Does A Minister/Pastor/ Or Priest Need "Authority" From Heaven To Act In The Name Of God?
Many times I have heard men and women declare that they were "called" by God to minister in the affairs of God.
When Jesus lived on the earth He established His Church and called it after His name. He called Apostles and Prophets to administer the affairs of His Church. From the Holy Bible, King James Version, New Testament, Ephesians 4:11-16.
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Ephesians 4:Verse 12
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Ephesians 4:Verse 13
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Ephesians 4:Verse 14
14 That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Ephesians 4:Verse 15
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:
Ephesians 4:Verse 16
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
When the last of the Apostles died - after Jesus' returned to His Father - the authority that was given them to act in the name of Jesus Christ was taken from the earth. That was the beginning of the "Great Apostacy". A period of time known as the Dark Ages.
Read what modern day apostles and prophets have to say about "authority" in the ministry.
Smith, Joseph F. Gospel Doctrine. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939.
An Authoritative Declaration
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is no partisan Church. It is not a sect. It is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the only one today existing in the world that can and does legitimately bear the name of Jesus Christ and his divine authority. I make this declaration in all simplicity and honesty before you and before all the world, bitter as the truth may seem to those who are opposed and who have no reason for that opposition. It is nevertheless true and will remain true until he who has a right to rule among the nations of the earth and among the individual children of God throughout the world shall come and take the reins of government and receive the bride that shall be prepared for the coming of the Bridegroom.
Many of our great writers have recently been querying and wondering where the divine authority exists today to command in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, so that it will be in effect and acceptable at the throne of the Eternal Father. I will announce here and now, presumptuous as it may seem to be to those who know not the truth, that the divine authority of Almighty God, to speak in the name of the Father and the Son, is here in the midst of these everlasting hills, in the midst of this intermountain region, and it will abide and will continue, for God is its source, and God is the power by which it has been maintained against all opposition in the world up to the present, and by which it will continue to progress and grow and increase on the earth until it shall cover the earth from sea to sea. This is my testimony to you, my brethren and sisters, and I have a fulness of joy and satisfaction in being able to declare this without regard to, or fear of, all the adversaries of the truth.—This declaration was made on the 88th anniversary of the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, April 6, 1918.—Improvement Era, Vol. 21, p. 639.
The Church Not Man-Made
We believe in God, the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Father of our spirits. We believe in him without reserve, we accept him in our heart, in our religious faith, in our very being. We know that he loves us, and we accept him as the Father of our spirits and the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We believe in the Lord Jesus and in his divine, saving mission into the world, and in the redemption, the marvelous, glorious redemption, that he wrought for the salvation of men. We believe in him, and this constitutes the foundation of our faith. He is the foundation and chief cornerstone of our religion. We are his by adoption, by being buried with Christ in baptism, by being born of the water and of the spirit anew into the world, through the ordinances of the gospel of Christ, and we are thereby God's children, heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ through our adoption and faith.
One of our brethren who spoke today gave out the idea that he knew who was to lead the Church. I also know who will lead this Church, and I tell you that it will be no man who will lead the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; I don't care in what time nor in what generation. No man will lead God's people nor his work. God may choose men and make them instruments in his hands for accomplishing his purposes, but the glory and honor and power will be due to the Father, in whom rests the wisdom and the might to lead his people and take care of his Zion. I am not leading the Church of Jesus Christ, nor the Latter-day Saints, and I want this distinctly understood. No man does. Joseph did not do it; Brigham did not do it; neither did John Taylor. Neither did Wilford Woodruff, nor Lorenzo Snow; and Joseph F. Smith, least of them all, is not leading the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and will not lead it. They were instruments in God's hands in accomplishing what they did. God did it through them. The honor and glory is due to the Lord and not to them. We are only instruments whom God may choose and use to do his work. All that we can do we should do to strengthen them in the midst of weaknesses, in the great calling to which they are called. But remember that God leads the work. It is his. It is not man's work. If it had been the work of Joseph Smith, or of Brigham Young, or of John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, or Lorenzo Snow, it would not have endured the tests to which it has been subjected; it would have been brought to naught long ago. But if it had been merely the work of men, it never would have been subjected to such tests, for the whole world has been arrayed against it. If it had been the work of Brigham Young or Joseph Smith, with such determined opposition as it has met with, it would have come to naught. But it was not theirs; it was God's work. Thank God for that. It is the power of God unto salvation, and I want my boys and girls to take my testimony upon this point. And yet, while we give the honor and glory unto the Lord God Almighty for the accomplishment of his purposes, let us not altogether despise the instrument that he chooses to accomplish the work by. We do not worship him; we worship God, and we call upon his holy name, as we have been directed in the gospel, in the name of his Son. We call for mercy in the name of Jesus; we ask for blessings in the name of Jesus. We are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. We are initiated into the Church and Kingdom of God in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and we worship the Father. We seek to obey the Son and follow in his footsteps. He will lead—no man will ever lead—his Church. If the time or condition should ever come to pass that a man, possessing human weaknesses, shall lead the Church, woe be to the Church, for it will then become like the churches of the world, man-made, and man-led, and have no power of God or of life eternal and salvation connected with it, only the wisdom, the judgment and intelligence of man. I pity the world, because this is their condition.
