03 December 2011

Presbyterian Church Government?

St. Giles, Edinburgh
The Presbyterian church follows neither the "democratic" nor the "monarchical," form of government. This form we believe accords with the New Testament pattern. In our system, elders are elected by the congregation for the purpose of governing. Once ordained and installed, they assume full spiritual authority. This order, upon which the government of the U.S. is based, expresses the view that certain spiritual "specialists," by virtue of experience, spiritual maturity and godly piety, are better qualified to interpret the Word of God and discern the will of the Lord for the congregation than the congregation as a whole or any single person, cleric or lay.

Looking for an accurate but understandable explanation of Presbyterian church government? Search no more. Check out this link from which the above quote has been taken and where you'll find a brief and informative statement on the subject.  Why is this important? There are numerous reasons for accepting Presbyterianism as the correct form of church government which are laid out in the article. Conversely, allow me to put forward  just two of many errors that can be avoided. First, it will avoid a dictatorship by the minister. He will not be permitted to turn the church in his own kingdom wittingly, or not. It will keep him humble and he will be obligated to work with the presbytery and his fellow elders on church matters. Secondly, as in Congregationalism, members do not vote on every issue within the walls of the church and especially on spiritual issues. Spiritual issues are dealt with by those called called to the office of elder. What could be worse than new believers or possibly unbelievers within the membership voting on deep Biblical issues of faith for the congregation? Those issues are better dealt with by the spiritual leaders of the body, the elders.

For even more information on the issue, check out this brief article as well by Greg Bahnsen.

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