CHURCH ORGANIZATION AND GOVERNMENT
Andrew N. Dugger
The most famous Church of God, Seventh Day, leader in the twentieth century.
- As God is the author of nature in all her perfection, and has set the heavenly bodies in their perfect system of order, can we suppose that He has left His people in the earth without any instruction regarding system and order in the church?
"God is not the author of confusion," I Corinthians 14:33.
"Let all things be done decently and in order," I Corinthians 14:40.
- When God set the church in order in the wilderness, what kind of an organization did He form? How many men were at the head of the church?
"There were the renowned of the congregation, princes of the tribes of their fathers, HEADS of thousands in Israel . . . These are those that were numbered, which Moses and Aaron numbered, and the princes of Israel, being twelve men: each one was for the house of his fathers," Numbers 1:16, 44.
- Were there not also seventy men given appointment for special work in God's order for governing His people?
"And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee," Numbers 11:16.
- As the Lord established this system of government for His people through His servant Moses, did Moses prophesy that God would raise up another prophet like unto him?
"This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear," Acts 7:37.
- Of whom did Moses speak, and was this fulfilled in Christ's birth and ministry?
"For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren . . . . Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers," Acts 23:22. 25.
- When Jesus came and reorganized the church, what form of government did He also set in order?
"And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called unto Him His disciples: and of them He chose twelve, whom also He named apostles," Luke 6:12, 13.
- Did He also choose seventy the same as Moses had done?
"After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come," Luke 10:1.
NOTE: We see from the above scripture that God has twice set His church in order here on the earth, once through Moses, and once through Christ.
In both cases God ordered twelve men placed over the spiritual affairs of his church, and also seventy others to assist in the government. Surely this is the best system of organization. It is divinely given and the only one found in the entire Bible. Instead of having one man as head of the church here on earth, God's order is to have twelve men, while Jesus is the head over all, and He directs from heaven.
- How was the church further organized in the days of the apostles?
"Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business," Acts 6:2, 3; Philippians 4:15.
NOTE: There were also seven business stewards appointed in the Old Testament church organization.
- Were there also overseers in the church organization under Moses, as well as under Christ?
"And Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer. . . . and their overseer was Zabdiel, the son of one of the great men . . . The overseer also of the Levites at Jerusalem was Uzzi," Nehemiah 11:9, 14, 22.
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood," Acts 20:28.
Paul says, "Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches," II Corinthians 11:28.
- When there was a vacancy among the twelve apostles, was there an election held to vote for someone to fill the office, or did they simply cast lots in such cases?
"And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two Thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell," Acts 1:23-25.
- In choosing by lot, who is it that makes the choice? Is it the people, or is it the Lord?
"The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord," Proverbs 16:33.
- When men are thus chosen by lot instead of by a vote of the people, does it cause contention, or is it given to prevent strife in the church?
"The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty," Proverbs 18:18.
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