Church Government

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Jesus is Lord, May 20, 2004.

  1. Jesus is Lord

    Jesus is Lord
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    There are so many different views. In Germany independent churches are usually under congregational government. But my question is:
    Is it biblical to have one pastor who is the main leader of the church and has the last word?
     
  2. TWade

    TWade
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    Can we find such a thing in the NT? The answer is 'No'. What is biblical is a plurality of leaders/elders.

    Do a word search for 'pastor/s' and 'elders' and see what you come up with. Look up the word 'preeminence' and see what you come up with.
     
  3. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    A plurality of elders is what the Lord requires for churches.
     
  4. blackbird

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    The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church

    The Pastor is His Undershepherd
     
  5. Jesus is Lord

    Jesus is Lord
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    That´s the way I see it. There is always a "one-leader-model" in the pictures of the church. One head in the family (and Jesus the head of the head). One sheperd in a flock (and Jesus the head or the chief sheperd). There is just one sheperd (called the chief sheperd, indicating the existence of Undersheperds) for the universal church. Why are there many leaders for the local church?

    The scriptures concerning church government are not crystal clear. But considering the pictures for the church (bride and grootm, flock) you can come to the conclusion that there should be one leader (not dictator but a pastor who has the final word).
     
  6. TWade

    TWade
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    Do y'all have biblical support for this?

    Consider this:

    Ac 15:2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

    Ac 15:4 And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them.

    Ac 15:6 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter.

    Ac 15:22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren.

    Ac 15:23 They wrote this letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings.

    Ac 16:4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem.

    Sound like ONE MAN making the decisions? No sir.

    All over the NT, you will find a sure theme of a group of leaders/elders being written to, called, looking over matters, etc.

    Do the search on elders.
     
  7. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    The NT never mandates more than one pastor in a church. It does allow for it. The nature of leadership is singular. There is a head. A plurality of elders is impractical. In every situation, there is one elder that is a leader more equal than the rest. And everyone knows who he is.

    The Bible is not explicit on church government. What comes forth is a congregational governed church led by a pastor who has authority for oversight. Beyond that, we are unwise to be dogmatic.
     
  8. TWade

    TWade
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    It is explicit. The church is to be overseen, and that by a plurality of elders (which is a common practice found in the NT) whose qualificaitions can be found in the 1 Tim 3.

    It cannot be denied that this is biblical church practice. Acts 15 alone answers the question of who makes decisions, and it wasn't THE Pastor. This gives us a guideline. There were elders in the Jerusalem church and they were all involved in the final decision.

    You say "a plurality of elders is impractical." How did Paul and Barnabas handle the situation.

    Why so many instances where elders are mentioned in a given local, it is in the plural? A plurality of elders is very practical.
     
  9. TWade

    TWade
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  10. Jesus is Lord

    Jesus is Lord
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    Pastor Larry, is there a difference between congregational governed and congregational led?
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    Guess what ... The qualifications given in 1 Tim 3 are for an overseer (singular). The nature of leadership is that a single person is at the helm. He may have others closely helping him. But there is a leader. When you read ACts 15, note that James was the chief one. He was very influential, more so than the rest.

    You simply cannot make dogmatic statements about plural eldership from Scripture. There is no command to have such in teh church.

    Nor can it be denied that the Bible does not prescribe plural eldership.

    Handle what situation? Do you have something in mind?

    Because in a locality, there were many house churches. The church at a given city was made up of many house churches, each with an elder to lead it.

    ACtually, it's not. As I have pointed out, in every elder run church, there is an elder who is a little more equal than the rest. His voice carries more weight. That is simply the way that it is.
     
  12. Pastor Larry

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    I have never seen the term "congregationally led" in polity discussions. The historic Baptist polity is congregationally governed and pastor led.

    The reality is that church polity is not that big of a deal. In most cases, board run churches are the result of pastors who were sinning in their leadership and whom the congregation would not stand up to. When you have godly leadership, it doesn't matter if it is only one.
     
  13. gb93433

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    "It's not about who rules the roost but who rules the rooster."

    There are churches that are doing very well where the pastor does little more than preach and study and lead the elders. While the elders do most of the ministry and lead the people.

    Any person who needs to be told what to do at every turn is not a leader. If a pastor feels a big need to micro-manage people then he will never make leaders past just being told what to do.
     
  14. Daniel David

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    Larry, the N.T. doesn't mandate alot of things. That isn't the issue. The Scriptures do speak of a plurality as the norm though. It is the single pastor idea that lacks serious exegesis.
     
  15. Daniel David

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    1. Yes Larry, each elder is to have those requirements.

    2. This is of course just your opinion.

    3. Sure you can. Obey THEM that have rule over you, for THEY watch out for your soul. If you as an individual are part of an autonomous church, then your leadership is plural.

    4. See above point no. 3.

    5. You really should have prefaced this with - It is my opinion that...

    6. I wonder how John MacArthur and John Piper make it.

    You know, you shouldn't let your particular situation determine what the Scriptures say on the issue. The Scripture is so clear about this.
     
  16. TWade

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    I was refering to the situation found in Acts 15. The Bible says Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles and elders about a question. It says that Paul and Barnabes were received by the church, the apostles and elders. The apostles and elders came together to consider the matter. They reached a final decision together. Their decision pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church.

    This gives the church great insight into how the church should be led, and it's not by a single pastor. This is but one example.
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    [qutoe]The Scriptures do speak of a plurality as the norm though. It is the single pastor idea that lacks serious exegesis. [/quote]Not actually, DD.

    And Paul speaks as if there is one elder with plural deacons.

    Not really. Just think about it for a bit.

    As I said, you cannot make dogmatic statements about that. Of course, you can, but you shouldn't. The point is that we should be dogmatic where Scripture is. Scripture is not dogmatic on this point.

    Why??/ It is not my opinion that cities were filled with house churches. That is a historical fact.

    Prime examples of my point. You are seriously in denial if you don't think these two men's word carries a lot more weight than anybody else on their elder board. They are the leaders of the church.

    I agree. That is why I wonder why you can be so dogmatic. The Scripture is clear that there is no prescribed way. This is historic Baptist polity. Once again, I marvel that it is questioned in a Baptist forum by someone claiming to be a Baptist. It just boggles my mind.

    As for ACts 15, you see that James is the leader of the church. That is not to deny that there were other elders. But clearly, there was someone in charge.
     
  18. Daniel David

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    Larry, the Scripture is more clear than you are allowing it to be. It is more clear on this issue than it is of the Lord's supper. How dogmatic are you on that?
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    With respect to what about the Lord's supper?

    I don't agree with your statement, but I would be interested to see you support it.
     
  20. Daniel David

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    Come on Larry, you know the N.T. quite well. You just aren't putting it together. I would encourage you to examine the issue a bit. I personally think that Alexander Strauch did an excellent job on the subject in his book "Biblical Eldership".
     

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