A local congregation in the Scriptures is ALWAYS referred to as indigenous. The word “denomination” is NEVER found in the Scriptures. The local church in Jerusalem held a conference of pastors and resolved theological differences among themselves without creating a higher power. God’s plan is still the best plan. Matthew 16:18 is a promise to local churches and not a denomination. Any institution created by man must be protected by man, but God has not offered His promises of protection to those man made institutions no matter how useful they may be to the cause of Christ.
In “The Aquila Report” of January, 2013, the following statement was made.
“A congregation should also be able to expect certain theological precision and convictions from its leadership based upon the denomination’s stated beliefs and theology. In this way, a congregation is protected from a pastor who would come in and change the church in drastic ways (i.e. from an infant baptizing church to a believer’s only baptizing church).
The concern is real, but the logic is flawed. In the SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION they are ordaining and installing female pastors. Apparently this so-called protection from a denomination did not protect. In this and other denominations they are being swept away with false doctrine. A higher power named a denomination is NO guarantee of protection, but it is a guaranteed interference by man. If a denomination can vote on issues and usurp local church authority it is injecting the death of that local church via the man-made denomination.
This whole issue comes from so many versions of Scriptures being promoted by the denominational colleges, universities, and seminaries. Our God is not the author of confusion, but our denominational colleges are the author of confusion. If we have Scriptures that are the final authority then we as local congregations will not need a higher power to decipher issues.
Romans 10:17 states that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Thus when faith diminishes it is because the word of God is diminished. When we are so confused as to which “Bible” is THE “Bible” we end up turning to our professors and denominational leaders for answers instead of God’s Word.
ACCOUNTABILITY-“Every church and every pastor of a local church needs accountability. If we believe that sin is true reality, then we will strive to check it. And that often requires a voice outside of our own local church. Denominations provide structure with their policies, appeals process, confessions, and authority.”
Every church and every pastor of a local church needs accountability is a true statement. When we search the Scriptures we find only two offices in a local church. One is the office of Pastor and the other is the office of Deacon. The pastor leads the congregation while the deacons help with assisting and helping with the needs of the congregation. The local church in polity is congregational. They vote in and vote out their pastors. They vote in and vote out “constitutions.” The pastor and deacons are accountable to the constitution and the congregation. Any other form of accountability is tyranny via outside influence. It only makes sense that multiple local churches stand a better chance of some one of them surviving to re-produce a next generation of local churches. It also makes sense that a man-made denomination is centralized and when it goes bad it will affect the whole denomination.
The pastor who has a church statement of faith and constitution along with his Bible has every right to teach and preach holiness and righteousness. The support of the deacons is vital, but not necessary when it comes to preaching against sin. The Word of God is the final authority not an outside entity.
SAFEGUARDING THE PASTORATE-The supposition is and I quote, “Denominations provide for the credentialing and ordination of men in a way that seminaries, fellowships, and independency won’t and sometimes can’t.”
I suggest that these denominational leaders DO NOT know these young men like a local church. I also would suggest that denominational leaders will promote and ordain those who will propagate the denominations’ agenda and organization. Thus, local churches end up being run by denominational men causing these churches to become denominationally oriented. They lose their indigenousness by NOT safeguarding the pastorate.
SAFEGUARDING THE CONGREGATION-“A congregation at odds with its pastor or leadership should have a body to which it can appeal.”
The creation of a non-Biblical authority has death written all over it. Protection against the “gates of Hell” only exists for the local church not a denomination. People join a local church through soul winning or searching. The ones who are searching for a church look for one with which they are in agreement. A denominationally leader is not concerned about the local church for he is more concerned about NOT LOSING that local church from the denominational ranks. He is not there week in and week out. He did not join this local church for they joined him and his denomination. As a result he will help remove a good man for a denominational man any day of the week with little regard for the spiritual welfare of the local church. Very few “Associational Missionaries” understand the autonomy of the local church.
A well-written church constitution offers remedy for such cases. If spiritual pastors and deacons are elected and spiritual growth is occurring in the local church then 99% of the time issues can be resolved. If not the church membership has the right to vote out the pastor.
SAFEGUARDING THE PASTOR-“As much as the congregation needs protection from unruly and overbearing pastors, so pastors need protection from fickle congregations… He should have a body to which he can run for counsel.”
I have been in the ministry going on 41 years and pastored for 33 years. Paul instructed young Timothy to seek out the aged men. I did that throughout my 41 years. The elders of the faith provide insight that no denominational leader can.
