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Local ChurchES and the Bible

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by thessalonian, Sep 18, 2003.

  1. thessalonian

    thessalonian New Member

    Jan 11, 2003
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    I asked this question of DHK yesterday and didn't see an answer. My understanding is that Baptists and many other protestants base their view of the Church on the local Church concept, using verses like:

    Revelation 1:11
    saying, "Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea."

    Revelation 3:14
    "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

    and saying that there was not a worldwide Church but a bunch of local ones and they may well have believed some different things and that is okay. So my question is how does this apply when there are many local Churches (i.e. lutherans, presbyterians, primitive Baptists, Southern Baptists, Reformed Southern Baptists, and Baptists South of Southern Baptist :D . Are these other denominations really not Christian since the Bible only (by your view) gives support for THE Local Church?


  2. Abiyah

    Abiyah <img src =/abiyah.gif>

    Jul 22, 2002
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    Hello, Thessalonian from Minnesota! Lovely state.

    I have never studied this subject, so I really do not
    know what the Bible says about it specifically. I
    only know that the English Bible does indicate
    that each congregation has its own authority
    and rule, which is to follow the Bible, not the rules
    of a person or board.

    However, I once belonged to a church which had
    one main leader and a board of leaders. Its
    hierarchy was like this: </font>
    • General Overseer [GO] (one man)</font>
    • * Board (@ 6 - 10 or so men)</font>
    • * * Pastors (in churches all over the U.S,,
      Canada, Europe, Africa, etc.</font>
    • * * * Ministerial staff (up to 20 or so in
      each church)</font>
    • * * * * The remainder of the congregation</font>
    The GO, at one time in that church, actually had
    complete power over the churches, but during the
    recent tenure of a young GO, that power was
    usurped by the board, and he became a mere
    figurehead. The church was actually run by, and
    rulings made by, one or two very stubborn older
    men who wanted their way or no way and made
    threats if their ways were no carried out. This is
    the way this church is conducted now, and the
    people are very tired of it. There have, as a result,
    been several huge exoduses.

    The problem, as I see it, is that for any
    congregation, a board or leader who is not
    physicaly present in the individual church can
    not be an efficient leader. They not only wield
    too much power over too much and too many,
    but their decisions are not likely to be able to
    meet the local church's problems.

    I believe that our Lord, our Lord alone, is the
    head of the congregation; the pastors or teachers
    are subject to His rules alone just as are those of
    the congregation. I believe that the pastors
    and teachers are held to the same standard as
    are the members of the congregation and that
    they are personally responsible to the
    congregation as much as the congregation is
    responsibleto them. There should, in my opinion,
    be no true hierarchy -- no lordship of one person
    over another -- but at the same time, the teachers
    should be given their due as teachers of the Word.

    [ September 18, 2003, 11:39 AM: Message edited by: Abiyah ]
  3. thessalonian

    thessalonian New Member

    Jan 11, 2003
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    Hi Abiyah,

    Thanks for your post. There is actually much that I agree with you on in it. Most certainly the buck stops at Jesus Christ. He is the invisible head of the Church. AMEN.

    In the context of your post I am interested in how you would handle the following verses:

    1 Timothy 5:17
    The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.

    Hebrews 13:17
    Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

    I think if you look at Biblical leadership in the servantile rather than dictitoral light you will see it in a much different light. Perhaps I will explain more on that later.

    Blessings from Minnesota.
  4. trying2understand

    trying2understand New Member

    Aug 25, 2001
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    Can someone show me the verse where a Church split off because they didn't agree with the selection of the new youth pastor or music director?

    Both of those things have happened in our town in the last couple of years. Where there was one Baptist church there are now three smaller churches . The splits were literally over the choice of youth pastor and music director.

    BTW, the new youth pastor lasted about a week. He got a better offer from another church and took it. [​IMG]
  5. thessalonian

    thessalonian New Member

    Jan 11, 2003
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    There were two pastors at my wife's old non-denominational denomination. One wanted more preaching out of the Old Testament. The other who was the senior pastor disagreed. In the end the head pastor stripped the other of his ordination. Seems kind of odd to me since Paul tells timothy "and from your infancy you have known the sacred scriptures, which are capable of giving you the wisdom of salvation...". Now these must certainly have been the OT scriptures.

  6. Abiyah

    Abiyah <img src =/abiyah.gif>

    Jul 22, 2002
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    :) He is the Head, the thinker, the planner, the one
    without whom the body is dead!

