Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sermon Recap

Having enjoyed a delicious Sunday dinner, I'm ready to review my sermon notes. The Scripture was read from Acts 15:1-31 and the title of the message: *What it means to be a presbyterian*. I'll modify that to *Church Government Primer* and list below the seven main points.

1) A church elects her own officers, as opposed to the King (or State) appointing such.

2) All elders are bishops. All bishops are elders. The original word is interchangeable and they have pariety of authority.

3) Local churches should have a plurality of elders. No one man shows are allowed. Within the US, three basic forms of church government exist: episcopalian (which includes the obvious as well as the Roman Catholic); congregational (which includes the obvious and baptists); and presbyterian or representative.

4) Ordination is an act of presbytery. One cannot self-appoint or unilaterally establish. To ordain is an official act of admitting one to church office. Here's a definition of presbytery.

5) Church members may appeal to presbytery. This is the precise topic of Acts 15.

6) Jesus Christ is THE ONLY head of the church. Therefore, all ministers, elders, deacons, preachers (whatever office) are His subordinates.

7) Representative (presbyterian with a small *p*) church government is the purest expression of ecclesiastical heirarchy taught in Scripture.

In conclusion, we were encouraged to read Fair Sunshine, a compilation of essays about Scottish Covenanters, who understood these points, and therefore, were willing to die for their faith. Finally, we were treated to a reading of a fine poem by Thomas Buchanan Read entitled the *Arising*.

Do you know what type of government is practiced in your denomination?


  1. I grew up in a Plymouth Brethern assembly,which though Anabaptist in doctrine was presbyterian in government, including plurality of elders.

    My newest DIL gave me Fair Sunshine, one of her favorite books. It's on my shelf....But I thank you for the reminder to read it.

  2. Oh, I can only read one chapter at of time from this book. It is so sad, yet so compelling. I can read what they went through but have trouble digesting that their lives were so perilous.

    The sermon was very good because it explained things that are so basic that people sometimes overlook their importance.