A Catholic, a Presbyterian, and a Baptist dialogue

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A Catholic, a Presbyterian, and a Baptist dialogue 8

ACatholic, a Presbyterian, and a Baptist dialogue

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ACatholic, a Presbyterian, and a Baptist dialogue

Thechurch is an institution that is meant to function as a body ofChrist with the primary purpose to advance the kingdom of God byshowing God’s glory, wisdom, power, and authority of Christ. Forthe function of the church to operate smoothly, it must be managedunder what is known as church governance. As a result, every personhas their own perception how a church should be governed with regardsto decision making, procedures to be followed, and type of authority. Therefore, church governance refers to the organizational structureand hierarchy of the church and how various functions and departmentsare managed within a church setting. This variation has resulted indifferent forms of church governance across the world as each triesto outline how the governance of the church should be. For thatreason, there are 3 types of church governance that has emerged indifferent Christian denominations: the congregational, thePresbyterian and the Episcopal. The primary purpose of the researchpaper is to develop an imaginary dialogue between the threeinterlocutors (a Catholic, a Presbyterian, and a Baptist) on thetopic of church governance. A Catholic will defend Episcopalianism, aPresbyterian will defend Presbyterianism, and a Baptist will defendcongregationalism.

ACatholic: Episcopalianism sometimes can be referred to as the prelacy and isthe rule of the church that has been adopted by the monarchicalbishops. In this type of church governance, one man is responsiblefor governing those who work under him irrespective of whether theyare members or elders. His appointment is not made by people, butthere is a higher agency that is mandated to do so. After that, oneman is trusted with authority as a human priest at the top(archbishop or pope). These changes are then communicated to hissubordinates then it further extends to the congregation.1

APresbyterian:on the other hand, Presbyterianism is quite different from theEpiscopalianism, since Presbyterianism is the rule of the church withmultiple elected elders. In other church governance, you will findthat one man is overall, but that is not the case withPresbyterianism. The appointment of the elders is made by the eldersthemselves especially men who are willing to vow submission. Theelected elders are not examined or established by the contemporarygoverning panel of elders in the local body of leaders or thecongregation.2

ABaptist:I stand to defend congregationalism, and sometimes it can be referredto as the independency. In this type of our church governance,independency is the rule of the church every member is expected toabide by it and independency of every congregation from all others.For that reason, the authority is at the bottom as opposed to otherchurch governance where the authority is at the top. Therefore, thedecision-making process is a collective function and every member hasthe same authority as any other. The ruling from the board is verysimple, and they are administrative convenience. The decision reachedcan be easy rejected by the congregation as a whole. A member of thecongregation cannot be subjected to external jurisdiction andassociations of churched based on a voluntary basis, and they do nothave independent power over the internal affairs of their memberchurches.3

ACatholic:my view on this topic is diverse and complex and I have not yetagreed on how the Congregationalism and Presbyterianism form ofchurch governance. Since in the Episcopalianism, there is anorganization which is tasked to appoint one individual who leads thecongregation. Having one person to oversee the people becomes easyregarding management. The decision on how to run the church are madeby one person, and this helps to save time as compare when manypeople are involved in the decision-making process. Additionally, thechurch needs to have order and not confusion regarding governancesince the God whom we serve is a God of order.4

APresbyterian:very interesting, I am amazed at the different views as far as churchgovernance is concerned. Presbyterianism is church governance that isled by elected elders, and this is also supported by the scriptures. In the book of Acts 20:28, the Bible states that the elders haveoversight of the church and 1 Peter 5:2-3, confirms that the eldershave the responsibility to rule the congregation.5 For this matter, I do not understand if the church governance by thecongregationalism and Episcopalianism has scriptural backing. Therefore, as a Presbyterian, I believe that the mode of churchgovernance in our church is the best since it is done according tothe bibles.6

ABaptist:I am defending Congregationalism as the best form of churchgovernance as compared to Episcopalianism and Presbyterianism. First,I would like to disagree with Episcopalianism, because from the bileit is clear that each congregation and center of leadership is tohave a plurality of elders and not a one-man rule. On the other hand,I am a bit distance on how Presbyterianism elects their members sinceit seems as if it is preserved for a group of elders. For thisreason, I supportcongregationalism since the people have the powerand authority to elect their elders. This approach used by theBaptist is drawn from the fact that church is not viewed as abuilding but as a person.7

ACatholic:the church governance that is being used by the Catholic was utilizedin the past as timely as Ignatius of Antioch, and this can be tracedback all the way down to the time of the reorganization.Additionally, those who advocated for this system of churchgovernance stated that the absolute point that it went practicallyunchallenged until the time of the restoration affirms to itsassertions of apostolicity. Even though, not all modern-dayEpiscopalian apologists contend from olden times rather thanscriptures. This implies that the Catholic is using this form ofchurch governance tracing it back into the history and they are alsosupporting it using the bible.8

APresbyterian:the form of church governance employed by the Presbyterian is theoriginal authority, and this is the authority that is believed Christgave to the church. For that matter, church leadership lies on theshoulder of the elders in this model of polity. Presbyterian is alsoknown as the Reformed church implying that they emerge after Christ.Therefore, those with the uppermost power in the church are theelders, and they are picked by the worshippers on a periodic basis.To ensure that the church governance is effective, the elected eldersare given a term of three years, and another election is conducted toappoint new elders. 9

