In a discussion about governance, it should not be ignored how God governs. That’s why I find the Book of Judges so useful, as it is an example of how God dealt with Israel before there was a human king.
Sooner or later, the topic of how God governs brings up the topic of why evil exists. I was thinking about God as King when I came across the First Baptist Church Blog article “The Problem of Evil: a Personal Perspective”. Obviously, it is not a COG blog, but the author does go a little bit into how God governs in our present lives, and it might be an interesting exercise of our brains to compare and contrast.
Technorati Tags: cog,church of god,government,governance,judges,evil,theodicy
Is this not to simple a question for some?
Is this not an answer to how God governs?
1 Cor 11:3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.(NKJ)
Does this not look like top down gvoerning? God is a Family and He has created the family and simply gave the structure of government in the family, under Christ. would there not also be some levels of governing in the COG?
How is this for putting the questions back at you. haha
Sure. No one is debating that God the Father is in charge and that Jesus willingly obeys the Father. No one is debating that Jesus is the Head of the Church.
However, when someone talks of "hierarchy", they are normally referring to mere men. The reality is that it is much, much flatter than that.
We are EACH individually called by the Father.
"44No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."
~ Jn 6:44
We EACH may approach the Throne of God as His children.
" 14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
" 15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
" 16Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
~ Heb 4:14-16
Looks pretty flat to me. Much like in the Book of Judges.
Exactly what kind of government do you think the book of judges reveals–was God in the picture or out? was it man governing or were they yeilded to God and His government.
Perhaps you could put a little more explanation to what you mean as "flat" and if it is your opinion that God (Christ) has placed no higher authority in the COG than just the common elder?
The system of governance that Moses put in place from the counsel of his father in law doesn't disappear (Ex 18). The book of Judges reveals how the entire nation of Israel is able to interact with God.
Judg 1:1-2 "Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them? And the LORD said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand."
And when it comes to all common elders, Peter also refers to himself as an elder in 1 Pe 5:1 "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:"
I believe it would be fair to say that an elder`s works (what he does with his talents)play a very large role to distinguish them one from another (Gal 2:8).
@Norbert: I didn't say the judges disappeared. However, their power was typically regional. They were setup over families, clans and tribes, except for a few that God raised up to lead them out of bondage.
However, once a kingdom was established, there were kings and princes and advisers and bureaucrats that oversaw a centralized system. It became top-heavy rather than a flatter decentralized government.
Perhaps I should of been clearer. I did not mean to imply that you said the judges disappeared.
My first idea was to the question asked by Bob, "Exactly what kind of government do you think the book of judges reveals–was God in the picture or out?"
The second idea was about the other question he asks, " is your opinion that God (Christ) has placed no higher authority in the COG than just the common elder?"
@Norbert: No problem. Maybe Blogger needs to introduce threaded commenting. 🙂
HUmmm!Still no answer to Bob's questions. (which I thought were good ones)
No simple-easy to understand ones at least.
I will wait a little longer on this one. I would like to see them myself.
Then, why don't you go read the articles? You are aware that this one was just a teaser, right?
"a teaser"?? Was this one also, which you gave?
“Yes. Paul instructed Timothy directly in a manner that shows that the local minister has authority.”
This answer I extracted above is just more confirmation to me that you have had a UCG brainwashing of any real authoritative positions by appointment of higher authority. YOUR explanations ARE from the UCG mentality. These REAL positions are revealed in Scripture—but you seem a little hesitant to acknowledge the truth of Scripture, or else you just choose to interpret it for yourself, as UCG has done. You have said in so many words that the authoritative or governing structure is “Flat” but fail to directly answer a strait forward question or questions on it. You seem to think that what you have explained in “articles” is the final answer to any questions that might crop up.
