Monday, February 22, 2016



A bishop/overseer/elder/pastor/leader must not be self-willed. (Tit. 1:7)

“Self-willed” is rendered in other translations as “arrogant,” “headstrong,” “self-pleased,” “self-pleasing,” with “arrogant” being the most used.

It is from a compound Greek word—αθδης (authádēs)—which at first glance looks like it has something to do with “Hades.” That, in itself would be quite instructive, but the Greek scholars claim that it is a form of the word from which we get “hedonist.”

For most Christians, the idea of hedonism generally conjures up the idea of a wild orgy of alcohol, drugs and sex. While that may be true for some, it is not necessarily the basic meaning of the word.

Hedonism basically argues that pleasure is the highest good. If it has no moral compass, then it will definitely go towards the extremes mentioned.

The word only occurs two times in the NT, here and in 2 Pet. 2:10.

Kittel’s theological Dictionary of NT Words says that
“In the two passages in which αὐθάδης occurs in the NT, the reference is to human impulse violating obedience to the divine command.” (vol. 1, pg. 509)
Don’t know that you can find a better definition for “self-willed” in reference to spiritual leaders.

It has become commonplace, especially within the smaller churches, for the pastor to set the tone, declare the vision, and generally decide on the direction of the church.

More often than not, this generally begins with a man being humble before the Lord, but without the checks and balances of a plural leadership, he begins to “assume” he always has the mind of the Lord.

Decisions are made without counsel, in direct violation of Pro. 11:14; 15:22; and 24:6. This soon descends into making decisions without prayer, though the statement is always loudly made, “I’ve prayed about this.”

And no one steps up to offer an alternative. The sheep are slowly led to the slaughter never realizing it could be different.

You should want leadership that has a proven record of being Spirit-led.

Obviously, this is not something that is easily proven. However, if the leader has removed leadership from the church and not made a move to replace it, you are in an extremely dangerous situation.

Other ways you might determine if your leader is not self-willed might be:
  • does he ask for prayer about decisions that affect the church? 
  • does he gather with mature ones in the church to discuss possible changes or movements? 
  • has he ever made a mistake in direction and admitted it? 
  • does he encourage others with their ideas or plans for some church work or program?
We accept the self-willed leader as “that’s just the way he is,” because we pass it off as a quirk of a ‘strong’ leader.

It is one more characteristic that we have failed to require in those whom we would choose for leadership, and we have suffered the consequences.

One last thought: you will seldom find a self-willed person being a true servant of all. Rather, the group exists to serve his needs and desires.

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