Friday, April 21, 2017

Congregationalism And Worldly Governance

A Congregational Church is, by worldly standards, a very strange set-up, and people often misunderstand it, even within the Congregational Church. Here is the incident which most stands out in my mind: we had just dismissed an employee, for severely abusing his wife on the Church property. Among other things, he slashed her with a whip (a sjambok). Next thing, an official from the Dept. of Labour demanded to speak to me. He shouted at me that the Department would have me up before a tribunal because I was the minister and chief executive (we had dismissed the man for behaviour off-duty). I tried to explain to him that, in a Congregational Church, the minister is not a "chief executive", but rather it is the very opposite. There is an executive body which is, well ... everybody. OBSERVATION: Something similar happens with regard to anyone who holds office in the Church or expedites something or stamps it or signs it and so on. People easily assume that, for example, the stamp-bearer is more than someone who uses a stamp. But in the Congregational Church, everybody is just humbly obeying orders, which come from the Lord Himself. A typical Congregational constitution may say something like this: "Where the full Church meets in the Lord’s name, their findings are those which He Himself imparts." That is a radical statement. And outside of that meeting of the Church, there is no authority and there is no one who bears it (as it affects the Church).

No comments: