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Ask the Pastor 101

Is Democracy in the Bible?

Having been born and raised in this country it is easy to believe that our form of government is the best possible form of government in the world and therefore should be the form of government for the church as well. As a result, there is what is known as congregational rule in the church where every member has a vote on decisions to be made by the church. With small churches a vote can be taken on many things, but in the larger the church, it is more difficult to get everyone together to vote on every little thing. Therefore, there needs to be some sort of committee that is elected to make decisions concerning the little things and day by day operational matters. Democracy and congregational rule are not found in the Bible, it is believed that democracy originated by the Greeks in Athens in 508 BC. The Romans picked up on it and held to a form of democracy as their empire grew. The New Testament, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, instructed the church to recognize elders who would govern under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Congregational rule is rule by man and therefore falls into the same pits as common democracy. For example, what happens when the voting majority of a church are carnal Christians, the vote will always be on the side of carnality. This becomes dangerous to the church as to both doctrine and moral behavior which can be compromised by the majority vote. Voting is subject to political campaigning and manipulation rather than the searching of Scripture and being led by the Holy Spirit. Elders are men who are to meet the biblical qualifications of an elder and then be led by the Holy Spirit through prayer and the searching of Scriptures to be servant leaders who shepherd, care, feed and lead the congregation. Therefore, we are to, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17).

Have questions about the Bible? Send them to Dr. Greg Koehn at and read the answer here in this article.

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