Musings 74

Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.

Colossians 1:18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.

The professing Church has not been unified for centuries if not millennia. Before the close of the New Testament we have Paul and others writing to help people get along with each other and to correct false doctrine and other issues. The true Church, while much ink has been used to write tomes on the nature of the Church, is essentially the body of Christ. That is perhaps the most fundamental truth about the Church and perhaps the most important to remember. The most important thing about the Church and a church is not whether it has elders or not or whether the leaders are Bishops or not, the most important thing about Church and churches is Christ.

It is vitally important to some to hold that the Presbyterian form of government is what was instituted by God in the New Testament. For others, it is the Congregational view. For others, it is a strong form of elder rule. Is the form of government really as important as the Savior and Head of the body? Could it be that the form of government in a church is not what is important for people who are truly following Christ? It would seem that if Christ is the Head of the Church, then the preaching and teaching of the churches would be to preach the Gospel of Christ and to nourish and cherish the members of His body. When those who love Christ begin to see that Christ taught that how His people treat others is precisely how they treat Him, some things that were once thought important will dwindle away.

Jesus asked Peter if he (Peter) loved Him. Yes, there is also something else going on there with the various Greek words for love. Nevertheless, when Peter answered in the affirmative he was told to shepherd and tend His sheep. This is rather profound if we could get it. If the ministers of the day love Christ, they should shepherd and feed the sheep of Christ. They are not to use and abuse or lord it over them, but instead the office of pastor should compel a man to feed the sheep of Christ. The Lord Jesus did not order Peter to set up the office of Pope or to set out rules of Church government, but instead He told him to shepherd and feed the sheep. Again, He did not tell Peter to get the people to give more money for bigger buildings, but instead He told Peter to shepherd and feed the sheep. He also did not tell Peter to feed the whole world, but instead he was to feed the sheep.

The Lord Jesus was concerned about His sheep, but He did not set up a specific government while on earth. Instead, He made it clear that His people were to love the truth, love each other, and they were to make disciples. It is also true that Paul did not spend much time in writing about how to set up the government of the churches, but he did speak about teaching sound doctrine and preaching the word. Neither Jesus nor Paul wasted a moment of their time as recorded in Scripture speaking of church politics within the churches. When so much appears to be done in our day as mediated through the politics of denominations and even of local churches, when that is done we can know that we have already lost. The focus has been moved from loving Christ and His people which Christ commanded to keeping rules which Christ did not command.

During the summer months many denominations have their national meetings. There is a lot of discussion about rules and regulations and many plans are made for various things. But it would behoove people to consider what Christ would want done when churches come together. Would Christ want fanfare and politicking going on? Would Christ want so much money spent on extravagant meeting places and motel rooms? Wouldn’t it be much more like Christ to want His people fed with Himself through Gospel preaching and for men to lift up and exalt the glory of God in Christ? Wouldn’t it be more like Christ to want His people to seek humility and lowliness before Him that He would open their hearts and give them grace as He pleases? What would happen if these meetings were indeed judged by how the people of God were shepherded and fed? It may be that they would be utter failures. But, some will say, we made great plans. Indeed, great plans. But where is Christ in all of that?

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