Accountability

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Michael Wrenn, Dec 4, 2001.

  1. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Are Christians accountable to anyone or anything other than Jesus Christ, as far as doctrine or practice is concerned? Are the laity accountable to the clergy or denominational? Are clergy accountable to anyone?
     
  2. Brian Collins

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Michael Wrenn:
    Are Christians accountable to anyone or anything other than Jesus Christ, as far as doctrine or practice is concerned? Are the laity accountable to the clergy or denominational? Are clergy accountable to anyone?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Consider the following verses..

    Heb 13:7, Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

    Heb 13:17, Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

    In most Baptist churches, they that have the rule are known as the pastor(s). The pastor is accountable (as are we all, but the pastors with more responsibility) to God, as the scriptues indicate. It would be fitting, then, that we are accountable to those in authority.

    But there is a system of checks and balances. A local church is nothing without members, and those members have the authority to remove an unruly man from office.

    The problem comes when a man makes himself a lord over God's heritage and becomes a leader who utilizes intimidation rather than being an example. Notice Peter's admonition...

    1 Pet 5:2-3, Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

    If a man is not feeding the flock, the sheep will likely find a shepherd who will feed them.

    The opposite problem is the problem Moses faced - people not following a good ruler.


    1 Cor 10:9-11, Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

    One of the best examples of how to act when the appointed ruler is wrong is the example of David in regard to Saul.

    --B C
     
  3. Dr. Bob

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    Would Galatians 6:2 apply? <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
     
  4. Don

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    Or Romans 15:1-2? We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
    2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

    And Galatians 6:1? Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
     
  5. Michael Wrenn

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    Thanks, everyone, for your answers.

    I should have phrased my question this way: Are pastors and laity accountable, or should they be accountable, to anyone outside the local church?
     
  6. S. Baptist

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Michael Wrenn:
    Thanks, everyone, for your answers.

    I should have phrased my question this way: Are pastors and laity accountable, or should they be accountable, to anyone outside the local church?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Zec 11:17 Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock!

    Ac 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy
    Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his
    own blood.

    2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    Joh 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

    Mt 5:14 Ye are the light of the world.

    Mr 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
    creature.

    2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all
    longsuffering and doctrine.

    Lu 12:43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

    Maybe not accountable to "man", but certainly to "God".
     
  7. S. Baptist

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Michael Wrenn:
    Thanks, everyone, for your answers.

    I should have phrased my question this way: Are pastors and laity accountable, or should they be accountable, to anyone outside the local church?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Zec 11:17 Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock!

    Ac 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy
    Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his
    own blood.

    2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    Joh 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

    Mt 5:14 Ye are the light of the world.

    Mr 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
    creature.

    2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all
    longsuffering and doctrine.

    Lu 12:43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

    Maybe not accountable to "man", but certainly to "God".
     
  8. Mike McK

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Michael Wrenn:
    Thanks, everyone, for your answers.

    I should have phrased my question this way: Are pastors and laity accountable, or should they be accountable, to anyone outside the local church?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    This is something that is a big issue in our church.

    Inside the church, my pastor has made a point to drill it into our heads, "We have to watch each other's backs".

    Our pastor makes himself accountable to a couple of groups. (1) The church leadership. (2) A group of about eight men (myself included). (3) The congregation.

    Outside the local church, he has made himself accountable to a group of pastors and to our local convention.

    He has a lot of eyes watching. Almost all of the accountability he has is voluntary and he genuinely appreciates it when you go to him and say, "Sam I heard you say ______. Can you show me that in scripture?"

    Laity is more or less accountable to the church leadership and other congregants.

    Mike

    http://www.keylife.org
     
  9. Brian Collins

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Michael Wrenn:
    Thanks, everyone, for your answers.

    I should have phrased my question this way: Are pastors and laity accountable, or should they be accountable, to anyone outside the local church?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Good question. I believe they are accountable, of course, for breaking decent and orderly laws. As far as ecclesiastically, no, they are accountable to nobody but God, outside that local congregation. Otherwise we wind up with an unscriptural heirarchy like that of catholicism.

    Unofficially, as someone has already mentioned, it is good for pastors to be accountable to their peers, as brethren in the Lord ought to be accountable anyway. But it's not an accountability that can result in, say, the pastor of one church demanding that another step down, or one man taking over another's congregation because of some heresy of the current pastor. If that church is dumb enough to allow an imbecile in the pulpit, they deserve him. [​IMG]

    --B C
     
  10. Michael Wrenn

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    Brian,

    I, too, have trouble with ecclesiastical hierarchies, but I also have a problem with congregations being able to fire their pastors.
     
  11. Buster

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    Why?

    buster
     
  12. Michael Wrenn

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    I don't think the pastor should be subject to the whims of a few powerbrokers who run the church.
     
  13. TomVols

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Michael Wrenn:
    I don't think the pastor should be subject to the whims of a few powerbrokers who run the church.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Stop the presses! Michael and I agree :eek: I think I'd better change my mind :D

    In all seriousness, you make a good point. But installing a hierarchy would not eliminate power blocks in the local church. I am a congregationalist. Therefore, there is no ruling authority over a local congregations, save the local congregation. If we all acted Scripturally, we wouldn't have to worry about "power plays" in the church. Sadly, this is one area where we will not reach perfection until glory. Our churches need a recovery of Biblical leadership. Churches are led by the elder(s), served by the deacons, yet goverened by the congregation in accordance with Scripture.
     
  14. Bro. Curtis

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    I need a better explanation on why a congregation wouldn't be able to fire their pastor. If a pastor strays from the truth, are we to find another church ?
     
  15. Michael Wrenn

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    Tom,

    I saw this statement in the canons of an episcopal body: "All authority in the diocese is conferred by or derived from the bishop." Now substitute "congregation" for "diocese" and "bishop" and you have congregationalism. You know, all this time I thought such authority was Christ's; therefore, to me, both systems are wrong in this.
     
  16. Michael Wrenn

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    Tom,

    P.S. Don't worry about agreeing with me; a stopped clock is right twice a day. :D (Notice I didn't say which one of us is that clock! ;))
     
  17. rsr

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    Michael:
    I've seen painful church splits caused by "firing" a preacher. Sometimes the congregation is wrong; sometimes the pastor.

    But what other system would you prefer? At least congregations know the situation on the ground. Hierarchical organizations often leave unsuitable pastors in place for years, ignoring the pleas of parishioners for change.

    Perhaps a "trial" with other pastors and leaders? I think that approach would work well as an effort at mediation, but not in making a final decision.

    The local church, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, must make the decision.
     
  18. rlvaughn

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Perhaps a "trial" with other pastors and leaders? I think that approach would work well as an effort at mediation, but not in making a final decision.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    An interesting suggestion, rsr. Something that used to be used perhaps a little more in the past than now is a council. This simply consists of calling in brethren from other churches to hear the "case". They have no authority. They simply listen and say, "Here's our advice". The church is free to act on it or not. Of course, I guess you always run the risk of offending the council if you don't follow their advice. But this is all a presbytery really is - a council of ordained brethren called in to advise the church on the ordaination of a brother to elder or deacon. It's just that this is almost the only time a council is ever used.
     
  19. TomVols

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    Michael,
    The authority of Christ over the local congregation is not vitiated by believing in congregationalism. Ultimately, Christ is Lord of the church. But who decides how to pay the bills, how to follow Christ, how to function as a local Christ-honoring community? A bishop? A presbytery? No. The congregation.
     

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