By Nicholas J. Mattei
Ecclesiology is one of the most neglected aspects of doctrine in the church in America, biblical scholar Richard Halverson has said: “When the Greeks got the Gospel, they turned it into a philosophy; when the Romans got it, they turned it into a government; when the Europeans got it, they turned it into a culture; and when the Americans got it, they turned it into a business.” Is the church to be run like the government or a corporation? What is the correct view regarding the Church and how it is to be governed? A succinct statement found in the historic 2nd London Baptist Confession puts forward a faithful Scripturally principled answer on how the Lord would have His Church governed when it states: “To each of these churches therefore gathered, according to his mind declared in his word, he has given all that power and authority, which is in any way needful for their carrying on that order in worship and discipline, which he has instituted for them to observe; with commands and rules for the due and right exerting, and executing of that power.”
Before we can address the issue, we face in our day we must first look at the historical theological developments of Church polity. When considering the historical background, one finds almost immediately controversy and differing views in the early church. One early document, entitled First Clement, written around 100 A.D, shows a plurality of church elders in local autonomous churches. The epistle describes a situation where the church in Corinth has rebelled against its leaders and ejected them, and the church at Rome writes to the church at Corinth to rebuke them over this action and exhorts them to reinstall their elders. Outside of this example we see that during the patristic era a clear emergence of the episcopal view of church governance is the dominant position taken.
The episcopal view believes that the church is to be governed by bishops. “Proponents of this view teach that Christ Himself has committed the care of the Church directly to certain men, an ‘order’ or ‘bench of bishops’, who are descendants of the apostles in a direct spiritual succession.” This view is first seen in the writings of Ignatius who was one of the Apostolic Fathers, but the main proponent of this view in the early church was a man by the name of Cyprian (200-258). Cyprian and other Church Fathers were responding to different sectarian movements within the early church that were emphasizing pure church membership and separation from state interference. These movements consisted of the Montanists, Novationists, and Donatists. The two latter movements were a further reaction against what they saw as the compromise of the Church to allow those who apostatized during the Diocletian persecution back into Church. Cyprian in response to all of this taught that, “Rebellion against the bishop was regarded as rebellion against God. Anyone who refused to submit to the rightful bishop thereby forfeited his fellowship with the Church and consequently also his salvation.” He also taught that “True members will always obey and remain in the Church, outside of which there is no possibility of being saved.” Cyprian’s reaction against the sectarian movements caused him to move in the direction towards a more centralized hierarchical view of church government in order to deal with these dissentions. Louis Berkoff notes that: “Cyprian was the first to bring out clearly and distinctly the idea of a catholic Church, comprehending all true branches of the Church of Christ, and bound together by a visible and external unity. This is what Cunningham calls ‘Cyprian’s grand contribution to the progress of error and corruption in the Church’.”
Another church father who furthered this episcopal view is the well-known and very gifted Augustine of Hippo (354-430). His contribution was his concept of the Kingdom of God.
Augustine says: ‘The Church is even now the kingdom of Heaven.’ By this he means primarily that the saints constitute the Kingdom of God, though he also applies the term to the leaders of the Church collectively. While the Kingdom is essentially identical with the pious and holy, it is also the episcopally organized Church.
This view further established the idea that to be a true Christian one had to recognize and be a member in the externally organized and institutionalized church and that one was not a Christian who did not recognize this truth. As much good as Augustine contributed to the development of orthodox doctrine and the understanding of the sovereign grace of God, Augustine’s developments in the doctrine of the church would one day be at odds with his helpful developments in the doctrines of grace.
As the early Church period moved into the medieval period the progress of developments in the doctrine of the Church stalled. As a result of the teaching of Cyprian and Augustine ‘the Church itself actually developed into a close-knit, compactly organized, and absolute hierarchy.” During this time is where we see the rise of the Roman Catholic view of church governance, which Martyn Lloyd-Jones calls “episcopacy driven to its logical conclusion.” This view asserts that the bishop of bishops is centered in Rome because the apostle Peter, who, they claim, Christ gave primacy over the other apostles, was the first bishop of Rome and therefore all his successors hold primacy over all the other bishops. Interestingly enough to note, Cyprian, whom we saw as one of the originators of episcopacy, strongly disagreed with the Roman Bishop of his time Pope Stephen’s claim to superiority amongst the bishops. The Roman Catholic view also asserts that, “the Catholic Church was the Kingdom of God on earth, and that therefore the Roman bishopric was an earthly kingdom.” Because of this teaching the idea began to flourish that the Church was to control or to be over the state.
