[Taken from Gary DeMar's God and Government, Volume 1]
Chapter 2: Ecclesiastical Government and Civil Government
[For those who are not familiar with the terminology of this post, I will post at the bottom a kind of glossary of the terms. If I didn't cover some of the terms in the post, let me know and I will edit the post.]
Running Thesis: God is opposed to centralized government. According to Francis Schaeffer (Genesis in Space and Time, p.152), Genesis 11:4 was the first declaration of Humanism:
They said, "Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth." (Genesis 11:4 NASB)
This was an attempt at centralized government. Those who attempt to centralize power do it at their peril. They do it to flank God of his power, but God mocks them (Psalms 2:1-4).
Ecclesiastical government is composed of mini-republics (cf. Exodus 18), and the elements of good ecclesiastical government is composed of:
1. Elders (Acts 20:28);
2. Governed locally (Titus 1:5);
3. Ruled by qualified shepherds and elders (1 Timothy 3:1-15);
4. Maintain a general assembly or synod to deal with catholic (universal church) issues (Acts 15:1-35).
In similar parlance, civil government seeks to establish a federal republic, much like the model afore mentioned. It is not a complete centralized system, although it the Constitution binds the Union to a single comity. However, if I were to delineate the system of our government, it would take an entire semester course in political science. Yet I will still outline the surface elements of civil government. It is composed locally by governors, judicial courts, representatives (per district), and two senators (per state). These political bodies are made up by a vote by the people, similar to step 3.
Homework for the group:
(Note: All these questions are taken from Gary DeMar's book, God and Government, Volume 1, pp. 36-37. I do not claim ownership over this content. The full documentation can be found on the bottom of this post.)
1. Read 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and show who are best qualified to lead the Church?
2. From whom did the Church receive its authority? And what is the role of Church government in settling disputes among its members? (Matthew 16:18-19; 18:15-20)
3. What is the extent of the Church's authority over its members? And why is that authority given? (Matthew 18:15-18; 1 Corinthians 5:1-2, 13; Titus 1:10-16; 1 Timothy 1:18-20)
4. What other functions does the Church perform with respects to disputes among its members? And could this affect civil government? (1 Corinthians 6:1-11)
5. Does the church, through the elders and deacons, perform a governing function for the economic welfare of its members? If so, what is the extent of the Church's governing function in this area? (Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 5:4,8-10; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15)
6. How does the Church finance its governing responsibilities? Explain. (Matthew 22:21; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15; Proverbs 3:9-10; 19:17; 28:27; Malachi 3:10)
Civil Government: Local Government v. Centralism
1. What was the primary reason the leaders of Babel concerned with in its construction of the Tower of Babel? What is the danger or dangers in their purpose? (Genesis 10:31-11:4)
2. What was God's evaluation of this plan? And what was God's response? (Genesis 11:5-9)
3. What was God's purpose in scattering these people? (Genesis 11:8-9)
4. What is the future of Babel (centralized government) concept? (Daniel 1:1; 2:31-45; 4:11-37; Revelation 16:19; 18:2, 10, 21)
5. How did God structure the nation of Israel that it would stave off the dangers of centralism? (Deuteronomy 16:18; Joshua 13:7-33)
6. How is local government presented in Israel? (Numbers 11:16; Deuteronomy 16:18; 19:12; 21:2; 22:15; Joshua 4:4; Judges 8:14; Ruth 4:2-4; Proverbs 31:23)
7. How is the concept of local government further expressed and emphasized? (Proverbs 11:14; 24:6; Exodus 18:21-22)
8. How would this system of decentralization work today? (Exodus 18:21-22)
9. How does the New Testament summarize the concept of decentralization? (Romans 13:1, 3, 6, 7)
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