    Perhaps my answer to this was in my post above,
    when I said, "The teachers would be given their due
    as teachers of the Word."

    Other than this, my answer, without studying the
    verse, without consulting the Greek rendering,
    would be this:
    The trick words are "who rule well" and "who work
    hard." :) Having come from a very negative
    church experience, I know what it is like to be in
    a congregation whose teachers (or pastors or
    preachers) do not "rule well" or "work hard." From
    this experience, however, I have learned to move
    on to another place, rather than staying on where
    one cannot highly respect those those teachers.

    When one finds a place where things are in order,
    the concept of considering them worthy comes

    If I remember correctly, the word rendered "obey"
    in this Scripture means to 'be persuaded by the
    Scriptures as these explain them." And the word
    rendered "souls" is lives, meaning the natural life
    of the body. I believe, too, that "leaders" intends
    the teachers as well as those of the older genera-
    tion whose lives have proven them worthy of

    I completely agree with this as well. However, once
    again, if the teachers are not true godly teachers,
    if they are not worthy of the respect, we must
    move on to a place where this Scripture can be
    fully obeyed.
    Some leaderships do not see themselves in the
    light of servanthood; rather, they see the congre-
    gation as their servants and themselves as
    dictators. This is what I left.

    Where I attend now, we all submit to one another,
    the leadership strongly and continualy demon-
    strating this very idea to us consistantly. That is
    why I continue there. :)

    How many lakes are in your neighborhood? I
    will always love Lake Nokomis the best, and I
    do hope you visit Minnehaha Falls this winter.
  7. DHK

    DHK <b>Moderator</b>

    Jul 13, 2000
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    Sorry Thessalonian, I never saw your question.

    Right, all these churches were individual local assemblies at that time in history. They were not connected to one another by any hierarchal arrangement, and had no business with one another. They were completely independent on from another, autonomous, each having its own characteristics and own problems that Jesus addresses personally.

    There is no worldwide church by the very definition of the word "church." It comes from the word "ekklesia." Ekklesia simply means "assembly" or "congregation." You cannot have a worldwide assembly or congregation. It was hard enough for the church in Jerusalem, which grew in number to about 100,000 to find a place to gather. Where would all the believers in the world assemble together. It is impossible to have an unassembled assembly or a worldwide assembly, therefore, by the very definition of the word, there is no worldwide church.

    Though many Baptist organizations exist, each Baptist church usually considers itself as an independent unit. The association of Baptists, especially in the Primitive Baptists, is simply for identification and for fellowship. They don't interfere in the affairs of another's church. Even in the Southern Baptist Church, the most denominational of them all, there is a certain independency of each congregation. Most decisions are still made by individual churches. Although the Convention itself does make some moves on its own (like the decision to boycott Disney). Most associations among Baptists still give each church the independency that makes the Baptist church unique from others.

    Other denominations vary accordingly, even within their own ranks. For example the Bible Presbyterian has more independency than the mainline Presbyterian. Look how independent Ian Paisley's church is. I think the difference here is the form of government that they have. They may have a different form of government and still be somewhat independent, although as you have observed it is not true with all denominations.

    I don't find any evidence in the Bible of anything else but independent local churches.
  8. Abiyah

    Abiyah <img src =/abiyah.gif>

    Jul 22, 2002
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    Trying2 --

    Churches split over lesser things -- </font>
    • drums or no drums</font>
    • contemporary or traditional music</font>
    • organ or piano</font>
    • KJV or NASB</font>
    • dancing or no dancing</font>
    • ties or no ties (men)</font>
    • skirts or pants (women)</font>
    • swimming or no swimming</font>
    • raising ones hands or not raising them</font>
    • . . . .</font>
  9. Frank

    Frank New Member

    Mar 28, 2002
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    The church is mentioned in three ways in the Bible. She is the bride of Christ. Therefore she is universal. Christ has only one bride. Eph. 5:23-31. All the saved make up the church universal, as they are added by God to her. Acts 2:47. Christ, having one body and one wife, has one church. I Cor. 12:13,14, Mt. 16:18, Col. 1:18, Eph. 1:22,23, Col. 1:12.

    The church is also mentioned as local and autonomous. Phil. 1:1-4, I Cor. 1:1,2, I Thes. 1:1,2. Paul refers to them as these congregations os the churches of God In Christ in Judea. I Thes. 2: 14.

