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Ask the Pastor 158

What is wrong with congregational rule?

Congregational rule is a derivative from democracy. There are a number of problems with this form of government in the Church. First, it is not biblical, there is no where in the book of Acts that even indicates such a thing in the first century Church and there are no instructions to that effect in the New Testament Epistles. Second, democracy is usually accredited to the Greeks, specifically, Athens Greece in about 507 B.C. At the same time the Romans had a republic by 509 B.C. until it changed to an empire. In other words, it is the invention of man, not of the Lord God. Third, voting causes division, those for and those against, the Bible consistently promotes unity. Many times, that division grows as people are upset that they lost the vote and then an even greater division occurs. Fourth, democracy assumes that everyone is the same with the same abilities, intelligence and expertise. This is contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures that all the members of the body of Christ differ and have different gifts (see I Corinthians 12). The founding fathers of the U.S. understood this and installed checks and balances such as the electoral college and a representative democracy rather than a pure democracy. Fifth, the Bible clearly teaches that the head of the Church is our Lord Jesus Christ and He is seen as the great shepherd. He, by the Holy Spirit, then sets aside men who have been gifted by the Holy Spirit to be under shepherds to care for the Lord’s people (see Acts 20:17,28-31; I Timothy 3:1-7; 5:17-19; Titus 1:5-9). The Pastor(s) of a Church are fellow elders in the Church, only they work full-time and are worthy of their wage. As shepherds these men are to care for flock of God, to protect them from false doctrine and deceivers who come in to destroy and to feed them through the teaching of the Word of God. Voting will establish the will of man, spiritual leadership will establish the will of God. It is always better to go by the Word of God than it is to go by the word of man.

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

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