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CHURCH GOVERNMENT

Whose Church is it anyway?  Is it the Pastor's Church?  Does it belong to the Church members?  The answer is, no!  It is God's Church.  He paid a great price for His Church (Col 1:18-20).  So, if it is His Church, we need to ask, "How does He desire that His Church be governed?"

WHO HAS GOD CHOSEN TO LEAD HIS CHURCH?

PASTORS (SHEPHERDS), BISHOPS (OVERSEERS), AND ELDERS?
1. The terms are used interchangeably (Acts 20:17,28; I Pet 5:1,2; Tit 1:5-7)

2. Elder signifies the qualification for Church leadership – maturity.
    Pastor signifies the Church leader's responsibility of guiding, guarding, and         nurturing the Church. 
    Bishop signifies the Church leader's responsibility of leading and governing             the Church.

3. The selection of Elders:
    A good leader in his family (Tit 1:5,6; I Tim 3:4,5)
    He is not in character one who does what is bad (Tit 1:7)
    He is in character one who does what is good (Tit 1:8)
    He is able to teach (I Tim 3:2)
    He is able to protect the Church from false teaching (Tit 1:9; I Tim 3:2).
    He is not a new convert (I Tim 3:6)
    He has a good reputation with outsiders (I Tim 3:7)

4. The leadership style of the Elders (I Pet 5:1-4):
    Voluntarily and eagerly shepherds and oversees the Church; not lording it         over them and not for money, but leading by example.

5. The Church's responsibility to the Elders:
     Respect them (I Tim 5:17,18; I Thess 5:12,13)
     Obey and submit to their leadership (Heb 13:17)
     Protect them (I Tim 5:19)
     Correct them (I Tim 5:20)

DEACONS (SERVANTS)
     Purpose (Act 6:1-6)
     Selection (I Tim 3:8-13)
     Men & women? (Rom 16:1; I Tim 3:11)

 

HOW HAS GOD CHOSEN HIS CHURCH TO BE GOVERNED?

Episcopalian, Presbyterian, or Congregational?
     Episcopalian: governed by a leadership hierarchy outside of the local Church     (Gal 2:9; Acts 15:13-21).
     Presbyterian: A board of Elders makes decisions for the Church (Heb 13:17).
     Congregational: Final decisions are made by the congregation (I Cor 5:1,2,     12,13; II Cor 2:6,7; I Jn 4:1; Acts 6:3,6; Matt 18:15-17; I Pet 2:9).
     Conclusion: The Church is to be led in the same way that a father leads a     family (I Tim 3:4,5,12).  The pattern at the Jerusalem Council was for the     leaders to lead as the whole Church sought God's guidance.  Jesus is the     Head of the Church (Col 1:18).  Each Christian operates under Christ's     Lordship (I Pet 2:9).  The Church leaders are to guide the Church to seek     God's wisdom and direction.  It is not who makes the decision that is     important, but that we make the right and wisest decisions in obedience to     Jesus Christ (I Kings 12:1-19).  The Church is similar to a pioneer wagon     train.  We are in agreement on where we are going, but we need the most     qualified men to guide us there.

BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER: SACRAMENTS OR ORDINANCES?
1. Sacrament – The term is used primarily by those who believe that something
    supernatural takes place when the Sacraments are administered by a Priest or     Pastor.
2. Ordinance – memorials of Jesus death on the cross ordained by Jesus Christ.

THE LORD'S SUPPER – TRANSUBSTANTIATION, CONSUBSTANTIATION, OR SYMBOLIC MEMORIAL?
1. Transubstantiation – The elements are transformed into the body and blood     of Jesus Christ (Roman Catholicism).
2. Consubstantiation con is Greek for "with".  Jesus physically permeates the     elements (Lutheranism).  Jesus spiritually permeates the elements     (Reformed).
3. Symbolic memorial – A symbolic commemoration of Jesus' death and
    resurrection (Baptists, Bible Churches, and others).

BAPTISM – INFANT OR BELIEVER'S
1. Infant – Sacramentalists (Roman Catholic and Lutheran) – saving grace     bestowed by baptism.  Covenant (Reformed and Presbyterian) – baptism is a     sign of the covenant with God that replaces circumcision (Acts 16:15,31-34,     Lk 18:15-17; Col 2:11,12).
2. Believer's (Matt 28:19; Acts 2:38,41, 8:12,38; 9:18, 10:47,48 16:33; Rom     6:3-5).

RESOURCES: THE CHURCH IN GOD'S PROGRAM by Saucy; THE CHURCH THE BODY OF CHRIST and MASTER'S PLAN FOR THE CHURCH by MacArthur; WHEN ALL ELSE FAIL…READ THE DIRECTIONS by Bob Smith; BIBLICAL ELDERSHIP by Strauch

ASSIGNMENT:
(1) Which form of Church government do you believe is taught in the Bible?
(2) Do you believe in the sacramental view or the symbolic view of baptism and
the Lord's Supper?  Why?