Church Government

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by jshurley04, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. jshurley04

    jshurley04
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    I am not Southern Baptist and do not believe in a board ran church. I am also do not believe that a pastor should run rough-shod over a church and being a dictator. I believe that the scriptures teach that a church is to be lead by the pastor as the pastor follows Christ and the body is to act as the one who gives final approval to the directions that the pastor sets.

    So here is what I am asking:

    1. Who agrees or disagrees and why

    2. Can you provide scriptural support for or against the position that I have outlined.

    Here is why:

    Frankly, I am having trouble finding scriptural proof text for my position. The above is what I believe and what I have been taught but I don't have any of my notes or resources available to me right now to research it on my own. I kind of need to find scriptural support in the next few days.

    I appreciate all the comments to come.
     
  2. Major B

    Major B
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    Look up every reference to church, bishop, pastor, elder, deacon, etc.

    I think you will discover that the NT church had elders (plural), one of which was usually the leader, and deacons who were strictly table servants.
     
  3. Brother Ian

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    I don't believe you'll get much disagreement from those around here. As Major B said, there was a plurality of elders, but you'll not find an example of a ruling body of elders in the Scriptures. You will certainly not find any indication that deacons in the early church had any leadership responsibility.

    Check out John 10:12, 1 Peter 5:1 and 4. Make sure you read them in the context they were written. These are only three verses of many that defend your point.
     
  4. Shiloh

    Shiloh
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    Up in this country the New Brunswick Biblw Institute has promoted for years what they call a "Brethren" form of church government. It is simply a board run church. Most of the pastors in this part of Northern Maine are just a preacher with absolutely no control over church business what so ever. Funny though, when the school has a function the president is always the one that calls the shots. The other weekend they had a "Men for God Rally" and he introduced all the board members of the school as his "helpers".
     
  5. Shiloh

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    WOW! Not one reply since 5:45 this morning about church government. Man, that tells me something about the preachers on this board!
     
  6. Mexdeaf

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    What does it tell you??
     
  7. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Tells me that someone is ANXIOUS for response, even though this is NOT a "chat room" with instant answers/dialog.

    Many of these threads are MONTHS old, with folks coming and going and adding. That is a unique blessing of this place.
     
  8. Bartimaeus

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    How's this for church gov't?

    The Pastor leads and advises and all the men pray and decide verbally on an issue. In one accord then yea, one desention, the issue is held up. It has to be all the men in good standing (pastor included with one vote). Pity the man that holds back the church. Pity the pastor that tries to captain the ship.
    Thanks ------Bart
    ......a free people cannot remain free and be enslaved in sin. God Save the USA.
     
  9. rbell

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    advantage to Bartimaeus' system:

    -A church that is sure of itself when it takes action.

    Disadvantages:

    -A church that can be paralyzed because unanimity is required for everything.
    -A church whose pastor can become frustrated because anyone, for any reason, can stymie ideas.
    -A very small church. This type of church polity is unsustainable in larger numbers.

    I'm not sure that unanimity is a Biblical concept when it comes to church gov't and decision-making. Unity? Of course. Unanimity? I doubt it.

    But that's my $0.005 (after taxes). Your mileage may vary.
     
  10. TomVols

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    A church is to be lead by the elder(s), served by the deacons, and goverened by itself. I believe that to be the NT norm. I'm not fully convinced that Scriptures mandate plural eldership, just as I am not convinced the Scriptures mandate an office of deacon. Baptist churches will kill you if you say "we may not need deacons," but there are far more references to elders than deacons in the NT.

    I recently bought 2 books giving various views of church governement: Perspectives on Church Government: 5 Views of Church Polity, edited by Chad Brand and Stanton Norman, with Daniel Akin, James White, Robert Reymond, James Leo Garrett, and Paul Zahl as contributors (Okay, a couple were professors of mine) [​IMG] ; and Who Runs The Church? 4 Views on Church Government, edited by Engle and Cowan, with contributions from Paige Patterson, Samuel Waldron, Roy Taylor, and Peter Toon (first two names are excellent). Haven't read them yet, but they're in my stack of books to get around to [​IMG]
     
  11. go2church

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    There is the issue of size of the church. A church like the one I pastor can carry on with business fine with the usual democratic system, one person one vote. As a church grows it quickly gets to a point where this simply isn't practical or even possible, and you have to move to represenative form of government (call them whatever you want), which is fine.

