Adult Bible B.L.A.S.T Week 11 “The Church” cont: 12/24/17

12/24/17

 Regional Federal Government: Synods and General Assemblies appoint pastors and determine doctrine

Pros

  • Clear Biblical base
  • Plurality of Elders
  • Interdependence of churches

Cons

  • May stifle local church initiative
  • Local church may be forced to follow false doctrine imposed from above.

Congregational Government: Ultimate authority for the church rests with the members themselves, ministry, budget, choosing leaders etc

Pros

  • Churches appear to be independent in New Testament
  • Recognizes significance of each individual Believer
  • Democratic in best sense
  • Preserves local church autonomy

Cons

  • May foster overly-independent spirit
  • Lacks sense of continuity with the past
  • May lend itself to charismatic leaders accountable to no one
  • Possible doctrinal quirkiness and easy church splits

Local Federal Government: Elders/Pastors in the local church are ultimately responsible for governing the church

Pros

  • The buck stops with the senior pastor

Cons

  • May lend itself to charismatic leaders accountable to no one
  • Possible doctrinal quirkiness and easy church splits
  • Church body doesn’t have a say in budget or direction
  1. Leadership

Question: When we talk about church leadership, what are we looking at?

Question: Biblically speaking who is the head of the church?

Jesus Christ is the head of the church no matter how it is organized.

  • To go a step farther, any view or method of church organization that obscures the direct headship of Jesus Christ over his church is not likely to have strong biblical support.

 

Apostles

The apostles were the highest authority of leaders in the early church. But as one theologian states, it would seem unwise to give someone that title today.

Read: Ephesians 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone

  • Jesus and the writing and ministry of His apostles are the foundation of the church.

There are no church leaders today whose authority cannot be questioned, or through whom new doctrinal revelations are given to the church, or whose teachings must be accepted by all Christians.

In addition when one looks at the criteria of an apostle, the New Testament makes it clear that

  • The person had to have seen the resurrected Jesus

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my           workmanship in the Lord? (1 Corinthians 9:1)

  • He must have been appointed by Christ

And He called to Him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits,           to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve           apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the           son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the     tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas           Iscariot, who betrayed Him. (Matthew 10:1–4)

Read: 1 Corinthians 15:7-8  Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared also to me.

Wayne Grudem in his Systematic theology states with some certainty that there were no apostles appointed after Paul.

  • When Paul lists the resurrection appearances of Christ, he emphasizes the unusual way in which Christ appeared to him, and connects that with the statement that this was the “last” appearance of all, and that he himself is indeed “the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle” (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 910).

Read: Revelation 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Grudem later adds:

  • Someone may object that Christ could appear to someone today and appoint that person as an apostle.
  • But the foundational nature of the office of apostle as seen in Revelation 21:14 and the fact that Paul views himself as the last one whom Christ appeared to and appointed as an apostle, indicate that this will not happen

 

Elders

Question: Apart from Christ who is our head, who is responsible to lead the church?

  • Leadership in the church today according to the New Testament in found in the Elder.

Read: Titus 1:5-9 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you, if anyone is above reproach,

the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach.

He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

Read: 1 Peter 5:1-3 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

  • Elders are men who are willing to lead and are spiritually qualified to lead the church
  • They are responsible to shepherd the flock of God.
  • The New Testament also indicates that a plurality of elders should be in each church.

Deacon

Question: What is the job of the Deacon on the church?

 Read: Acts 6:1-6 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.

While Deacons are mentioned in the Bible they do not have a leadership role.

  • These individuals are also to be spiritually qualified (Timothy 3: 8-13)
  • and are responsible to serve the needs of the church under the leadership of the elders.
  • They are purely a serving office. In fact the word deacon actually means servant.

 

Categories: Adult Sunday School Class, The Church & Denominations