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The Historical Forms of Church Government

The Historical Forms of Church Government

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The Historical Forms of Church Government

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  1. The Historical Forms ofChurch Government

  2. Forms of Church Government • There are only three forms, with many variations with each. • Episcopal • Presbyterian • Congregational

  3. Episcopalian • Archbishop • Bishop • Rector • Congregation

  4. Episcopalian Denominations • Orthodox • Anglican • Roman Catholic • Methodist

  5. Episcopalian: The Defense • Church history • The position and authority of James in Acts 15 • Titus and Timothy’s role over several churches • It is not forbidden in the New Testament

  6. The Arguments AgainstEpiscopalianism • In the New Testament, bishop is not a distinct office but a synonym for elder. • There is no New Testament evidence that bishops were designed to replace the apostles.

  7. Presbyterian • General Assembly • Synod • Presbytery • Session/Consistory • Congregation

  8. Presbyterian: The Denominations • Presbyterians (PCA, OPC, RPCNA, PCUSA, ARP, Split P, etc.) • Miscellaneous Reformed Churches (RCA, CRC, etc.)

  9. Presbyterian: The Defense • The opportunity for gifted men to serve beyond their local church • A demonstration of the unity of the Body of Christ • The connection between ruling and teaching in 1 Timothy 5:17 • The example of the Jerusalem Council Acts 15) • The command of Titus 1:5

  10. The Arguments AgainstPresbyterianism • Scripture nowhere calls for elders to have authority beyond their local flock. • Acts 15 cannot be used to defend Presbyterianism: – The apostles were present and in leadership – The church at Antioch voluntarily requested the help of the Jerusalem church – The entire Jerusalem church sent the letter (15:22) – “If this narrative gives support to regional government by elders, it therefore also gives support to regional government by whole congregations!” (Grudem)

  11. Congregational • Ultimate authority for each local church resides within that church; each church is completely autonomous. • The Denominations o Congregational o Baptist o Mennonite o Evangelical Free o Independents

  12. The Many Faces ofCongregationalism

  13. Single-Elder (Single-Pastor) • Pastor • Deacon Board • Congregation

  14. Corporate Board Model • Church Board • Pastor • Congregation

  15. Pure Democracy Congregation

  16. No Government but the Holy Spirit • Congregation

  17. Plural Local Elder • Pastor and Elders are equal • Congregation

  18. The New Testament Passages • Acts 11:30; 15:2,4,6,22,23; 16:4; 21:18 • James 5:14 • Acts 14:23 • Acts 20:17 • Acts 20:28 • Philippians 1:1 • Titus 1:5 • 1 Peter 5:1