Harry Bethel has the following as part of his checklist to show us why there are no God-Ordained ministers in our churches today on his site BethelMinistries.com:
A God-sent pastor would accept and apply the doctrines of separation from the world and would not seek a charter from a state or other government, nor would the “church” be incorporated. We are in the world, but we are not of the world and the civil governments should have no control over, or sanction, a scripturally organized local church.
Certainly he’s right when he says that we are in the world but not of it. However, there’s also this interesting passage in Romans 13:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves [dang]ation.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.
Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
This passage certainly doesn’t let the Christian off easily– especially in a democracy. Honor, fear, custom and tribute is due to even the elected officials that you do not agree with.
However, this passage clearly states that we are to be subject to the higher powers– the government. This is not just personally, but our churches as well. There is something rebellious or interesting about the concept of being out of the government’s reach– and yet we are commanded to do that which is lawful (in this case, incorporation) because it does not contradict the law of Christ, nor does it stop us from preaching the truth.
Should the time come where the government tells Pastors what they can and can’t say, I believe that you will find many saying what they believe anyway.