Monday, June 01, 2009
Sermon of the Week: Malcolm Watts on Biblical Church Government
This message is one Malcolm Watts gave at a Conference in 1998 on church government. I cannot say I am in total agreement on all points, but I think he makes a strong case for a vision of church government that incorporates the role of the congregation, the role of the pastor (teaching elder or minister) and that of other elders (ruling elders) who are not ordained gospel ministers. He also offers a critique of the relatively contemporary notion of parity among elders.
Near the end (c. the 53 minute mark) he makes seven points about Biblical church government:
1. Christ has not made church power common to all.
2. It is the responsibility of elders to rule.
3. Each church should possess a plurality of elders.
4. There is one office of elder but two kinds of elders: teaching elders or ministers who labor in Word and doctrine; and ruling elders who labor in ruling or governing work.
5. Such offices will be recognized by the church, as they are chosen by the people.
6. Special responsibility rests with the teaching elder to labor in word and sacrament.
7. This government is for all time.