Thursday, August 25, 2011

Church Government - Part 4 The Congregation-Led Church

The Congregation-Led Church

At the center of congregationalism is the firm belief that Christ is the head of his church (Col. 1:18) and that there is a priesthood of all believers (1 Pet. 2:9). Further, it is fundamental in New Testament teaching that Christ is the living Lord among his people.[1] The church is under divine authority defined to mean the lordship of Jesus Christ and the leadership of the Holy Spirit.[2] The definition of Congregational polity offered by Garrett is that form of church governance in which final human authority rests with the local or particular congregation when it gathers for decision-making.[3]

Congregationalism has strengths such as flexibility in practice and the participation in the decision-making process of the laity. Further, unlike the defense of Presbyterianism offered by Reymond, Congregationalism is not an end in itself but is rather a means to other ends.[4] A key weakness of this polity is the seemingly minimized role of the offices of elder/overseer/pastor which are clearly ordained in Scripture.

[1] Ibid.

[2] Brand, Chad Owen, and R. Stanton Norman. ed. Perspectives on Church Government: 5 Views. (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2005), 157.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid, 194.

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