Thursday, May 22, 2008

God and Church Authority

Andy Stanley, in The Next Generation Leader, relates an incident where he disagreed with a major decision of his elders. He writes: “I was really tempted to do an end run around the elders' decision. But I had been brought up believing that God works through channels of authority. ... Now, five years later, when I think back on how close I came to ignoring the advice of that discerning group of men, it makes me feel sick” (Stanley A 2003:97). In my own Church, the official view is that the decisions of the Church Meeting (the whole membership) are “those which Christ Himself imparts”. Personally, I take this further, and believe, with Stanley, that the decisions of the elders and deacons are given by God, both when I agree and disagree. I take a dim view of those who pick a decision apart, asking who decided what why and how. QUESTION: Agreed? How is a Church to know God's will through its routine governance? Could the prudent decision of a meeting be the wrong one in God's plan -- and vice versa?

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