It’s not hard to understand the doubt, concern, and skepticism that many members have regarding their church. There is much doubt. Though there are kind and sincere believers at the congregation, more and more congregations struggle over power or if you don’t see the power struggle, you know the emptiness and disconnection of the congregation. What or who should guide this congregation? In sorrow but with hope, many believers are seeking for a better way.
The original way is the better way. Jesus’ way is the better way. The simple answer to who should guide the church is Jesus Christ. There is no emptiness and disconnect when we’re in communion with Christ. There should be no doubt, no concern, nor skepticism about our Lord Jesus. Is that not easier realized than applied?
These power struggles and disconnections to Jesus happen to be over additions to Jesus. Too many congregations take Jesus plus one man’s interpretation and will. Some want Jesus plus another group of people. Have we accepted one big government hierarchy in addition to Jesus? Most church members don’t realize that there is a big government deciding there beliefs and practices. Now again, some want Jesus plus some other creeds and, or statements of faith. All these additions always end up with subtracting from Christ. Let’s be challenged to consider ourselves too. Do we want Jesus plus my opinions? Do we want Jesus plus my special interests and talents no matter how pure they may be?
The sole authority is clear and simple. There must be a movement to restore Jesus to power and authority in the churches, because those churches are not His congregations after all unless He is leading them. Without Christ, these condemned congregations are simply denominated from His Church. Christ has one Church (Eph. 4:4) that He built (Matt. 16:18) and bought by His blood (Acts 20:28). His Church is eternal and it is not going any where. Are you a part of it?
If we want Jesus to guide us, where must we go? Only the words of Jesus will suffice. What does Jesus have to say? Where are Jesus’ words? Are the greatest words to ever exist gone? Are these lost? Are these written on the minds of some men to dictate to us? Are these words given in visions to congregational committees? Are these words sealed in man made catechisms and creeds? Are these words resting with a great father at the top of a big government hierarchy? No. None of these are the source of Jesus’ words.
There is and has only been one source for the words of Jesus for about two thousand years. That source is the Bible. Be confident that His words have not changed and that the Bible has not been corrupted despite the fact that 20,500 manuscripts confirm the same. Jesus said that His words would never pass away (Matt. 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33). Jesus said that His words are spirit and life that these would judge the world (John 6:63, 12:47-48). Jesus said that He gave those words to the Apostles (John 15:20, 17:8), and that the Holy Spirit would guide the Apostles unto further truth for Christ has more to say to them later (John 14:26, 15:26, 16:12-13). The Bible contains words of Christ that are God’s breath and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness that person of God may be complete and equipped for every good deed (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The authoritative power is there in Scripture, the words of Christ. Let these guide us with no additions of men.
The words of Christ reveal how His Church is to be governed. The head of the Church is Christ (Eph. 1:22-23). The Church has no big government in the Scriptures. The congregations are self-governed and overseen by Presbyters (which means elders) also called in Scripture Bishops (which means overseers) and Pastors (which means shepherds) (Acts 14:23, 20:28, 1 Tim. 3:1-7, Titus 1:3-9, 1 Pet. 5:1-4). All because someone preaches for a congregation that does not make them a pastor not in the least. The Scriptures have clear qualifications for one to be a Pastor. When one meets these qualifications, then they are appointed through Scripture by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28). Without such qualified men, we should not seek another man-made addition, but a congregation of that size should solely be led by Christ through the Scriptures.
Church government is just a small part of what the New Testament Church of Jesus Christ is all about. There are some even more critical things to consider. Look at the most critical, the Gospel. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16). Does your church teach that? Does it teach the three parts of the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4? The three parts are the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Do they teach this Gospel must be obeyed for salvation (Rom. 6:17, 2 Thess. 1:7-9)? Romans 6:3-7 and Colossians 2:12-13 are two excellent passages teaching obedience to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Remember these are Christ’s words and this is His Gospel. These Scriptures present that form of teaching that is to be obeyed. One must die to their sins, then be buried in baptism, and then be resurrected into a new life. Is this what your church teaches those seeking salvation? Are they teaching that one is saved when they first believed? If they are, then they are teaching that one is saved by belief before obeying the Gospel, which is a clear contradiction of Scripture. Are Are they teaching a sinner’s prayer when there is no such thing in the Scriptures? Are they teaching water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism for salvation when the Scriptures teach that there is only one baptism (Eph. 4:5)? That one baptism is water baptism where Jesus cleansed us of our sins (Eph. 5:26). These need to be warned who have changed the Gospel since their souls are on the line. Galatians 1:8-9, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (9) As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” If you have not obeyed the death, burial, and reussrection, then you should do so immediately. “Why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
Now, what should you do about your church? Can you work reform and move to restoration in your church? I hope so, but if not you have no other option, but to obey the Lord and join His Church. Congregations must be operated under Christ by number of elders or only by the Scriptures. There is no place for big government hierarchies taking money and labors from members without any authority from Christ. Let us all unite and submit to the one power and authority for every congregation’s guidance should be from the words of Christ.
God bless you.