A Primer On Christian Government | Ecclesiology – Part 4 of 6

In by Joel Webbon

  1. What is the sphere and assignment given by God to church government?

God has given church government the Great Commission and authority over Christian worship.

  1. What is the means God has given to the church to carry out the Great Commission and Christian worship?

God has given the church the Word and the Sacraments to carry out the Great Commission and Christian worship.

  1. What is the Great Commission?

The Great Commission is given in Matthew 28:18-20 where Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, therefore go, disciple the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.”

  1. What is Christian worship?

Christian worship is the called-together gathering of the church in person, principally on the Lord’s Day, to renew covenant with Christ, through the Word read, preached, and sung, as well as through prayers, and the celebration of the sacraments, all according to Scripture.

  1. What is the Word?

The Word is the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation, the perfectly preserved testimony of the patriarchs, apostles, and prophets, proclaimed by evangelists, missionaries, and pastors, and thoroughly taught to all who believe in Christ for obedience in every human endeavor. The Bible is the authoritative Word to every human government, but it is the peculiar charter and constitution of the Christian church.

  1. What are the Sacraments?

The sacraments are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the signs and seals of membership in the church, means of grace for all of God’s people, instituted directly by Christ.

  1. Who are the officers of the church?

The officers of the church are qualified men called elders (or bishops) and deacons.

  1. What are the offices within the eldership?

There are three offices of elders: ministers (or pastors) are elders tasked with regular ministry of Word and Sacrament; teaching elders (or doctors) are tasked with teaching the Word, often in academic or missionary contexts, and ruling elders (or lay/parish elders) are elders whose primary job is to rule the church. All three offices of elders share the government of the church equally together.

  1. What is the office of deacon?

Deacons are qualified men who assist the elders in carrying out the ministry of the church and in caring for the physical needs of the saints.

  1. What are the sanctions of the Church?

Christ has given to the church the sword of Scripture with which it is authorized to preach, encourage, teach, rebuke, as well as private and public censure. This authority is also called the keys of the kingdom, and it includes welcoming new Christian disciples through baptism, correcting for sin, and in cases when an individual persists in high handed, unrepentant sin, excommunication, barring them from the Lord’s Table, and reckoning an individual an unbeliever and outside the fellowship and inheritance of Christ.

  1. What is the duty God requires of all people with regard to the Church?

God commands everyone everywhere to repent and believe in Jesus Christ, and so be baptized and received into membership in a local church, to be in submission to local elders, and to participate in the worship and life of the body through freely giving of their gifts.