Complicated Machinery

By Frank Driver

The essence of organizational arrangements for the collective function of the people of God in performance of His service, like the content of the Gospel message, is simplicity. The apostle Paul feared it might become otherwise (2 Cor. 11:3).

The divine and heavenly ordinance for such organizational arrangement as above mentioned is elders in every church (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5), for function of oversight, (Hebrews 13:17, 1 Pet. 5:2, 3). This is simple but sufficient and effective. This is the full substance of the divine provision.

But man is not satisfied with this. He seeks improvement through the vanity of his own wisdom even when it displaces that of God’s. The consequence is that we now have among some churches of Christ an iniernational radio program overseen and controlled by elders in one church (Abilene, Tex.), and supported financially by elders in hundreds of churches, when the divine ordinance calls for elders in every church to have the same function. We have even had people ask us if the headquarters of the Church of Christ is in Abilene, Texas!

When something like this gets started, it usually goes into other areas of question. Now the Abilene church has a state representative in Denver and the elders of the church for which he preaches functions in a regional, coordinating capacity to strengthen the organization and its effectiveness in our area. There are also other such regional elderships throughout the zountry, functioning in this manner.

So we now have three levels of eldership after the order of man, rather than the one after the order of God: overseeing elders (Abilene, Texas), regional elders (state or area wide), and contributing elders (who send the money!). And all this in barely more than twenty years! One would have to deliberately close his eyes to avoid seein.g the ecclesiastical appearance of this arrangement.

The all-wise, infinite, and perfect God devised His own system of function and activity for His people, for all time. The changes of time through human wisdom and invention will not impose adjustments on the Author of the divine pattern.

Truth Magazine XX: 39, p. 610
September 30, 1976