How should the congregation be ruled?

Scripture
Scripture

January 5th, 2017, 10:47 pm #1

Maybe this would be a good topic.

How does the congregation at which you worship make its decisions?

By elder authority? Does the preacher rule? Does the staff take control?

Is there approval by the congregation, by voting or by casual agreement, with decisions that are made elsewhere?

Is the leadership "laissez faire", or "leave along" and let the congregation drift.

How do leadership styles confront current change that may be taking place?

Is the only thing constant is change itself?

What is the Biblical way of making decisions?
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Joined: July 29th, 2010, 2:32 pm

January 6th, 2017, 4:25 pm #2

A Church of Christ is:

1. Extreme in the view set for the Church in the Wilderness as a School (only) of the Word (only) in the assembled sense: coming together, assembling or gathering uses "synagogue" words.

2. Or an institution focused on gathering money, gathering people, gathering staff to perform worship and following the social gospel's view that the INSTITUTION directs those Jesus called out to REST in an attempt to regulate people's lives.

Once you tippy toe away from the historic Church of Christ you begin to accumulate clergy authority with lots of proofs that elders as the Christ-ordained Pastor-Teachers are a royal guard to stand off the "one another" liberty. Elders are chosen based on their funding ability and church and building becomes an edifice to civic pride. With almost NO Aptness to teach the result is both evil and effeminate protected from all other male leadership.

If number 1 is the pattern then Lenski said it correctly: "If an elder is not APT to be a teacher then he is not qualified at all." Elders in my returned to Tennessee have protected themselves by not ever being teachers. The one exception was an elder and professor of LU who boasted about ridding the University of the Bible Preachers.

Thomas Campbell: "who, at the same time are ignorant of, and even averse to, the religion it inculcates; and whilst others profess to embrace it as a system of religion, without imbibing the spirit, realizing the truth, and experiencing the power of its religious institutions; but merely superstruct to themselves, rest in, and are satisfied with, a form (acts) of godliness; and that, very often, a deficient, imperfect form, or such as their own imagination "let us, with an open bible before us, distinguish and contemplate that religion which it enjoins and exhibits--I mean the religion of christianity, for it also exhibits the religion of Judaism;
<font color="#FFFFFF">.....
but with this, in the mean time,
.....we christians have nothing directly to do--
.....we derive our religion immediately from the New Testament. TC

The author and ultimate object of our holy religion, is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by his Spirit, speaking in Christ and his holy apostles.

"The principle of this holy religion within us, is faith, a correspondent faith; that is, a belief, or inwrought persuasion by, and according to, the word of truth, in all points corresponding to the revelation which God has made of himself through Jesus Christ by the Spirit. Hence, being rooted and grounded in the truth of this revelation, by faith in the divine testimony,

.....we contemplate and worship God inwardly;
.....that is, adore and reverence him in our souls,
.....according to the characters and attributes under which he has revealed himself to us.

Thus we worship the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit, relying upon his teachings in and by the word, to lead us into all the truth which he has testified for our edification and salvation; and also upon his internal influence to excite, instruct, and comfort us, by the truth; to help our infirmities, and to enable us to think and pray as we ought, both as to the matter and manner of our prayers. See Rom. viii. 26, and Jude 22, 21, with a multitude of other scriptures. Thus we have the internal religion, the habitual worship of the real believer, the sincere bible-taught christian with its principle; which is the faith above described. See Rom. x. 12-15.

The word we are prone to translate as "preaching" is often the word "dialog." There is no "office" of the preacher to stand before the audience and make minced-meat pie out of the inspired Word:

"But that this may be the case, the next immediate ordinance of the christian religion, namely,

.....the reading, I mean the musing upon, or studying the Holy Scriptures;
.....taking them up in their connexion, and meditating upon the subjects they propose to our consideration,
.....with a fixed contemplation of the various and important objects which they present.

This dutiful and religious use of the bible, (that most precious, sacred record of the wonderful works of God, the only authentic source of all religious information,) is inseparably connected with, and indispensably necessary to, the blissful and all-important exercises of prayer and praise.


The modern religious institution cannot operate without funding elders and a dominant pastor they protect from the "one another" and with the claim of "spirit" authority "beyond the sacred pages." On the other hand, the Campbells thought of the assembly as a local society open to everyone. In Romans 14 Paul accepts everyone but preventing doubtful disputations or anything that did not edify or educate. In Romans 15 he stopped SELF-pleasure and defined what seems to me a PATTERN. "using one mind and one mouth to speak that which is written for our LEARNING" or "Scripture for our learning." With the Campbells everyone could leave "school" and express their own opinions freely. Both the Greek ekklesia and synagogue read and discussed only what was supplied by a higher authority. That would make the elders' life easier and safe from burning.
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Sarge
Sarge

January 6th, 2017, 5:05 pm #3

Maybe this would be a good topic.

How does the congregation at which you worship make its decisions?

By elder authority? Does the preacher rule? Does the staff take control?

Is there approval by the congregation, by voting or by casual agreement, with decisions that are made elsewhere?

Is the leadership "laissez faire", or "leave along" and let the congregation drift.

How do leadership styles confront current change that may be taking place?

Is the only thing constant is change itself?

What is the Biblical way of making decisions?
Premise

Good for yesterday and good for today.

**********


Qualifications for Overseers

1This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Qualifications for Deacons

(Acts 6:1-7)

8Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. 11Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

The Mystery of Godliness

14These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

16And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

King James Bible
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January 6th, 2017, 5:47 pm #4

This is an area of much needed study. "Bishop" can be translated "overseer."

These were elders (older wise leaders) who were overseers (bishops), for example Acts 20:28 and surrounding verses show that elder, overseer, and shepherd (pastors) are used interchangeably at least in this passage. You can see the different words used if you look carefully.