During the Reformation of the 16th century this Roman Catholic view of the Church was rejected, and a few different views were put forward to correct this erroneous teaching on church governance. One was the Erastian or Caesaropapism view held mostly by Lutherans and Anglicans. This view teaches that:
The Church is a function of the State, and that, therefore the state governs the Church. The state appoints the officers of the Church, the high dignitaries particularly, and they in turn appoint others. No power at all is given to the local preacher. The ordinary members have very little to say. Discipline, finally is exercised by the State, and the Church has not even power to excommunicate.
This teaching basically replaced the idea of the Church ruling over the state and reversed it to the state ruling over the Church.
Another view that came forth during the Reformation was the view of some of the Anabaptists and Quakers who taught against any church government at all and emphasized the inner light and guidance of the Spirit to direct all their members. These groups at times were viewed as anarchists. This position was one of the more extreme reactions against the Roman Catholic view of church governance.
The final two positions that we will look at that came out of the Reformation were centered in England. The first of these is the Presbyterian teaching on the governance of the Church. This view was developed and implanted by one of John Calvin’s disciples, a man by the name of John Knox (1514-1572) This view states that “The church is to be governed and directed by assemblies of officeholders, pastors, and elders chosen to provide just representation for the church as a whole.” The assembly is referred to as a presbytery and each presbytery governs over a given region of churches. Local churches agree to abide by the decisions of made by the presbytery.
The second view is that of Independency or Congregationalism. Those in this group can be put under the idea of being free from the state and therefore they have been referred to as the Free Church or Separatists. They asserted the free and autonomous rule of local churches, and these churches do not look onto any higher governing body. This is where the Particular Baptists come in and their views taught in the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.
The Particular Baptists drew extensively from the Independents’ Savoy Declaration of Faith’s Platform of Polity for their section on the doctrine of the Church in Chapter 26 of the 1689 London Baptist Confession. The Baptists taught a limited form of rule by elders, and some taught an elder led congregationalism. To them “Christ’s power is all-encompassing. The church’s power, received from him, extends to its proper functions of worship and discipline. It does not extend to other spheres. The elders’ power is ‘peculiar’ or specific in its expression as well.” Elders in local churches are given the gifts and graces by Christ to perform the duties of the office of the elder and the members of the local church recognize and appoint these men to that position. Jim Renihan talks about how this rule by the elders was limited when he refers to words from the 17th century Independent, John Owen.
Owen argues that the rule of elders ‘may be reduced to three heads.’ They are (1) The Admission and Exclusion of Members; (2) The Direction of the Church, that is, encouragement to mutual love, holiness, and service to others; (3) The conduct of worship, business meetings and other special meetings. The expression of rule by elders in the Independent churches is to be limited by the Word of God. Owen does not argue for extensive rule by elder, but limited rule by elder. 
Seeing now the historical backdrop of the subject of church governance, what is the biblical basis for the Independent or Baptistic view of church governance, and specifically a plural elder baptistic view as opposed to just a single elder led view, as is very common in our day.
It has been said by George Eldon Ladd, “It appears likely that there was no normative pattern of church government in the apostolic age, and that the organizational structure of the church is not an essential element in the theology of the church.” The Bible teaches otherwise.
The first passage we will look to in the Bible is Matthew 18:15-20. In it, Jesus says:
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
In this section of Scripture, the Lord Jesus Christ has been teaching His disciples the principles of reconciliation, discipline, and the power to carry out this discipline in the context of the local gathered assembly of believers. This is emphasized in verse 20 when the Lord says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” The Lord Himself, with His authority and power is said to be among the official gathering of saints. His agreement with the actions taken by the gathered body is explicit when you take verses 18-19 into consideration as well. Verse 18 talks about the actions of the church binding and loosing things here on earth and those actions being paralleled in heaven while verse 19 teaches that the Father will answer and do that which is asked in prayer by the corporate agreement of the church. We have here a clear example of autonomy in local church bodies. Each assembly of saints, rightly ordered, has the authority to discipline.
