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Friday, February 02, 2007

Why do you believe...?

During last weeks discussion on authority several good points were made and there were even some good thoughts offered on Church leadership. It seems we all agree that, "Christ is the single authority over each believer". There does, however, seem to be a valid concern regarding praxis, or how it is that Christ’ administers His authority in the Church. Most here find the Roman error quite grievous yet if we examine ourselves we might find those same tendencies thriving in most Evangelical Churches. The question we seek to answer is this, “How can Christ govern His Church if not through some person or persons here on earth?”

History offers numerous examples of how men have sought to establish themselves as Christ’ intermediary here on earth and even today there are many who claim to hold this position. For others it seems this position is not singular but rather Christ appoints rulers with authority equivalent to that of the apostles. Finally there are those who believe that the Church herself is to elect one or more individuals to govern her in Christ stead. Brethren I think we desperately need to alter our perception of us, the Church, as an institution and start to visualize ourselves as the living body of Christ. Christ Jesus alone is our head and He alone governs the movement and action of each member of His body. If we then are a body and not an institution we must ask, “ what is the remedy for the virus of sin that is constantly infecting our members?”

Time and necessity prevent me from expounding on the analogies in this but suffice it to say there is no cure in amputation. In the post below I have provided links to a series of articles detailing my understanding of Church discipline, which I believe is the only cure for any ailment that might infect the body of Christ. I hope it is clear from these articles that all of us have both the authority and the responsibility to provide aid in healing this illness as needed.
And now having fully taxed your patience I will ask, why do you believe there is a need for any form of Church government outside of Church disipline?

Labels: , ,

26 Comments:

Blogger Kitty Cheng said...

Kc, Could it be that so it provides accountability? I am not so sure actually.

2/02/2007 08:48:00 AM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

" How can Christ govern His Church if not through some person or persons here on earth? " KC I personally feel that the Church should have a Pastor and a goverening Body of persons that are God fearing people that truly love God ! Just as the country's have to have goverening body's then so do The Churchs .I read a statement from another post a few days ago where they were asking why should you have a say so in the church's general activities if you do not support your church only when you want to ? I believe that the encouragers { Pastor- Deacons-Sunday School Tearchers-Bible study Teachers- should be God fearing and love God because if you have this type of church then Gods Love extends to those who are listed as plain church members and your church comes together in unity and love which I believe is pleasing to God? I do believe that the leaders should have accountability for their positions? I hope you understand what I'm saying cause I am not a Bibilcal scholar ! Blessings . Ron.

2/02/2007 09:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus made a point to direct his disciples and provides personal examples were one should obey governing worldly authorities. But he consistently disobeyed the traditions established by the church authorities and leaders. What does that mean?

2/02/2007 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kitty, it’s always so good to have your thoughts. I understand the scripture to teach that we will give account to Christ for the things we do in this life but we all have the responsibility of loving one another. ;-)

Ron, I really appreciate your honesty and especially your participation. Could I ask what you think the pastor and the governing body are supposed to do? I mean what are they to govern?

Missy, good point. I agree the scripture shows that Jesus showed no regard for religious leaders or their traditions that were against the commandments but He wholly submitted to God instead.

2/02/2007 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

KC, I finally read most of what you linked below and I totally think I get the big picture now. I really wasn't sure where you were going until now.

Even though my church is often considered by others as oppressively legalistic, my experience has been quite different. 6 years ago, my church family in Texas was the family I was baptized into. As we began to be comfortable - even as I began my studies, I was daily taught, rebuked and encouraged. Not in a class, but in my regular daily interactions by my best friends, because this is what they had been taught to do. This was God's discipline and I knew it. Sometimes it was tough, but it was always good. There was no shame involved, no tattling to the elders - just friends talking and helping one another.

When I moved to New England, I lost some of that the first few months trying to put myself out there and be open with strangers, but it did not take long to get back to it and these guys are even more mature about it. I am growing leaps and bounds under their watch; God is blessing us and I am grateful.

It was happening all around me and I never knew it. The first lesson I had to get under my belt was simply to be humble enough to listen.

What you describe is going on everyday amongst believers, especially here online. Whoever has taken it upon themselves to "take over" a church does not matter. No rules or discussions have to happen. As a believer, you just start doing it and teaching others to do it. When you can't help or NEED more help, grab another brother or sister or two who have the same heart. If you still can't help, get the whole church involved. I think there's a scripture about that somewhere...

