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Congregational Authority (Part 3)

2014.06.30 raised handsI’ve given two points in support of congregational authority thus far in this mini-series.

First, the congregation is involved in the selection and election of deacons and elders.

Second, the congregation chooses individuals for specific tasks, sends them on their way, and holds them accountable for their ministries

This third and final point is somewhat simple: congregations authorized the inclusion and exclusion of members into and out of their assemblies.

Four passages support this point:

  • After one-on-one and group confrontations (Matt 18:15–16), the church hears the case of a persistent sinner and chooses to disfellowship: “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Matt 18:17; cf. 1 Tim 5:19–20).
  • The assembly as a whole functions to disfellowship individual members as necessary. “When you are assembled in the name of the Lord . . . deliver this man to Satan . . .” (1 Cor 5:4–5).
  • The assembly is responsible to judge its members according to holiness as defined by God’s Word. “Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?” (1 Cor 5:12).
  • Paul called upon the church to reaffirm their love for a repentant brother that “the majority” had chosen to punish: “this punishment by the majority is enough” (2 Cor 2:6–8).
David Huffstutler

About David Huffstutler

David pastors First Baptist Church in Rockford, IL, serves as a chaplain for his local police department, and teaches as adjunct faculty at Bob Jones University. David holds a Ph. D. in Applied Theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His concentration in Christian Leadership focuses his contributions to pastoral and practical theology.

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