This is the second of the sections of my theology that I have gone through,
to convert my class notes into book form. It has been a very joyful experience
to review the greatness of the church, the body of our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ, yet I am discouraged to a point in what I see in so many
There is so little genuine caring for the lost, for the newcomers, or
for the membership at times. There is so little genuine teaching being
done. The preaching is not all that great at times either. I have discussed
this with many church people and pastors and they feel that my observations
So, why is this the case when we have the Holy Spirit empowering us,
teaching us, leading us and comforting us? So, why is this the case when
we have Christ Himself in charge of the work?
I am confident there is no problem with the Lord Jesus, and I am just
as confident that the Holy Spirit is doing His work properly and adequately.
We must assume from logic then that it is not the Head nor the plan, nor
the power source. That leaves only one answer.
We the people are the problem and there is nothing that can be done
until we do it. Don't worry about your neighbor and how sinful he is, don't
worry about your pastor and how uninteresting he is, and don't worry about
the church membership and how worldly they are. You worry about you and
your relationship to the Head of the church. You should be sure you are
in a proper mode, and then pray that the Lord would bring about needed
changes in the assembly.
There is one subject which is somewhat related to this thought of the
church. I have not made comment on it as such but feel that it is important
to do so.
If the church is Christ's body and if it is His desired vehicle for
reaching the world, and I believe it to be, then why do we have para church
organizations all over the world?
I am not condemning the para church groups for they are doing a job
that the church is not doing, however that is not the point. They are not
The church in our generation should begin to correct the problem that
has developed over the years. Most of the groups give lip service to the
thought of allowing the local churches to have a say in things. Most will
say they are an extension of the local church however, the control that
the church has seems to end at the purse strings.
There is no reason why the church shouldn't, indeed must, take steps
to do the ministries of these groups. The groups ought also to take steps
toward allowing church control. There are some that are already working
on this by adding pastors and laymen to boards, by having yearly get togethers
of supporting churches and mission leaders. These are good steps and should
be continued, but more must be done.
Possibly one of the easiest ways for the corrections to begin is to
see to it that new ministries become the extension of a local church or
two, and see to it that the ministry remains under that control. This would
place ministries under the control of spiritual men within the church that
can lead and guide the ministry.
Moving on I would like to mention that the section concerning other
types of church government was brief and intentionally so. There are other
works that elaborate in detail these systems.
As I have moved in and out of churches over the years I have observed
many problems. I have also discussed problems with pastors and laymen.
The result is that I realize that the elder form of government can, if
run properly, create a church environment which would eliminate many of
these problems. There are many difficulties when we work with people however,
the creator of these people has set forth a system for governing those
people in the Word. If He has given these guidelines then it is logical
they will be the best possible method of operation.
Even if a died in the wool congregationalist must reject the thought
of accepting this form of government, at least give credence to the process
of qualification. There must be a qualified leadership or the job is doomed
The principles set forth in this section can and do work. I have knowledge
of a few churches that are operating with this form of government. As we
see more and more churches becoming involved, I am personally confident
that we will see some great results in the area of church relationships,
as well as church growth. As we believers function Biblically, church growth
will be automatic.
One final topic. The thought of a "paid" pastor is one that is currently
accepted, yet it is not historically nor Biblically. The Bible allows for
it and I am not saying get rid of paid pastors, however we need to consider
the possibility of non-paid people running a church. Many of our small
churches today are pastored by non-paid or poorly paid pastors. As observations
go, I feel that often these men are considered less than normal. They,
after all are not "full time" in their ministry.
There seems to be a real hierarchy developing in our church thinking.
There are full time, there are part time, there are the laymen, there are
janitors and then there are missionaries. My teaching has always included
the thought that we are co-workers with Christ. If we are co-workers then
there is no level of importance.
May we consider our developing problems in the church, get in touch
with the Head and move on to solve the problems.
I did not go into the idea of fellowship, of what the church should
be in the social realm, nor many of the other thoughts that relate to the
church. I did include a section in appendix nine relating to how we view
ourselves. Are we a society as believers, or are we really the "body" that
the Lord wants us to be. Be sure to read this appendix.