The governmental structure of the Early Church reflected monarchical, oligarchical and democratic tendencies. In some ways the twelve apostles appear to have been co-equal rulers over the nascent church. Yet, in that James was given headship of the church in Jerusalem--and seemed to exercise a "final authority" over doctrinal matters (as in the example of the Jerusalem council in Acts 15)--didn't this point to his having a higher authority than his fellow apostles? And then consider how the complaints of the laypeople in Acts 6 compelled the creation of the diaconate: That is as vivid a picture of the congregational decision-making (even down to the laity's choosing of the officers) as we have in scripture. So, is it perhaps fair to say that in the matter of leadership of the early church, various models can be seen at work.
A bishop sometimes led, the presbytery sometimes led, the church as a whole sometimes led.

We see these leadership models in modern church government. Some denominations, like the congregationalists, use the democratic leadership model. Some, like Presbyterian churches, employ the oligarchical model. And some, like most Pentecostals, copy on the monarchical model.

Can anyone make an argument for preferring one model over the other two?

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I don'thave an argument.  However, Ephesians 2:20 tells us that we are to build upon the foundation of the "apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];"  And the letter again to the Ephesians 3:5-6, "Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel..."


So, when we build our churches with Jesus Christ as the Chief Corner Stone, the government shall be on His shoulder.  That's why our living God builds the church...




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