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Monday, June 06, 2005

The following was written in response to my blot on governance in the church. How are we to govern in the church?

Andrew writes:

"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..."

Great questions!

Any responses out there?

Written below is the blog Andrew responded to.

"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?"


Jeremiah Bannister said...

CORRECTION: Jeremiah Bannister (Associate Pastor at Temple Baptist Church and Resource Development Coordinator for CityLinC Ministries) asked the question. I only know because that is me:)

tony pino said...

I totaly agree there can never be total unity in democracy. I know we being westerners have trouble with kingdom principles, but we have to just face it we belong to a kingdom. I know there are some Assembly of God churches that boards members and some that run what they call an apostolic government that has no board members. They just have deacons who are elected totally by the pastor and the people really have no say in the matter.These churches say that since the pastor is head of the church the holy spirit tell them who should be deacons. They say that this is how it's done in the book of Acts and they want to be an Acts church. I'm not sure about all that. I do believe the Pastor has the last word on all issues, but I do like the fact of having a board or deacons to help support and keep the Pastor scriptualy correct. I think as long as the Pastor isn't going against scripture his word is final.


Youth Extreme said...

Tony good point, Every Deacon and ministry leader should be in continuous prayer seeking Gods wisdom and direction for their leadership. When God is directing you see greater unity. We are blessed with a Godly pastor who seeks God first and then allows his board to come to a consensus before moving forward. This takes prayer and seeking God ernestly. I have never seen him force his idea or will on the board or ministry leaders. He has provided Godly wisdom to some of us and then has allowed us to move forward as God directs us. Reading his word, seeking his wisdom through prayer and then allowing the holy spirit to guide and direct will ensure that unity and the kingdom will move forward and be successful. When God is with us who can be against us?