Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Church Government: Epilogue

I said last time that it was the final post on the Church Government series. Well, let me just say I wasn't quite done, even after that long post. I wanted to give a little lighter note at the end, and at the same time, make sure that I have not missed the main thing.

After drawing on my conclusion, I couldn't help but wonder if the church polity has become a little bit of luxury in the western society. I don't mean that it's unimportant, but, with the advance in technology and transport in particular, we are much more free to choose a church than our ancestors or our brothers in less developed countries are able to (or perhaps they didn't even imagine it!). Although many Christians left (or were ejected from) an established church to found a different church at the height of the Reformation period and during the Religious Freedom movements, and many with good intentions and reasons, the choice most of us in the west are faced with is quite different to what they were faced with. I mean, if I lived in a place and time where the transport was difficult and there was only one Christian church nearby, I will not hesitate to join that church, so long as it were Protestant, Reformed, and Evangelical. (Ok, I'm still unable to let go of some boundaries here, but see, they aren't church polity!) Or, let me put it this way. The church's structure won't be stopping me from joining it, may that be Anglican, Presbyterian, single-elder congregational, multi-elder congregational, or whatever else form, the church polity isn't going to affect my decision.

All this is to say this final, yes, the real final point. As I consider the church polity, it is important to remember that the gospel is the main thing. I won't say that the church polity is not important or inconsequential, no, it is important, but it is crucial that the church polity is viewed in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

To read the earlier posts in this series, see below:

  1. Introduction and Anglicanism
  2. Presbyterianism
  3. Breakthrough
  4. Single-elder Congregationalism
  5. Plural-elder Congregationalism
  6. Reality-check
  7. Conclusion

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