Monday, November 14, 2011

The Polity of the Church - Part 3

Part 3
A 3- Part Series on Church Organizational Government and Politics

What the church should know 

In the past two articles we have discussed what Church Polity is, its definition and how Southern Baptist in particular are less aware than most of the role and ultimate effect Church Polity plays in the local church.
But Southern Baptist and their current controversy over a name change is not the only matter of concern. There is far more at stake here.
The current “Occupy Wall Street Protest” are just an example.  Our nation (as one radio talk show continually and correctly states) is rapidly changing and unfortunately not necessarily for the better. The “Occupy Wall Street Protestors” have next on their agenda, the Christian Church.
Those in charge of these protestors have stated so boldly and unapologetically. They believe that Christians and the church is a virus and detriment to society.  We are standing in their way of changing America into a totally socialistic society and nation.
Unfortunately, there are even Christians who believe they are right.
So how does this involve Church Polity and the local church? The church must protect itself via its own constitution and bylaws insuring their rights under the constitution. The church and its leaders must not assume anything.
As a church attorney friend of this pastor says, “assumption in law is the road to destruction”.
One of the keys here is making sure your church constitution incorporates the 1st amendment into its own constitution.
Another matter of importance is the church making sure they have a church attorney knowledgeable in church law and advising the church into a careful review of its constitution including membership provisions and requirements.
We say “who so ever will may come” but today is NOT the time of naivety. Not everyone wanting to join your church today may be genuine. Again, don’t assume. Make sure you have a plan for screening thoroughly your membership applicants.
We know this happens as stated in my first article. Please read Part 1 of Church Polity for further clarity.
Remember, you can lead people to Christ making them a part of the universal church without necessarily making them a member of your church.
This is not to say the church should be paranoid. But the church must be cautious. 
With churches struggling and dying, every church both large and small must be aware of their legal rights and responsibility.
If a church does not review its legal rights and understand confidently Church Polity, it will not be long before the church’s freedom will be lost and ultimately the church destroyed.
Let each of us as believers in Christ Jesus take the time to understand Church Polity and lead our churches to utilize it in the protection and survival of the local church.


Deborah Brooks-Langford said...

Dr. Lee.. thank you for writing the article.. I pray for the church the struggles and dying out of the churches.. I pray they will know their legal rights. as you stated..
thank you for a very good article.

Drtruthman said...

Thank you Deborah, I appreciate the comment.