Equality and Hierarchy

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.

Ephesians 5:25

I once heard a man of God state the principle of equality thus: “There is equality in worth, but hierarchy in function.” There is equality in value, but somebody has got to be the head, and others have to be the body. The same principle holds in other scenarios.

In a country, someone has to be the president and others have to be citizens. There is no difference in worth between both; there is difference only in hierarchy and in function. I wish so-called “presidents” of countries where there is dictatorship and oppression knew this truth. A good number of our African nations suffer from poverty and deep injustice as a result of poor, “god-leadership” and no accountability. Some of these leaders even plan to run for “life” and hand over to their biological sons like the country was their private family inheritance. Are the other citizens less worthy slaves? It is sheer madness.

In a church, the same truth holds. A young usher is as valuable a member of the church as the pastor himself. None is of greater worth to Jesus, the Great Shepherd, however, there is only hierarchy in function. Unfortunately, in so many of our “Pentecostal” churches worldwide, this madness has been extended with the pastor and his family being revered like deities. The pastor needs to spend less time “glorifying himself” and get to work, taking care of God’s precious sheep and keeping him- self accountable, to the people God has given him. That is true leadership. It is for this reason that God honoured him with the honour that no man can truly put upon himself (Hebrews 5:4).

Similarly, in the marriage relationship, the husband and wife are equal in worth and value. A wife is not a slave; the husband is not her god. (Some traditional Christian men need to get “delivered” to understand this.) The parallel between Christ and the church is the example of the relationship between husband and wife. It is a loving partner- ship with each respecting the role of the other. The husband is to love his wife the way Christ loves the church. We are one with Him. It’s just that He is the head and we are the body I can square my shoulders and nobody can look down on me, because Jesus is my big brother.

There is equality in worth, but hierarchy in function. Jesus is the head and I am part of His body.

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