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Church or Club

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Church or Club

Postby Paidion » Wed Nov 21, 2018 5:13 pm

Just today I discovered this that I had written years ago. I had totally forgotten that I had written it. I welcome any input you may have.

Is “Entity X” a Church or is it a Club?

The Composition of the Church
1 Early Church
There is only one Church—the one that Jesus founded. There are many local expressions of that one Church.

2 Entity X
There is only one Church. But it is divided into many denominations.

3 Club
We are members of one club. But it is divided into many chapters.

Leaders of the Local Church
1 Early Church
Each local church was led by overseers (elders) who were assisted by deacons. The elders saw that the meetings were in order.

2 Entity X
Each local church is led by the pastor (also called “the minister”). Larger churches may have assistant pastors. There is also a secretary and a treasurer of each church.

3 Club
Each chapter is led by a president. Usually there is also a vice-president. There is also a secretary and a treasurer of each chapter.

Membership in the Church
1. Early Church
One could not join the Church. Rather God added to the Church those who were being saved (Acts 2:47). The local church recognized all members of the one Church. Members of the one-and-only Church (founded by Christ) who visited or attended the local church had full privileges.

2. Entity X
A person can join the local church if he agrees with their statement of faith. If he joins, he gets onto their membership roll. Only those on the membership roll can take communion, give a sermon, or vote.

3. Club
A person can join the club if he agrees with their statement of purpose. If he joins, he gets onto their membership roll. Only those on the membership roll can vote or participate in club activities.


Conducting of Meetings
1. Early Church
There was a body ministry in the meetings. This means that the meetings were open for any member of the Church (which Christ founded) to minister as the Lord led him or her. This ministry may have been the suggestion of a hymn, the singing of a hymn, a teaching, a tongue, a prophecy, etc.

2. Entity X
The pastor leads all meetings. He may be assisted by the assistant pastor, if there is one. The pastor usually does all the preaching. If he is absent, the assistant pastor gives the sermon. If there is no assistant pastor, the pastor may choose one of the members of the church to speak in his absence.

3. Club
The president leads all the meetings. If he is absent, the vice-president conducts the meeting.

Decisions
1. Early Church
Decisions were made as a result of prayer and the resulting thoughts of the brothers and sisters present under the direction of the elders (overseers). The elders had the final word in decision making.

2. Entity X
Decisions are made in a democratic fashion. Issues are discussed and the majority vote decides.

3. Club
Decisions are made in a democratic fashion. Issues are discussed and the majority vote decides.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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Re: Church or Club

Postby Seeker » Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:05 pm

Great read Paidon. Puts it rather starkly. Entity X is the most reflective of modern gatherings I believe.

I've been going to "church" of some form for 11 years. From 2013 - 2016 I was a part of a home church that was similar to what is described of the Early Church. I speak for myself in the following. During my home church years I experienced vastly more rapid spiritual growth in that time than I have before or since. The participation aspect was absolutely key to that. It "kept me on my toes" so to speak. It caused me to desire to be in the word more, and I knew I would be more accountable (though that word can have negative connotations, it's very positive in a loving environment).
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Re: Church or Club

Postby Paidion » Thu Nov 22, 2018 4:48 pm

Thank you for that response, Seeker.

Until I was 23, I was attending "churches" like Entity X—that is club-like institutions. Then I began gathering with those who are called, Plymouth Brethren (because the first ones to gather in that manner lived at Plymouth, England). Modern ones prefer simply to be called "brethren." They are similar to the early church in that any brother can minister as the spirit of God leads. He may give a teaching, pray, suggest a hymn, etc. Yet there are elders or overseers, who see that there is no disorder in the ministry. As the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

...Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. ( Corinthians 4:26)

The only problem I had with those brethren, is that I thought they were too restrictive concerning the ministry of the sisters. A sister was expected not to open her mouth during a meeting except to participate in group singing. This practice was based on Paul's words:

Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. (1 Timothy 2:11-14 NKJV)


I agree that a sister should not teach the brothers or have authority over them. But I don't think she should be prevented from giving a testimony, speaking in tongues or interpreting tongues, sharing a revelation, prophesying, etc.

Many years later, I moved to my home area where there were no "Plymouth Brethren." There we began gathering with another church whose practice was similar, except that the sisters were not so restricted. They, too, have local elders or overseers.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 76 years old. I am now 80.
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