The Empire Strikes
Before Constantine, the Christians were being thrown to the lions and persecuted in general. When He made Christianity legal, Constantine put an end to the persecution of Christians and naturally put him in great favor with them.
This resulted in him having a significant influence on the growing church, which went from gathering discretely in homes, to meeting publicly in churches. Constantine built a number of churches and the church hierarchy began to become more empirical in nature,
The family type of structure of the body of Christ, which was more Isocratic (a form of government in which all people have equal power) by nature, began to transform into an empirical hierarchy, as Constantine proceeded to fill the priestly offices with nobles, making his Dukes into Cardinals and his Barons into Bishops, etc. which still enabled them to be rulers over their own little principality, and collect their taxes as tithes.
The general population was largely illiterate and the literate nobility, who were now infiltrating the positions of authority in the church, held the power over everyone, because they knew the written word.
Over the centuries, this empirical way of thinking has continued through the traditions of the church and all the churches that have since split off from the Roman Catholic Church, while wanting to break from certain ways of thinking, have unconsciously carried the empirical perception of religious hierarchy, with them. It leads them to conduct the 'church business' in a way that makes them want to bring more people into their 'church', so they can gather more taxes (tithes) and expand their power and principality.
This is not to say that tithes are wrong! They are meant to be kept in the storehouse to help members of the family (congregation) when they are going through tribulations, not to spend on their own luxuries or overseas ministry, to be seen to be doing good works, while members of their own congregation are suffering hardships.
The Holy Spirit works to make us an authority 'on the subject', not over people.
I have attended many churches, where the Pastor will not accept my authority, because I have not attended Bible College and obtained my 'legal' degree. They have not taken the time to get to know me and will not let me talk or share my writings, because I won't 'come under' their authority, even though I have pretty much only sat humbly in their castle (church) and listened to their sermons.
What then do they mean, by 'coming under their authority'? It seems to me that they mean, "I'm the king around here! No one can know better than me." They are essentially denying the power of God to teach us through the Holy Spirit, or to set someone apart for His purpose.
The kingdom of God, is in the hearts and minds of those who TRULY believe, beyond the SHADOW of a doubt and is not divided into separate realms (denominations). God is about to tear down all the fences and those who exalt themselves as rulers over their own principality (congregation). Their 'legal' degree and knowledge of the written word, won't help them then.
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 1 Peter 4:17-18
Copyright © 2015 Carl (Little John) Painter