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Church Government

"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." (1Co 14:33) "Let all things be done decently and in order." (1Co 14:40)


aymon de albatrus

Given the evil nature of human beings, it is a must that they be governed.

Some time ago there was a liberal modernist Canadian artist being interview on TV and him explaining that in the past he believed in the goodness of the human heart and that he would have endless discussion with his father on this for he believed the opposite. Until one evil day the Police from Quebec went on strike and immediately ordinary good citizens such as us, went wild, beginning to make "proletarian withdrawals" from the shops, destroying everything. In a few days the city was ransacked and destroyed by "good" people like us. After this evidence of barbarism, the modernist changed his mind.

God says about the human heart: "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Gen 6:5) and God should know something about the human heart for He made it.

For this reason God has given a clear government to His Church. To strongly notice, that the Church of God is not a Democracy but a Theocracy. Soon after the last American election, where the media predicted the defeat of Bush, and was doing all it could to achieve that (the media being on the main liberal, leftist and modernist) they realized that Bush did win with the support of the Christians, thus shocked they went to interview the various pastors. I was pleasantly surprised that one of them testified just that, that the Church is not a Democracy but a Theocracy.

Defining Democracy:

Democracy in the natural could be seen as good, and surely it is better than dictatorship, but spiritually it is a disaster. It is the best effort made by man to govern itself in an equal way, according to his justice, but has ruined us spiritually and not only that, it has ruined the fabric of the family and society (as given by God) as we see all around. It has destroyed the figure of the father, that in the end represents God, and consequently all the rest has collapsed.

The word Democracy comes form the Greek: DEMOS = People KRATIS = to Govern.

In fact the principle of democracy was invented at Athens in the fifth century BC from a secular concept in a pagan world.

The modern definition of democracy is: "Government by the People", especially government by the majority, or better by: "a government of all the people, by all the people, for all the people." as President Lincoln declared in his famous speech at Gettysburg.

That is: "The rights of the people, the voice of the people, ballot of the people, control by the people". In other words man is sovereign, not God, indeed, God is put out by democracy. God is totally absent in all of this; therefore democracy is clearly NOT scriptural. Democracy, as envisaged these days, is not from or of God but of Satan, it is against God and has no part at all with the Kingdom of God. Democracy is the second worst enemy of Christianity and the Christian are mostly unawares of this because the great accuser is also master in deceiving even the elect, if that were possible.

As correctly stated, the Church is a Theocracy, specifically:
"Government by God through His appointed authority".

The churchís government must not be elected democratically for at least these reasons:

Democratic election for the eldership are not Scriptural for it is Him that elects His people in His church, not the congregation: "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." (Act 20:28)

If the congregation elects it can also un-elect, this also in unscriptural for the Elders are elected for life, being appointed by God and his calling and gifts are without repentance: "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." (Rom 11:29) This is not so in democracy.

In these democratic elections women will partake as well. It is difficult to see how the "glory of man" could judge and have authority over the "image and glory of God" to elect and make judgments. 1Co 11:7

Essential factors, reference to Elders appointment:
"21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. 23 And they appointed (selected) two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles." (Act 1:21-26)

"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:" (Tit 1:5)

"Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." (1Ti 4:14)

What qualifies men to the ministry is the gift and election of God: It is not by nature, nor of ability or a manís capabilities, nor on acquired things, nor scholastic qualifications or the knowledge of languages, art or science, not even salvific grace that a man may have, for a man may have all of these and not being qualified from above. But it is a peculiar and distinct gift from God that enables a man to interpret Scripture correctly under the guide of the Holy Spirit enabling him to discern the mysteries of the Grace of God for the edification of others.

The principles to elect Elders:

The Elders are not elected by the congregation for that would be democracy,

The Elders are not qualified by scholastic qualifications but by 1Ti 3:1-7

The Elders are called by the Spirit of God, not auto-elected or elected by the congregation. If the Spirit does not call it is useless that a man be appointed to the position. The other Elders and the congregation must accept those that the Spirit call to the ministry in accordance with the Word: "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." (Act 20:28) After all the church is Godís.

The neo 'Elders' ought to be tested for a period before appointment to prove their suitability to the Office.

The time of appointment of the Elders is for life, unless they disqualify themselves Scripturally or resign. If after, they cannot participate actively for various reasons, their wisdom should still be available to the church.

