Thursday, June 23, 2011

Church Government

Question Received: I was asked the question today by my friend who is of Mormon faith: What church hierarchy did Jesus have, or leave his followers? I know she is referring to apostles, desciples, etc. I belong to a full gospel, nondenominational church and avoid legalistic doctrines. I don't recall Jesus setting up a church hierarchy. Paul and his peers went through great lengths to avoid heirarchies, I thought. Please help. Thank You.

My Answer-
What hierarchy did Jesus have? Easy, top down managment from heaven.
The Son prayed to His Father for direction, guidance and wisdom.
Jesus only had 12 disciples and about 120 followers right before the His death on the cross.

In this passage Jesus prays for guidance as His disciples waited for His actions, in the Garden of Gethsemane before His trial and His sentence to be carried out on Calvary.
Matthew 26:36-39
New King James Version (NKJV)
"36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

This is perfect church government. Who can fault it. Jesus is the head of this group. Jesus submitted to God. He, Jesus, also is God. He is talking to His Father God while being ministered to by God the Holy Spirit. Here the holy power of the Trinity is shown.
Your friend the Mormon does not believe that Jesus is God. Mormons do not believe that God is exclusive as the One true God. Mormons teach that their god is an exalted man who achieved god status.

The following Scripture proves Jesus is LORD and God.

Philippians 2:5-11
New King James Version (NKJV)
"5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

In the following verse Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in the church. So yes their was a deliberate hierarchy in the early church. Paul had Apostolic authority. So there was a hierarchy,in servant leadership, ordained by God. This is an example how Christian leadership is different from the world's leadership as described by Jesus in Matthew 20:25-28.

Acts 14:23
New King James Version (NKJV)
23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.Acts 14:23

Your friend is in a counterfeit church that does not believe in the true character of the One God, The divinity of Christ, the Trinity or penal substitution. They will argue that they are Christians. They have a church hierarchy that is lay driven with information revealed to believers of their cult as they progress. They have a president, bishops and local lay clergy. Some feel this is copied from Freemasonary as founder Joseph Smith was a member. Again, Mormons or Latter-Day-Saints are not Christians and are not saved.

In Christianity church governments vary from church to church and denomination to denomination. As far as the main differences of church government their is Episcopal (ruled by bishops and councils), Presbyterian (run by elders and synods) and Congregational (the democratic process chooses leaders).
The Bible gives full liberty I feel to pick our church government. This flexibility, for a church's use, of church government is so to be practical and adaptable to a multiple of situations in world culture.
Personnel (the character of the servant-leader) seems to be more important than what particular government is used.
Scripture gives detailed descriptions of church leaders in the pastoral epistles 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus.

It is good you have non-Christian friends. The problem-Mormons think they are saved by their actions or good deeds. They deny the character of god and identity of Jesus and the Trinity. An exalted man or angel can not pay for anyone else's sins. They will say Jesus died for their sins. Yet they do not believe or know why.
They do not believe they are sinners-explain to them the 10 commandments and how we have all broken them.
Explain that Jesus is God- He was sinless- Not just a good man like granddad was.
That is why he could die and pay for our sins to appease the wrath of God as he died in our place.
Then we are sinless in the legal since before God and will inherit eternal life.
Salvation is because of Jesus Christ , fully God -fully man.
Your friends life depends on the true gospel.
Share the gospel with her quickly!

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