You have responded that the top down governing of the OT was for civil purposes and indicated that does not apply in the COG. Your interpretations are the only proof offered. Then you give a statement such as the above, where you seem to acknowledge the minister has authority over congregations, which may contain an elder and a deacon. Who has authority over the minister? Just Christ? Of course Christ does—but has He delegated other levels as well, besides the “common elder”? You were ask your opinion—which you did not give in any kind of humble serving attitude. Where is your Scriptural proof of the governance for the COG be “FLAT” and how does that compare to your statement above??
a follow up;
Clearly Paul, as an apostle, shows himself to have authority over Timothy and Titus, as well as congregations of the gentiles in the COG. Timothy is called an evangelist, yet Paul has commanded him and instructed him in the setting up of two other levels of authority in the COG that would be under Timothy. (evangelist-2Tim.4:5—then elders and deacons) He is also instructed not to receive an accusation against an elder without witnesses in 1Tim.5: and the context here is dealing with elders that are obviously under his authority, (V.17-22) so that is three DIFFERENT LEVELS OR OFFICES and then there is Paul who is obviously over them all. Paul is constantly found at the beginning of his letters/epistles showing the authority is from the Father, then Christ and thru himself as an apostle—but I guess that does not compute as such with you, John—no offense intended. Paul also acknowledges the office of prophets and instructs them, having authority there as well. (1Cor.14) I do not have any problem seeing this top down governing structure thru-out the NT writings—especially when you consider 1Cor. 12:28 and Eph.4:11. (Yes, I know there are clumsy attempts to explain this away!)
And so to answer Bob’s simple questions—and for those (Anony Jon and whoever else)—most of the time in Israel and the time of the Judges—God was not in the picture for governance—only when they got themselves so deep into trouble that they were willing to acknowledge Him, cry out to Him for help and then He gave them another Judge. When that Judge died and the generation died out—they turned aside under the newer leaders and the cycle repeated itself. The world in general has looked to itself for some kind of governance and not God, including Israel, most of the time. They were of course being influenced by the god of this world, as they are even to this day. It is sad that some in this time frame in the COG have grown so lukewarm that they have tried to mingle the worlds way of governing into the COG.
As for the COG—there is definitely a top down structure of leadership with several levels or offices of authority and there IS more than just the common elder to govern—in the true COG body—this leadership is NOT “flat” and these “checks & balances” were put there by Christ! They are not man made and do and will work , as long as the Biblical instructions are followed and the individuals who are leading are truly looking to God and relying on the Holy Spirit for guidance. (John 16:13) If they are not doing that regularly, (didn’t say perfectly) they just may not be in the COG! (some may?? have already been vomited out—Rev.3:14-16) Just because some men do not want to acknowledge this truth of a right governing structure does not mean it is not there, so I hope this answers your questions.
The Editor wrote: "which you did not give in any kind of humble serving attitude. Where is your Scriptural proof of the governance for the COG be 'FLAT' and how does that compare to your statement above??"
As a fellow writer, you surprise me. Do not even you have the understanding of how a blog works? Should I put the entire series of articles in the comments? Do not even you have enough respect for me to read the articles I wrote?
At the end of the day, I will not be giving an accounting to you, my wife, an elder, a minister, a bishop, a president or a pope. It will be directly to Jesus Christ. Now, THAT is what I call flat.
"God was not in the picture for governance".
And yet, you don't understand what that means. It means they disobeyed their king. There ALREADY was a government in place, but the people still wanted a human king with all the accompanying bureaucracy that goes with it.
Did Abraham run out and seek a high priest, or did he simply obey God? Should we follow his example or not? And Paul? Did he not wait for at least three years before going to Jerusalem? Why didn't he first seek out those "in charge"?
All this stuff about the Bible dictating a certain form of government is because people don't understand the refrain, "there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes." The people picked up on the lack of control but wanted a king to exert control upon them rather than take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY and control themselves!
That is the crux of most of the problems in the Churches of God. People want someone to lord it over them so that when things go wrong, they have someone else to blame, just like what happened in the Garden of Eden. It is easier for them if someone else makes all their decisions rather than working out their "own salvation with fear and trembling". The problem is that they will be standing by themselves in front of Christ when He returns.
Government is a means to an end. It is not the end in itself.
Now, tell me, why are you so opposed to someone who stresses that each individual is responsible to God?
John said; ”As a fellow writer, you surprise me. Do not even you have the understanding of how a blog
works? (I am not a “blogger” and probably don’t understand—is it not the guy who has the blog site the one that directs it and controls the content? If these comments are out of your control in how you respond, then I guess I do not know much about it.) “Should I put the entire series of articles in the comments?” (No, just a simple answer without sarcasm sometimes is all it takes when one is asked an opinion. Everyone does not understand things the same as you present them.)
