|Church Government Part 2 - Eldership Rule
and Concerning the Shepherding Movement
This is part 2 which started here:
Ascension Gifts vs Descension Gifts
In that page I discussed the differences between the Ascension gifts and the Descension gifts. This is very necessary to understand the following teaching. But in recap let me say that the church is not to be governed by deacons nor is it to be ruled by women, which I discuss here:
Can women lead the church?
Deacon boards that rule churches are unscriptural. It is scriptural to have deacons, but unscriptural to let them rule. Government decisions for the church must be made by elders/bishops.
A bishop is an elder, and is basically the same thing as discussed in the 1st link I shared above, only that Bishops are anointed to oversee souls.
I am not an elder or a bishop. While I am gifted with a doma gift, I am not (as I write this) an elder. I do not rule any church, I have no bishoprick of the church. These qualifications are also discussed in the 1st link above.
I am not going to clutter this page with the details of my anointing, nor the lack of qualifications of me being an bishop. But even before a doma is to be qualified, he must be ordained and set in place in the church. I have not been placed as such in the church either. This is not necessarily part of the Baptism into the Body of Christ as I discuss here:
The Doctrine of Baptisms
But may indeed be associated with it. While I may be Baptized into the Body for other functions, the lack of being an elder/bishop does not equate to not being Baptized into the Body. But those who are called and qualified to such a position and reach such a place most likely have been Baptized into the Body themselves.
Church government is not a government of democracy, but Jesus, Himself, is the head of the church.
Eph 4:15: But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Church government is an actual scriptural position as seen here:
1 Cor 12:28: And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
And to make it more interesting this is most likely from the following gift:
6: Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us...
8: ... he that ruleth, with diligence...
This is from the charisma's list, which I also list in the 1st link on this page. As noted, the charisma's are descension gifts, where as a doma is an ascension gift. This means a person can have the charisma of ruleth, and NOT be a doma. But to be an elder, one must 1st have a doma gift. Thus a person with ruleth and is not gifted with a doma, is more than likely called to rule a business, or perhaps in politics, or maybe even rule in the helps of the church among the deacons, but he (or she) cannot rule the church without having a doma gift.
Also please note that the opposite could be true. It is entirely possible for a person to have a doma gift and not have the charisma ruleth, thus you will have doma's who are NOT in church governments. Or perhaps some will be in church governments, and will focus and manifest the "shepherd" part of the leadership rather than the bishop anointing, which does the over seeing.
To be an elder, there does not appear to be a qualification to have the charisma of ruleth:
6: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
7: For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
8: But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
9: Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
We do see in verse 6 however, that his children must not be unruly and riotous. But there does seem to be a need for it to operate as a Bishop:
1 Tim 3:
1: This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
2: A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3: Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4: One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5: (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6: Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7: Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
The bishop, needs to have the ruling gift more exercised that the "regular" elder. The elder must have children that are not bad trouble makers, where the bishop must have rule over his whole house; wife, children and anyone else.
Thus we see there is a small difference between an elder and a bishop. The elder will perhaps have functions such as teaching and preaching, and help steer the church in these capacities, but it is the bishop who will oversee souls, and bring correction, directing the people when they need a more direct hand. We can note the list in Titus is aimed at elders and not the office of Bishop specifically because of the prior verse:
5: For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
But the word bishop is found in the texts, note it in Titus 1:7. Thus to be a Bishop one must 1st qualify as an elder.
Perhaps one of the more stickiest parts of Church rule or governments is the office of the Bishop. In the last couple of decades the church has seen this gift/office abused, and we have seen its neglect in the centuries prior. What the church needs is a balance.
Many of the the churches neglect the office of the Bishop perhaps because of the misuse of the office in the traditional churches like the Roman Catholics. They have made the office of a bishop into a religious hierarchy. This abuse takes the oversight more political within the clergy and often does not even rule the sheep. Whereas the modern day abuse of the Bishop in some protestant circles we see the bishops lording over the flock. This is called "The Shepherding Movement". This creates cults and cultic behavior in many cases.
Rom:13:3: For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same
The flock need not have fear of a bishop, unless the sheep is doing wrong, then they should have a healthy fear of God among all men. Many times abusive elders or bishops cause terror in the flock.
2 Cor:10:13: But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.
Sometimes we see the abuse of authority. This is often very apparent in the abusive Apostolic ministries. Elders rule the church, elders do not rule households. The rule of the house is given to husbands as seen in the qualification above and here:
1 Cor 11:3: But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
Eph:5:23: For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Elders and Bishops, no matter what title they have; apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher, cannot go to another lot, and take authority, whether this lot is a home or another church. Sometimes we have seen "apostles" and "prophets" go to other churches where they have no authority and try and take over. This is unscriptural:
2 Cor 10:
13: But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.
14: For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:
15: Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,
16: To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand.
1 Cor 3:
3: For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4: For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
5: Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
6: I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
7: So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
8: Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one...
9: For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
10: According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11: For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
16: Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17: If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
18: Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
Those who rule, do not do so in terror as I have shown above from Rom 13, but need to do so with joy:
17: Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
If an elder/bishop seeks to take unscriptural authority and tries to rule where he has no measure, he will be a terror and a grief, and will not bring any profitable work to those he seeks to rule. For we grow in liberty and not in legalism.
Gal 2:4: And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
2 Pet 2:19: While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
I am not advocating a walk without authority and a walk in sin.
Gal 5:13: For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
1 Cor 8:9: But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
1 Pet 2:16: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
In Eldership Rule Part 2 I discuss where the line is on what elders can rule on, and what they can't.
I was personally involved in a church which was headed towards the Shepherding Movement, I left before they crossed over into the more blatant abuses, but some abuse of authority was already present before I left. This church was the Church in Marshall, in Marshall Texas; started by Randy Shankle. I discuss this church and it's errors more detailed here:
Randy Shankle and the Church in Marshall
One may often ask during such abuse, if the universal church itself has failed. I answer this here:
Has the Church Failed? What authority and security does the church possess?