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Areadymind
Member



Joined: 2009/5/15
Posts: 1042
Pacific Ocean

 The Democratic Spirit

I know that it is somewhat of a faux pas here to put parameters around a discussion, but I would like to ask that anyone who responds to this do so in a personal manner. By that I mean, would it be possible for people to answer this question in such a way as to reflect their own actions and experience, positive or negative. I am interested to see if anyone would take a bird's eye view of their own personal walk and would be able to make an objective discernment of the "spirit" in which they operate.

Does the fact that you have been brought up in a democratic culture affect your "church life?"

If you have never thought about this before. Please think and pray before responding. Thoughtful responses make for good fellowship.


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Jeremiah Dusenberry

 2012/5/15 23:34Profile
Areadymind
Member



Joined: 2009/5/15
Posts: 1042
Pacific Ocean

 Re: The Democratic Spirit

And by the way I have no intention whatsoever for this to be a political discussion. Please do not be distracted by the word "democratic." I mean its use merely in the cultural context.


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Jeremiah Dusenberry

 2012/5/15 23:39Profile









 Re: The Democratic Spirit

prayed.okay, when i read the words "church life", i understand exactly why the Essenes got as far away from Jerusalem as they could....and i write that in love, not contention.

 2012/5/16 0:19
rbanks
Member



Joined: 2008/6/19
Posts: 1257


 Re:

Brother Areadymind,

The democratic spirit, I believe it has affected many people and has also crept into church life by so many. Over the years since I have been in leadership of a local church I have come to realize that we need to pray for the will of God and not to go by feelings or opinions. The sad thing is that many strive to persuade the majority to their point of view. They seem to have their own agenda of what they want and as long as they can get the majority then it will be right to do. I have never liked the idea that the majority rules as to thinking that this is the best way because many times the majority are wrong if they have not sought the Lord wanting His will above everything else. The Lord and His will should be our primary focus and being willing to change and adapt to the leading of His Spirit and Word should be our desire.

I hope in the future to do more praying before acting on anything, than to act on feelings and emotions before I have prayed to God about it to be lead by His Spirit.

Blessings to you...from brother rbanks

 2012/5/16 0:22Profile
philomastix
Member



Joined: 2012/2/17
Posts: 8


 Re: The Democratic Spirit

It seems to me that it's easy to point to instances in Acts, wherein spiritual leaders pray and act on behalf of the community, and use such examples to criticize the methods of church governance common in the west. Maybe we ought to be able to function in such a way now, but we don't and so what do we do?

I appreciate the notion, in the abstract, that the function of church governance, in my experience, is influenced by the ideals of democracy. This is not to say that my local congregation is 'democratically' operated, but the members do have input into leadership and have an opportunity to vote on governance. Such a system aims to hinder any one person from gaining too much influence and power over the community. I can see, in the evangelical congregations with which I've had experience, a desire to avoid the hierarchies of power and influence associated with mainline denominations and the Roman Catholic system. Power is so easily abused, though democracies are so easily influenced by effective and eloquent speech or cronyism.

Actually, looking again at Acts 15 (NASB), the proceedings there can easily be read as reflecting a democratic spirit. The council meets, views are shared, and, guided by James, the letter is crafted, giving the instructions that "seemed good" to the whole council. I read this as one influenced by the democratic culture you invoke, but it is easy to read it so.

More difficult, I find, is the impulse to approach God with this same democratic spirit. I'll not present myself as one more spiritual than I am, one who struggles not with the desire to assert rights or demand certain treatment, even the desire to subvert authority or oppose it on absurd principles. I have great difficulty with those teachers (including the prominent preachers hosted on this site) who assert that we MUST discards all rights at the cross and in the approach to God. I don't say that they are wrong, but I, in moments of honesty, wish they were. I wonder at those times if our metaphors of relationship to God would be different if the Chosen People of the Old Testament were the ancient Athenians, rather than the Jewish people. Would Christ have preached the Republic of Heaven, rather than the Kingdom?

So in answer to your question, Areadymind, I think the influence of the "democratic culture" is effective for organization, when those concerned want to make it work, but makes the humble and faithful apprehension of God difficult. I've tried to be quite honest, and I recognize that some of this may cause some to bristle. Please understand that I do not profess that my struggles are correct, and I hope that the context of this discussion allows for the sharing of such a struggle. I do not mean to sow discord.

 2012/5/16 0:46Profile
onemite
Member



Joined: 2011/9/19
Posts: 168


 Re: The Democratic Spirit

I know there are different ways to look at this. Here is one side. This doesn't so much pertain to my church life, but it pertains to my walk with Christ.

I think the 'democratic' spirit was visible in the people when King Saul spared some in war and told Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice."
In a similar way, when I have been disobedient to the Word of God and what He was revealing to me in it, by looking around at the majority of churches to see if their understanding was the same- and when It wasn't, I dismissed what was being revealed to me as being my own interpretation. I was guilty of listening to and putting my value in the majority, and not the Holy Spirit.

 2012/5/16 1:02Profile
twayneb
Member



Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2000
Joplin, Missouri

 Re: The Democratic Spirit

Areadymind: This is an interesting question. I was brought up in a body of believers where every major decision, including whether or not the pastor stayed on for another year, was brought to vote by the congregation. With democratic ideas firmly entrenched in our political culture (though we are not a true democracy) I can see why this method of decision making was used. But it always struck me that we might have a decision made with a margin of two or three votes. Did half of us miss God on the deal? I always said that either half or all of us missed God in these situations.


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Travis

 2012/5/16 7:43Profile









 Re:

The organized church in America operates in democracy. The New Testament church operates in the freedom of the Spirit in submission to the mind of Christ.

Bearnaster.

 2012/5/16 7:52
AbideinHim
Member



Joined: 2006/11/26
Posts: 3494
Louisiana

 Re:

The Church is not a democracy. It is not goverened by majority rule. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, and the will of the Lord can be known by the Body through prayer. The carnal reasonings of men have led to many a Church split, because the decisons were made on the basis of man's opinions instead of the leadership of the Holy Spirit through prayer.

Mike


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Mike

 2012/5/16 8:06Profile
MaryJane
Member



Joined: 2006/7/31
Posts: 3057


 Re:

Does the fact that you have been brought up in a democratic culture affect your "church life?"

________________________

For me personally the answer is yes. I have often struggled with an attitude of entitlement, or maybe a better way to put it is "its my right". I have found myself at times walking out my life with Christ(church life) with this attitude as if I have a special right to say what I think(even if at times that means arguing) I have a right to make sure my opinions are heard( even if it means sometimes I yell them in anger)I have the right to seek out my own happiness(even if that sometimes involves self living) the list goes on and on. I realize that being brought up in a culture where self is told over and over again that it "has rights" can be a very real struggle, there is a difference between freedom in JESUS and "rights." One is given to me the other is expected by self. I can't tell you how many times I have said, "I have the right to say or do" you can fill in the blank with the rest. This attitude happens because I have this mentality of its "my right" to say and do what I want. Truth is GOD does not give me that right, self does, GOD instructs me to obey HIM, to submit unto HIM and often I have learned when I have opened my mouth to speak HE would have me be silent...for me I think growing up in a the culture that I have can feed self because its self that often demands rights. Its CHRIST who calls me to die to self...

These were just some of my initial thoughts after reading your question and seeking the LORD. Hope my response was not to confusing or off topic to what you had in mind.

God Bless
mj

 2012/5/16 8:07Profile





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