Someone recently complained on their blog: "The large emphasis fundamentalism puts on authority does much to enforce the list and to squelch any independent questioning/research into the validity of the list." Interpreted: "Waaaah, I want my own way. Give me my binky!" Over at Sharper Iron, someone wrote this: "We (Type B types) tend to believe and organize ministries around a de-centralized approach - sharing power and decision-making authority to a variety of Godly men. I don't know that I've ever met a Type-A guy who shares authority with anyone - So your decision-making style would be centralized - on steroids!" Interpreted: "I'd like to keep my job as long as I can, and I don't think I can do that with this group if I act like I'm the boss." Those both sound very popular in the world in which we live. The typical person loves hearing them. I remember talking to a woman about our church and she asked me if "there were any women in our power triangle."
We know Satan wants to eradicate Scriptural authority. All authority is of God (Romans 13:1, 2). Apostates "walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities" (2 Peter 2:10). Jude says they "despise dominion" (1:8). Without authority in Israel during the Judges, "every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:6; 21:25). As we get closer to the end 2 Timothy 3 says (v. 2) "men shall be lovers of their own selves." People don't want to be told what to do, which is why you will see the bumper sticker: "Question authority." Today in many instances coaches can't coach, teachers can't teach, and parents can't parent. Even in the military, some would like to make the drill sergeant their personal therapist. Punky kids on the street vandalize and steal without retribution because they know their rights. Adults helplessly look on with a fear of lawsuit. Children throw public temper tantrums and parents allow it, afraid what people might think if they were to use some discipline.
Some might excuse their disrespect of authority with examples of Nazi Germany, Stalin Russia, Richard Nixon, Jim and Tammy Baker, and Jack Hyles. They explain that through years of abusive leadership, their trust in authority has eroded to an all time low. Often Bill Clinton doesn't get thrown into that list. Instead, they skip straight from Iran-Contra to "no weapons of mass destruction." Often these attacks on offices of power serve as plays from others seeking to take them. As long as authoritative institutions have existed, corruption has occurred. None of this erases God's design. He still wants to use men to rule.
Even greater influence toward headlessness has come through institutionalized child care. Without the security of a Scriptural home arrangement, in the first few formative years, the child develops a lack of trust. The break up of home authority through state education and a two-income economy, propaganda-like bombardment of the modern mind with poor examples on television and in movies, and popular music pounds its message of rebellion against the restraint of marriage and acquiescence to rightful leaders. Divorce often undermines beliefs in Scriptural and traditional roles. Women struggle to trust again in male headship. Of course, since God originated the chain of command, Satan wants to do everything possible to cut its links, eliminating the ultimate submission to God. Every day he orchestrates compounding consent to the enticement of sinners, making insubordination a new ethic in society.
Satan ruins worship with the wrong object of worship and corrupt methods. He alleviates authority with spotty submission until finally we have no real authority at all. When every man was doing what he wanted in Judges, there was no king in Israel. The people who do rule have often abdicated the God-designed purpose. Very little is left of their leadership except a figure-head.
Several years ago we had a young lady leave our church because, she said, disagreement over pastoral authority. She professed to believe that pastors had authority only in issues of Biblical command. In other words, if the Bible didn't command it, the pastor had no say in it. If a pastor wanted to start a new prayer meeting, he would need a church vote. Another church hired her on staff; I told them of her clearly stated view, but they took her anyway. This lack of accountability diminishes the strength of authority in churches. Finally, few to none pay attention to much of what he says should get done, leaving the man of God toothless. A good way to hurt his ability to influence others toward Godliness is to help others have the impression that he is a dictator, an authoritarian.
With churches hunkered down in the middle of all this, the world prods and provokes them to become like the world. Even though Paul told Titus, "These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority" (Titus 2:15), the new way is to share that authority with those to whom God has not given it. No one should be surprised that many like it better, and as a church becomes more worldly, this becomes the new leadershp paradigm. You've seen what has happened to parenting in the last 30 years--unrestrained children abound. Even authoritative dads and moms are parenting dinosaurs. Shift this to the church and the pastor who tells people what to do is a remnant of an earlier, paleozoic era, long ago dismissed for its insensitivity and chauvenism.
I've got one bit of counsel in all this: Rule the church exactly how God has shown in His Word. After having done so, defend your leadership style with the verses from which you developed your conviction. Don't apologize because you choose to rule, to make strong decisions. You'll hear from the weak and whiny who want things their way. Be sure you have on your spiritual armor and be strong. Stand firm. God expects it and your people need it.