“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many,” Matthew 20:24-28.
There is a teaching that has been around for some time, that says that five-fold ministers and other leaders should be under the leadership of an apostle, or a pastor, depending upon what particular stream of church thought that is circulating.
This notion or thought, is actually not entirely biblical, and has been misused many times in various circles of thought throughout Christendom.
There is nowhere in scripture that proclaims a prophet, evangelist, or any other leader, must be under the leadership of an apostle or a pastor or anyone else.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:29 that when a prophet speaks, the “others should weigh carefully what is said.”
“Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge,” 1 Corinthians 14:29 NKJV.
Paul specifically says that the prophetic words should be subject to the leadership of the church, but he says nothing about the prophet.
There are those who serve as house prophets, who are involved in a particular church and that is their place in ministry.
And then there are those who are set as office prophets, who minister unto the body of Christ at large.
These are in relationship with other five-fold ministers, whom they are in contact with on a regular basis.
At the same time, Jesus made one thing eternally clear to us when it comes to submission.
“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them,”“ Matthew 20:25.
We find rather that our Lord says that we must submit ourselves to one another in the Kingdom of God.
Jesus Himself told those men who would go on to become the foundational apostles, that their authority must take on the humility that Jesus’ leadership did.
Jesus tells us that we must submit ourselves to one another in the Kingdom of God.
Note that He didn’t say this to the random masses that followed Him, but directly to His twelve disciples.
Jesus told those men who would go on to become the foundational apostles, that their authority and leadership must take on the humility that Jesus’ leadership did.
Now there are prophets who are also called as apostles, and yet these also are to be in submission one to another.
And, as there is a council of apostles that oftentimes meet together, and yet their meeting together should in no way cause them to lord over others within the body of Christ.
Rather, these should be the servants of all, nurturing others to come unto the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ. That actually is the purpose of the five-fold ministries, in that it is in “equipping” others.
So this concept of submission to apostolic authority is biblical, but it isn’t just for prophets. It is for prophets, pastors, elders and other apostles.
The way of the Kingdom of God is that we all, “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).
Any organization that exerts the authoritarian leadership of an “apostle” or “pastor” over anyone, prophet or otherwise, is on dangerous ground.
Paul defended his apostleship, not by demanding others recognize it, but by demonstrating it through suffering and laboring for others. He laid down his life in service of others.
The idea of a hierarchy within the body of Christ should not follow the pattern of the world as perhaps sometimes is the case.
Wisdom is key in governance, and yet any type of governance should not be whetted out in lordship but rather again, in servanthood.
So yes, prophets should submit to apostles, and pastors, and janitors, and the sound guy; and likewise, they should all submit to the prophet.
Out of reverence for Christ, we should all submit to each other.
Without that kind of submission, we do great damage to the humility of the church.
Scripture does not call us to ask or demand for submission from others, but to offer our submission to others.
~ Stephen Hanson
Stephen Hanson of In His Truth Ministries came to the LORD is a special way in 1975 and has prophesied regularly since. In these end-time birthing pangs we are reminded that judgment must first begin with the household of God. Will we be prepared and ready?