This sufficiency and power within the local church is further shown in the Book of Revelation in chapters 2 and 3. The Lord Jesus Christ is pictured walking amongst the seven golden lampstands, which symbolize the seven churches in Asia, and He addresses the angles of each church. This imagery is paralleled to what we just saw in Matthew 18:20. As Sam Waldron observes:
In the letters to the seven churches of Asia in Revelation 2 and 3, the subject of church discipline is repeatedly emphasized by Christ, but each church is held solely responsible for its own members and their discipline. Christ never asserts, assumes, or implies that the other churches may exercise church discipline by intervening in another church’s’ affairs. The entire group is not held responsible or told to act for the discipline of Laodicea.
No good exegetical argument can be made that the angles of the seven churches are their bishops. These are either the messengers to each church caring the inspired apostolic word to each location, or literary an angelic being that was set over each church.
Other passages within in the New Testament also emphasize this same teaching concerning the sufficiency within the local church to worship and order itself like that of 1 Corinthians 5:1-13. Here especially in 1 Corinthians 5 we see the power in the autonomous local church in this issue of church discipline which Paul is addressing in the church of Corinth. A sexually immoral church member is in need of discipline and what does Paul say?
For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
We see here no appeal to the presiding bishop to carry out this action of discipline nor an appeal to a regional assembly of elders to take this action. Paul is saying that the local body of believers, when they are gathered together in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, has the power to excommunicate a fellow member.
All this being said, the New Testament does have a section that seems to contradict all of this in Acts 15. This chapter discusses the Jerusalem Council. In this chapter the church at Jerusalem gathers to discuss the issue of Gentile Christians and if there is a need for them to be circumcised. Through the witness of Paul, Peter and James they come to a decision that Gentiles do not need to be circumcised, but that they should not engage in fornication or eat anything that has blood in it or has been strangled or has been offered to an idol. They then send Paul and Silas to the Gentile believers in Antioch to inform them of their decision. It has been argued by Presbyterians that this shows an example of a regional council or synod exercising authority over other churches. This misses the point however that the Jerusalem Council was a unique historical event in redemption history. The church at Jerusalem was the first and mother church of the infant inaugurated Kingdom of God on earth at this point. It is where the Apostles ministered and where they had started. This counsel is not a repeatable event. Furthermore, this counsel was not an assembly of regional elders. It was the gathering of the one church at Jerusalem because Paul and Barnabas were not actually apart of the decision process but only to testify what they had experienced on the mission field and then to take whatever was decided back to the brethren at Antioch. So, if this is put forward as an example of how the church should be governed, it actually is proving not a rule by a regional assembly of elders from many churches, but a rule by one church over all other churches. This is explicit in verse 23 of chapter 15 where the decree from the counsel at Jerusalem begins by saying:
They wrote this letter by them:
The apostles, the elders, and the brethren,
To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:
The apostles, elders and brethren are the ones who decided and sent the decree to the other churches, not just the elders, and not an assembly of multiple elders from multiple other regional churches.
Lastly, 2 Corinthians 2:6-8 teaches clearly that the power of church discipline is enacted by the local church body as a whole, not by a single archbishop or a regional presbytery, it reads:
This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore, I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.
A local autonomous church is the clear position of the New Testament.
So how does an autonomous local body of believers look practically? Clearly it is not a leaderless, purely democratic society, though the Scriptures teach local autonomy, they also teach a rule by a plurality of elders.
In the NT we see two office bearers ordained for church and those are elders and deacons. This is explicitly laid out in both 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Some have argued that when it comes to the office of elder, there are distinctions within the office. They say that there are different types and levels of rulers within the church because of that fact that we see the words pastor, overseer and elder used to talk about those who have authority in the church. But this an erroneous view. For we see these terms used interchangeably throughout the NT to refer to one and the same position. Take the very passage that lays out qualifications for rulers in the church, Titus 1 5-9:
For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you— if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
Here we see the Apostle Paul, within only a few sentences, refer to elders also as bishops, which is another word for overseer. He reminds Titus that he is to appoint elders in every city and then he begins to describe the qualifications of said elders, and then, without skipping a beat, he switches to the term bishop as he finishes the list of qualifications. We see this same interchangeability of terms used to describe the same office this time from Apostle Peter were in 1 Peter 5:1-2 he says:
The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly.
