The Lord’s System of Church Government – Part 1

Bible_five_fold_ministryThe Lord’s system of Church government is not to be controlled by one man. Rather, it is to be led from Jesus, being the one head of the Church, working through a group of elders (plural) within a given body of believers (See Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:17; James 5:14; 1 Peter 5:1-5). 

Elders are the gifts Jesus is said to have left the Church when He ascended on high (See Ephesians 4:8, Ephesians 4:11). Notice that verse 11 says: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” Each of these is written in the plural, not in the singular.

The term, “the man of God” (emphasis on “the”), being used to call attention to one special man in the Church, is foreign to the Bible. Thus, to call a man, “The Pastor” (emphasis on “the”), is contrary to the biblical usage of this title. Nowhere do we find any of the New Testament apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, or teachers, being called by their calling’s title. Instead, these men were referred to by their names (“John,” “Peter,” “Paul,” “Jesus”), or by the pronouns “brother” or “elder.” Not one time are any of these men called, “the prophet,” or “the pastor” in our Bible. Such titles can, and often do, elevate a man to a status greater than the other members of Christ’s body (See Matthew 23:5-12; Romans 12:4-10; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31). Such elevation is opposed to the calling such a man of God would have since they are called to be the servant of all (See Matthew 23:6-12; Mark 10:35-45; Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:3). Such elevation can also cause their calling’s work to suffer proportionally (See Philippians 2:3-7; James 4:6; 3 John 1:19; Proverbs 16:18; Matthew 23:12; 1 Peter 5:6).

If a man prefers to be called by a certain title (“apostle,” “prophet,” evangelist,” “pastor,” “teacher,” “bishop,” etc), that title in itself is not the evidence of his calling. The way in which a man’s calling to the five-fold ministry is confirmed is by observing the fruit produced through his walk with God (See 1 Corinthians 9:2; 2 Corinthians 3:1-3, 2 Corinthians 12:12). Without such fruit, a title may become an indictment (See 1 Corinthians 3:12-15).


More study to come…

Part 2

Copyright © 2006 TK Burk. All Rights Reserved.

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