The Eldership ought to be a plurality of men, co-equal. The ordination of a man to the office of Elder must be in accord with:

i) Divine Sovereignty: the sovereign calling of God on the man. It is Good that ordains a man to the ministry through Jesus Christ, otherwise the ordination is not valid.
ii) Human responsibility: the Eldership and the congregation recognize the calling of God on the man and accept this in the church.

Relations within the Eldership are based on the co-equality between equals. "But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren." (Mat 23:8 AV) They are all equal in terms of the office of elder but there is a difference of ministry gifts received from God.

In this co-equality of plurality it is necessary that one of the elders be "first among equals" by his received abilities and matured experience to coordinate all things with order and decorum.

Election of an Elder is done this way:

  1. No election or ballot box from the congregation,

  2. The existing elders in prayer identify those elected by the Lord to the position,

  3. Having identified the man, they will present him to the congregation as a possible new elder by the will of God, giving a period, say one month, to present over any grave reasons as to why he should not be an elder. These reasons need to be signed and given to the existing elders in private. (Grave reasons, not dislikes),

  4. If grave reasons are presented, the elders must inform themselves with all diligence to ascertain their veracity, and if sufficiently serious, then no elder,

  5. If there are no grave reasons forthcoming, or the reasons given were not serious, the would be elder is given a period of testing, say six months, to actually perform the duties of an elder. This to prove to himself, to the elders and to the congregation that the calling was true,

  6. At the end of the six months, without problems, the new elder gets officially appointed to the position of elder in front of the congregation with the imposition of the hands by the existing elders,

  7. The new elder then promises to obey God and to serve the congregation under God.

What the congregation CANNOT DO:

Appoint elders or pastors in a democratic way (or sack them),
Control the eldership for the direction of the church,
Control the finances of the church for what concerns tithing and offers,
Take upon themselves to discipline the eldership or single elder.

What the congregation CAN DO:

Pray foe the eldership,
Agree and accept the new elder or deacon elected by God,
Submit to the eldership and obey them as they obey the Word of God,
Confirm disciplinary act emitted by the eldership and excommunication against members under grave sins and without repentance,
Agree and confirm legal matters and finances and sales concerning estate and big expenses.

Besides the base qualification of 1 Timothy, God has given to his elected men ministerial gifts for governing his church and to edify His Flock

"And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." (1Co 12:28 AV)

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;" (Eph 4:11 AV)

We see that God has given to His church 5 major gifts to help govern the church. Many churches today do not believe in these gifts for, they say, are no more necessary for they were given only to establish the early church. But the word of God does not leaves us in doubt on this and says: "12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" (Eph 4:12-13 AV)

I am asking: "Are the saints perfected? Is the body of Christ fully edified? Have we reached the prefect man? Are we measuring to the stature of the fullness of Christ?" The honest answer to these question is a big fat NO!. THEN, are we in need of these 5 ministerial gifts?? The big fat answer to this is YES!. Therefore why we do not want to accept these gifts of God when they were never revoked and we have a strong need for them?? I do not know, it makes no sense to me.

A brief description of these functional gifts in the NT:

Apostle:
His function is to build churches and to establish them on sound doctrine giving them strict Biblical foundations. Generally he is itinerant, he goes from church to church, stopping even for some time, enough to put the church back into the Biblical course, if necessary.

Prophet:
He speak on behalf of God, not in the imperative sense of the OT prophets, for his words must be tested against the Word.

Evangelist
Generally works outside the church to preach the Gospel to non-believers in a convenient way to them and he is very itinerant.

Pastor:
He is very tied up to the church, his function is to look after the soul of people in a very intimate way, and he has to know the people very well. The pastor usually remains in his church for long time, even his whole life.

Doctor:
He is the teacher, the theologian teaching in the minutest details the doctrine established by the apostle.

These are ministerial functions, not to establish a new doctrine or to add to the Word, for these have been sealed, but gifts that are identified under the umbrella of the original functions and are similar in character, given for governing and edifying the flock of God.

Concerning human scholastic qualifications, these have some importance, but are not sufficient in the scheme of the church of God, even though modern churches put on them a huge importance. We see Paul, a super qualified man in theological terms that says this: "7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ," (Phi 3:7-8) We see here Paul stating that all the natural things he has, including qualifications, and he had many, are counted as dung in comparison of having Christ, i.e. being approved of Him.

