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January 19th, 2017

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This statement is a representation of not only many young people today, but of even some older people who are in their senior years of disillusionment with congregational life as they experienced it. Yet, it is so very different than what would have been stated decades ago both by Jews and Christians. At that time the idea of being a part of a congregation was not based on a person’s perception of what he or she needed, but rather on what God required. God was understood as the great King who was to be feared. Yes, He is loving, but flouting his will was considered very dangerous. So the idea was common, that if one was to walk in the blessing and protection of God, we had better find out what his will is and conform our lives to that will. The question was not “what do I need?” but “what does the Lord require of me”?

One cannot fairly read the New Covenant Scriptures without seeing that God requires all who claim to be followers of Yeshua to be committed to a congregation where they are to be submitted to a qualified eldership as the shepherds and overseers of their lives (I Peter 5:1-5). We can begin with all the texts that speak of the responsibility of congregational members to their elders, from submitting to them (Hebrews 13:7, 17), being instructed by them (I Tim. 3, Titus 1) and exercising the gifts of the Spirit in a context of gatherings that assume their oversight and discernment (I Cor. 12, 14).

In addition, one sho