Spiritual Authority:Positional,Functional or both?


I have struggled with the idea of a non-hierarchal model for the body of Christ. I continually see such order as the son submitting to the father but never the reverse a child submitting to a mother or a father but not the reverse, a servant submitting to their master but not the reverse. That being said there is much about the non hierarchal model that I think must be true and much about the hierarchical model that I think must be untrue. So this is a post that is trying to seek greater understanding about the truth of these things. One reason being the profound impact such an understanding will have on the way we view ecclesiology. But of course there are other concerns as well. None higher than great want for nothing but the truth. Thank you in advance for your input.


I have nothing to add here as of yet, but love the topic and would love to follow the dialogue as it continues. Good topic Brandi_Goodson!


I believe that a loving family is an example of the “hierarchy,” or relationships, rather. Where husbands and wives are equal partners and children are treated with dignity and respect. Where love is the standard, leadership is shared. Experience and wisdom are appreciated and trusted without need of enforcement. Everyone is encouraged to mature into shared stewardship of the whole.

In today’s society, I think we see this in our families among healthy siblings. The elders lead and care for the younger members, but they grow as equals sharing “leadership” with over time.

Likewise, our spiritual elders are simply big brothers and sisters, guiding and setting examples for us in following our Heavenly Father.


Thanks for sharing. I appreciate hearing your viewpoint. As a matter of a fact it is exactly the kind of view point that I would like to interact with. Please don’t take this the wrong way but I would like to give a little pushback on some of what you have shared. I think what you wrote is beautiful but I would seem to think it a bit idealistic. What I mean by that is when you say wisdom and experience are valued and not needed to be enforced I was view that as unrealistic. What child does not need the discipline of the parent? What child enjoys being chastised? Yet scripture tells us that God chastises those He loves.
When would the parents position ever be non hierarchical towards their children?
Do the parents submit to their children? If so where is the biblical witness to illustrate this?