We had a very heirarchal structure several years ago, and as the church grew it became apparent that this was not the way to go. Locally we basically have a family who is paid to oversee the administrative care of the church and an advisory team that they present their ideas to. They are all gifted speakers and teachers, but many others speak and contribute during worship. But most of our "church" functions are small group gatherings so we develop close relationships that foster this idea of church discipline. My limited experience indicates that this works best in congregations of less than 200. Beyond that power struggles always seems to pop up.

I guess I find this structure ideal in addressing your concerns and convictions as well as my own.

2/02/2007 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Missy, I would say we are definitely of the same mind on this. Your testimony is a great blessing to me. Thanks so much for sharing it here. I also appreciate your perception concerning our activities here in the blogsphere. I told Adam the other day that I see more of what I believe the Church should be here than I do in most local assemblies. Thanks for all your efforts in this.

2/02/2007 03:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I arrived at Evangel University, I was required to sign a pledge, agreeing to refrain from drinking, smoking, wearing my hair too long, have sex with people to whom I'm not married, etc. The explanation was thoughtful and interesting: We don't assert that these behaviors are prohibited by scripture. In fact, most of them aren't. But by being here together, we are part of a community. As a community, we judge it wisdom to establish standards of conduct that will not distract us from our stated purpose with needless controversies. By signing this, you are voluntarily agreeing to submit yourself to the greater good of the community.

I'm just thinking out loud, but I think it might be interesting if church leadership were to approach its role with a similar attitude, instead of turning every decision into "Thus saith the Lord." (because no one really believes that, anyway).

2/02/2007 03:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will accept the government of elders appointed by apostles. If they have not been appointed by apostles, they are as good as any elders that I might appoint.

God Bless

Matthew

2/03/2007 12:47:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

I was forced to upgrade to the new blogger this morning and now many of the comments are shown as anonymous. I wish I could have prevented this. My sincere apologies for this.

Once more it seems you get just what you pay for. ;-)

2/03/2007 04:52:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Dorse, I honestly believe that any code of conduct is a violation of the freedom we have in Christ. I think they unnecessarily cause violations of conscience and can be potentially restrictive to a believer in following Christ’ example. I know I don’t have to tell you how many have been unnecessarily offended or rejected because of some unscriptural moral code.

If two or more agree in spirit and conscience then well but do you think they should have the authority to impose their personal convictions on the local assembly? That just seems like an “easy out” for true discipleship to me. If you do or say something that is offensive to me then let’s sit down together and discuss it because one of us needs a change of heart or mind. ;-)

Matthew, do you think the apostles governed the Church?

BTW, I am being so blessed in all your post!

2/03/2007 05:27:00 AM  
Blogger dorsey said...

Dorse? I didn't say that. That was anonymous, hehe.

I wasn't talking about the conduct so much as the attitude of the "governors" in acknowledging that their leadership of that organization was largely human wisdom and not spoken out of a burning bush. I don't mind following a leader, if the group we're in has a purpose and he's organizing us in that light. It's when the leader doesn't allow questioning because he's the "Anointed" that makes me nuts. It's been my experience that such a leader is just trying to cover his incompetence.

Maybe I'm not in sync with your definition. When you speak of "any form of church government," where are you drawing the line? Are you referring to the general administration of the organization (how money is distributed, ministry leadership, glass podium or wood? etc.) or efforts to exercise control over people's behaviors? You know me well enough to know that I'm with you on the code of conduct. But whether the local assembly is 15,000 or 15, there is, naturally, some level of organization, and someone is bound to emerge as a (not "the") leader, just by merit of personality dynamics. Is that governance, or just influence (leadership)?

