Strict Bible requirements qualify for leadership in the church (I Tim 3:1-7 and Tit 1:59). These men are called elders (also bishops, shepherds, pastors, presbyters, overseers). Paul warned that from among these leaders, perverse men would later lead Christians in departing from the truth. Read these severe warnings in I Timothy 4:1-5; 6:3-4; 2 Timothy 4:3-5; Gal. 1, Matthew 15; Mark 7. Some leaders twist and “distort the truth” (2 Peter 3:16).
Warning: “Grievous wolves will arise, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:27-30). History reveals church leaders began to make new laws for the churches. In the 4th and 5th centuries, these meetings were called Ecumenical Councils. By the year 606, they voted to call one of themselves Universal Bishop or “Pope, “contrary to the biblical pattern of a plurality of elders (bishops, overseers) having oversight only in independent local congregations. Many changes were made that contradicted the Scripture, as had been predicted. Paul warned of a rebellion by “lawless” counterfeit leaders who “love lies and refuse the truth” (2 Thess 2:3-12). “Let God be true, and every man a liar” (Rom 3:4). Do not follow a man because of his title of bishop or elder. Only those “who rule well are worthy” of honor. (I Tim 5:17; Acts 17:11).
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