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Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Salty, Nov 16, 2022.

  1. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    From another thread:

    So do you agree with Austin?
    Should local churches have any accountable to another organization?
     
  2. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely not. There is no supra-congregational organization in the New Testament.
     
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  3. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    1 Peter 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

    17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

    18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

    19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.


    Brother Glen:)
     
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  4. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    To an extent.

    Sometimes we forget that early church leaders (with the Apostles) held a council in Jerusalem to prescribe what was appropriate with Gentile churches.

    But at the same time, the "overseer", elders, and deacons were chosen from a congregation by the congregation.

    So there seems to have been autonomy, yet at the same time there was oversight.

    Should that oversight (outside of the congregation) continue now that we do not have Apostles? That would, IMHO, be the question. My answer is "no". Local churches are autonomous with Christ as the Head.
     
  5. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    The sole Apostolic authority today are the New Testament documents.
     
  6. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    so - do those NT documents direct that a local church must be accountable to an outside organization?
     
  7. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Not that I understand from the whole Bible. Out side the written word from, we have Christ Himself. And revelation from Christ stops with Revelation 22:18-19.
     
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  8. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Hi Salty, a very interesting thread. Thanks.

    Today, the godless left is always touting the value of "diversity." But the Bible tells us factions are not useful to Christ's ministry.

    So, as each of us is accountable to God, and to our mentors within our local body of believers, seeking unity with God and Godly views is biblically sound.

    Our local church should be ruled by a "plurality of Elders" holding a unified view. As baptists we hold that scripture (or our understanding of it) is authoritative as to faith (what we believe) and practice (how we apply God's desires for our lives).

    In my church we have men of long experience, and some who have studied God's word and received certificates. So beyond studying God's word using books and internet articles, I have had several men who mentored me.

    So just as the value of diversity is when people with differing backgrounds work together and arrive at a common understanding of truth, a value of Baptist autonomy is in forming alliances based on common views.
     
    #8 Van, Nov 17, 2022
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2022
  9. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    There kind of was. The churches answered to the Apostles. In the absence of true Apostles, that can't happen now.
     
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  10. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    Jon, nowhere in the early church do we see congregations choosing the elders. In each case it is a person, or persons who were mature believers and evangelists that choose the elders in a local congregation. Their connection to that congregation is Jesus great commission.
    *Matthew 28:18-20*
    And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

    The oversight should always continue, just as Paul oversaw Timothy as Timothy appointed elders in Ephesus.

    In the US we have an extreme independence that is culturally based, not biblically based. We fight back against the constraints of wisdom and thus we break the ties that would make us stronger.
     
  11. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    There is no "outside" organization. That is the fallacy of the American business model as the governing force for churches.
    There is the Church, under Jesus the King. Each "embassy" is connected to the whole.
    *Hebrews 12:12-29*
    Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
     
  12. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    So, you keep saying that a church should have oversight - so by whom or what?
    Please explain in laymens terms
     
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  13. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Geneva Bible Acts 14:23, ". . . And when they had ordeined them Elders by election in euery Church, and prayed, and fasted, they commended them to the Lorde in whome they beleeued. . . ."

    That being by vote of raised hands.
     
    #13 37818, Nov 17, 2022
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2022
  14. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    True. I stand corrected. They (the congregation) appointed deacons. The elders and overseer (pastor) were appointed by the evangelist under the Apostle, and chosen from the congregation.

    The problem comes in when we apply an outside source as such an authority. The reason is these organizations do not have the biblical warrant that those earlier evangelists had.
     
  15. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    We have, in some sense, a succession of authority that guides the process. It's similar to Hebrews 12:1 where the writer tells us that there is a great cloud of witnesses as our legacy. So it is that no man is saved outside of a lineage of witnesses that disciple such a man. No one is fully autonomous, no matter what our extreme independence culture tells us.
     
  16. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    Exactly Jon and scripture say so... Brother Glen:)

    1 Corinthians 6: 4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

    5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

    6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.

    7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
     
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  17. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I agree, but how does this look as a church government?

    What I mean is if we have some governing body over churches that body is not the same as the early church had (it would essentially be no different than congregationalism, except perhaps fewer voices accepted by a larger population).

    In principle I agree with you, and am not disagreeing. I just don't know how this would look in practice.
     
  18. atpollard

    atpollard Well-Known Member

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    I have a mentor named Hank that says one of the hardest things is to just “stay on the road”. On either side of “the road” is a ditch. One ditch is Theological Liberalism with all of its worldly baggage to distract Christians and fill them with busy-work thinking that social crusades are “the Gospel”. The opposite ditch is Theological Legalism with long lists of rules that will crush all joy under the weight of the LAW and distract Christians and fill them with rules thinking that being holy is “the Gospel”. Satan doesn’t really care which ditch he can run an unsuspecting Christian into … both will render you generally ineffective for “the Gospel”. Which brings us back to Hank’s original point: one of the hardest things is to just “stay on the road”.

    Sorry for the verbosity. I think the same principle might apply to church government.
    One “ditch” is the small church whose pastor is self-ordained and receives advice from God and God alone … then marches down the street at the local parade advising women from a bullhorn that they are dressing like whores and will burn in hell. [Yes, we really have one of those in my town.]
    The other “ditch” is an organization that is so deep in administrative layers with so much power exercised at some remote location that a decision by the Hierarchy to embrace apostasy leaves the pastor and congregation with no option but to surrender the building and forfeit everything they have invested in the local community. [We have a Church from a major denomination in our community that dissolved over the decision of the denomination to ordain homosexuals and perform same-sex weddings … abandoning a multi-million dollar church campus and school].
    So the trick seems to be to “stay on the road”. Enough local autonomy that the congregation can follow God no matter what any man says. Enough “submit to one another” to avoid thinking that YOUR voice is the voice of God.
     
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  19. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    You mean my view might not be God's view?
     
  20. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Also Tyndale's earlier translation ". . . And when they had ordened them elders by eleccion in every congregacio after they had yrayde and fasted they comended them to God on whom they beleved. . . ." I have understood this to mean Paul and Barnabas set those churches up to be congregational by having them vote for their Elders.
     
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