Peter here literally tells elders to both shepherd and oversee the flock of God. How can elders do this if, according to some, there are distinctions between office bearers in the church, some who serve as elders, some who pastor and some who oversee as rulers. You can’t square this passage with that teaching. Elders are pastors and pastors are overseers.
What are the qualifications then for these elders/pastors/overseers? The clearest passage in Scripture that lays this out for us is found in 1 Timothy 3:
This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
We see that to desire to become an elder in the church of Jesus Christ is no small thing. It is a high calling with high standards. One has to be a spiritually mature male who is above reproach and has the giftings to fulfill the duties required to even be considered for office. Two duties that are laid out in this passage are the ability to rule and teach. Some in our day say that there are teaching elders and there are ruling elders, there are preaching pastors and there are youth pastors etc. But this is foreign to the Scripture. All elders must be able to teach and lead the all the members of a church. This is seen in Paul’s charge to the Ephesians elders as he says his final farewell to them in Acts 20. He says in verses 27 and 28:
For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
Paul had taught them the whole counsel of God, a systematic understanding of all of the Scriptures, and with that understanding they were all to go and shepherd and oversee the flock. So, if someone is not prepared or gifted to do that very thing, they are not qualified to be an elder.
If there be only one ruling office in the church and it is that of an elder, and if and elder must be able to rule and teach, how many elders should there be in a church, or should there only be one elder in a church? Throughout all we have seen in the Scriptures so far, it has been rather implicit that there would be multiple elders of each church to carry out the work of the ministry. However, Dr. Sam Waldron lays out a more detailed survey of this question of the normalcy of a plurality of elders in local churches in the Scriptures when he says:
We know of no church in the New Testament that had only a single elder. On the other hand, we know of many churches with a plurality of elders: Jerusalem (Acts 11:30), Antioch in Syria (13:1), Lystra, Iconium, Pisidian Antioch (14:23), Ephesus (20:17), the churches of Crete (Titus 1:5), the churches of the Jewish dispersion to whom Peter in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bythinia ( 1 Peter 5:1-2), Philippi (Phil. 1.1), probably the churches to whom Hebrews was written (Heb. 13:7, 17, 24), and finally the unidentified church whose presbytery laid on Timothy (1 Tim. 4:14).
These are facts that are hard to ignore. If it is normal, expedient and right and good to simply only have one elder per local church, then why do we see the opposite in the Scriptures?
If the Scriptures teach, and I believe I have shown that they do, that there is only one ruling office in the church, which are elders, and elders are not divided up into different types of positions because they all have the same title, tasks and qualifications, and each local church should normally have multiple of these elders, how will this look in our modern context?
The first thing to consider is that there will be parity among elders in local churches. Each elder in a local church, who has been gifted and called by God and had that gifting and calling recognized by the elders and congregation of a local church and then ordained unto the office of an elder, will share equal authority with the other elders whether he is fully supported or bi-vocational or not supported financially at all by the church. Financial support, or lack thereof, does not alter an elder’s level of authority within the local church. And a passage like 1 Timothy 5:17 does not speak against this. Let’s take a look at it, it says: “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.” Nothing in the verse is speaking about levels of authority or financial gifts affecting authority. It actually is just recognizing that multiple elders within a congregation can and should be financially supported, as Waldron has commented:
It is clear that more than one financially supported elder who labors in the Word and in doctrine is contemplated: “Those who work hard at preaching and teaching.” It is also clear that other elders who do not labor in the Word and in doctrine may be finically supported. Double honor (generous financial support) is for all who rule well. It is only especially for those who work hard at preaching and teaching.