    The only form of government that I would not advocate for is the pastor as king form, it simply is nowhere to be found in scripture.
     
  12. bobbyd

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    i'm partial to any church government that doesn't have lost people in control...which i think is usually the problem.
     
  13. TomVols

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    Martyn Lloyd Jones, and others, have stated that they believe no one form of church government is mandated by Scripture.

    Agree or disagree?
     
  14. jshurley04

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    Good points and I am learning a lot. Thanks for all the input. My current home church is about to elect officers of the church i.e. deacons and trustees (trustees are for the legal incorporation requirements and deacons for the service in the scriptures as well as the pastors counsel on all things spiritual).

    Basically the way they run things is that the pastor presents his direction and vision to the deacons and trustees. After they hash out the pros and cons and are able to agree to what the proposal was or direction to go, then it is presented to the church for an up or down vote by simple majority. Before the vote questions are answered from the floor so that the congregation has confidence that the officers and pastor have covered all the bases and are in complete agreement.

    This is the style of church government that I believe is most efficient as well as scriptural. I just like to have a verse or passage of scripture to go along with what I think.
     
  15. dh1948

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  16. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    It's just a syntax thing. Our "deacons" are really "elders" in the Biblical sense. And our "trustees" just handle the physical plant and the business end of things that they didn't have in NT times.
     
  17. bobbyd

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    DH,

    I was going to suggest that same article to the group.
    I printed it off and handed it to our deacons on Wednesday night, i expect to hear something about it since at least 2 of them believe that if it doesn't come from a committee and is voted on...it can't be God's will.

    My problem with how we tend to handle church government is the same problem we have with how our US government is handled.
    Majority rules...but the heart of that majority is sinful.
    When you have the Spirit in the lives of the believers, it can make a difference...but doesn't always.
    And when it is all said and done, you still have lost people deciding on the future of the church when congregational/majority rule votes are taking place.
     
  18. All about Grace

    All about Grace
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    The church is the only entity in the Western world governed the way most churches are.

    Can you imagine if you were on a plane and the pilot and co-pilots had to come back to the 1st class cabin and get the input of a plumber, doctor, housewife, lawyer, and general manager of a grocery store before they made decisions on how to operate the plane. And then they had to go back to coach and get a majority vote from the passengers on the direction of the plane. Who would want to fly that airline? Yet most churches operate in the same fashion.

    A certain form of church government is not prescribed in Scripture. If anything the Bible seems to endorse a theocracy and not a democratic form like most Western churches use. To me I believe it is really a matter of effectiveness. What form is most effective for this church to fulfill the Great Commission? We have a staff-led church. No deacons.
     
  19. bapmom

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    I like the way we go about picking our deacons here. Its not a way that Ive seen used very often. We have nomination ballots available for a couple weeks before the annual business meeting. Anyone nominated is first approved of by the pastor and current deacons. Each one is also spoken to privately to give them a chance to bow out if they choose. Every man placed on the ballot is then up for a simple "yes" or "no" vote. No one is competing against anyone else on the ballot, they are being approved or disapproved on an individual basis by the congregation.
     
  20. blackbird

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    See?? That's the problem with democratically run churches-----you have a core group, granted, who knows absolutely and positively what the will of the Lord in concerning a certain matter---this core group is "Spirit filled" and is obeying the word from the Word----but thats only the core group which includes the pastor

    On the outside of the core group---you have those who are not spirit led--a good majority of them can't tell the difference between Jesus Christ and Binky the Clown--who wouldn't know how to discern the will of the Lord from a fleshly "Wildcat Venture"--you got them voting in the same "pool" as the core group---one led by the spirit of Christ---the other led by self spirit----left unresolved---what you wind up with is a church thats like a ship floundering in heavy seas---some looking for safe harbor--the others can't find their back ends with both their hands and would have the Captain and crew to either abandon ship or to "walk the plank".

    A democratically run church runs the risk of "tyranny of the majority"---when that majority is not "dead to self and sins"
     

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