2/03/2007 07:19:00 AM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

Morning ; KC I think you misunderstood what I was implying? I know that the people that I mentioned in their respected duties has to be led as the body of Christ, because if you do not have a code of conduct that is spoke of in the Bible in the church then the church could very easily stray to man made ways!! From my experience that would be displeasing to God in what his Word has taught us as a church body ? I think that you and I are on same page just hard for me to put in writing? AS i said I am no biblical scholar ! I do know that if a church creates harmony in love with our God ,then the Holy Spirit will lead the Church in the direction that It should go ? A good example is the comment that Bro. Blankenship made about the Missouri Baptist Assoc. gave support to a new Church named The Journey where church is held in a brewery where you can sit and sip on a cool one while listening to word of God. I do know that is no atmosphere that I would put my grandkids and rest of family in !! The Bible teaches us about alcohol and the other abuses we should refrain from as we walk with God in our LIFE ! I'm trying to say we need guidelines in our code of conduct in the church so that we can express your blog title " JUST SO YOU ALL KNOW THAT YOUR'E LOVED ? Blessings To All ! Ron.

2/03/2007 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger dorsey said...

I think it depends on where you draw the line. I'm all for prohibiting murder, theft and adultery within the congregation, but I'm not willing to go much further than that.

And don't touch my beer. :-D

2/03/2007 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

Why am I anonymous? You know I like credit!

Oh, and I thought Dorsey might say that...

2/03/2007 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger dorsey said...

I'll do you one better...

I understand that the idea gives some people pause, but I'd have no problem meeting with the church in a bar. Anyplace where believers get together is an atmosphere I would want my kids to be in.

2/03/2007 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Dorse, I believe that Jesus taught that our leaders are to be servants, first of God, then of men. They will lead us to be servants as well through example and the only governor we will have is Christ, the word of God Himself, through the supernatural means of His presence in us and us in Him. I do want you to know that, in spite of your obvious religious indoctrination (hehe), you are still most beloved my dear brother. ;-)

Bro. Ron, in my heart I know we are on the same page in this though we may have some difference in our understanding. You may not think yourself a bible scholar but you illustrate much better knowledge of the scripture than some of the more brilliant theologians I know.

I understand that if I were to be offended by the action of another then I am commanded to go to that person with the offense and reconcile the matter with him. I have found that the majority of those offenses are unfounded because they are cultural and not spiritual. If I fail to obey Christ’ command and address my brother publicly instead, I will bring an undue reproach on him for which I must then account to my Lord, my brethren and my brother. If I obey Christ’ command and confront my brother then we will grow spiritually as well as in our relationship with Christ and each other and the Church will be edified. ;-)

Missy, a thousand pardons I beg thee. T’was the blogger demon hath done this evil deed! I offer my oath, tis not a thing I would do to thee! ;-)

2/03/2007 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

"I understand that if I were to be offended by the action of another then I am commanded to go to that person with the offense and reconcile the matter with him. I have found that the majority of those offenses are unfounded because they are cultural and not spiritual. If I fail to obey Christ’ command and address my brother publicly instead, I will bring an undue reproach on him for which I must then account to my Lord, my brethren and my brother. If I obey Christ’ command and confront my brother then we will grow spiritually as well as in our relationship with Christ and each other and the Church will be edified. ;-)"

I agree with you 100%, kc, on approaching a brother one on one first. But what do make of Christ command to take one or two more with you if your brother will not reconcile. And then if they won't reconcile we have the awefull duty of bringing it before the church to "discipline".

In light of this, isn't authority given to the church body to judge the matter between you and your brother or perhaps a brother who is in a grevious public sin that will harm the crediblity of the church body? Matthew 18:15-18

I agree with you about authority of hiearchy and personal authority over people. That is I find no such thing in the New Testament Church. But I believe there is some authority given within the local body.

I may be totally of base on your ideas here, but you seem to not believe in any authority at all in the body to exercise discipline.

2/03/2007 11:18:00 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Kc,

good post, and an important question. I think church government is inevitable, since structure is inherently tied to nature . . . i.e. God is a God of "order". If this is the case the issue becomes one of whether our particular church gvt. reflects Christ's character or "our" character (i.e. apart from Christ, the flesh). Unfortunately I think the latter is the case, typically. I don't think church gvt.'s are prescribed or mandated in the NT, but it is obvious that there was and should be some semblence of structure within the Church of Christ.

Hopefully my comments are on point with the rest of your posts on this topic (didn't have a chance to read them yet).

In Christ,

Bobby G.

P.S. you could always become a Plymouth Brethren ;~).

2/04/2007 01:33:00 AM  
Blogger dorsey said...