    The church is also the heavenly church of the eternally saved of all times. Hebs. 11:23, I Cor. 15:24, Mt. 8:11.

    The autonomous churches of Christ united in their efforts to carry on the work of the Gospel. The congregations of Macedonia, Achaia, and Corinth, united by their common faith and salvation ( Jude 3) contributed to the needy church at Jerusalem. II Cor. 8,9:2.

    Elders of congregations are wise when they unite with others of like precious faith to carry on the work of the Lord. I Cor. 15:58.
  10. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian New Member

    Jan 11, 2002
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    You shared a lot of good things by way of truth about the church. We all would think more clearly if we studied your statements. You backed up what you said with Scripture. I have always thought that denominational labels with fall off on the way to Heaven or burn off on the way to Hell.

    Believe it or not but some Catholics, Protestants and other Christians are making up the true Bride of Christ.

    There are too many 'baby Christians' in the Christian Churches that are still in their spiritual cribs.
  11. trying2understand

    trying2understand New Member

    Aug 25, 2001
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    Yes, and I am curious as to the Scriptural basis for such division.

    If we do not see it in Scripture, perhaps it is not something that a church body should do.

    When we see disagreement in the New Testament concerning the Church we also see a resolution of the disagreement. And it seems to me that it is brought about by someone in some position of apparent authority.

    So what changed? And why?
  12. Abiyah

    Abiyah <img src =/abiyah.gif>

    Jul 22, 2002
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    Trying2 --

    There is no Scriptural basis of which I am aware.
    Churches and synagogues are made up of people;
    the leadership is made up of people; people make

    I mentioned having been in a church that was not
    right. There have been several exoduses from
    that church as its congregation went from @220
    to @ 80 in less 2 months -- the first exodus. If
    the pastor we had had when it was 220 had stayed
    in town and started a new chhurch, when the
    leaders had removed him from that church, we
    clearly would have formed a new church with him
    as our pastor, but he chose to move out of state.
    I do understand splitting off and forming a new

    If we had done this, people would have looked
    upon us and been critical of us. What they would
    not have known is that this pastor was the most
    straight-teaching pastor we had ever had in that
    church. He had integrity such that we had not
    experienced. He genuinely loved people, and
    he was a true servant, whose enthusiasm made
    us love to serve.

    It was the church's out-of-town church leadership
    which subjected themselves to the vicious lies and
    gossip against him, which removed him, not the
    people. There were only about nine persons in
    the whole congregation who disliked him, but
    they were very loud and rambunctious with
    their hatred of him. They caused him to be

    I tell you all this in order to ask you: Do you
    think we would have been wrong, then, to have
    formed a split-off congregation with a different
    name? Who was wrong here: us or the errant
    out-of-town leadership?

    As it turned out, when he left the state, we all
    assimilated ourselves into existing congregations.
  13. trying2understand

    trying2understand New Member

    Aug 25, 2001
    Likes Received:
    How is that they had the authority to make such decisions?

    Before they made a decision that you did not care for, did you recognize their authority to make such decisions?

    If they had made a decision in this case that you would have liked, would you have questioned their authority?

    Existing congregations with the same doctrines as the one you all left?

    If not, why the change in doctrine?

    If yes, why so many local churches with the same doctrine? Does the New Testament give us examples of more than one local church in a town?

    This all goes back to having a church like the ones in the New Testament. Does what you are describing follow the model of the NT Church?

    Jesus prayer that we would all be one.
  14. Abiyah

    Abiyah <img src =/abiyah.gif>

    Jul 22, 2002
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    This particular organization was formed by one
    person in one city, then the church branched off
    into other cities and states. They kept the same
    name and incorporated, with the original city's
    church maintaining the responsibility of over-
    seeing all the other churches, to keep them in
    line and to unify them.

    We were naive. While we saw these people
    making trouble, it never occurred to us that evil
    could win. However, it was our perception of
    evil. :) Ask any one of us who were either
    kicked out of this church (I was kicked out) or
    who left under their own power, and they all, to
    the last one, will tell you that it was a good thing,
    that they are much better off, and that now they
    see the error of this church clearly. We were the
    fortunate ones!

    Yes. I was already questioning MANY things
    before this.


    No -- different. We realized how wrong they were.


    I have seen this argument before and find it to be
    of no consequence. :)

    No, it did not.
    All believers will never be one as we are now. It
    will take a whole new atmosphere for this to
    occur, but it shall.