What Is the Priesthood
It is nothing more nor less than the power of God delegated to man by which man can act in the earth for the salvation of the human family, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, and act legitimately; not assuming that authority, nor borrowing it from generations that are dead and gone, but authority that has been given in this day in which we live by ministering angels and spirits from above, direct from the presence of Almighty God, who have come to the earth in our day and restored the Priesthood to the children of men, by which they may baptize for the remission of sins and lay on hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and by which they can remit sin, with the sanction and blessing of Almighty God. It is the same power and Priesthood that was committed to the disciples of Christ while he was upon the earth, that whatsoever they should bind on earth should be bound in heaven, and that whatsoever they should loose on earth should be loosed in heaven, and whosoever they blessed should be blessed, and if they cursed, in the spirit of righteousness and meekness before God, God would confirm that curse; but men are not called upon to curse mankind; that is not our mission; it is our mission to preach righteousness to them. It is our business to love and to bless them, and to redeem them from the fall and from the wickedness of the world. This is our mission and our special calling. God will curse and will exercise his judgment in those matters. "Vengeance is mine," saith the Lord, "and I will repay." We are perfectly willing to leave vengeance in the hands of God and let him judge between us and our enemies, and let him reward them according to his own wisdom and mercy.—Oct. C. R., 1904, p. 5.
The Priesthood—Definition, Purpose And Power
What I mean by the Holy Priesthood is that authority which God has delegated to man, by which he may speak the will of God as if the angels were here to speak it themselves; by which men are empowered to bind on earth and it shall be bound in heaven, and to loose on earth and it shall be loosed in heaven; by which the words of man, spoken in the exercise of that power, become the word of the Lord, and the law of God unto the people, scripture, and divine commands. It is therefore not good that the Latter-day Saints and the children of the Latter-day Saints should treat lightly this sacred principle of authority which has been revealed from the heavens in the dispensation in which we live. It is the authority by which the Lord Almighty governs his people, and by which, in time to come, he will govern the nations of the world. It is sacred, and it must be held sacred by the people. It should be honored and respected by them, in whomsoever it is held, and in whomsoever responsibility is placed in the Church. The young men and women and the people generally should hold this principle and recognize it as something that is sacred, and that cannot be trifled with nor spoken lightly of with impunity. Disregard of this authority leads to darkness and to apostasy, and severance from all the rights and privileges of the house of God; for it is by virtue of this authority that the ordinances of the gospel are performed throughout the world and in every sacred place, and without it they cannot be performed. Those also who hold this authority should honor it in themselves. They should live so as to be worthy of the authority vested in them and worthy of the gifts that have been bestowed upon them.—Oct. C. R., 1901, p. 2.
Mission of the Priesthood
We can make advancement only upon the principles of eternal truth. In proportion as we become established upon the foundation of these principles which have been revealed from the heavens in the latter days, and determine to accomplish the purposes of the Lord, will we progress, and the Lord will all the more exalt and magnify us before the world and make us to assume our real position and standing in the midst of the earth. We have been looked upon as interlopers, as fanatics, as believers in a false religion; we have been regarded with contempt, and treated despicably; we have been driven from our homes, maligned and spoken evil of everywhere, until the people of the world have come to believe that we are the offscouring of the earth and scarcely fit to live. There are thousands and thousands of innocent people in the world whose minds have become so darkened by the slanderous reports that have gone forth concerning us, that they would feel they were doing God's service to deprive a member of this Church of life, or of liberty, or the pursuit of happiness, if they could do it.
The Lord designs to change this condition of things, and to make us known to the world in our true light—as true worshipers of God, as those who have become the children of God by repentance; and by the law of adoption have become heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ; and that our mission in this world is to do good, to put down iniquity under our feet, to exalt righteousness, purity, and holiness in the hearts of the people, and to establish in the minds of our children, above all other things, a love for God and his word, that shall be in them as a fountain of light, strength, faith and power, leading them on from childhood to old age, and making them firm believers in the word of the Lord, in the restored gospel and Priesthood, and in the establishment of Zion, no more to be thrown down or given to another people. If there is anything that I desire above another in this world, it is that my children shall become established in this knowledge and faith, so that they can never be turned aside from it.—Oct. C. R., 1901, p. 70.
It is my testimony that a person, any person, must be called of God by the proper authority by the laying on of hands to officiate in the ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ. No person has the right to take this authority upon himself or herself. Because otherwise good and caring persons "want" to administer in the affairs of the gospel, they may nontheless not do so.
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