Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Jan 7, 2017.
Please comment on this link after reading it
Considering ekklesia is rooted in the government of the Greek City states, it's not surprising some churches treat their business meetings like those of a New England township.
If the Spirit speaks to the members of the Body, then we can expect that we can discern the Spirit's guidance by polling the members of the Body (aka voting).
I think the author needs to back up this assertion:
Voting supersedes God’s intended order of leadership within the structure of the local church.
It seems to be the real motivation for the list.
The author asks:
Since when did Jesus ever ask the audience their opinion? Even with His shepherd’s heart, Jesus never polled the sheep to find out which direction to go.
If Jesus begins physically walking among us again, I think we should stop voting.
His assertion assumes we have an infallible leader in each local church.
That is speculation at best. More likely projecting personal fears on the motivation of the author.
In our business meetings, the leadership has already discussed matters. It is putting the results to a confirmation vote. If a point is too divisive, it is withdrawn.
To the answer of the question of the title, I would say in many cases, "Yes." But...
Seems to me this article sends some mixed singles. Cox writes, "I’m not seriously calling for the abolition of voting among churches...here are some reasons I think we should vote not to vote on so much stuff..." But then some of his reasons seems to support never voting at all (e.g., if voting supersedes "government by the Holy Spirit," then we shouldn't vote at all, should we?). Which is it?
I agree that voting often reaches the point of silliness in Baptist churches. Further, there is no reason to defend all the parliamentary procedure that makes church voting so business-like. While some of Cox's points are good and should be addressed, I think he ultimately fails in his idea that "there isn’t a single scriptural example." There are, in fact, several scriptural examples where churches came to consensus to move in the direction led by the Holy Spirit.
Acts chapter 1 is an account of unified decision making in the church. Casting lots is not the same as voting as we think of it today, but the church was united in this process. Peter, a leader and an apostle, posits replacing Judas with one who has been with them from the baptism of John. "They" -- the men and brethren to whom he was speaking, the 120 disciples, appointed two to set before God, and "they" (the same group) gave forth their lots.
In Acts 6 the apostles called the congregation together. They exhorted them to select seven men to appoint over this distribution to see that it was done equably. The "whole multitude" was pleased and they came to an agreement together, choosing seven men to set before the apostles (Acts 6:5).
In Acts 15 "the apostles and elders, with the whole church" at Jerusalem came to a united decision on the circumcision question before them. Related verses include the church at Antioch's unified sending Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:1ff) following the choice of the Holy Spirt; this same church (Antioch) reached a consensus agreement to send Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem concerning the circumcision problem (Acts 15:1-4).
In I Corinthians chapter 5, a wicked act of fornication is reported in the church, and Paul exhorts them to put away this wicked person from their congregation, to be done by consensus "when ye are gathered together." (Cf. Matt. 18:17; II Cor. 2:6-8)
The whole church at Corinth was to judge that which was prophesied (I Cor. 14:23ff).
In II Thess. 3:6-15, the church must act in unison to carry out these commands of the apostle.
Another incident, although the whole church was not represented, shows Peter asking consensus of the disciples who traveled with him to Cornelius' household (Acts 10:47; not very pope-like, I might add).
Within the purview of the congregation we find them involved in exercising discipline (I Cor. 5:3-5), selecting officers (Acts 1:23; 6:5), providing doctrinal and practical clarification (Acts 15:22-29), sending messengers (cf. Acts 11:22; 15:2,22), affirming the call of God (cf. Acts 13:1-3) and receiving Christian itinerants, ministers and members (II John 10; Acts 9:26; Rom. 16:1-2; Gal. 6:1). Sometimes congregations use their idea of "congregationalism" to step outside their purview (or to just revel in the flesh) -- but this should be fixed by addressing that specifically rather than removing the congregation from any role in decision making.
I wrote on this further HERE.
I remember in one business meeting - a couple of ideals were brought up, and the moderator recommended that a committee study it - then the individual got upset that we would not vote on it immediately.
(this was over 40 years ago - so I have no ideal what the issue was)
Our general membership meetings are based on an established agenda. Your situation would come up in formal leadership or informal meetings.
I agree with the general gist of the author, and in 35+ years of ministry have seen many of these lived out multiple times. In the last church I pastored, God blessed with an amazing spirit and structure, and for the last several years I was there, our quarterly and annual business meetings averaged about 7-10 minutes.
In a word... YES!!!