“Do not even you have enough respect for me to read the articles I wrote?” (I could reverse that—but normally, and in your case, I read the article before any response or comment is made, but I also make note of the comments and what they are saying.)
“And Paul? Did he not wait for at least three years before going to Jerusalem? Why didn't he first seek out those "in charge"?” (Maybe he did. what about this; Acts 9:26 And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple.”—was that after the three years or before?)
"there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes." (This began way before the period of judges or a king was given—See Duet.12:8—Israel as a whole always had this problem.)
”Did Abraham run out and seek a high priest, or did he simply obey God? Should we follow his example or not?
(Come now John, –this is a mute question–don’t you know this was before there was a nation of Israel, Levites or a “priesthood” to go to? But actually, Abraham did always go and listen to the one who is our high priest!)
“Now, tell me, why are you so opposed to someone who stresses that each individual is responsible to God?” (I am not—this is an assumption. If you had read any of MY articles, you would know this. We are all responsible for working out our own salvation. Perhaps you need to go back to Phil.2:12-18 and try and understand the context that is given in. I also believe that in the process of working out our own salvation, we must be learning submission to God thru the authorities and procedures He has set in place in the COG, NOT just relying on them.)
"All this stuff about the Bible dictating a certain form of government is because people don't understand the refrain, "there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes." The people picked up on the lack of control but wanted a king to exert control upon them rather than take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY and control themselves!
That is the crux of most of the problems in the Churches of God. People want someone to lord it over them so that when things go wrong, they have someone else to blame, just like what happened in the Garden of Eden. It is easier for them if someone else makes all their decisions rather than working out their "own salvation with fear and trembling". The problem is that they will be standing by themselves in front of Christ when He returns."
That was remarkably well-said! It's funny how so many problems in the church today on so many different levels (individual, organization, and everything in between) all come back to government at one point or another.
" 16To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
" 17Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
" 18Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days."
~ Gal 1:16-18
As far as respect goes, it is a two-way street.
I do not get paid to do this. I don't solicit donations. I don't have some corporate church behind what I do. I do it in my "spare time".
I do my best to engage people anyhow. I do my best to respond to people anyhow.
I don't think it is asking too much for someone new to lurk a day or two and see what articles come immediately before and immediately after.
It's called "netiquette", and it is severely lacking today.
A lot of work and research goes into these articles, believe it or not. If someone asks a question that is in the midst of being answered or has already been answered, then I am not likely to drop everything else going on in life, jump on they computer and answer the already answered question. I actually expect intelligent people to move their mouse and click on the tags and see the related discussion.
Again, personal responsibility!
As far as respect goes, it is a two-way street.
(No disagreement here–have you ever read any of my articles?)
I do not get paid to do this. (Nor do I) I don't solicit donations. (Nor do I) I don't have some corporate church behind what I do. (Nor do I) I do it in my "spare time". (As do I)
"I don't think it is asking too much for someone new"—- Between the two of us–you are the "new one"—my website was up and going long before your blog came to be.
"A lot of work and research goes into these articles, believe it or not."
Obviously you have not ever visited my website or you would know that I very well understand how much work goes into trying to serve my brethren with truth.
"Again, personal responsibility!"
A friendly suggestion; Practice what you preach.
The Editor wrote: "' don't think it is asking too much for someone new'—- Between the two of us–you are the 'new one'—my website was up and going long before your blog came to be."
I am beginning to think you are trying to be difficult on purpose. You came in blazing with both barrels, and it turns out you don't even know what's going on!
I probably know more about what is going on than you think, considering some of your statements–but have it your way–it is your blog. I will not comment anymore here—never intended to come in with "blazing guns"–just trying to make a point–sorry it is hard for you to take what you want to dish out.
@MTCOGSM: No, you obviously don't.
"You were ask your opinion—which you did not give in any kind of humble serving attitude."
"sorry it is hard for you to take what you want to dish out."
So, why don't you email me and tell me where I engaged in personal attacks like the above?