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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Governing the church

A deal was reached yesterday in the Senate to preserve venerable opposition rights while allowing a vote on some of President Bush's stalled judicial nominees.

Senator John McCain of Arizona is quoted as saying that politicians on both extremes would be "disappointed" with the deal, but insisted the senate and the country would win.

Thus, we find democracy in action. Two opposing sides reach a compromise that benefits both parties.

Is this the way, however, that we are to "govern" in the church?

Let me give you some thoughts from Dr. Richard Dobbins. He writes and I quote:

"Church government is very important. You need to know church government if you intend to be a worker in your church. Churches cannot function as God intends them to if they are not governed as He intends them to be governed.

If those chosen with the ministerial team are not familiar with Biblical forms of church government, they will tend to superimpose worldly organizational forms of government with which they are familiar onto their understanding of how the church should function.

So you're elected to the board. So you become leaders of the men's fellowship. And you think, well, as an American citizen, I know how the American government works. And all of us in the church are Americans, so our church should be a democracy. And the pastor is the president; the board is the senate; and the people are the house of representatives; and the purpose of the people and the board is to keep the pastor's power in check. We want check and balances all the way.

That's a world form of government that will bring division to your church.

Or you may be a businessman. And you say, well, there's no business in the world as great as God's business. So as a businessman, I insist that his church be run like a corporation. The members are the stockholders; and the board's the board of directors; and the pastor is the chief executive officer. And we've got to see that he runs this church for a profit. We want to take a look at the bottom line. Attempt to run your church like a corporation, and you will divide it.

The church is not like the American government; it is not a democracy. In a democracy, there is always the loyal opposition. There is never unity in a democracy. The nature of democracy it to have a powerful minority that is always challenging leadership. You cannot have unity in a democracy. And the church is not a business.

Or, you know, you may have been a union organizer. So you're elected to the board. And you see the pastor as your adversary. Because now, you see, we're in a labor management model. And the board is labor; the people are labor; and the preacher and the staff are management. And we want them to be liberal with the benefits they provide us, or we're going o go on strike and withhold our tithes.

Remember, friends, if you don't run the church God's way, it's going to be a divided church. It doesn't make any difference how bit it gets, it won't have the power it needs to impact your home, your children, your community, let alone this nation and the world.

The church is not a democracy.
The church is not a business.
The church is not labor verses management.

The church is a "theocracy" - The body of Christ, governed by His laws.

The church is a theocracy. It is not a democracy. The corporate management model will not work in the church. The labor/management model will not work in the church. The church is a theocracy.

You say, "I thought sooner or later you were going to say that; that's what the preacher always keeps telling me when he says, ""Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets not harm."

Well, a theocracy is not a people under a preacher. A theocracy is a church to be governed by the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the head over all things to the church. The church is not an ecclesiastical dictatorship to be governed by the preacher. The church is no a democracy to be governed by the majority.

It is a theocracy where the pastor and leaders of the congregation may vote form time to time; but in a theocracy voting serves a very different purpose than it does in a democracy. In a democracy, you vote to determine government. IN a theocracy, you vote to determine unity. So that when the pastor and the board vote, the most important thing they are discovering is, do we have enough unity in the church to act on this matter without fractioning the body of Christ?"

Good words from Dr. Dobbins. What are your thoughts?

2 comments:

Jon said...

Amen! There are times that every person will find some reason to disagree with any leader, no matter how reasonable and kind. It is at these times that we, as members, need to temper our displeasure with the understanding that we must (MUST) support the church and God's Will as it is understood by those ordained to bring it to us. Recently, I was talking to a co-worker who told me that many people were leaving her church because they did not agree with the new direction that it was headed. Many of those leaving, I was sad to hear, were pillars of the church who had been there since it's inception. But they could not submit to the guidance of the pastor and the board's unified interpretation of where God wanted the church to head. I can not understand the concept. While I may not always agree with decisions that are made, with services that are changed (I really miss Sunday School, BTW...that's not a criticism, just a note), or with direction in general, I find it my Christian duty to support my leaders...and while it is important that I have chosen them as my leaders but more importantly, they are God's chosen to lead--He has called them here--this church. While democracy is the greatest form of government available in the world today, it will not work in a church because none of us, no matter how great or small, can over-rule the Creator of the Universe. Sometimes, we lose sight of that with our human desire for free will and free choice...but ultimately, we owe our loyalty and our lives to God. He is our all and we owe all to Him...

Jeremiah Bannister said...

Theocracy. Love it. But why do you limit the rule and reign of Christ's theocracy to the Church? Is he Ruler of the World? King of Kings? Has all power and authority been given to him? Sure. Then wouldn't any political system (or institution) that does not submit to his Law(s) be an apostate system of idolatry? (The religion of Democracy may be a fine example)

Just wondered your thoughts...