Kris, I don't presume to speak for Kc, but I do want to direct you back to the original question, which already assumes that discipline is a legitimate function of local church governance.

I also want to note that you caused me to notice something I hadn't before. In your reiteration of the biblical model for conflict resolution, it occurred to me that, where scripture calls for bringing the unrepentant brother before the church for judgement, I had always pictured that brother standing before the pastor and a couple board members as the congregation looked on. That's not what this says, is it? Just as the church in Jerusalem was led by the twelve, I think the discipline of the body is just that, administered by the entire body, not the despots in control. I feel a lot better about that.

2/04/2007 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Zeke said...

I know I've said this before, but positional authority is problematic among believers. Especially when you build a whole hierarchy of positional authority.

I don't have the answer, of course, and I only know to question those who say they do.

2/04/2007 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kris, it’s always so good for me to discuss things with you. I believe the scripture to show that Christ’ gave the Church not only the authority but He also gives us the power to execute His will on earth. I believe He specifically precluded any notion that this power and authority would or should be bestowed on any individual or select group of individuals in the Church. Dorsey pointed out that this great and terrible authority and responsibility belongs to each of us. If we choose to relinquish that authority to an individual it will not relieve us of the responsibility and I believe we will give account for our action.

Bobby, thanks so much for offering your knowledge and wisdom in this. I have yet to see a single discussion fail to benefit from your participation. I know what you say concerning structure and order is true but could you perceive God defining both through the Holy Spirit and the specific gifts given with the Church being governed by Christ alone?

I try never to mention a particular denomination but since you brought them up (grin) I do believe the Brethren hold some great ecclesiastical doctrines. ;-)

Dorse, I wish you would speak for me. I know I’d sound much more intelligent. :-o I believe if the Church accepted her responsibility there would be no “despots in control”. ;-)

Dr. Z., have you ever considered where the power of those structures is centered? ;-)

2/05/2007 12:50:00 AM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Kc said:

. . . I know what you say concerning structure and order is true but could you perceive God defining both through the Holy Spirit and the specific gifts given with the Church being governed by Christ alone?

Indeed, the Church Triumphant ;~) (the part of the church that is in heaven, currently). Just to clarify, you're looking for a church w/o any mediated authority (i.e. through those fulfilling the role of "bishop" James 3:1 for example)?

2/05/2007 01:06:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Bobby, I’m not looking for but rather at the Church as a living body with Christ as the head as opposed to an institution governed by men. With this perspective the role of Bishop is more closely related to Christ’ teaching in Matthew 20:25-28 with the Triumphant Church being that body comprising those who have “overcome the world”.
;-)

2/05/2007 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

I agree with you, Dorsey, if matters have to come to the local body its not a courtroom setting with a couple of "big shots" as prosecuters. This aweful process should be heartbreaking to each of us and not with a heart of giving someone what they deserve. The movie the scarlet letter comes to mind when I think of the latter.

I have been trying to get into my mind what exactly KC is getting to here. I understand it better now and I agree.

KC, I always enjoy discussion with you. You are special to me my friend. The "problem", LOL, is that we both are so much in unity on most every thing we don't get to debate much on issues. I like that though. I just don't have much to comment on because of our 'determined' agreement on most issues. :)

Of course you know I am also a Dorseist and I also must discuss things with our beloved determined brother in east texas.....I have no choice:), we both do love each other.

BTW I do want to get into a discussion on body, soul, and spirit someday. My wife does not appreciate the time it would take right now. You know, my priorities have radically changed.

Have a great week all.

2/05/2007 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger señor jefe said...

So KC,

Would you say that the responsibility in church discipline is more relational than judicial? Discipleship over discipline? More peer-to-peer?

(My apologies for oversimplifying...)

2/05/2007 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kris, I can’t tell you how much comfort and joy I’ve found in our “problem”. I think our appointment to Dorsiesm was evident even before our conversion and I too am glad it extends even to the far reaches of east Texas (hehe).

I really am looking forward to that discussion. Antonio’s recent work on sozo has pressed me to consider the ontology of man even harder. I just can’t reconcile the material/immaterial perspective with the scripture! ;-)

Jeff, I LOVE your simplifications! ;-) I think I would say that proper discipline IS discipleship but absolutely yes, relational and not judicial.

2/06/2007 04:32:00 AM  

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