CHURCH OF CHRIST BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE

LESSON 12

THE ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH

    
The pattern for the organization of the New Testament church is in the New Testament. Christ has provided the complete unchangeable pattern. For man to presume to change the pattern for the organization of the New Testament church would be to violate the authority of Christ and man's dependence on the Word of God. God would not permit Moses to change even one of the measurements of the tabernacle. The writer of the Hebrew letter demands this same principle today. When in Hebrews 8:5, the writer stresses the importance of the pattern, he enjoins the same principle upon us. "Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, see, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount." God would not permit Noah to change one feature of the ark but commanded complete and absolute submission to the divine instructions. Examples could be multiplied and scripture given, but this should be enough.

The question is, then by what right have men decided on ecclesiastical, episcopal and presbyterian forms of church government? For the scholars to say that it makes little difference how Christ's church is organized is to declare one of two things:

1. That the pattern for the church is not in the New Testament and thus can not be followed, or
2. That the pattern is in the New Testament and can be disregarded.

The fact of the existence of the pattern in the New Testament is amply demonstrated in the third chapter of 1 Timothy, in Titus 1, 1 Peter 5, and also in Hebrews 13. The same authority that gave the doctrine gives also the organization. The same respect for the doctrine should characterize the pattern of organization. If men cannot improve on the teaching of Christ, by what principle can they improve on his plan of organization? The following lesson will demonstrate clearly these facts:
1. The the New Testament church in every community was complete, having elders, deacons, and members and was able to do all that could be done in the name of Jesus.
2. That in the New Testament God had no other organization, other than the New Testament church to do his work.
3. Every congregation enjoyed complete autonomy and was free from any superstructure of organization or authority.
4. To restore the church of the New Testament, men today will have to make a complete return to this pattern of organization.

In this blank, please answer yes or no as to whether you have read all of the material.

THE EVANGELIST:

The term evangelist means a proclaimer of good news. In the New Testament the work of the evangelist was to proclaim Christ, to preach him to a dying world. It is referred to as definite work in Eph. 4:11 and Philip is designated as an evangelist in Acts 21:8.

1. Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Tim. 4:5 that he was to "do the work of an , make full proof of thy ."

2. What four chapters in the New Testament describe the organization of the church?
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)

3. In 2 Tim. 2:15, the evangelist is to study to show himself unto God, a that needeth not to be , rightly the word of .

4. The qualification for an evangelist is found in 2 Tim. 2:2 where Paul says, "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same thou to men, who shall be to others also."

5. In 1 Tim. 5:22, the evangelist is told to keep himself .

Thus we see that the New Testament evangelist can be any faithful and able male member of the body of Christ. That his work is that of preaching the gospel of Christ in its fullness. In the New Testament no evangelist assumed authority over the church. They only had the authority that the preaching of the Word of God furnished as they spoke or wrote.

ELDERS:

The term elder means one who is older. The terms elder, bishop, overseer, pastor, shepherd all refer to the same office. They are but different applications and descriptions of the same work. Pastor literally means one who looks over, suggesting a vantage point by position and experience in safeguarding the flock. The word bishop is an anglicized word without counterpart in the ancient language, either in the Greek, Latin or Hebrew. It can have no meaning, therefore, except the exact usage prescribed to that office in the New Testament.

A list of the qualifications for the high office of elder, (bishop, pastor, overseer, and shepherd) is found in 1 Timothy 3. Read this chapter and list the qualifications below:
(1) Blameless
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7) Apt to teach
(8)
(9)
(10)
(11)
(12)
(13)
(14)
(15)
(16)
(17)

Substantially, this list is also found in Titus 1. Read this account and compare it to 1 Timothy 3.

DEACONS:

The qualifications for a deacon are found in 1 Tim. 3:8-12.
Read these and list them below.
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4) Not given to filthy lucre
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
(9) Ruling their children and house well.

The deacon's wife must also be: 1 Tim. 3:11.
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4) Faithful in all things.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS:

1. Philippians 1:1, "Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi With the and .

2. 1 Peter 5:1-3.
(1) The fifth chapter was addressed to the .
(2) Peter was also an .
(3) The elders are to the flock of God.
(4) The work is not to be but rather .
(5) Not for filthy but of a .
(6) The elders are not to be over God's heritage.
(7) They are to be to the flock.

3. 1 Peter 5:4.
(1) For faithful labor, the elder shall receive a of that fadeth not away.

Now the question is this, is the student a member of a church organized in this way, with a plurality (more than one) of elders and deacons?
Missionary societies, ladies auxiliaries, missionary boards and all are unknown to the pattern of the New Testament church. Just as any episcopal organization is an organization larger than the church and therefore unscriptural; any organization within the church that is smaller than the church itself exists without divine authority.

THE CHURCH AND THE CHURCH ALONE IS GOD'S ORGANIZATION FOR EVERY WORK WHICH IS THE WORK OF THE CHURCH.

***All Bible texts and quotations are taken from the King James Version.




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