James McDonald writes “congregational government is from Satan”


Here is “interesting” piece from someone who seems have a beef with a specific approach to church leadership.  Mr. Kinnon is already ranting about it.  I think James does point out some of the weaknesses of the way Baptists and Mennonites and other churches have gone about picking or appointing their leaders. 

He makes the point that you can’t find the congregational approach in scripture.  Mmmmm….there are some passages that seem to imply that the group makes some decisions, like going through the process to kick out the guy in Corinth who was messing around (1Cor 5).  We also have Paul directing Titus to appoint elders (Tit 1).  We have Paul saying some deprecating things about “those who were influential” at the council of Jerusalem (Gal 2).  We also see James being very influential in that meeting (Acts 15). 

Honestly, it is hard to make a rock solid case for any specific modern model of church government in scripture.  It just isn’t laid out all that clearly.  The best we can do follow where other passages take us.  Start with Heb 13:17 you will get a certain result.  Start with Matthew 20:25 and you end up in a different place.

This post kind of startles me.  When did people start caring about whether our approach to church reflected scriptural principles.  As someone in a house church I care a great deal about biblical ecclesiology but rarely do I ever see a contemporary church leader pay any attention to it.  All I’ve ever personally observed is a pragmatic ecclesial relativism.   If a given approach helps the organization reach their measurable goals (usually in the realms of program attendance, membership and finances) then it is deemed acceptable.

If we going to start caring about biblical ecclesiology we’ll have to revisit a few more topics:

  • apostolic leadership
  • tithing
  • preaching as the central task of the gathered church
  • salaried pastors

This list could go on and on. 

In the house church we make big decisions together.  We don’t vote.  We pray.  We open ourselves up to each other to see what God might communicate to us through them.  We work it out together carefully considering the scriptures and the perspective of our elders (elders as in seniors).

This kind of thing is surreal to me.  

  1. #1 by Bene D on June 12, 2011 - 7:17 pm

    Before I head over and read this McDonald fellow – I’m going to take a wild guess that he is a Calvinist trying to make his mark with the truly reformed.

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