11 December 2018


By John Ollis

I do trust yesterday’s blog on “The Rhema Word” stimulated and challenged you. I said I loved to teach especially two of the Systematic Theologies, Bibliology and Ecclesiology. We sure thank God for the sure foundation of God’s inspired (inbreathed) Word of God the Bible, May our love for the Word, and hearing God speak to us through the Word ever increase, and we learn to feed on the “finest of the wheat” and grow ever stronger in the Lord. Ecclesiology is also an exciting Theology. I want to share some thoughts from my and I trust a Biblical perspective on this exciting topic.
Right back in the Old Testament God said to Moses and King David, they must BUILD ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN that God would give them, and this surely was the thrust and burden of the Reformers like John Calvin who said we must go back to the New Testament writings and reform and build the  current church as we see it there in the Scriptures, which he did and did very well in his teachings, I only have one question to ask him “why was his mind closed to Believer’s Baptism (by immersion)?
The Greek word for Church is ecclesia which is best interpreted as the “called out ones” a community of Believers on the earth that has been “called out” of darkness into the Kingdom of God, and are called  together to meet in “local churches” for fellowship, worship, teaching, training, discipleship and mentoring, and many other things.
The Church is not a material building, or a denomination, or Judaism extended, or the Kingdom of God,  but it is made up of those who are truly born again . We must understand this when we read the Word of God and distinguish between a local church and THE CHURCH.
Paul describes the Church as a mysyery in Ephesians 5:32 KJV This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. It was conceived in the heart of God in eternity past and was born on the Day of Pentecost. Sadly, you can be a member of the local church, but not a member of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is one area of truth I want to write about today and that is of government in the local church, as it appears to me, most churches before and after the Reformation just haven’t got it right, or do not want to get it right.
There are three major forms of church Government in the world today, the first two even use Greek words to promote their position.
There is numerous forms of The Episcopal church (episkopos, (Catholic & Anglican )means Bishop (an overseer) and this has developed into a central type of government, where a Bishop is the “ruler” over a group of churches which is known as a diocese. An Archbishop may rule over a number of dioceses, and the Pope rules over them all!!! In New Testament times, this title was used to simply describe some one who was a Pastor/Shepherd.
There is the numerous forms of the Presbyterian church (Presbuteros) meaning Elder and at local church level this is a local church that is ruled and led by a team of Elders, the “chief Elder” (The Captain) is usually the Senior Pastor. Paul wrote to Timothy and gave clear direction of the qualifications of Elders, sadly this to a great degree has degenerated today to usually simply mean  an older Godly person, without any real spiritual authority in the local church. Some other types of churches also have Elders mainly I think because it is a position mentioned in the Bible.
There are also numerous forms of Congregational churches, where the congregation has the rulership over themselves, in some groups, they have sadly so abused the awesome teaching of “The priesthood of all Believers” to say that they are equal with the appointed leadership and will not support the vision of the church unless it “suits” them (very sad). The keyword here is “function”  and Believers must recognise the gifts and callings God places upon a person who  is appointed to leadership in the local church. The Trinity is a plural team of le3adership, as is a husband and wife in a family setting.
Virtually every time the word Elder is used in the New Testament it is in the plural, this convinces  me that a local church is led by a plural team of Elders, with a Chief Elder (Captain) the reality is not one man has all the gifts and qualifications to lead a church, that is why Christ gave 5 ministry gifts to the church Ephesians 4:11-12 KJV
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.  Not that all Elders must be Ephesians 4:11 Ministry gifts, we will look at their qualifications and how they should function in the next blog. Peter declares in 1 Peter 5:1 KJV 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:  this clearly suggests to me that:


The plural use of the word is  Elders in English and also the word Presbytery and a special function they have  is found in 1 Timothy 4:14 NKJV Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership (Presbytery). I will conclude this blog with a brief further mention of the fivefold ascension Gifts of Christ to the Church. Please note they are gifts to the whole Church (The Body of Christ), Pastors are almost exclusively linked to a particular local church, although as gifts to the Body, they should be free to minister across the Body of Christ from time to time. Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, and Teachers, are generally “travelling gifts”and the teacher may be based more in a College or Seminary more that a local church. I would suggest that all five Gifts, must have a “home base” as must not be “lone rangers”.
The AMP opens Ephesians 4:11-12 And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers.
His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church),
[That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.
All five ministry gifts are given and needed for the Church to be all that God wants it to be,  Please note these Gifts are for equipping the saints, so for example an Evangelist as well as conducting mass crusades she teach and train the believer in the work of evangelism.
The above are very much my interpretation of the Scriptures of what I believe, I am sure some of my readers, will have a different position, some areas  I have written about, you may have to ask for clarification, and there will be areas of truth that you think are important and I haven’t mentioned at all. Although Ecclesiology is the Theology (doctrine) of the Church, so much I have written here is about the local church, and the pattern we (I) see in the New Testament.
As a result of Moses and David “building according to the pattern” the cloud of God’s glory descended on the Tabernacle and the Temple,  as we seek to build the Church according to the patternmay we see more and more the glory of God descending and resting in the church amen.
Please let me have your comments and responses.