Over And Under

by Dr. Bob Gray Sr. | February 2019

“And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine” (Luke 15 :31).

       May I explain why families break up, why people become disgruntled, why churches have trouble, and why some children go astray?

“And the angel of he Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship” (Acts 8:26-27).

No one has a right to great authority unless he is under someone with great authority. Here is a man who was in charge of all of the treasure of Candace in Ethiopia. He was a man of great authority. Notice the words, “…under Candace…”

“And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him” (Luke 15:28)

A prodigal son has gone away into a far country. He had an older brother who stayed home and worked the fields. The prodigal son came to the end of his rope, as every one does who goes into sin, and he decided to return home. The dad called for the killing of the fatted calf. The neighbors came and they had a big party in honor of the prodigal returning home. His dad gave him a suit of clothes, a new pair of shoes, a new ring, and they were having a party. Some one went out and asked the older brother, “Why don’t you come in and join the party?” The older brother said, “No way!”

“And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:” (Luke 15:29).

You do not have authority because you do your own thing! You have authority because you do Dad’s own thing! “…all that I have is thine” (Luke 15:31). Here is a son who never disobeyed his dad and because he never disobeyed his dad all the dad possessed now was his!

Please understand this! Some one has to be in charge! There is no one on this planet, but us human beings. God has given order to man kind through a chain of command. If somebody has to be in charge and there’s nobody here but us humans, that means another human being must be chosen to be in charge of every institution made up of other human beings.

Every Christian needs a pastor. It may be the pastor is not the strongest person in the church, but some one has to be in charge. A family needs a dad, a team needs a coach, a church needs a pastor, a choir needs a director, a class needs a teacher, a school needs a principal, and a country needs a king or a president. Some one has to be in charge!

That person may not be the most capable, but he is supposed to always be in charge! God has provided a marvelous plan! He’s plan is that we are all under someone, who is under someone, who is under someone, who is under someone, etc.

A local church can fire their pastor! He is under the congregation (not the deacon board)! If the pastor says the King James Bible is not currently inspired, the virgin birth is not true, and so on, the church can fire him! If they choose not too then they deserve the fallout. I pastored for thirty-three years and both churches had the power to vote me out any time they chose to do so. Too many churches fire and create trouble because of personality conflicts and not for scriptural violations. I was answerable to the body of politic, the collective members, of the two churches I pastored.

Everyone needs to be accountable to some one. That is God’s plan! Everyone has to be under someone, who is under someone, who is under someone, etc. This God’s way of giving us security!

By the way, security is what all of us want more than most any thing else in life. The average person wants security more than he wants liberty. You take a poll of the American people and I guarantee you their number one desire would be to have security. This security comes by having strength over us! When you make your leader stronger you make your security stronger, because that which gives us strength is strength above us.


So, if the pastor of a local church is under the membership it only makes sense that he should make the membership stronger, which in turn gives him security. The pastor receives his security from the collective membership because they are over him. The pastor receives his security form the collective membership and they receive from the pastor security personally. The same is true of staff members who are over as well as under some one or a group of some ones.


Here is a bus worker who makes his bus captain stronger, that bus captain makes his bus division leader stronger, that bus division leader makes the bus director stronger, and in turn the bus director makes the pastor stronger. When leadership willingly comes under they are over. Leadership that receives strength from those under them at the same time gives security in exchange.


The happiest children are those who have strong parents. Instead of slapping the hands of parents the children ought to be strengthening their hands. When children make mom and dad stronger they are in actuality giving them selves security. When they make mom and dad weaker than the children lose security. When under our roof our daughters actually made us stronger and in turn received security. When under our roof our sons made us stronger and they also in turn were the recipients of security.

Any young person who makes dad stronger has strengthened his own security. Any young person who weakens their dad has in return found less security. So, make dad and mom stronger and not weaker! Young person, you may think you know more, you may think you are stronger; but you are not God, dad, or mom, you are the child! God placed your dad and mom over you and you cannot be over until you come under! God is saying strengthen your leaders and do make your leaders weaker!


The happiest woman in the world is the woman who has a strong husband! “Well, I’ll have you know I belong to the ERA movement!” Yes, I can tell by the look on your face! You may think you are stronger than your husband, but that is not God’s criteria for leadership. The Bible still says, “Wives submit unto your own husbands as unto the Lord.”

Some human being must be in charge and God ordains certain human beings to be in charge of other human beings. The strength or weakness of that leader is translated into more security or less security. The wise wife will make her husband stronger and she will be happier and possess more security. The wife in making or breaking her husband is making or breaking her own security.


The happiest churches in America have strong leaders for pastors. Whether you like it or not, God said we are to submit our selves to those who have authority over us.

I in no way am condoning false teachings, which are rooted and found in bad doctrine. The few cases of this that I have seen in 47 years of ministry generally comes about because of a turning on the preserved inspiration of the King James Bible. The local church that is over the pastor must be grounded biblically enough to be able to note such errors. Any church member has a right to confront his pastor when it is a matter of false doctrine. I have encountered more personality and power struggles than doctrinal discrepancies in these 62 years of being saved and being a member of a local Baptist church.

The disgruntled church members are those who don’t obey Scripture concerning their relationship with their pastor. Those who constantly down their pastor are the disgruntled members! Those who strengthen their pastor are the happy members! When you think you know more than the pastor, or are stronger than the pastor you are about to embark on a dangerous path. Because you feel you know more and are stronger does not change the fact that you are not the pastor.

If you strengthen the pastor he in turn gives you security. The pastor may not be the best Christian in the church or he may not be the best person in the church, but he is still the pastor. Only the Judgment Seat of Christ will reveal whom the best Christian or the best person is in your church. Until then someone must be in charge and it just so happens you have a pastor who is in charge. As a result you can have security as a church member.

Again, let me reiterate that doctrinal errors born of a bad relationship with the Scriptures is the responsibility of every member to explore and ask questions with a meek and humble spirit. Loyalty receives its strength from truth. Loyalty to friendship or institutions over truth countermands the purpose of loyalty and truth.


Since we have this man called dad, who is in charge, let us strengthen him because it is better to have a strong dad than a weak dad. Since, we have this man called a husband, who is in charge, let us, strengthen him because it is better to have a strong husband than a weak husband. Since we have this man called pastor in charge let us go ahead and strengthen him because it is better to have a strong pastor than a weak pastor.

We are stuck because some one has to be in charge of the children. If we are stuck with a mom and dad I would rather have a strong mom and dad then a weak mom and dad. Ok, wives you are stuck because some one has to be in charge of you and you are stuck with a thing called a husband so would it not be better to have a strong husband than a weak husband named Barney Fife?

Ok, local church, since we are stuck with this thing called a pastor, would it not be better to have a strong pastor than a sissy breeches for a pastor? I would rather submit to strength than to weakness.

It is time for a child, a wife, and a church member to make their leader stronger. The happiest church members in America are those who have made their pastors’ stronger not weaker.

My preacher, Dr. Jack Hyles, when he was living was the leader of independent Baptist churches in America, not because he asked for it, but because he strengthen those under him and he gave them security and they in turn made him stronger. We made Dr. Hyles the leader and the reason was he gave us security because we strengthened him.

We now have relatively young novice leaders who are saying, “It’s my way or the highway!” They wonder why they cannot garner the support Dr. Hyles possessed. It is simple they are not strengthening the followers they are attempting to weaken them and bring them into subjection. It has never nor will it ever work that way!


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