The church is not a democracy
December 17, 2010? was the beginning of the Arab spring in Tunisia, then other Arab countries have followed, most shouted in Arabic “Heuria, Heuria'”freedom, freedom” while others shouted ”democracy, democracy.”
Few Arab countries actually knew what freedom is, and even less, democracy. Why am I telling you this? Simply because most have known only dictatorship, oppression and corruption. Unfortunately this continues today.
Some of these countries are called these days a ‘Democrature.’ recently introduced in the dictionary as a new word. This is what is called an ‘oxymoron’ ‘the joining of two contradictory words ‘. This is the combination of democracy and dictatorship – it’s what is called a dictatorship disguised as a democracy.
But the only true freedom is in Jesus Christ John 8:31 – 37 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.
I’m sure some of you are thinking, but why has he chosen such a topic, wouldn’t it be better to speak about love, forgiveness, tolerance, patience or understanding, etc. etc.?
But dear brothers and sisters I chose such a topic because it’s a fact that in recent years, indeed decades, that a wind of democracy has been blowing within the Church of the Lord, perhaps even in our own local assembly.
In case you’ve forgotten, here’s what democracy is. It comes from the Greek word “demokratia” formed of ‘demos’ = ‘people’ and ‘kratos’ = ‘power’.
Abraham Lincoln, president of the States said that democracy is “Government of the people, by the people and for the people.” According to this principle the sovereignty thus belongs to the people, who choose those who govern them and make laws.
Let me ask you this simple question: how many times is the word democracy found in the Bible? Not once. However, the word Kingdom is found 250 times?
The Kingdom, the Church, is the theocratic Kingdom of God. Theocratic comes from the term “THEOCRATIA” theos = “God” and “Kratia” = ‘force, power ‘.
It was Josephus who used this term for the first time to refer to the Kingdom of Israel and to indicate that they exercised no secular authority. “Theocracy” means “power exercised directly by God on his Kingdom, which is his Church.”
Theocracy means God’s Government as opposed to the domination of an individual, a group or mass.
I. But how does He exercise His power on the Church today? In several ways:
1. By His Word, written and recorded in the Bible. 2Ti.3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2. At the beginning of the Church his Apostles, and men qualified according to criterion revealed in Scripture, the evangelists, then elders and deacons did not go beyond what was written: 1Co 4:6 I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.
Exo.19:6 “and ‘you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
Rev.1:6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Rev.5:10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
1Pe.2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
3. By men capable of refuting the errors and false teachers.
4. Heb.8:5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.”
-Theocracy is an interesting concept that we understand in principle, but not always in practice.
-A theocracy of the Church, is when everyone prays to seek God’s will and to submit accordingly.
-It is fair to say that we understand that the will of God is ultimate and superior to ours. However, when the will of God is different from our will, we sometimes lose sight of the theocracy and we move towards a democracy.
-This seems just, but when we cross that line, we welcome ‘politics’ into the ministries of the Church.
The Church is not a democracy but the community of the Kingdom led by its only Sovereign and King, Jesus Christ.
The Kingdom, the church was born by a decision of God before its establishment and not as a result of what men decided. The confession of faith is not put to a vote of the citizens of the Kingdom, nor by a Board of Directors.
Every Christian whether understanding it or not, ought to know that the moment he or she became a disciple of Christ through the waters of baptism, that they are bound by the Word of God and their conscience became captive to the Word of God.
Unfortunately Protestantism and evangelicals have incorporated the notion of democracy and freedom of conscience; to the point that the conscience has become the mediator between men and God. Their evangelists and elders, if they have any, have no specific status and don’t have any authority over the Church. They may be educated and instruct, but are by no means an authority. We are a democracy is, in short, what many denominations think and practice.
But it is with sadness that I say that some of our churches have taken the plunge into thinking that this would attract more people into their church by giving them what they want. After all, the Church is here to satisfy the people. Sorry to disappoint you but the Apostle Paul does not tell us this. Listen to what he says in Colossians 3:23. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
1Co.10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
2Chron.31:20 Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God.
