Ask Your Preacher
“Legal Council”Categories: DOCTRINE, THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
You mentioned that the church of Christ is not a denominational church. Each congregation is supposed to use the Scriptures alone to be a guide. What if members of the congregation disagree with a particular doctrine or practice? How are disagreements resolved when both parties use Scripture interpretation to support a point? In Acts 15, there was a council set up to resolve a disagreement regarding circumcision. The decision was binding on the universal church. Do church of Christ congregations hold councils in compliance with the Acts 15 model?
Make A Decision
Dear Make A Decision,
Acts 15 is a good pattern to follow when a congregation has questions or disagreements about a particular doctrine. The only difference would be that the council in Acts 15 affected the entire universal church because the apostles were there, and the apostles had authority over all the church. A local congregation is commended to their elders and to God – each group is autonomous (Acts 14:23), so any decision a congregation makes would affect them alone. No congregation has the right to impose their decisions on another local church.
In Acts 15, we see how we are supposed to find Bible answers when discussing doctrinal issues. When we take Bible verses and combine them together to understand larger principles, we are doing exactly what God intends for us to do (Ps 119:160). In Acts 15, we see that the apostles did that very thing. When the issue came up regarding the circumcision of Gentiles, the apostles listened to the evidence (Acts 15:12), studied the Old Testament Scriptures (Acts 15:15-18), and came to a conclusion (Acts 15:19). They looked for commands, approved examples, and then came to a necessary conclusion from the data. That is exactly what every congregation should do.