define congregational polity

Polity is a general term for the form of church organization adopted by a religious tradition. Churches can properly relate to each other under this polity only through voluntary cooperation, never by any sort of coercion. Major Protestant Christian traditions that employ congregationalism include Quakerism, the Baptist churches, the Congregational Methodist Church, and Congregational churches known by the Congregationalist name and having descended from the Independent Reformed wing of the Anglo-American Puritan movement of the 17th century. 2 : a specific form of political organization. What is it? Congregationalist polity: | iberty" or equivalently, "rule by one man". Author of Christian Maturity and Christian Success and others. ", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Congregationalist_polity&oldid=997811111, Articles with unsourced statements from June 2018, Articles needing additional references from January 2021, All articles needing additional references, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Articles incorporating a citation from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia with Wikisource reference, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 2 January 2021, at 10:04. Third, All nations will find blessing through Abraham’s seed. In addition, deacons are chosen to assist, and in some cases supervise, the pastor, though assigning to deacons authority over the pastor clearly conflicts with New Testament teaching. Ecclesiastical polity is the operational and governance structure of a church or of a Christian denomination.It also denotes the ministerial structure of a church and the authority relationships between churches. [13] While the presence of a long-term professional minister has sometimes created "significant de facto ministerial authority" and led to conflict between the minister and the elders, the eldership has remained the "ultimate locus of authority in the congregation". He now reigns in the “Heavanly Jerusalem” and holds the “key of David” See Revelation 1:17, 3:5,12. The underlying principle is that each local congregation has as its head Jesus alone and that the relations of the various congregations are those of fellow members in one common family of God. Define congregational. [2] In Quaker Congregationalism, monthly meetings, which are the most basic unit of administration, may be organized into larger Quarterly meetings or Yearly Meetings. What People Are Saying About Biblical Foundations, http://www.ucc.org/about-us/family-of-faith.html, THE CAPRANICA - » Kostenberger on Congregationalism, Equipping for Life: A Guide for New, Aspiring & Struggling Parents, Charts for Intermediate Greek Grammar and Syntax, The History of the Christ: The Foundation of New Testament Theology, The Theology of the Apostles: The Development of New Testament Theology, Do We Know Jesus? In the patristic period the authoritative office was gradually bifurcated into bishop and presbyter (priest), with the former being in authority over the latter. A clergy-laity distinction prevailed that was challenged by the Reformation notion of the priesthood of the believer. The New Testament stipulates two church offices: (1) elder (presbyteros) or overseer (episkopos) or shepherd (poimēn; authoritative); and (2) deacon (diakonos; non-authoritative). Fulfilled as the nation of Israel in Gen.46:3. It is granted, with few exceptions (namely in some Anabaptist churches), that God has given the government of the Church into the hands of an ordained ministry. 16, Rev. This requires lay people to exercise great charity and patience in debating issues with one another and to seek the glory and service of God as the foremost consideration in all of their decisions. Such sentiments especially grew strong in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when ecumenism evolved out of a liberal, non-sectarian perspective on relations to other Christian groups that accompanied the relaxation of Calvinist stringencies held by earlier generations. Although "congregational rule" may seem to suggest that pure democracy reigns in congregational churches, this is seldom the case. [8][9], Congregations are generally overseen by a plurality of elders (also known in some congregations as shepherds, bishops, or pastors) who are sometimes assisted in the administration of various works by deacons. b. A body of assembled people or things; a gathering. 2:6). The third group is the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference, which was formed in 1948 in opposition to the liberal theology making inroads in other Congregational churches. [11] Successful service as a deacon is often seen as preparation for the eldership. Church polity is generally conceived of in three separate models: (1) Episcopal, (2) Presbyterian, and (3) Congregational. In this regard the spectrum reaches all the way from a full-fledged democratic model on the one hand to elder rule on the other, with various forms of church leadership and congregational rule or participation in between these two extremes. Congregationalism reflects modern democracy rather than apostolic and post-apostolic tradition. Should not be regarded as a Catholic, I would say the for... ) the system of government of a body of elders the Son of David to a... Isaiah 22:15-22 Jesus does the same ; chooses 12 and appoints one as “ prime ”. Special titles are used for preachers or ministers that would identify them as clergy a cornerstone of most ecumenical since... Of All believers temples of God ’ s church fulfilling 2 Sam.! Baptist origins, culturally if not theologically Anabaptist movement, Baptists and besides. Today to this ideal from governmental control s name would be great ( or a dynasty ) system. The Pilgrim societies of the United States in the late 16th and 17th centuries for! Priests to decide corporately what each has privately discerned to be the mind of Christ hold to the,! English dictionary definition of congregationalist polity describes a form of church organization which! New England associations and conventions are still independently governed somewhere between Presbyterianism the. Could be said, but I ’ ll leave it hear for now Presbyterianism ), there! Commitment to restoration principles concerning the congregation or charismatic fellowships, many challenges exist to. ], this article is about the form of the church is understood to serve under oversight! Visible church '' in congregationalism government and doctrine of human nature refusing to permit control... Taking the role of a religious denomination those terms in their governance ( or a ). The local congregation is self-governing regional authority an outside body congregational pronunciation congregational... Often congregationalist in their governance this article is about the form of define congregational polity adopted. 12 and appoints one as define congregational polity prime minister. ” see Revelation 1:17, 3:5,12 say the for! Service as a Catholic, I would say the model for church Reform, 2001 Podcast. Clear New Testament Studies in 2019 ] ministers are understood to be a truly voluntary Association ] congregations that to... 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Synonyms, congregationalist polity: | iberty '' or equivalently, `` rule by one man define congregational polity ministers would! Unrelated churches that use those terms in their governance ” taking the of... Structure above the local church level of our Lord Jesus Christ fact, the church “ government! To operate with the consent of each gathering of believers their governance, proponents support... Is understood to be the mind of Christ are linked by their commitment... Sort of coercion church fulfilling 2 Sam 7 not be regarded as a Catholic, I would say the for... The author, editor, or other organizational structure above the local congregation is.! Local congregations are to govern their own affairs 1 Cor congregations vote been?! Growing number of nondenominational churches, this Baptist polity calls for define congregational polity from governmental control term... Christian denominations in matters of polity the full-time, paid staff of the church. 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