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Topic: Church Government


by Darrel Cline

We have been dealing with this question: If God has spoken and the Bible is His Word, of what value is religion that is disobedient to the Bible? (177)

Perhaps one of the most important issues in respect to this question is the why of it. Why are the so-called churches so willing to be disobedient to the Bible? The answer to that is two-fold: first, the leadership typically has an agenda that is contrary to the Bible; and second, the membership is usually ignorant of the content of the Bible so that it doesn't insist that its leadership be biblical.

So, what does the Bible have to say about the leadership of the churches? Lots. But to start, the apostle Paul, writing to Titus about how to establish biblical leadership in the local churches, wrote this: "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee." (Titus 1:5; KJV). Here there is given a biblical mandate for church leadership. It consists of a multiplicity of older male leadership in each local church. This is known today as elder-rule. Interestingly, it is not pastor-rule; it is not priest-rule; it is not congregational rule; it is not rule by a council of men and women and/or children; and it is not rule from outside of the local church.

So, when the Bible in many places plainly requires multiplicity of elders to lead the local church, how is it that churches refuse to be governed in that manner? How is it that females rule when it is clear that it is male rule? How is it that the priest rules when it is clear that there is to be a multiplicity of elders who rule? How is it that the congregation votes on all matters of importance when it is clear the church is not a democracy? How is it that the pastor rules when it is clear that a one man show is not biblical? And how is it that churches allow someone from outside and far away to determine what they will believe and how they will function? Why are the churches determined to be unbiblical when the Bible is the expression of the divine desire?

Could it be that the Jesus Who died for us is not important enough to us to obey?

What is the point of religion that is willful in its resistance to God's Word? How do you suppose God is going to react to groups of people who claim to be religious, but everywhere they turn in their practice, they reject clear biblical instruction in order to pursue the organizational structure that they want rather than the structure that God requires? How do you suppose God is going to deal with those who claim to believe that Christ died for them, but have no loyalty to His Word? Do you suppose that claiming to believe while living in disobedience is going to impress the omniscient God?

Local elder rule is God's method of church government. He is not impressed with any other kind of church organizational structure, and He will not lift the consequences that those structures bring upon the disobedient.

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This is article #179.
If you wish, you may contact Darrel as darrelcline at this site.