifted leadership because it is the key to building and maintaining the Church.
The words He gave are pivotal. The Greek here includes an “intensive pronoun” (autos edoken) that yields the literal idea “He Himself gave,” that is, He and no one else. In other words, these offices are God-given only, not by the Church, not by a school, not even by the person who wants to fill an office. The common attitude today is that someone can just say, “I want to teach,” and are then qualified to teach. While such willingness is commendable, it doesn’t qualify. As none of the Apostles appointed themselves but were chosen by Christ, neither does any man appoint himself to any of these offices. As one commentator aptly puts it, “The Jesus Who ascended—this, and none other, is the sovereign donor. The provider and bestower are one in the same.” As we’ll see in a later installment, it is Christ alone Who calls to ministry.
So, these “office gifts” consist of specially gifted men which God has given to the Church as leaders. There can be no doubt whatsoever that the reason for the state of the Church today lies at the doorstep of its leaders. As mentioned earlier, it has been poor leadership that has lead people down the road of secularism, Pragmatism, and Relativism.
Mark it down: the Church will rise or fall based on its leadership. One illustration should suffice. Can we imagine the consequences of sending an army into battle without leadership? What would be the result of the battle if there were no squad leaders, no company captains, no division generals, or any other commanding officers? What would be the magnitude of disaster if we just sent the army into battle with words, “Just do the best you can?” But that is exactly what the church is doing today because of weak and sometimes non-existent leadership. We have neglected the strict qualifications for leadership, abandoned proper training for ministry, and have discarded the entire concepts of the call and ordination.