Attention, I did not state that these papers are worthless, for they are useful to aid own calling in a practical way, but do not replace the calling of God. Without that call one may have tens of theological degrees but would be good for nothing in the church of God. If anyone goes to a biblical school and comes out with a paper stating that now he is a qualified pastor it does not necessarily mean that he really is so in Christ, if He does not call. For example, many women in these decadent days go to biblical school and come out with certificates that say they are qualified pastors. But no Biblical church would give them such a position for the Word of God does not allows such appointment for women. A liberal modern leftist church may do that, but it is an apostate church, and not a church of Christ

The call to care for the little flock of God comes from above as He wills, and no degree could ever supplant the calling of God. Having a degree in theology (or hundreds) does not necessarily mean one is a shepherd of the flock of God.

Many modern churches require scholastic qualifications issued by humans for the positions in the church, treating the church like any other human organization. For example to occupy a position of engineer in the world one has to have a degree in engineering, but the church is not a human organization for the church is set up by God and it is Him that elects whom He wants to govern His church. If scholastic qualifications were needed, then the Apostles would have been out. Moreover modern churches have the figure of Pastor as the head of the church, but this is unbiblical for the gift of Pastor is a function gift and not that of govern. In the modern churches the Pastor is seem almost as a king and the church is his reign. The early church had the college of the Apostles and of the Elders: "And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them." (Act 15:4) Where James, Peter and John were columns, not kings: "And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision." (Gal 2:9)

Essential factors, reference to Deacons appointment:
"1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: 6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them." (Act 6:1-6 AV)

The deaconís work is primarily practical.

The procedure is essentially similar to that for the Elders, but with some modification:

The Elders ask the congregation to give privately some names of men that are qualified according to 1Ti 3:8-13,

The Elders in prayer will evaluate these names, and some chosen, for more that the necessary could be given. Do note that it was the men that chose other men,

Again the elders will ask if there is anything Biblical against these men,

Then the procedure is the same as that for the elders with the final consecration with imposition of the hands by the Elders.

As Scripture states, the elders asked men to choose valid men qualified according to God to carry out practical works in the church.

Can a woman be appointed deacon?

In the NT there is not a single definitive verse that speaks of "deaconess", even in non-biblical sources there is no evidence that such office existed for the first 300 years after the church was established. After 300 A.D. (from Constantine onwards) as the church was sliding ever more deeply into apostasy also regarding the organization of the church and its structure, we then find the office of "deaconess".

Besides there is, in the biblical qualifications for deacons, an insurmountable passage: "Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well." (1Ti 3:12) How is it possible for a woman to be the husband of one only wife???

In the primitive church there seemed to be a service of the widows, such as Phebe Rom 16:1 that was a servant of the church doing good works. She was a servant, as we all should be, but not holding the office of "deacon, indeed the word "diakonos" means servant

http://www.albatrus.org/english/church-order/deacons/index_church-order_deacons.htm

We must be careful to do the things of God according to His will and not according to our beliefs. Let us take the example of Saul the king, he was waiting for Samuel to do the burnt-offering to the Lord, but Samuel was retarding and noticing that the troops were beginning to disperse took things in his own hands and because he was king, thinking he was something, he did the offering himself. But this cost him dearly for when Samuel arrived: "13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. 14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee." (1Sa 13:13-14)

In conclusion, this is how the Lord has organized the government of His Church:

  1. God is Order and in His church ALL must be done according to His order and decorum,

  2. It is God that elects His own to the government of His church, not human beings,

  3. The selection of men to govern His church is according to the Lordís ways, not according to the world. Democracy is a creature of the evil one and has no part at all in the Kingdom of God,

  4. Human scholastic qualifications are not sufficient for election to the offices of the church of Christ, but can be of practical help in performing that calling

  5. God has given two position of government to the church: Elders and Deacons. The duties of the Elders include prayer, ministry of the Word and supervision of the church. The deacons are to be employs in everything practical in the church. The deacons are responsible to the Elders,

  6. Relations between Elders are based on co-equality between equals in the office of elder. They are all equal concerning the office of the elder, but there is a difference of gifts given by the Lord and one of them has to be given the position of "first among equals" to co-ordinate the work of the Lord with order and decorum, without confusion,

  7. The Lord has given five ministerial gifts to His church to help spiritual growth: "11 And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: 13 till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" (Eph 4:11-13)

AMEN