Here is what the New Testament teaches on the role and responsibilities of a pastor-teacher. I’ve underlined some of the operative words. A Bible believing Christian cannot disregard this teaching. But let me be quick to add, no one should be a pastor-teacher who does not meet the qualifications of 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. That is the starting point! It is the main protection against abuses.
I also realize these verses can be used to manipulate people and lord it over people. For instance when the author of Hebrews commands, “Obey your leaders and submit to them.” This passage can be used, and has been used, to justify horrible abuses. Nevertheless, it stands as God’s authoritative word. We can’t throw the baby out with the bath water even if we’ve had terrible experiences with pastors. We must wrestle with its meaning and follow its teaching.
This requires proper interpretation and application. For instance, no victim of sex abuse should ever listen to a pastor who instructs them not to involve law enforcement. Such a request is in clear violation of Scripture (Rom 13:4). That’s why universal obedience is owed to Jesus Christ alone. He is the Chief Shepherd (1 Pet 5:4), the Overseer of our souls (1 Pet 2:25), and the Apostle of our faith (Heb 3:1).
Rebellion against legitimate leaders is a real problem in Scripture (e.g., Num 16:1-35). We must guard against it in our souls. So too is lording over the sheep by leaders (e.g. Matt 20:24-28, Jude, 2 Pet 2). We must guard against it also. Both are equally problematic. Peter’s words strike the balance. Elders must “shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight…with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.”