2Chron.31:21 And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart, and prospered.
Unfortunately some brothers and sisters are seeking their own glory with men and not with God.
No, but wait brother. You have to realize that our society and our world has changed, the culture changes and evolves, and if you want to stay in the race these are people in our society today whom we must satisfy.
Brother, it is the same with our young people. To keep them in the Church we must listen to them and give them what they want. It doesn’t matter whether or not it agrees with the word, God understands.
Brother, you need to open your eyes, Don’t you see, churches that are growing and have hundreds, even thousands of people in it, it is because they were able to adapt to our modern society. They have good shows, orchestras, give a more important place to women in the assembly, such as leading prayers, preside over, and serve the Lord’s Supper, women pastors, leaders of “praise teams.” “Praise teams” are groups of men and women whose role is to warm up the audience and “help the believers in their singing.” The singing is stronger and better. Then when you clap your hands, it helps to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit and have these good feelings and even chills. Brother, if we don’t do this the Church is headed for failure
Then we should be open as are all the denominations and churches because you forget brother, that Jesus never died on the cross for “doctrine”, and still less ‘truth’ but love. Maybe our brother has forgotten John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Brother, you read as well as I do what God said: “God so loved the doctrine and truth that he gave his son for that.” But, he gave his son out of love, so you see, love is the most important thing in the eyes of God. Not doctrine, and even less, truth.
Brother, when you insist on doctrine and truth you are acting exactly like the scribes and Pharisees.
The doctrine and the truth come from God. John 7:16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.”
But when pressed for democracy in the Church the Bible tells us that it is opposed to God. All that he planned for his Kingdom, His Church has:
1. Jesus Christ, authority in the world and his Church. Mt.28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Eph.1:22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,
Col.1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
2. The authority of his word:
Lk.6:46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?
Mt.7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
The Organization of his Church as revealed by the Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Ephesians. Eph.4:11-16 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
1. The worship that he introduced to the church – Acts 2:42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
2. His teaching Gal.1:6-12 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. 11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
1Cor.4:6 I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.
2 Jn.9-10 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,
3. His Gospel Mt.28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Mk.16:15-16 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
4. His judgment is based on His Word and not on our feelings. John 12:48-50 “The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”
5. Unity was willed by God himself. John 17:21 “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
1 Cor.1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
6. It is a fact that the Church has order and a duty to defend the truth and the doctrine of Christ. Jude 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
1 Tim.3:15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
In case you’ve forgotten, every Kingdom consists of four elements:
A King – Jesus. Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
John 20:28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
Laws – The New Testament. 2 Tim.3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Subjects – the disciples. Rev.5:10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.
1 Pet.2:9-10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Acts 2:47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
A Territory – The hearts of the disciples. Rom.6:17, 22 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 22 but now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
I am grateful to the Lord that in this House there are still brothers and sisters who want to serve in the Kingdom of God according to doctrine and truth.
But for those who insist and continue to want to follow the fondness of their heart and the influence of some Church of the Lord who has decided to no longer follow their King, I call on them and encourage them and pray for them that they think well as to which path they are choosing.
But as Joshua, the faithful servant of Moses and the Eternal has so well said, choose this day who you will serve. Joshua 24:14-15, 23-25. “Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” 23 He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD, the God of Israel.” 24 And the people said to Joshua, “The LORD our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey.” 25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and put in place statutes and rules for them at Shechem.
Question: Now, was it democracy which added you to the Church of the Lord? Certainly not; in Acts 2:47, it is the Lord who adds us, when we obey from the heart the gospel of Christ.
In democratic churches where everyone is welcomed with open arms, few, if any questions are asked. If you believe in Jesus it’s good and you are admitted, you are greeted with open arms. But don’t forget about your tithing because if you don’t give your tithe we’ll toss you out. Mal. 3: 8.