Every day thousands of men and women routinely expect from “their pastor” the headship that belongs to Christ alone. If the pastor approves them, they feel approved by God. If the pastor disapproves of their choices or behavior, they feel rejected by Father. They begin to perform for people from a sense of obligation that comes from the expectations of others. Often, they are more concerned about pleasing the leadership of a local congregation than they are about pleasing their heavenly Father. In short, their Christianity has been mediated by a mere man.
By holding a position that was intended for Christ, the pastor is unwittingly performing a substitutionary role. Let me make it very clear: I am not suggesting that the pastor is therefore moving in the spirit of antichrist. What I do believe is that the system of positional authority and religious obligation is an antichrist system.
The resulting tragedy of such a system is that one’s relationship with Christ never reaches the maturity and intimacy intended. Christ has been distanced from his flock by an intermediary.