THE AUTONOMY OF THE CHURCH
THE AUTONOMY OF THE CHURCH
The subject on the Church of Christ being autonomous has been confused recently. In Bible Camps, Seminars, Lectureships, Bible Classes of the church, some leaders have been teaching and claiming that "the Autonomy of the Church" is dead and therefore must be buried. Some leaders and some congregations are straying from the old path that God had intended for His church, and therefore need to be addressed and corrected.
Definition Of Terms:
The word "Autonomy" comes from two Greek words "Autos" meaning "self" "own", and "nomos" meaning "law", "rule" "government". So Autonomy means Self-rule, self-governing. To have one's own government indicates independncy. Does this meaning of the word reflect on the New testament Church organisation?
Though the word "Autonomy" is not found in the Bible, there are passages of scripture that bring this concept of the church being autonomous into light.
The Churches of Christ existing today must be always be compared to the Churches of Christ that existed in the Apostle's time. Acts 2:42 says that "And they continued steadfast in the Apostles' doctrine, fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." The early congregations depended on the teachings of the apostles and hanged on the old path that the Holy Spirit gave to the apostles to lay down as the traditions of the church.
How Local Congregations Of The Church Of Christ Were Organised In The New Testament.
The Bible expressly declares that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, locally and universally - Eph. 1:22-23;5:23:Col.1:18. If the church is seen as the Body of Christ, Family of God, Nation (People) of God, Flock of Christ, our Lord Jesus Christ is found to be the Head, Leader, King, Shepherd, and High Priest of the church. Therefore the church is Christ rule or Christ Governed.
When we bring down the concept of Autonomy to the local level of the church, Jesus governs or rules the local congregation through the local leaders. The apostles and early leaders of the church went from place to place to establish churches. The Lord's church was all over the then world (Bible Lands) and there is no single passage of scripture that shows a church was under another church, or a congregation was superior to another. Acts 14:23 clearly states that "And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord on whom they believed." Underline the phrase "in every church" which was not used in universal sense but in the local sense. The apostles appointed leaders in every congregation. Every local congregrtionthey visited in Derbe, Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Traos, Ephesus, Corinth, etc. had its own leaders, which which indicated that every church was self-ruled, autonomous, independent und
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