Joseph Mattera on Why Christian Leaders Must Cling to These Biblical Standards Now More Than Ever

There is an urgent need in contemporary Christianity to overhaul our assessment and criteria for leadership. (Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash)

In an age of an evangelical church culture that is fraught with scandals, we must continually ground ourselves in the biblical criteria for leadership. Otherwise, we will lose our credibility within our churches and before the world.

In addition, every church’s board of trustees should insist their pastor be accountable to a higher body of leadership or presbytery. This can aid in steering clear of unnecessary challenges related to ministerial integrity.

There is an urgent need in contemporary Christianity to overhaul our assessment and criteria for leadership. This has been made abundantly clear by all the scandals that continue to take place in the church. Those who attempt to bring correction (like I am doing here) are often accused of being legalists or judgmental. I am not advocating that ministers caught in sexual or ethical sin should step down permanently. But there needs to be a body of leaders to which fallen ministers are accountable so they may be restored to their ministries after demonstrating true repentance and inner healing.

The following are some of the ethical and ministerial standards as related to priests, kings and New Testament elders. These are qualifications that we can still apply in principle to today’s church.

Old Testament Standards

For the Priests (Lev. 21)

Originally, all the children of Israel were to serve as priests of the Lord (Ex. 19:6). But this privilege was evidently taken away and given to the tribe of Levi after the people turned away from the Lord. Among the many laws related to the standards for the priesthood (which relate to all present saints, according to 1 Pet. 2:8-9) are some ministerial and ethical principles that we can allegorically extrapolate (though the actual ceremonial qualifications are no longer relevant).

Standard: They shall not dwell among dead bodies and make themselves unclean (Lev. 21:11). This has to do with not fellowshipping with folks while they are involved in the works of darkness. (Jesus called unconverted people “dead” in John 5:25, Luke 9:60 and Ephesians 2:1-3.)

Principle: I can’t tell you how many Christians I know of who think nothing of going out and partying with the world—getting drunk, listening to ungodly music, gambling or other worldly pursuits.

Standard: They shall not marry a prostitute or a divorced woman but only a virgin (Lev. 21:13-15). The basic idea of this passage is this: Marriage is not a free-for-all. Priests are commanded to marry women of God without previous marital issues. This is so the priestly class is protected from unnecessary distractions and so they nurture their children in a godly environment.

Principle: Jesus modified this view in Matthew 5:31-32 and 19:8-9 for the kingdom age of the church when He forbade divorce (except for sexual immorality) and forbade marrying a person divorced for an unbiblical reason. (It is now common in the body of Christ for people to divorce just because they don’t get along with their spouse. Jesus strictly forbids this.)

Various laws highlight physical defects (Lev. 21:17- 24). Physical defects or blemishes are related to spiritual deficits that hinder a person from ministering for the Lord. For example, lameness represents those whose walk with God doesn’t allow them to minister; blindness represents those who have no discernment and no real revelation of Christ in their lives; hunchbacks represent those who are not walking uprightly before the Lord (Prov. 2:21) and dwarfs represent those who have not grown in stature and maturity in Christ (Eph. 4:13).

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SOURCE: Charisma News