The Right of the Majority to Govern?

Man this is getting me riled up (and I’m still waiting for RCIA so I may not be fully correct in my Roman Catholicism).

My Baptist Church is not strictly “sola striptura”. We have a “Church Covenant”. Most Baptist Churches do. In “Business Meetings” where a new pastor is voted on or other matters take place, the right of the majority governs.


"Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour; and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God, angels and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.

We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge and holiness; to give it a place in our affections, prayers and services above every organization of human origin; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrine; to contribute cheerfully and regularly, as God has prospered us, toward its expenses, for the support of a faithful and evangelical ministry among us, the relief of the poor and the spread of the Gospel throughout the world. In case of difference of opinion in the church, we will strive to avoid a contentious spirit, and if we cannot unanimously agree, we will cheerfully recognize the right of the majority to govern.

We also engage to maintain family and secret devotion; to study diligently the word of God; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintance ; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be kind and just to those in our employ , and faithful in the service we promise others; endeavoring in the purity of heart and good will towards all men to exemplify and commend our holy faith.

We further engage to watch over, to pray for, to exhort and stir up each other unto every good word and work; to guard each other’s reputation, not needlessly exposing the infirmities of others; to participate in each other’s joys, and with tender sympathy bear one another’s burdens and sorrows; to cultivate Christian courtesy; to be slow to give or take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, being mindful of the rules of the Saviour in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew, to secure it without delay; and through life, amid evil report, and good report, to seek to live to the glory of God, who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

When we remove from this place, we engage as soon as possible to unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s word."

The only problem I had as a Baptist was with the right of the majority to govern. The majority is right – even if it is unscriptural.

LetsObeyChrist: Is your local church governed by the majority? And you know the majority is not right?

Matthew 7:14 Jesus says “How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” Jesus says the majority are going the wrong way. (Matthew 7:13)

If only a few find it, then why give the right to govern to the majority? A logical outflow of Matthew 7:14 would seem to be a church hierarchy similar to the Roman Catholic Church.

I was over 4000 characters. Continuing.

Years ago (even as a Methodist), I figured I’d take the Pope’s view on morality matters long before I’d take the Methodist convention. At the Methodist Convention, the majority has the say. Same thing with the annual Southern Baptist Convention. In the Methodist convention, liberals gravitated much more to the convention than others. In the Southern Baptist Convention, conservatives fight pretty hard and it often is a battleground.

My home Methodist Church now has a prayer of consecration over the eucharist – not because of Methodist doctrine or perhaps because they lean so much towards Roman Catholicism.

Might it be that the women ministers (and the woman Bishop) over my home Methodist Church are more closely following the doctrine of the Metropolitan Community Church (a gay and lesbian dominated group that also consecrates their eucharist)? Is not their act of desecration made more vile by saying it truly is the Body of Christ? Doesn’t Satan in his want to desecrate prove the Roman Catholics are right about the Eucharist? The home church woman minister isn’t gay (she is married). But I think that is where their doctrine is coming from. It isn’t coming from John Wesley’s original Articles of Faith. John Wesley said it plainly that the bread and wine are only symbolic.

Here in Northern Virginia, we have better Methodist Churches.

LetsObeyChrist: We live in very evil times. If you are attending a church where the pastor has not said one word about abortion from the pulpit, you should flee from that church. At best, such a church is only mediocre. And it could be much worse.
I should start a new thread regarding right of the majority to govern.

I am referring to the Metr

By “their” I am referring to the Metropolitan Community Church.

“ALL are welcome in MCC… a worldwide fellowship of Christian churches with a special outreach to the world’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities”

There are basically three kinds of church government.

In the episcopal system, the authority flows from the top downward. The word “episcopal” is related to the word “bishop.”

In the congregational system, the authority resides in the congregation and they assign authority to various officers. So authority flows from the bottom upward.

In the presbyterian system, the authority is dispersed and divided between the top and the bottom, and it flows in both directions with each exercising checks on the other. The word “presbyter” means “elder.” The elders receive their authority from God, but they receive their placement in the eldership from the congregation. It is analogous to republican government in politics.

In the Baptist church covenant the members agree to an orderly resolution of conflict, which any member of any organization should agree to. In their congregational system, the congregation has the last word.

The covenant isn’t really addressing the question of whether or not the congregational scheme is biblical; that is assumed from the get-go. Instead, it is addressing the question of whether or not the individual will agree to function as a member of a body rather than as a law unto himself. Conflict is inevitable, but everyone can agree to follow the rules when a conflict arises.

In every system of government, those who have the last word can be accused of claiming omniscience or infallibility. In every system there are courts of appeal and available alternatives. If not, then you have the breeding ground for severe perversions and misuse of authority.

I regret the excesses of some of my posting yesterday.

Among other things, I also said that Cain was the first Protestant.

Someone replied and said that was the most ignorant thing they had ever heard. As a result I laughed and laughed and laughed. My sides almost fell off.

And no, I haven’t been to the Toronto laughing church.

Forgive me for being a clanging symbol instead of speaking with love. 1 Cor 13.

Kevan: yes thank you.

And unfortunately a fourth kind of Church government (which my new Baptist Pastor seemed to be advocating a few weeks ago) is where the Pastor insists that he is hearing from God and that he should really be the one in charge. That we should all be in unity and follow him. He took Matthew 16:18-19 and said that if we are all in unity and agreement that we would have the keys to the kingdom. I really hated that sermon. And figured that even the Ku Klux Klan could say the same words “if we are all in unity and agreement” that the Klan could have the keys. Or any other sicko wacko group that misused the Bible as their foundation. There are really only two Christian ways to look at Matthew 16:18-19. As the Roman Catholics see it. Or as most Protestants see it (Church built on the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord – That Jesus is God).

