An Open Letter to the Church
I've recently withdrawn my membership from a local church due to it's reluctance to organize in a Biblical manner:
February 2, 2017
Dear Pastor _____ and ______ Church Council,
It is with great sorrow that I write this letter. I became a member of ______ in February of 2013 with the hope and desire to see ____ grow and mature as a body of believers. And while I have seen the congregation become more interested in God’s Word and continuing to work together in Christian love, I have not seen any movement toward Biblical Church Government as outlined in Scripture. (If there is a movement toward Biblical organization and I’m unaware, please let me know.)
Scripture speaks very plainly about the organization and leadership of the local congregation.
First of all, Hebrews 13:17 tells us: “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” I truly believe this is true and that you, as leaders, will give an account of your service to the Lord, so let’s be certain you are in His will and meet Biblical qualifications.
1 Timothy 3: 1-7 tells us the qualifications for Elders and Deacons (which is in effect what each of you are even if you are not using the title):
Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons
3 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
Those of you serving on the Church Council that I know meet all of the above qualifications – except one – being male. I do not see any wiggle room for women in church leadership roles that serve the function of Elders. Now, I do see Deaconesses in Scripture and can provide Biblical information on qualifications for those who can fill this role.
And Acts 20:28 tells what an awesome responsibility Elders have:
28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[b]
So, in conclusion, I ask you to prayerfully think about what Scripture says regarding the government of the church and the proper roles for men and women. I also ask that my church membership be withdrawn as a matter of conscience for me.
Thank you and may the good Lord bless _______ ________ Church. Amen.
Your sister in Christ,
"But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." Galatians 5:15 (AKJV)
Recently I became aware of a popular pastor in Texas who has a podcast in which he demeans and hurts members of the body of Christ for exhorting him to do more about the slaughter of the preborn in his community. Instead of examining his heart to see if there really is more he and his congregation can do, it appears he has chosen to lash out and demonize those calling for repentance. Friends, this ought not to be. Where is our Christian love for the body of Christ? Have we become so busy building our little kingdoms on earth that we've forgotten what our good Lord has said?
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13: 34, 35 AKJV)Perhaps this is a good opportunity for all of us to examine our hearts when it comes to obedience to the Word of God and our reaction when a fellow believer points out inconsistencies.
I have yet to receive a response from the church or pastor I've withdrawn from and can only assume that they are too busy serving the Lord to write a letter or make a phone call in response. I am happy to report that I've found a Reformed Baptist church plant nearby for Worship in which the Word is faithfully preached and the congregation appears to be quite zealous for the Lord.
May God have mercy upon His church and lead us to repentance for not loving each other as Christ commands. In Lord Jesus Name, I pray, amen.
- Southern Baptists - An Unregenerate Denomination (Challies.com)