Did You Know Series...
the Lord's Church
by Dick Ward
Did you know the Bible gives specific instructions for the ORGANIZATION of the church? No man nor any group of men have the right to change God's organizational instructions for His church anymore than they have the right to change the facts about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (Read 2 John 9-11; Revelation 22:18,19).
What We See in Man-Made Churches
When we begin an examination of the churches (denominations) of men we see no unity in organizational structure. For example, the Catholic church has one man as the head of their church - the "pope", the "bishop of Rome", the "vicar of Christ". The "pope" of the Roman Catholic Church is said by them to have power to "speak for God" in religious matters. The Baptist Church has a "Board of Deacons" that makes the decision for the business affairs of a local congregation. The Methodists have "Bishops" over certain areas and a "Board of Stewards" over the local group. The Mormons claim they have "living Apostles" today who have the same authority and abilities as did the Apostles (Peter, James, John, Paul, etc) of the first century. Well, in your reading of the Bible, did you ever read of a "pope" or "president" over the church universal? Did you ever read of a "board" of anything? Where did these arrangements come from? I found my information in the "Creed Books" and writings of these denominations.
The New Testament Church
In the Bible we read of "elders" (Titus 1:5) and we learn of their qualifications (I Timothy 3:1-5; Titus 1:5-11). We see from the scriptures, the authority of elders is limited to the "flock among them" (I Peter 5:2,3). These elders do not have legislative (law making) authority, but have been given administrative (to carry out) authority. A preacher is not necessarily an "elder or bishop or pastor" (synonymous terms). The largest organizational arrangement is found in the local church - no universal human leadership like a pope or president of the church! The local church has elders or bishops with deacons and saints (Philippians 1:1) when it is scripturally organized. These elders "tend the flock of God" that is among them - that "tending" is NOT the preacher's work. The preacher's work is that of proclaiming the gospel to the church and to the world. Do you not see the need to follow the pattern of organization God gave in the BOOK? Have you been led to believe that people today do not have to follow a scriptural pattern in work, worship and organization of the church?
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Dick Ward for the article! He can be reached at 18 El Dorado East, Tuscaloosa, AL 35405; 205.556.2407).
Email the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
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