Congregationalism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by mandym, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. mandym

    mandym
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    What is "Biblical" congregationalism? How is it defined in scripture and what examples of your position are found in scripture?
     
  2. Greektim

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    I fear that all you will find is "examples" or descriptive illustrations. It is not however "taught" in the sense of prescriptive. And at most, the description of congregationalism is 100% unanimity, hardly what is practiced in most congregational churches.
     
  3. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    I agree with Greektim, the NT shows examples of several forms of church polity and is not prescriptive about any particular one for universal use in the Church.

    Also, I would point out that the example of ecclesiology in the NT is one in development. That is, from its inception the story of the Church (here I mean the corpus of believers) in terms of how it formed and organized itself is one of ongoing development that continued to change from the beginnings in Acts through the end of NT and into the early patristic era.

    Thus, you can see elements of varied ecclesiologies that are being tested and experimented with during the first two generations of the Church's existence post-Pentecost.

    Congregationalism is, when done well, a very good form of church polity. It, like the other types being used even today, has benefits and weaknesses. There is no perfect ecclesiological polity/system. The primary reason is because even though a bunch of wise theologians could sit down and develop one that worked theoretically, it still has to be managed by broken people. We are all broken people.

    Our church utilizes a form of congregationalism (I prefer the term Free Church) that is elder led and congregationally affirmed. We have an "elder" board of staff with several standing teams that are made up of lay people and our pastoral team who provide valued insights for the management and operations of our church. Our deacons, who are called deacons, are a primarily service/ministry oriented body of lay men who also, from time to time, provide counsel (but not a vote) about how we might proceed. Our staff is affirmed by congregational vote when they are hired and our lay teams are affirmed by congregational vote at the beginning of their (alternating) two-year terms of service.

    We believe the best way we can faithfully lead our congregation is this way which we believe has a valid NT expression. :)

    This is a great question
     
  4. 12strings

    12strings
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    It is true that there is more descriptive evidence than commands on how to order a church.

    However, I believe the congregationalists get our views from passages like: Matt. 18 - "tell it to the church" at which point the church as a whole acts on a matter. It seems that the church as a whole made a decision.
     
  5. mandym

    mandym
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    So in your view being elder led is not against scripture and not in opposition to congregationalism?
     
  6. mandym

    mandym
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    Does the word "church" in Matt 18 have to mean the whole church body (local assembly) of can it mean a msaller group in the church like a group of church leaders? There are those who define "all" and "whole" in other passages to actually mean a limited sense of a large group but not encompassing everyone.
     
  7. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    It is not.
     

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