Shepherd is a pastor when translated, elder is an older man as spoken by Paul, Bishop is an overseer when translated. Pastor is related to "pasture" where the shepherds kept and guarded the flock (see Acts 20:28). Bishops were not high office outside the local congregation but worked within the congregation. According to David Lipscomb, and Biblical verses, their "authority" was leadership by example (1 Peter 5:3). Some churches are organized where bishops have legal authority over a number of churches, but their leadership is to be by example and not coercive.

To understand authority, we probably need to start with Matthew 28:18 where Jesus said "all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth." Leaders in the church might have "delegated authority" but no authority of their own. Our authority is to come through Christ through the written word.

There are some other considerations, but we may get to them later.
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January 7th, 2017, 3:58 pm #5

The twelve apostles needed to devote themselves to prayer and ministry of the word (Acts 6).

They asked the "disciples" to choose seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom to serve. A later verse mentions that Stephen (one of the seven) was full of faith and the Holy Spirit. Acts 6.

In Acts 15:22 Luke (author of Acts) mentions that "with the agreement of the whole church, the apostles and elders resolved to choose representatives and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas."

Titus, a convert of Paul, also active in evangelism, was told to appoint elders in every town in accordance with the principles he had laid down. Titus 1:5.

From these few verses, the church acted in harmony with the Word, with the Apostles, Evangelists, and the whole church often gave assent to decisions made. This is not a picture of top-down rule, but one of consensus with the whole church as decisions aligned with the Word of God.
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Joined: July 29th, 2010, 2:32 pm

January 7th, 2017, 8:02 pm #6

Maybe this would be a good topic.

How does the congregation at which you worship make its decisions?

By elder authority? Does the preacher rule? Does the staff take control?

Is there approval by the congregation, by voting or by casual agreement, with decisions that are made elsewhere?

Is the leadership "laissez faire", or "leave along" and let the congregation drift.

How do leadership styles confront current change that may be taking place?

Is the only thing constant is change itself?

What is the Biblical way of making decisions?
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January 8th, 2017, 8:04 pm #7

“For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 3:13. KJV.

Lipscomb correctly points out that "used the office of a deacon well" is dynamic translation, since it reads the context into the literal.

Berean Literal Translation says:

For those having served well acquire a good standing for themselves and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

"Office" is not found in the literal translation; "use the [office] of a deacon" is a translation of "serve".

Paul is saying that those who serve well purchase a good degree. . . .

KJV was establishing the hierarchy and structure of the Anglican church.


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Joined: July 29th, 2010, 2:32 pm

January 8th, 2017, 8:22 pm #8

Mark 10:41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.
Mark 10:42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
Mark 10:43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:
Mark 10:44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

g1247. diakoneo, dee-ak-on-eh´-o; from 1249; to be an attendant, i.e. wait upon (menially or as a host, friend, or (figuratively) teacher); technically, to act as a Christian deacon: — (ad-)minister (unto), serve, use the office of a deacon.

g1249. diakonos, dee-ak´-on-os; probably from an obsolete dia¿kw diako (to run on errands; compare 1377); an attendant, i.e. (genitive case) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specially, a Christian teacher and pastor (technically, a deacon or deaconess): — deacon, minister, servant.
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January 9th, 2017, 3:26 pm #9

Here are some points for discussion, as we follow along with similar considerations. It seems to be impossible to make a translation that doesn't have some bias.

The King James Version was created by the Anglicans to counter the Calvinist Geneva Bible which had a large readership, and had anti-clerical and anti-government views in the side-notes. It was perhaps the first Study Bible. I personally recommend using a “reference Bible” rather than a Study Bible, since doctrine is minimal but helpful references to other Bible verses is available. For example, to see MacArthur Study Bible circulating in the church is a cause for some concern. All too often readers pay full attention to the notes, but less to the written scriptures.

Below I have listed are a few places in the King James Version that seem to endorse church hierarchy.

Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Supports both the church hierarchy as well as tyrranical government.

Acts 1:20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

Supports church hierarchy above the congregational level as well as clerical privilege. "Bishoprick" actually places their doctrine into the text.

1 Timothy 3:13 “For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Makes a church role into an office, whereby privilege is given. “Office” is not in the original Greek. Perhaps “office” is implied in the context, “Served well as deacons” is contained even in many contemporary translations, but the expression is “redundant” and therefore misleading, where “deacon” and “served well” are like saying “served well as servants.” Even modern translations try to get “office” in the text.

1 Peter 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Notice verse 3 “God’s heritage” implying “office-holders” in the church are “over God’s heritage” although it partially negates that by asking them not to “lord” it. Much other items can be discovered by comparing the KJV with more modern translations.



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William
William

January 10th, 2017, 8:27 am #10


Premise

Good for yesterday and good for today.

**********


Qualifications for Overseers

1This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Qualifications for Deacons

(Acts 6:1-7)

8Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. 11Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

The Mystery of Godliness

14These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

16And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

King James Bible
Note that from 1 Timothy 3, as quoted, there are only two postive elder attributes. (1) "Apt to teach", and (2) "One that ruleth well his own house". All the others are disqualifications. That is, a drunkard or a man who is a brawler cannot be an elder. Why did the Apostle even feel that he needed to write that down? A sober man may not in other way be satisfactory as an elder. There are always subjective analyses that must be done in the selection of an elder. Note that "if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?" is a clear indication that congregations are to be ruled, led, or taken care of by the elders. The plural, of course, as these "qualifications" are in the singular. If an elder is going to participate in taking care of the church, meaning here a congregation, he must be competent or have a competency in that regard. In other words, getting the bills paid, overseeing the school, managing the property, etc. How this is done is not addressed, so the details have been left up to the contemporary elders.
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