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Local Popes
 "I have written something to the church,
but Diotrephës, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority"
3 JOHN 1:9.
The Christian
walk in this world is a slippery one which requires holding the hand of God!
If Satan
cannot slide you to one side (to get you off-centre), he will actually help your resistance to him by trying to slide you to the other side/extreme. Accordingly, the history of Christianity is full of examples of this subtle strategy – which will only end at Christ's return...
So, in complete sincerity, some very good men in Christian leadership have slid into errors of Satan's making.
"authority" referred to here above by John, this precious foundation apostle (whom Jesus so loved, John 19:26;20:2;21:7,20) was NOT an authority of any position/rank in the structure of church organisation of any kind, local or international, nor was it even his unique foundational role with the other eleven in Christian history. It was simply what he himself described in his most awesome writing: the book of Revelation.
It was
the authority which is always intrinsic to any anointed ministry of the Holy Spirit; which ministry gift in John is defined, concerning himself, as being that of a "prophet" to the Christian church (Revelation 10:11). Not a rank!
a ministry,
not a position/rank
(Being one of the Twelve Apostle to the Twelve Tribes of Israel as an expansion of Christ's 3½-year human ministry in Palestine was as "apostle" in the Jewish sense, for their Sanhedrin in Jerusalem regularly sent out apostles to the synagogues of the Jewish Diaspora and so was not a Pentecost gift of the Holy Spirit. John describes his personal Spirit-anointed gift in Christ's Church as that of "prophet".)
"I believe
 in the Holy Spirit" 
But to Diotrephës, if it did not fit his program of local church leadership; it did not fit, and so was therefore not to be recognised!
Because the believers need to be 'protected' from extraneous elements which could destabilise their situation...
Of course, in the interest of the local church leadership... of course!
shortest of John's writings is specially preserved for us by the Spirit of God in the sacred canon of our New Testament because this problem did not end in the first century. ...It sadly still continues among us today..!
Today: on the one hand, in some places church pastoral leadership has been debased to that of a hired 'chaplain' where local church leaders follow this world's business-management-model as the directors of the church,
and on the other, in the name of 'protecting' the believers, the local church pastorate becomes a papacy to which the Holy Spirit needs to 'apply for permission' to speak to Christ's congregation.
Both extremes
are blasphemous!
 Satan does not mind to which side this subtle slippage takes the church's leadership, as long as it hinders the voice of God among God's people. 
Pride is subtle, whether it be on a local church management board or in the pastoral calling of the local church preacher – for it opens the door to this deception, which only a humble holding of the hand of the Lord, to walk by faith in Him rather than by personal understanding, can prevent.
Was it right then for John to thus personally name Diotrephës himself, in a letter that was to be so widely circulated through the Christian world?
Even though
"puts them out of the church"
3 John 1:10.
The welfare of Christ's church required it!
Even though
"puts them out of the church"
3 John 1:10.
Today, neither Satan's strategies nor human nature has changed,
and so we do well to walk with care concerning that which sometimes seems right in a circumstance
but is not what the Holy Word of God actually teaches us –
Courage to walk boldly in the unsentimental love of God toward the precious people of His inheritance is the central factor!

Christian Church Leadership Campus–Heresy in Church Life Pastor Paul van der Merwe Pastor Gavin van Heerden

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