Organizational Issues

Should We Hire a Pastor?

While a salary is a suitable method of payment in most professions, there are peculiar dangers connected with it for those who minister the Word of God.   Doubtless it is for that reason that the idea of a salaried ministry is foreign to the New Testament. While the Lord Jesus taught quite definitely that “the laborer is worthy of his wages” (Luke 10:7) and Paul confirmed that “those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14), there is no suggestion...

Reassembling the Assembly

The question is often asked, "Do assembly principles apply to meetings held outside the assembly?" The answers vary greatly depending on who you ask. The real problem is that Scripture does not address such gatherings, and, as such, in the eyes of many we are left to our own thinking. It is evident from Scripture that in the early New Testament church the local assembly was the gathering place. We read of the Christians "continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread...

An Alternative to Sunday School

In the minds of many Christians, Sunday School is a biblically mandated gathering of the local church. To suggest something different is like attacking the American flag, motherhood, and apple pie. To many others it would be considered heresy to suggest anything different. Few saints stop to consider that Sunday School, as we know it, is less than 200 years old, and was originally started to evangelize "unchurched" children. Today it is a large institution with many programs and in...

The Bishops

First of all, we must distinguish between the New Testament concept of a bishop, and the title as it is used today. In the apostolic church, a bishop was simply one of several mature Christians in a local church who cared for the spiritual welfare of that church. Today, in church systems, a bishop is an appointed dignitary who has many churches under his jurisdiction. Barnes says: “The word bishop in the New Testament never means what is now commonly understood by it—a Prelate. It does not denote here (i.e. in 1 Timothy 3) or anywhere else in the New Testament, one who has charge over a diocese composed of a certain district of country embracing a number of churches with their clergy.’’

 

In the New Testament, the bishops were not a class of men, mediating between God and man. Perhaps it was as a rebuke to such pretension as might arise in the future that the Spirit of God listed the bishops second, not first, when Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, “To all the saints in Christ Jesus . . . with the bishops and deacons.”

In the New Testament, the thought of officialism is absent. Instead of a lofty office with magnificent titles, we are pointed to humble service among the people of God. Thus we read, “If any one is eager for oversight, he is desirous of a good work.”’ Overseership is work, not dignity of office.

Those Who Serve

THE DEACONS In our study of bishops, we learned that their function is the spiritual care and oversight of the house of God. We noted that bishops are also called elders, and that there are several bishops in one church, rather than one bishop over several churches.We come next to the study of deacons, who they are and what their functions are. 1. What Are Deacons? The word “deacon” simply means a servant - a man who pursues some ministry or service. Frequently in the New Testament it...

Discipline in the Church

PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE First of all, it can do so by the godly lives of those who are associated with it. This is fundamental. God desires practical sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3). This is why Church truths are not given as an isolated and distinct outline in any one section of the New Testament. Rather, they are found in many different places, and are interspersed with practical instruction for holy Christian living. The Lord does not simply want people who are out...

Is There a New Testament Church Blueprint?

On April 13, 1970 the astronauts of the Apollo 13 lifted off on a journey to explore the surface of the moon. Although the mission began with all the expectation and excitement of Apollo 12, all hopes were soon dashed when an explosion blew a gaping hole in the spacecraft’s #2 oxygen tank. In abrupt fashion, the Apollo 13 mission was scrubbed, as 205,000 miles of space separated the men from earth. If that was not enough, the unit which filtered the carbon dioxide in the lunar module was i...
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