Reformation21 puts out some interesting stuff. Something that was published today just got my dander up. The post in question, The most broken vow of all, suggests that the most commonly broken vow is perhaps not one you expect:
The most broken vow is almost certainly that by which church members submit to the authority and teaching of the elders in the church. It is as solemn and serious as any other vow one might take -- marriage, baptism, an oath in court -- and yet what does it mean? How many truly think about the implications? How many truly act as if the vow really meant something? The vows are voluntary, but once taken, they are serious and require focused commitment and a particular pattern of behaviour. Yet members feel free to speak as they wish to, and about, church leaders; they move from church to church as, so some say, the Spirit leads them; and they trample their vow to submit again and again.
Huh? Now I don’t find formal church membership to be Biblical. At all. I hold that there is no mandate for it nor example of it in Scripture. I do understand why some churches have formal membership rolls, for whatever the purpose. But to suggest that church membership involves a vow of obedience to elders? That is so outside of the picture of the church as to boggle the mind. This is Reformed?
I especially was perplexed by this statement: Yet members feel free to speak as they wish to, and about, church leaders; I understand not talking about the elders in your church in a slanderous or gossipy fashion. You shouldn’t speak about any brother or sister in that way. But how are we to “speak to” our elders that is different from how we speak to one another? With our eyes averted? In hushed, reverential tones? Last time I checked, the elders in our churches are not royalty. We are not their vassals. They are no more above reproach than any other Christian. The elders are no more deserving of being spoken to in love and fellowship than any other Christian.
Man, that just really rubbed me the wrong way. Must be my inherent rebelliousness against authority.