Every institution must have a head, or someone who leads and guides that institution. Without a head no institution can function effectively. The Lord's church is no exception. The scriptures teach that Christ is the head over His Church. However, today, we find that the various churches, claiming Christianity, have differing heads: Some are called presidents, pope, or by other titles. Over a period of time, these institutions of religion will have many heads. Each of these different heads will govern by their own ideas and principles. Over a period of time, such institutions will evolve into something quite different as a result of these differing heads.
The Roman Catholic Church is a good example. The priests, when they become a priest, must swear that they will not interpret the scriptures beyond the unanimous conclusions of all the Popes. About 150 years ago, a former priest, Charles Chiniquy wrote in his book "Fifty Years in the Church of Rome" that no two Popes in history ever agreed on any thing. He said that depending on who the Pope was, there were differing decrees of interpretation, which often contradicted previous Popes. His point was that no priest could fulfill such a pelage because of the lack of unanimous consent in the scriptural interpretations of the various popes.
The Southern Baptist Conference is another good example. At their yearly conventions, the liberals are slowly gaining more power. Such liberals do not believe in the infallibility of the scriptures. One day, there will be a president of this organization which will declare that the Bible is not infallible. This would be a drastic change in the beliefs of this convention. From a purely historical vantage point, even this group, with its differing heads over the centuries, has changed drastically from its original core beliefs. The current body of believers do not adhere to the strict Calvinistic views of their ancestors, and they have embraced a different interpretation of the end times. The point is plain, with differing heads, policies and beliefs change.
We could cite more examples by referring to other religious institutions, but we have made our point. When we permit human heads to govern our religious views, they will change. Change is a part of our human nature. We need someone who can lead us that does not change. Someone who is consistent and faithful. Someone in whom we can put our full faith and confidence. That one can only be Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the head of the church. He is its only head. We have the assurance of the scriptures that our head, Jesus Christ, does not change, rather that He is always the same:
Heb. 13:8 "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever."
Christ is the only ruling head over His Church. No human possesses the right to take that position. Christ is the head of the church because the church is His body.
Col. 1:18 "And he is the head of the body, the church."
Eph. 1:22-23 "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all."
Spiritually speaking, the church is the body of Christ. This symbolism is by no accident. In a body we see unity and harmony. If not, we see disease and death. In our bodies, it is our heads that govern and rule the rest of the body. Without our heads, the body could not function. Also, it is by our head on our body that others recognize us. The rest of my body might and often does change, but my head never changes. It identifies me as who I am. I can lose an arm or leg and still exist, but I cannot lose my head and live. This symbolism is very strong and we must recognize the power that God has given to the head of the church - Jesus Christ.
This symbolism goes even further. Christ only possesses one body. Since the body is the church, then Christ is the head of only one church. He cannot be the head of multiple bodies. Paul says this very clearly: "There is one body" (Eph. 4:4).If there is only one body, and that body is the Church, then Christ is the head of His own body, not someone else's. If Christ is not your only head, then you cannot claim to be a part of Christ's body, which is the church.
Christians are members of the body of Christ, or the church. The scriptures teach this fact. The following scriptures are very clear on this matter. They speak of one body, not many. They speak of Christians as being individual members within that body, working together for the good of the whole body. Just like our own body, it has many, many different parts or members, yet each part works for the good of the whole. If not, then our bodies are filled with disease.
Eph. 5:30 "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones."
Rom. 12:4-5 "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
I Cor. 12:12 "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ."
With Christ as the Head, He then governs and rules the body. We must be followers of Him, and not the teachings of men. If we follow some other head than Christ, then we are members of a different body. To follow some other head than Christ causes our religion to be vain and empty.
Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
To teach or practice anything not authorized by our Head, Christ, is to be accursed.
Galatians 1:8-9 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
This passage says a lot. Paul is giving us a warning about having a head other than Christ. Even if an Angel could or would appear before any one of us and preach to us something that cannot be found in the scriptures, then that Angel is to be accursed and not believed. Paul even says that if he were to preach anything different he would be accursed. Lastly, he says if any "man" teaches anything not found within the scriptures they are to be accursed. The point being made by Paul is that Christ is the ultimate authority over the Church. No one has the power or authority to speak contrary to the authority of Christ. He is the only head and authority.
Christ governs and rules the body, the church. He has also set in the church the proper government to guide under His direction. This power of governance can be found in the Elders, Deacons, and Teachers. These do not govern by their own wills, but by the commandments of Christ through His word. The scriptures are very clean regarding the power and authority of these individuals. Paul instructed Timothy and Titus regarding the qualifications of these men to hold these offices. They were to be men of integrity and full of faith. Men willing to submit their lives to the service of others by their serving Christ. Men who would not seek their own gain and favor, but the will of God in Christ. These men do not rule, rather they administer the will of God to others. Another office is that of Evangelist. Evangelist work under the leadership of Elders. Their work is primarily in mission efforts.
These individuals are not heads over the body, rather they are like the nervous system of our bodies. The head of our bodies issues commands through the nervous system to the various parts of our bodies. These nerves function under the authority of the brain or head. As a result of these instructions, the body functions healthily. When we follow the guidance of these spiritual leaders of the church, working under the guidance of Christ's words, then we can have a growing and healthy body before Christ.
This concept is very distinct from other religious organizations claiming to be Christian. Look around you and see what type of government your church has. Is Christ the head of the church where you go? Do you have some committee or governing body beyond the local congregation that sets policies? Have you given yourself over to some human religious head? If so, then leave that body and become a part of the body of Christ and let Him be your one and only head.
To be a member of any other body than that of Christ's, is to be against Christ. And who really wants to be against Christ.
Matt. 12:30 "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth
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