Church membership is not just a status, it’s an office. Members don’t need leaders to fire them from the responsibilities given to them by Jesus, they need leaders to train them. When pastors do, the church grows in holiness and love, discipleship and mission. Not only that, the complacency and nominalism that characterizes so much Christianity is put on notice.
We recently sat down with Jonathan Leeman, who serves as an elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, and as the editorial director for 9Marks, and talked about the importance of church government for training members and protecting the gospel.
The vision of congregationalism pictured in Leeman’s book offers an integrated view of the Christian life. A Christian’s “church job” should not be divided from everyday life because the saints are tasked with guarding and growing one another all week. Yet the members need their leaders to do their jobs. They need training, equipping, and instruction. The Bible even talks about obedience. In our day and age, when the only form of government people like is their own, the tasks of reinvigorating congregational authority and elder authority must work together. Congregationalism is biblical, but biblical congregationalism just might look a little different than you expect. It is nothing less than Jesus’ authorization for living out his kingdom rule among a people on mission.
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