Spiritual Leaders…For Christ or Against Him?

shepherd-sheep1So much of the drama in the Gospel of Mark is the conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders of his day. In my studies, I ran across some great thoughts from J.C. Ryle on the relationship we ought to have with those who are claiming to be spiritual leaders:

”Christians must beware of depending too much on ordained men. They must not look up to ministers as Popes, or regard them as infallible. The Word of God must always be the test of the actions and teaching of those who lead in positions of spiritual authority.”

In other words: Spiritual leaders ought to be followed so far as they follow Scripture, and no further. Quoting Ryle again…

”There is only one Priest and Bishops of souls, who makes no mistakes. That one is the Lord Jesus Christ. In Him alone is no weakness, no failure, no shadow of infirmity. Let us learn to lean more entirely on Him. Let us ‘call no man father on earth,’ (Matt. 23:9.) So doing, we shall never be disappointed.”

The most important thing to ask about anyone in spiritual leadership is this: “Are they for Christ, or against him? What does he teach? How does he live? Is he doing good?” Quoting Ryle one last time:…

”We must remember that a physician is useless, however high his degree and diploma, if he cannot cure diseases, and a soldier useless, however well dressed and drilled, if he will not face the enemy in the day of battle. The best doctor is the man who can cure, and the best soldier the man who can fight.”