Higher Standards

In the midst of some recent online debate, some have made the argument that leadership in the church is held to a "higher standard." What that standard is seems to change depending on who is pushing the issue. Is leadership held to a higher standard? The answer is both yes and no. That high standards are required of leadership is a given. The standards are laid out in Scripture and include both doctrine and practice. But are these expectations higher than what God has for the rest of the church? My take is that these standards are typically applicable to all believers, but are expected to be realized in those called to function as elder or deacon (for example). Additionally leaders are held accountable for their influence and teaching because of their position. In this way we can say leaders are held to a higher standard.

But our leaders are not held to a higher standard, if by "standard" we mean some arbitrary collection of rules invented by men. Yet, this is often what I hear people implying. "Well, the bible doesn't say [fill in the blank] is wrong, but leaders are held to a higher standard." I would like to ask, "Higher than what? Higher than God's standards? Higher than the example of Jesus?"

I think it is just plain frightening for most religious people to let Jesus be our example, or to allow Scripture alone to be our authority in this area, because it frequently conflicts with the way we do things. Jesus seemed to be too reckless, too risky. It's ironic that many who believe in inerrancy are often the same people who reject Scripture's sufficiency in practice by creating additional rules to live by. Rules they believe form the higher standard for all leaders.

Let's encourage our leadership to set an example for others in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity according to God's word - nothing less, nothing more. Anything else leads those watching and learning further away from Jesus as a model of perfect submission to the will of the Father.