The primary point of my post yesterday was to show that even sola scriptura groups are not sola scriptura. Churches make decisions. My Baptist Church usually votes on certain important matters. And the decision we reach may or may not be in agreement with the Bible. But members are called on to fast and pray before important decisions – and thereby it is greatly hoped that decisions would not be in conflict with the Bible and also hoped that decisions would not be in conflict with God’s will.

Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address very briefly and it followed somebody else who was on the program and spoke at great length. Lincoln’s speech is the one that will be remembered for eternity. I went to my Baptist Church today with my family and an associate minister gave the sermon – really a sermonette.

Galations 2:19-20; Galations 5:14-18

Today’s reverend is known well by our church for his very powerful preaching, his good singing and his extreme brevity. I have yet to hear quite the same power in teaching from a local Roman Catholic Priest as sometimes comes from one of our own Baptist Preachers (I am still a member of that mostly Black Church). And becoming convinced of my error and that I should be Roman Catholic.

[quote=jmm08]The primary point of my post yesterday was to show that even sola scriptura groups are not sola scriptura.

Remember that sola scriptura doesn’t mean that all knowledge comes from the Bible. It means that the Bible is the only infallible rule for faith and practice. When a congregation decides on the color of the new carpet, they don’t look in the Bible; they just vote. But they don’t consider their decision to be infallible.

In fact, congregational churches elect their pastors by voting. And by the time the pastor moves on, most of the members are quite sure that their original decision to call him wasn’t infallible. :mad:

But I agree with you, the “domineering pastor” method is a sort of “fourth” form of church government–kind of a truncated episcopal system where authority is delegated by God to the bishop (“pastor”) and he exercises it from the top downward. It is problematic when it develops in an ostensibly congregational church because there are no fellow-bishops and no archbishops to keep him in line. A law unto himself, he can veer from the biblical standard pretty easily.

:John Wesley said it plainly that the bread and wine are only symbolic.:

No, he said nothing of the sort. He didn’t believe in transubstantiation, but he seems to have believed (much like Calvin) that believers receive the Body and Blood of Christ as they receive the Eucharist. He and his brother Charles published a number of Eucharistic hymns, one of which teaches that the “virtue” (or power) of Christ’s body is conveyed by the bread and wine, although the elements themselves are not changed. The last stanza begins: “Sure and real is the grace, though the manner be unknown.” Another hymn teaches that in the Eucharist the eternal sacrifice of Christ is applied to the believer. The Wesleys did not hold the Catholic view, but they did not believe that the Eucharist was “only symbolic.” 19th-century Methodism departed from the Wesleys and moved closer to the Baptists in its view of the sacraments. The liturgical revival of the 20th century has led to a rediscovery of the Wesleys’ sacramentalism, although I admit that probably many modern Methodist sacramentalists go farther toward Catholicism than Wesley would have liked. Which is all to the good in my book!

You’re also right in pointing out that many of the most liturgical Methodists are also quite liberal, especially on sexual issues. There are high-church conservative Methodists, though; and frankly your claim that liturgical Methodists get their doctrine from the MCC is ludicrous. They get it partly from the Wesleys, and even more from the ecumenical and liturgical movements of the past century, which point them to the early Church.

In Christ,



You quoted me (jmm08) “John Wesley said it plainly that the bread and wine are only symbolic.:”

No, he said nothing of the sort. He didn’t believe in transubstantiation, …



Article 18 (“Of the Lord’s Supper”) in John Wesley’s “Methodist Articles of Religion” – see the “Discipline of 1808” – includes these words:

“Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine in the Supper of our Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.”

See also Article 16.

John Wesley was originally an Anglican priest. Much in His “Methodist Articles of Religion” are not correctly understood unless one is also familiar with the particulars of certain Catholic doctrines or dogma.

I really like John and Charles Wesley’s hymns. So many of them are so good. I had an old volume (more than 150 years old) that I presently have misplaced. It had more than 1000 printed hymns in it (without the music – but with the meter). The music was not needed. If you know the meter, you can simply sing any tune (that has the same meter) with the words.

[quote=jmm08]Years ago (even as a Methodist), I figured I’d take the Pope’s view on morality matters long before I’d take the Methodist convention.

i am in the same boat. eventually it all comes down to a question of authority. some one is right and some one is wrong no matter how much we debate. who is to decide? me? you? i’ll stick with history and go with the pope.


A rejection of transubstantiation does not mean that one thinks “the bread and wine are only symbolic.” If by “only symbolic” you mean that Wesley didn’t think they were substantially transformed, then you are right. But generally when people say that the Eucharist is “only symbolic” they mean that Christ’s Body and Blood are not present or received by the faithful except in the same way that we commune with Christ spiritually whenever we have faith in Him. And that is clearly not what Wesley believed. He definitely believed that the heavenly Body and Blood of Christ was really received by the faithful. See Charles’s two hymns, “Oh the Depth of Love Divine,” and “Victim Divine, Thy Grace We Claim.” “Victim Divine” explicitly uses the phrase “real presence,” although obviously not in the Catholic sense.

I agree that modern liturgical Methodists are, at least on these points (unfortunately not too often in terms of moral theology), more Catholic than Wesley himself was. But in returning to a more robust sacramental doctrine than 19th-century Methodists generally held, they really are returning to Wesley.

In Christ,


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