Some elders will preach and teach more than others. And for those who labor hard in preaching and teaching, they should be the ones who are first and foremost supported by the congregation so that these men can provide for their families, but we are never to conclude from that that they then have more authority in the church. No, this is simply a matter of a deciding precedent for allocating financial support, but it can so easily, and subtlety, begin to make people think that because these men are paid more, they therefor have more authority. The same can be true when it comes to preaching and teaching. Just because an elder may on average preach and teach publicly more than another elder does not mean that he has more authority either. Though all elders have the same basic gifts and character that is required for the office, the Lord may so gift certain elders to have even greater abilities in certain areas than the other elders. Once again, as we have seen in the Scriptures, every elder has authority in the church and no extra gifting and financial support for one elder takes away from another elder’s authority. Finally, when it comes to influence the same principle is true. Some older, very gifted, longer serving elders will inevitably have more influence amongst a congregation than younger, less gifted, newer elders. This still does not change the authority one elder has as compared to another. One the other hand, this does not imply that every duty and responsibility must be perfectly split amongst the elders, as Waldron has noted:
The distribution and of responsibilities and ministries must be guided by each of these three principles. The diversity of gift, influence, and support must not disguise the parity of official authority belonging to each elder. The parity and plurality of the elders should not suppress the implications of the diversity of elders in the distribution of the responsibilities and ministries in the church. Parity of office does not require an artificial equality in the distribution of ministry or financial support.
In light of this, the congregation should be occasionally reminded that every elder, no matter how gifted, influential or supported they are, has equal authority in the church and we should not allow these differences to cloud our thinking when think about the office bearers of the church.
We come now to how a plurality of elders in a local church interact with the congregation. Thus, we must understand the concept of an elder led congregation. This is not an exact science as to how power is shared within a local church body. It is a bit of a waltz between the elders and the congregation. Someone once described the governing structure of a local church as a monarchy, aristocracy and a democracy. Christ is the ultimate King of the Church, yet it is also ruled be a few and the many. The Scriptures clearly say in Hebrews 13:7, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account.” Church members are to sweetly submit to the eldership as appointed shepherds of their souls. But this does not take away from the authority of the gathered members. The Scriptures also clearly say in 1 Peter 2:9 that believers are a “chosen people, a royal priesthood and a holy nation.” As we have seen above, the gathered saints have authority to excommunicate unrepentant members, and this includes elders. Elders are not above the law; they must be above reproach. Disqualification from the ministry is a real danger for elders and this is precisely because the congregation as a whole, as fellow heirs to the kingdom of heaven, have the right to remove a man if he commits disqualifying sin. The congregation should be included in making big decisions, such as calling an elder, accepting or excommunicating members and approving the budget. At the same time elders should be entrusted to make many other decisions that the congregation should submit to when it comes to the order of the church and worship of God, the administration of the sacraments and the general ministry of the Word. As I said, it is not a precise science. Most major decisions should be decided on by the congregation as a whole, but all other decisions should be made by the elders and then submitted to by the members. The authority of the elders should be viewed more as the authority of a husband than a parent. Though I greatly disagree with Johnathan Leman when it comes to his views on social justice and the COVID 19 response, and just overall I would not recommend his ministry to others, I have to admit that years ago he had some good insight into this issue of elder led congregationalism when he said:
Elders are more like husbands than parents. Theirs is an authority of counsel, not an authority of an command. And those who possess an authority of counsel . . . must continually work to teach and to woo. A godly wife and church member, of course, will require little wooing because each recognizes God’s call to submit to her husband or pastor. But when points of disagreement arise between wife and husband, or between elder and church member, the husband’s or elder’s only recourse is to woo and to persuade. He cannot pick up the sword like the state or the paddle like a parent. Rather, he must explain himself and seek to instruct. He should not ‘lord it over’ a wife or member (Col. 3:19; 1 Pet. 5:3). It may be that the husband or pastor is in error. If he is godly he will be able to hear contrary counsel from wife or member. Yet the fact that God has made the husband or the elder an authority means that he must take the initiative to win and to woo. He cannot force, but nor can he abdicate or give up. Passivity is not an option for him, lest he face Jesus’ displeasure on the last day. Rather, the husband and pastor must work hard at loving and persuading, equipping and empowering, so that the wife or member will choose to follow him in the way of godliness. The authority of counsel, for husband and pastor, must be persistent, patient, long-suffering, tender, affable, and consistent, not hypocritical. It plays for growth over the long run, not forced outcomes in the short run.
