Friday, August 24, 2012

Church Governance (18)

Ephesian 4 is not at treatise on church governance, it is a an explanation of how a church can function without a formal system of governance. Good things happen when people with diversity of gifting submit to each other for the love of Jesus.

These gifting are about as different as things can get. They do not fit together naturally. They have different agendas and different ways of doing so things, so there will always be tension between them.

Elders with different giftings and different personalities do not get on together easily. Diversity of gifting could easily cause disunity in the church, which would deny the unity of God and undermine the unity of the church. However, Paul had already given the solution to this problem at the beginning of the chapter.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Eph 4:2).
This talk about humility and gentleness is very different from the usual approach that turns the ascension gifts for a privileged few who control the church. Paul is explain how elders and Christians with different personalities can achieve unity, if they remain humble and gently, and put love ahead of their personal preferences about the way things should be done.

Because the elders are committed to unity with each other, despite their different styles and giftings, they are able to teach the rest of the flock in their care to live in unity, despite their differences and their diversity. This is the goal of the church.

until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God… From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work (Eph 4:13,16).

When elders with different giftings do their part while bound together by love, the flock in their care grows to unity in Jesus. Despite this divisive diversity of their giftings, a church can be one, not because one person is in control, but by laying down their preferred way of working for the same of unit.

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