Paul as church planter 13
“Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders”, Acts 15:2.
Paul and Barnabas vigorously protested against imposing the Jewish laws. But discord had been sown. The men who taught this came from Judea, the birthplace of the church, didn’t they? They should know! Because the church in Antioch could not solve the issue, they decided to send a delegation to Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas are among the one who go.
This clearly shows that Paul and Barnabas as church planters saw themselves as part of the world church. They did not travel around to set up their own shop. The church was a unity centered around the worship of God.
When discussions about doctrine take place, it is healthy for a church to be part of a larger whole. Sadly the Protestant church has been splintered terribly. Sadly there are denominations in which God’s Word is being scorned. Sadly there are independent churches in which nobody can hold a pastor who has gone off the rails, accountable.
Therefore it is good to have a look at the biblical example that we notice here. In Jerusalem Paul and Barnabas are vindicated. The mother church decides the issue, and expects the daughter church to follow its ruling.
There are clear borders to what can and cannot be taught in church, and churches should guard these borders. If that leads to conflict in a church, the wisdom of the denomination is invited. In that light a newly planted church is a new sprout of the world church, and not a totally new phenomenon. The local church is the body of Christ. But the world church is the body of Christ as well.
What does it mean to you that you are not the highest doctrinal authority, but God’s church is?