Though a plural elder led congregationalism has its complexities, it is better to work through the tension than to settle for something Scripturally imbalanced just because it may make things “simpler”.
What does all of this mean for us today? I believe it shows a need for an ecclesiological reformation amongst churches. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and the more we diverge from the teaching of the New Testament on how a church is to be governed, the more trouble we get in. When you centralize power and authority regionally or even nationally in either one man, or in a group of men, it becomes easier for the temptation to arise to lord that power over others and for corruption to seep into that hierarchical power structure. There is a need for checks and balances and independency so that the church may remain pure, and that is what is taught in the plural elder led congregational views of church governance.
Through the witness of history and ultimately the authority of the Bible it has been shown that Christ has laid down principles in his word as to how the church is to function in its worship and discipline and that He has given this power to carry these things out to each local assembly of Christians. As the Church has gone away from this teaching, error and corruption have multiplied as we saw in the example of the early and medieval churches. There is always this tendency in man to centralize power, yet we must resist the episcopal tendency at every turn. In a day and age where the Evangelical Church is tempted and facing assaults on many fronts, we must not treat matters of ecclesiology as unnecessary, but as a vital aspect to the Church’s function and witness and purity in this dark world.
Blake Coffee, “Big Business and Big Churches,” Christian Unity Ministries, May 18, 2010, http://www.christianunityministries.org/tag/halverson/.
 The London Baptist Confessions of Faith.
“First Clement”, Early Christian Writings, date accessed Oct 5, 2019 http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-roberts.html.
 D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Great Doctrines of the Bible (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2003), iii 20.
“St. Cyprian,” Encyclopedia Britannica,https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Cyprian-Christian-bishop
 Louis Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1975), 227.
 Ibid, 229.
 “St. Augustine,” Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Augustine.
 Louis Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines, 230.
 Ibid, 232.
 James White, “Polemics: Roman Catholicism” (lecture, Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary).
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Great Doctrines of the Bible, iii 20.
 “John Knox,” Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Knox.
 “Presbyterian,” Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/topic/presbyterian.
 D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans an Exposition of Chapter 13: Life in Two Kingdoms (Edinburgh, UK: Banner of Truth Trust, 2002), 105.
 James M. Renihan Edification and Beauty: The Practical Ecclesiology of the English Particular Baptists, 1675-1705 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2008), 68.
 Ibid, 77.
 Ibid, 78.
 “Church government,” Theopedia, https://www.theopedia.com/church-government.
 Samuel E. Waldron A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (Welwyn Garden City, UK: EP Books, 1989), 374-375.
 Peter Toon, L. Roy Taylor, Paige Patterson, Samuel E. Waldron, Edited by Steve B.Cowan, Who Runs the Church? Four Views on Church Government. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), 212.
 Ibid, 217.
 Matt Smethurst, “20 Quotes from Jonathan Leeman’s New Book on Elder-Led Congregationalism,” 9Marks, https://www.9marks.org/article/20-quotes-from-jonathan-leemans-new-book-on-elder-led-congregationalism/
Berkhof, Louis. The History of Christian Doctrines. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1975.
Blake Coffee, “Big Business and Big Churches,” Christian Unity Ministries, May 18, 2010, http://www.christianunityministries.org/tag/halverson/.
Early Christian Writings. “First Clement.” Date accessed Oct 5, 2019 http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-roberts.html.
Encyclopedia Britannica. “St. Cyprian.” https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Cyprian-Christian-bishop.
Encyclopedia Britannica. “John Knox.” https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Knox.
Encyclopedia Britannica. “St. Augustine.” https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Augustine.
Encyclopedia Britannica. “Presbyterian.” https://www.britannica.com/topic/presbyterian.
Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn. Great Doctrines of the Bible. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2003.
Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn. Romans an Exposition of Chapter 13: Life in Two Kingdoms. Edinburgh, UK: Banner of Truth Trust, 2002.
Renihan, James M. Edification and Beauty: The Practical Ecclesiology of the English Particular Baptists, 1675-1705. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2008.
Smethurst, Matt. “20 Quotes from Jonathan Leeman’s New Book on Elder-Led Congregationalism.” 9Marks, https://www.9marks.org/article/20-quotes-from-jonathan-leemans-new-book-on-elder-led-congregationalism.
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