Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

I believe the “THEM” and the “THEY” are the godly pastors/elders/bishops that God had placed in that position.

They watch over your souls – One great way to know whether a pastor/elder/bishop has been placed in authority over you is to pay attention to the sermons they deliver. Open your Bibles and study them as the Berean’s who searched the Scriptures did of old.

If their message does not reflect that which is written in the Holy Word of God, then you have every authority to speak to that pastor/elder/bishop, showing him his error in light of the Scriptures.

Many pastors, and sadly many of the laity also, love to proclaim, “The Bible says, Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm” when someone brings an accusation against a spiritual leader in the Church.

The question must be asked, Is that man behind the pulpit truly God’s anointed? Did God place him in that authoritative position, or did the Body of Believers place him there? The majority of pastors are pastoring their congregations because the congregation “cast lots,” as it were. God may have allowed that lot to fall on the pastor, but does that necessarily mean that God “chose the pastor”? or that God “placed the pastor” in the Church? Not necessarily.

Many times God allows us to make our own choices just to show us that we are not perfect and that even saved, we are capable of erring. Case in point: In the book of Acts, the Apostles decided that needed a replacement for Judas Iscariat. They prayed, asking God to give them a replacement. But instead of waiting on God’s timing, the Apostles cast lots and the lot fell on Mattathias.

But was Mattathias God’s choice? I do not believe he was. Revelation speaks of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. Is Mattathias ever called an Apostle chosen by God? Not that I can tell, But the man who once persecuted the saints with a zeal, Saul of Tarsus, was. Saul, upon his conversion to the Christians faith was named an Apostle, and is identified as being an Apostle who was called by the Lord for that authoritative position.

Did the Church wait on God for His choice when hiring their pastor/elder/bishop? or did they act of their own accord as the Apostles did in 33 A.D.? I submit to the readers that many do not wait on the Lord when making decisions concerning pastors/elders/bishops. Many pray for God to send someone and then choose someone else.

If a pastor/elder/bishop teaches something contrary to the Word of God, that does not necessarily mean he was not called of God to pastor. If he teaches something clearly contrary to what the Word says, go to him and show him his mistake. If he is of God, he will accept the Word and admit his error. If he is not of God, he will reject the correction and instruction in righteousness and continue to preach his own opinion.

Many will say, “But we are not to rebuke an Elder.” While this is true, if that man is not speaking truth, and refuses to admit his error, is he truly an Elder called and placed by God? or is he merely a man voted into a position that God never intended him to be in? If he refuses to be corrected and instructed by the Word of God, I submit that he is not an Elder, but merely a religious man. Concerning the pastor/elder/bishop who will not take correction and instruction in righteousness, I give the same advice that the Apostle Paul gave the young pastor/evangelist Timothy…

1 Timothy 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.