Over the years there has been a great deal of confusion
over the difference between the Government of God and Church Government. The difficulty arises
primarily because of a misuse of the word, "church." The Church of God is not a
physical entity – but a spiritual entity. The “Church of God” is not a
corporate organization, but it is the ekklesia, the called out body of true believers.
Corporate organizations are governed by men, whereas the Church of God answers directly
to Jesus Christ - the head of the Church.
[God the Father] has put all things under his feet, and gave Him [Jesus Christ] to be the
head over all things to the church... so that [The Church] may grow up into Him in
all things, which is the head, even Christ." (Ephesians 1:22, 4:15)
In the second half of the last century, the Gospel, as a witness and a warning, went to the world
with great power. Many people were converted and learned the true doctrines of Jesus Christ.
But, at the same time, many brethren suffered to one degree or another from the heavy hand
of wrong government. When the apostasy came after the death of Herbert W.
Armstrong, many brethren had great difficulty deciding what to do. As a result, many made the
terrible mistake of being loyal to an organization by accepting their heresies, and
discarding their devotion to God’s truth. Could this happen again?
Have we not learned our lesson? Some corporate church organizations have fallen back into the
same idolatrous trap of putting loyalty to men and organizations ahead of loyalty to God. The
answer is not to love our organization, but to love God and one another. "We
know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.
He that loveth not his brother abideth in death... Hereby perceive we the love of God
." (1 John 3:14,16)
Many brethren were taught incorrectly that the ministers could rule over their lives, and that if they
made a mistake – it really wasn’t a mistake because God would set it right. One
minister preached that he could do whatever he wanted, because he was the Pastor. Ministers made
decisions in families’ lives that should only have been made by the head of the family.
The mostly young ministers were trained to believe that they administered God's Government.
God’s Government, which begins with God the Father and flows down through Jesus Christ, does not
extend to the entire body of the Church of God through any man. Not even if
that man claims to have received the baton, or mantle of authority, and subsequently thinks that he
rules over the brethren of the Church, in God’s stead. Many brethren have been led to believe
that “Church Government” is merely an extension of “God’s
Government,” exercised and administered by the ministry. That is not the case.
In the past, there have been many ministers who abused the brethren. Some brethren are still
angry, bitter, and resentful at the Church of God because of the treatment they and their families
suffered at the hands of hard ministers. Those ministers were hard taskmasters who demanded
obedience to themselves. Brethren were taught that their salvation was at stake if they did
not yield to every whim of the pastor, because he represented the Government of God on earth.
That was a false teaching. Other ministers tacitly approved of and even supported that ungodly
ministerial behavior by turning a blind eye to the evil that was being perpetrated on innocent brethren.
Obviously, they were more than willing to condone sin and corruption (Leviticus 5:1).
We have got to get back to the Truth of God. There is no man between a Church member and Jesus
Christ. Our loyalty is to Jesus Christ and His Father – anything less constitutes idolatry.
Jesus is our advocate… “We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
(1 John 2:1) Jesus is our mediator… “There is one God, and one
mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1Timothy 2:5)
The Government of God is the rule of God in our lives as His Spirit leads us - nothing,
or no one can supersede that relationship (Romans 8:14). Is there a proper place for the ministry
of Jesus Christ? The answer is absolutely, Yes!
The apostle Paul said that the work of a minister in the Church is to serve the brethren in Godly love
and to feed, nourish, protect, and care for the flock of God. The very last time that
Paul saw the elders of Ephesus, he admonished them concerning their responsibility to faithfully serve
God and the brethren.
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock [Gr poimnion], over the
which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers [guardians], to feed [Gr poimaino – tend,
as a flock] the church of God, which he hath purchased [buying it and saving it] with His own blood.
" (Acts 20:28)<
There is a need for ministers of Jesus Christ who preach and teach the Truth… for those
who counsel according to the word of God... to marry… to bury… to visit the sick and to
anoint with oil… to facilitate the ministry of reconciliation… “God.., hath
given to us the ministry of reconciliation" (2 Cor 5:18)... for the laying on of hands,
and baptizing those who God calls… and there are Feasts, etc.
"He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and
teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, [for the work of serving]
for the edifying of the body of Christ." (Ephesians 4:11-12) The apostle Peter
warned the ministers not to use coercion or constraint in their teaching and care of the flock
(1 Peter 5:2).
We are to follow a minister's faith only as it matches and corresponds with the teachings of Jesus
Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). But, the minister is not the Government of God. We,
the people of God, live by, and are bound by the rules of the Kingdom of God - even now.
|| "God's Government"