The purpose of this paper is to biblically answer the following question:
Who has authority over believers in the church?
This paper will address a common misconception about authority in the local church, a much talked about issue in our day, and give a biblical rationale for what authority in the church is and from where it comes. Authority in the church has often been misunderstood or misapplied by Christians due to cultural and personal biases, basing views on incorrect translations of the sacred text, or by wrongly assuming that religious traditions regarding authority are supported by the Word of God.
When we speak of the church, we must define what we mean. A legally incorporated business that the state calls a church is a business institution that has individuals who've been given legal authority by the state government to sign documents, buy and sell land, and enter into business contracts.
The constitution of the local church identifies those individuals who have this legal authority in the eyes of the state. It is important for every member of a local church to know who bears legal responsibility for their particular church. However, if the state were to shut down the church's legal organization, the living organism that the Bible calls the church will continue.
The Bible defines the church of Jesus Christ as a living body of believers who are wed to Christ. The purpose of this paper is to biblically answer the following question: Who has authority over believers in the church? The biblical answer will be clear: Jesus Christ alone.