Dave Black has published his fourth aritcle about the Anabaptists: “What I Have Learned from the Anabaptists (Part 4)” In this article, Dave discusses the Anabaptists response to politics and governments. He says:
They [the Anabaptists] taught that the church is not only apolitical but antipolitical in the sense that it regards political power as inevitably idolatrous. The church is to seek the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness. It therefore refuses to confer any value on political power but instead radically questions it. With Constantineâ€™s victory at the Milvian Bridge, however, the church became invested with political power, and it has sought political power ever since. It acquiesced where Jesus resisted: the church accepts all the kingdoms of the earth from Satan. It forges an alliance with the state, which it now seeks to Christianize.
On a different topic, Emily Hunter McGowan has written a guest article for SBCOutpost called “Who Should ‘Have Authority Over a Man’?” She begins by discussing 1 Timothy 2:12, but concludes the article by discussing authority in general. She says:
“Pastoral authority” is invoked in support of all kinds of actions, events, and propositions. In more mundane uses, “pastoral authority” becomes a catchphrase signaling the need to acquire permission from the pastor to take action or make a public statement. Along these lines, you might hear someone say, “I disagree with Pastor Tom about this issue, but I donâ€™t want to undermine his pastoral authority.” More extreme applications, of course, include the forceful silencing of dissent and the legitimization of unfortunate personality worship. In this vein, something like this is more likely: “Donâ€™t you know our pastor has authority over you?”
To be clear, in my criticism I do not take away from the responsibility of our local church pastors to shepherd our congregations. The apostles left us careful instructions regarding the need for us to recognize, honor, imitate, and submit to our leaders (1 Thess 5:12-13; 1 Tim 5:17; Heb 13:7, 17), as well as details regarding the characteristics that qualify and disqualify leaders from service (1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9).
Yet, if you survey the teaching of the NT epistles on the matter of elders, overseers, leaders, or shepherds, you will find no mention of “authority” or “exercising authority over” anyone. In fact, 1 Peter 5:3 contains explicit instruction for shepherds to oversee the people “not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”