Who Governs the Church?
Though together in the gospel, Council members for The Gospel Coalition do not all belong to the same churches—nor could they in good conscience. Meaningful, deep unity in the gospel of Jesus Christ and a detailed confession may put certain disputed doctrines in perspective. But such joyful cooperation does not mean we can ignore crucial issues where God's Word guides God's people. Rather, confident that we have genuine fellowship in the Holy Spirit, we freely debate our disagreements over anything from the millennium to cremation.
In that spirit, Ligon Duncan (Presbyterian) and Thabiti Anyabwile (Baptist) explore their differences over polity (how the church is organized and governed). It's a relatively tame discussion, and Duncan begins by establishing their shared commitment to search the Scriptures—not pragmatic sources or tradition—for guidance.
Still, you'll see how their churches differ on handling church discipline. Who stands on the front line of pastoral care in such cases? Who makes the final decision to dismiss an unrepentant sinner from membership?
They conclude with an open question about the dance in every congregation between the membership and leadership. Whether or not you're formally accountable as a leader to your fellow members, you must still heed them. In every church, members vote—if only with their feet.