I say this is part one, and actually I’m not sure how many parts this will in fact have. But I figured that I’ll get bored and proceed into strange and unnecessary tangents if I don’t separate this into multiple parts so here goes something.
As I look at evangelical churches, more specifically, independent bible churches, I can’t help but think that there is a crossroads awaiting. Not a “deal with the devil” sort of thing where one goes and comes back knowing how to finger pick a guitar, but one where a decision has to be made. To whom will they look towards for leadership is the question. Is there a looming issue of final authority? Of course, we should hold Scripture to be the norming norm of church leadership and structure (1 Tim. 3:1-13, 2 Tim. 3:16, Titus 1:5-9) but if an independent bible church were to move to the side of heresy or apostasy, to whom would there be to govern and administer proper church discipline?
The hope and prayer would be that the Spirit would move throughout the leadership and body in such a way that this would not be the case, but where would the checks and balances of church leadership come if in fact that leadership made a decision and turn for the worse. I’m not advocating a denominational structure for bible churches (are they not miniature denoms in and of themselves?) but am merely raising a possible red flag on the shortfall of the independent church model.
I myself am a member of a church that while having many marks of a independent bible church, is ultimately under a denominational authority. This too of course has it’s disadvantages. Are there cases of whole denominations straying from Scriptural authority, thus almost eradicating the checks and balances from the very top? I am fairly certain that this has been the case before, and if not than there have been instances where this is all but the case.
I guess for part one of this as yet to be numbered series, I’m merely “thinking out loud” if you will. In the following entries to this series, more specific study and thought will be given to this topic of authority in the church and if in fact there is not some model that appears to be more preferable than another. This I know for certain, the tendency of individualism (of which I am a victim) inside and out of evangelical churches is an idea that must be confronted head-on if we wish to provide a continuing and healthy witness to the world and be the community of believers who have truly been called out.