ABaptist:I want to give out how Baptist started their church governance andwhy it is varied from the form of the governorship. First, thecongregational organization obtained its naming from the thenimpartiality of local congregation from the control and authority ofother spiritual institutions. Hence, the church polity depends on thefreedom and self-government of each of the local church. As a resultof the Baptist exercise democracy in the church governance since itis believed that Christ is the only crown of his church whilefollowers are all priest unto God. Therefore, these divisions areconsidered as an emergence and symbolic of the church worldwide.10

ACatholic:how does Baptist claim that their form of church governance wasderived from the authority and control of other religious churches.It is important for a church to be identical and have its identity. Additionally, it implies that the basis for their form of churchgovernance they encourage splitting of church and more church withdifferent governance can be seen in the future. For the Catholic, itsform of church governance date back in the early years, and itimplies that there is consistency in their governance. Suchconsistency helps to eliminate contradiction that would emerge in thefuture.11

APresbyterian:even though the Catholic still believes on one man rule, I think itis important to have a group of elders to lead the congregation. Oneconcept that church needs to accept is the diversity, and one personcannot be trusted to come up with a decision that can fit everyone ina church setting. When a church is led by a group of elders, it helpsto come up with a decision that is all-inclusive and can meet theexpectation of every member. Therefore, church governance needs toaddress the issue of diversity, and that can be achieved by having agroup of elders to lead the congregation.12

ABaptist:Church governance in Baptist is very effective since it helps allchurches to be organized and get involved in the convections,district or associations that permit them to have a share of commonbeliefs, regulate clergy with other congregation and cooperate injoint ministry efforts. Church operating under a congregationalstate, always disapproves of recognizing the power in committeesinvolving delegates or representative from the externally confinedcongregation. Moreover, the congregational community does notdisregard a local congregation’s governance from embracing theverdict or position of another gathering, council or congregation.13

Conclusion

Withregards to this dialogue, my position was church governance accordingto the Baptist. This form of governance interested me since theyexercise democracy and that helps to have inclusivity in theirfunctions. Additionally, their perception of the church is unique asthe church is not viewed as the congregation but as an individual.Similarly, all three types of church governance have some scripturesevidence in support of their defense as well as church tradition forsupport of their respective position. Irrespective of divergentchurch governance from the three forms (Episcopalianism,Presbyterianism, and Congregationalism), it is important to respecteach since there are no criteria that we can use to gauge thesuperior one.

Bibliography

Colwell,John. &quotIntegrity and Relatedness: Some Critical Reflections onCongregationalism and Connexionalism.&quot BaptistQuarterly48, no. 1 (2017): 11-22.

Foster,James JS. &quotReligion and National Identity: Governing ScottishPresbyterianism in the Eighteenth Century. By Alistair Mutch.&quot(2016): 133-135.

Ritchie,Elizabeth. &quotThe People, the Priests and the Protestants:Catholic Responses to Evangelical Missionaries in the EarlyNineteenth-Century Scottish Highlands.&quot ChurchHistory85, no. 02 (2016): 275-301.

Schmid,Michael T. Translatingthe Bible Literally: The History and Translation Methods of the KingJames Version, the New American Standard Bible and the EnglishStandard Version.WestBow Press, 2016.

1  Elizabeth, Ritchie. &quotThe People, the Priests and the Protestants: Catholic Responses to Evangelical Missionaries in the Early Nineteenth-Century Scottish Highlands.&quot Church History 85, no. 02 (2016): 275-301.

2  James JS , Foster. &quotReligion and National Identity: Governing Scottish Presbyterianism in the Eighteenth Century. By Alistair Mutch.&quot (2016): 133-135.

3  John, Colwell. &quotIntegrity and Relatedness: Some Critical Reflections on Congregationalism and Connexionalism.&quot Baptist Quarterly 48, no. 1 (2017): 11-22.

4 Elizabeth, Ritchie. &quotThe People, the Priests and the Protestants: Catholic Responses to Evangelical Missionaries in the Early Nineteenth-Century Scottish Highlands.&quot Church History 85, no. 02 (2016): 275-301.

5  Michael T, Schmid, Translating the Bible Literally: The History and Translation Methods of the King James Version, the New American Standard Bible and the English Standard Version. WestBow Press, 2016.

6  James JS , Foster. &quotReligion and National Identity: Governing Scottish Presbyterianism in the Eighteenth Century. By Alistair Mutch.&quot (2016): 133-135.

7  John, Colwell. &quotIntegrity and Relatedness: Some Critical Reflections on Congregationalism and Connexionalism.&quot Baptist Quarterly 48, no. 1 (2017): 11-22.

8  Elizabeth, Ritchie. &quotThe People, the Priests and the Protestants: Catholic Responses to Evangelical Missionaries in the Early Nineteenth-Century Scottish Highlands.&quot Church History 85, no. 02 (2016): 275-301.

9  James JS , Foster. &quotReligion and National Identity: Governing Scottish Presbyterianism in the Eighteenth Century. By Alistair Mutch.&quot (2016): 133-135.

10  John, Colwell. &quotIntegrity and Relatedness: Some Critical Reflections on Congregationalism and Connexionalism.&quot Baptist Quarterly 48, no. 1 (2017): 11-22.

11  Elizabeth, Ritchie. &quotThe People, the Priests and the Protestants: Catholic Responses to Evangelical Missionaries in the Early Nineteenth-Century Scottish Highlands.&quot Church History 85, no. 02 (2016): 275-301.

12  James JS , Foster. &quotReligion and National Identity: Governing Scottish Presbyterianism in the Eighteenth Century. By Alistair Mutch.&quot (2016): 133-135.

13  John, Colwell. &quotIntegrity and Relatedness: Some Critical Reflections on Congregationalism and Connexionalism.&quot Baptist Quarterly 48, no. 1 (2017): 11-22.