Embraced  by  Truth . . .
                                    reflections on theology and life

Theology > Church > Church Government


It is possible, perhaps even probable, that the two words, “church” and “government,” do not belong together; in fact, it could be argued that the essential concept that is true of each mandates the impossibility of their being used together. In the popular mind each word communicates concepts that are inconsistent with each other: Church speaks of something that is relational and spiritual, and really exclusively speaks of a group of people; government speaks of the organizational and the political, and of something that is controlling, generally in terms of an administrative state.

However, the union of these two words is found constantly in ecclesiastical literature, both theological and historical. The mere usage of “government” with “church” implies something organizational and regulatory in relationship to the Church, a condition which is unquestionably non-Biblical. The Church is not something that requires a government, for the Church is an assembly of believers who follow Christ. The Church does not need to be controlled but to be obedient, obedient to Christ.

The “structure,” if that word is even appropriate, of the Church is from the top down; perhaps, a better word would be “authority,” and this authority within the Church is pyramidal. Biblical teaching mandates the following order: Christ, the Head; Apostles and Prophets as the foundation; Elders exercising leadership; Deacons with their ministry of service; and Believers with their responsibility to submit and follow.

The apostle is normative, for his teaching governs all the teaching in the church for all generations. The elder is situational, the one who applies the apostles’ teaching to all the situations and problems of each church. The deacon is existential, the one who ministers Jesus’ love to those in need (John Frame, ST, 1026-7).

Consideration will be given to the following topics:

        The Headship of Christ

        Foundation of the Apostles and Prophets

        Leadership of Elders

        Service of Deacons

        Responsibility of Believers


        Forms of Church Government

Return to: Church; Next Article: The Headship of Christ

For Quotes related to Church, see: Quotes - Church

For overview of THEOLOGY, see: Site Map - Theology
Copyright © Embraced by Truth
All rights reserved.
Materials may be freely copied for personal and academic use;
appropriate reference must be made to this site.
Links are invited.