Even before the Apostles departed the earth, a new class of teachers began to crawl out from the Greek and Hebrew woodwork. Yahushua (Jesus) and Paul would use the term "grievous wolves" to best describe them (Acts 20:29). Jesus further described them as "ravening wolves" because their goal is not to feed the flock, but to feed themselves at the expense of the flock they were supposedly teaching or even leading. (Matthew 7:15) Paul further explained that some of them would entice the congregation from the outside while others would rise up as "anointed leaders" within the congregation and "draw away disciples after them." (Acts 20:30) While the Apostle Paul did not go into much detail about how this happens in this quote in the Book of Acts, a study of the New Testament should explain how this works.
When Yahushua (Jesus) began to foretell a time when He would leave the earth and sit at the right hand of His Father in Heaven, He explained that the Holy Spirit would come and replace Him. Jesus explained that the Holy Spirit would be the one who would guide them into all truth. The Apostle John further explained that when you have the Holy Spirit, you do not have the need for men (and women) to teach you. (I John 2:27) Since the Gnostic teachers did not have the Holy Spirit to help them (instead, they had evil spirits to teach them), they were obliged to become "anointed teachers" in order to be in a place to teach their false doctrines in a group. They do it by coming up with a new angle and selling it to whatever group they can hijack or form up. Once they worm their way into a group, they start to siphon off the spiritual resources of that group. In time, the group loses all spiritual discernment and the "anointed leaders" effectively take over the group. They go so far as to replace the ministry of Yahushua (Jesus) the Messiah (Christ) in the lives of their group (though they will continue to mention Yahushua (Jesus) in passing to validate themselves).
When you read the letters Yahushua (Jesus) sent to the seven key congregations in Asia Minor, you quickly find that false teachers had attempted to infect the work the world of the ministry in every one. Some, like the Ephesian congregation, had resisted the false teachers and had gotten very legalistic in the process. Others like the Smyrna and Philadelphia churches had also resisted the evil, but had held fast in their faith. The other four congregations had fallen into various errors. Smyrna apparently fell into the antinomian (replacing the Torah-law with their own law) errors, while Pergamos had problems with devil worshipers who seduced people to sin and worship idols, like the Israelites in Numbers 25 and 32. In Thyatira, the problem was with false teaching and rebellion. Finally, the church at Sardis was just plain dead. They had a reputation, but that was all it was. There was nothing of the Holy Spirit working within the congregation. It is likely the "anointed leaders" had totally controlled the group.
When you carefully study these two chapters in Revelation (2-3), you learn quickly that these false teachers often used various forms of sorcery and witchcraft (AKA "Charismatic witchcraft") to replace the work of the Holy Spirit in a congregation. After they had used their sorceries to set themselves up as the personification of the Holy Spirit, they could then advance themselves to a place of "anointed leadership." Once they sold the people on who they said they were, they could step in a control the congregation. Consider the example of Elymas the sorcerer in Acts 13:6-11. He attempted to use his magical arts to control the people and keep them from the true path of righteousness.
The problems of five of these seven churches could be broken down to one thing, they were all infected by the teachings of so-called "anointed leaders." These men and women were, in one way or another, infected by errors taught to them various devils, angels and false gods who fed their willing servants with various false teachings.
When the apostolic age ended in the first century, the church groups that were formed apparently started to lose touch with the Holy Spirit and became easy targets for the "anointed leaders." Much of this happened because the persecution became so intense that many leaders who had the Holy Spirit were killed for their faith. Their replacements often lacked the spiritual guidance of their predecessors. As a result, the churches began to suffer. Before long, many of them were controlled by "anointed teachers" of various sorts.
The fourth century saw the end of most official Christian persecution by the Romans (with an exception of the reign of Julian the Apostate from 361-363), and Constantine began the process of institutionalizing Christianity. That structure would eventually be known as the Orthodox and/or Catholic Church. As time progressed, the Bishop of Rome began to usurp more and more power, and the other bishops soon became subservient to "the pope." Contrary to the teachings of scripture, the popes set up a hierarchical structure with them at the top, a college of cardinals below them, a group of archbishops and bishops below them, who then administered the monsignors and priests who led the local congregations. The congregations were then consisted of both pagans and nominal Christians. Those Christians who somehow received the Holy Spirit eventually forced into various underground movements.
Under Constantine, the institutionalized church disdained the then Messianic Jews (called Nazarenes) and convened a council at the Greek city of Nicaea in 321-323. Their main issue of discussion was whether Yahushua (Jesus) was part of godhead or just a man. The fact that this subject was foremost on the agenda suggests how much the institutional church had degenerated from the apostolic church. Despite the comments from so-called analysts suggesting that the Council formed the canon of the New Testament, they did not deal with this issue or establish any other major Christian doctrine. In fact, the canon of the Bible was not an issue until the 16th century when the Council of Trent added five books known as the Apocrypha to the normally recognized 66 books. Clearly, it was not an issue to them. The Roman Catholic Church considers the Bible to be a "historical document," which they can amend or change as they see fit.
The institutional church disdained the teachings on leadership taught by Jesus in Luke 22:26-27:
But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. (Luke 22:26-27 KJV)
They instead, opted to adopt the Nicolaitane doctrine (which Yahushua (Jesus) said he hated) to create two basic classes of Christian: the clergy and the laity. They took this doctrine further and created multiple classes of clergy, first setting up bishops to rule over the priests and later on, popes and cardinals. These "anointed leaders," without the Holy Spirit to truly lead them, opted for various forms of paganism, idolatry, and witchcraft to assert control over the people. The evil spirits controlling the institution tried to imitate the ministry of the Holy Spirit and replace Jesus Christ in the lives of people. In time, the priests and their leaders became the intermediaries which people could call upon to communicate with YHWH. This is no different than the African religions where a priest calls upon their elohim gods for various favors. In time, the priests were anointed, similar to the workings of paganism.
Even in many of the Protestant churches, the ministers often stand as an intermediary between their parishioners and YHWH. Even in many of the more fundamental, pentecostal and charismatic churches, the role of the pastor still attempts to replace Yahushua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) in the lives of their members. Paul identifies five different types of leaders in the apostolic church which work together to lead the church. When someone broke with this pattern, the apostles condemned them:
I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. (III John 9-10 KJV)
The apostolic model seeks equality between people, both male and female. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers are roles in the church, not an excuse to rule over the "unlearned masses." It is time for the Holy Spirit to lead the churches, not "anointed leaders."