Perspectives on Church Government

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Perspectives on Church Government: 5 Views

By Chad Owen Brand and R. Stanton Norman

Published by Broadman and Holman Publishers on 2004

ISBN 10: 0-8054-2590-X

ISBN 13: 978-0-8054-2590-1

Paper by: [Name of student]

Presented to: [Name of Professor]

[Name of University]

[Subject] (DSMN 505 – Religion)

[Due Date]

Table of Contents
Introduction2
The 5 Models of Church Government2
Single-Elder-Led Church2
Presbytery-Led Church3
Congregation-Led Church4
Bishop-Led Church5
Plural-Elder-Led Church6
My Church7
Conclusion8
Bibliography9

Introduction

The book’s title is Perspectives on Church Government: 5 Views, edited by Chad Owen Brand and R. Stanton Norman. The 5 models of church government are each discussed by these contributors: (1) Daniel Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, for the model of the Single-Elder-Led Church (2) Robert L. Reymond, Professor of Theology at Knox Theological Seminary, for the Presbytery-Led Church (3) James Leo Garrett, Jr., Professor of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, for the Congregation-Led Church (4) Paul F. M. Zahl, Dean and President of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, for the Bishop-Led Church and (5) James R. White, Director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, for the Plural-Elder-Led Church. (Swanson 2009)This book is not for the typical reader, the essays presented in this book have too much depth just for a common read. It’s more suitable for audience such as students or professors in theology, or church leaders seeking knowledge about different polities.

This book seeks to discuss the 5 models of church government and show the reader the differences and views of the authors on each of the 5 models. A model may sometimes be referred to as “polity”, the definition of a polity is “the form of government of a nation, state, church, or organization.” (The Free Dictionary n.d.) Each model will be discussed and defended by an author, and later that chapter is rebutted by fellow authors, stating their opinions and rebuttals. (Brand and Norman 2004)

The 5 Models of Church Government

Single-Elder-Led Church

This model is discussed by Daniel Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. What does the Scripture say about the number of elders in a congregation? The Scripture didn’t specify whether there should be only a single elder in a congregation, but it has been noticed that the word is usually addressed in a plural manner, telling us that elders ruled as a collective body. Akin stated that it doesn’t matter how many elders there in a congregation, what’s important is who they are.

So what is a single-elder-led church, if elders ruled as a collective body? A single-elder-led church is a congregation where an elder is elected, not in rank, age, or importance, but rather in recognition by his people. He is recognized as a leader among other elders. An example given in the book is the book of Numbers Chapter 11, where Moses was directed by God to gather a group of elders to share the burden of judging the people. Akin noted, the elders shared the work with Moses but yet remained under him. (Brand and Norman 2004)

What then is the strength of this polity? The elders’ authority is not based by their appointment from above, but by the people who recognized his leadership, moral standing, i.e. he was deemed worthy of leading by the people around him. This should bring a worthy and capable leader for the congregation. One who they know would be capable. The weakness I see from this model is the chance for an elder to implement an authority through autocracy. (Brand and Norman 2004)

Presbytery-Led Church

This chapter was written by Robert L. Reymond. The word Presbyterianism means governance by the elders. A Presbyterian church is led by a group or...
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