Hebrews 13:7, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” The word “rule” can be defined as “lead.” Those who have been this way before and have exhibited “faith” in their journey the younger men of God are to follow their faith. The pastor who is a soul winner and spiritual can reproduce enough conversions to have a winning majority. A pastor who does not win soul souls will not stand much of a chance of surviving even with a denomination behind him.
UNIFIED CONFESSION-“A congregation should also be able to expect certain theological precision and convictions from its leadership based upon the denomination’s stated beliefs and theology. In this way, a congregation is protected from a pastor who would come in and change the church in drastic ways (i.e. from an infant baptizing church to a believer’s only baptizing church.”)
Our theological convictions MUST come from the Scriptures and reflected in the local church constitution. The flooding of the market of 800 to a 1,000 Bibles has played into the hands of Satan. He has brought so much confusion that churches are turning to a denomination in order to have doctrine defined. Who are the ones writing these new Bibles? Nothing more than the denominational seminaries! How odd is that?
I thought it strange the author would use the illustration of “…from an infant baptizing church to a believer’s only baptizing church.” The criteria and basis for all doctrine must be the Scriptures. Any one with even basic understanding of Scriptures knows that “infant baptism” is absurd. Apparently he considers “infant baptism” to be the correct doctrine and “believer’s only baptism” incorrect doctrine. So much for higher education, the only unified confession would be that of a local church without outside interference.
UNIFIED MISSION-“Denominations allow for a concentrated and comprehensive approach for engaging in ministry. It is just easier and more effective to do missions, Christian education, planting churches, etc. with a group of churches who belong to one another and are united around the same theology. Their combined assets, both physical and spiritual, will far-outstrip anything they can do independently or by uniting with a handful of like-minded churches.”
There are 42,000 SBC churches that raise millions for missions. If you look at the figures you will find most of that money stays in America. Visit their headquarters and look at their staffs. In the state of Texas the SBC convention has hundreds of millions of dollars sitting and drawing interest. The SBC universities, colleges, and seminaries are a hot bed of liberalism and the trust funds keep growing and so do the liberal products.
There are some 20,000 independent Baptist churches in America who use primarily the “Faith Promise” method of missions. EVERY DOLLAR goes to the missionary. NOT ONE RED CENT stays in America. I dare any one to compare the two! The SBC is the biggest waste of a mission dollar in existence today. The best investment is with an independent Baptist church who sends EVERY DOLLAR to their missionaries.
UNIFIED VOICE-“There are times when a myriad of voices should be replaced with one strong voice. When an old or new heresy has emerged, it is helpful to belong to a denomination that can speak with one voice to this aberrant teaching. There are also moments when the church should speak to the state or to another group of churches; and denominations provide this possibility.”
Genesis 11:1-7; “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
THEOLOGICAL PRECISION-“Every denomination must have some statement of faith. And usually those statements of faith are examined and tested over the years through the courts of the church or the annual assemblies of the denomination. In this way, theological precision is encouraged not only in the seminary, but in the confines of the church itself.”
This is beyond absurd! Why would any local church body yield what they believe from the Scriptures to another body. Every church has a statement of faith from the Scriptures and there is NO NEED for an ecclesiastical dogma. Our seminaries should be under the auspices of local churches and not a denomination. These seminaries then would be subject to the doctrinal statements of the local church and not some headquarters elsewhere who could contaminate thousands of doctrinally solid local churches. If we had faith in God’s program we would not need a denomination.
FELLOWSHIP-“Don’t underestimate the advantages denominations provide for fellowship. Annual general meetings, regional meetings, and even denominational committee meetings can provide fellowship that is lacking for many pastors and churches.”
I belonged, in my earlier days, to the American Baptist. We had those same meetings. Most of them were time wasters and nit-picking meetings with very little profit due to formation of clicks. It quickly became political and not spiritual. The often definition of fellowship is “fellows in the same ship.” The best fellowship is within the local church. It becomes stale only when soul winning is dead. Without the reaching of new people with the Gospel this fellowship desire is artificially filled with the same old group with the same old agenda. This type of fellowship will hurt rather than help a local church to grow.
MUTUAL ENCOURAGEMENT AND SUPPORT-“Every church and pastor needs to know that they are not alone. It is easy to get caught up in our own little corner of the world and feel quite isolated and as though there is nowhere to turn. Denominations can be useful in encouraging the work of the ministry and actually supporting that work in a significant way.”
A local church that is winning souls on a regular basis does not have time to waste. The problem is our encouragement must come from on high and very few pastors walk with God. Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (I John 1:3) If a church is getting the job done and they host a conference on Soul Winning, Sunday school, Bus Ministry, Missions, etc., then I would go to them for instruction and not a “Woe is me” meeting. The most discouraging thing is to attempt to encourage someone NOT getting the job done.