He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

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Friday, August 31, 2012 

What Congregationalism Is, and Isn't

Brad Wheeler at 9Marks makes these helpful distinctions:

What Congregationalism Is, and Isn’t.
Seventh, occasionally remind people what congregationalism is, and isn’t. Some have the mistaken notion that congregationalism is the same as American democracy, or is the byproduct of it. Neither are true.
Yes, Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom to the congregation (Mt 16.19) when it comes to matters of church membership (2 Cor. 2:6), discipline (Matt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:1-13), and doctrine (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Tim. 4:3). And yes, each member is given a vote. But that doesn’t mean there is anything godly in debate for debate’s sake, or that it’s the right of every member to have their voice heard, or that the elders and deacons serve like a bicameral legislature. Elders are still called to rule (1 Tim. 5.17), and members are still called to submit and obey for their own advantage (Heb. 13.17).
Playing devil’s advocate or token contrarian is a mark of immaturity, not a badge of honor. We would do well to remind our people that when Paul exhorts Timothy to flee “youthful passions” (2 Tim. 2.22), he’s not thinking first about sexual sin, but being quarrelsome.

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