Someone asked me why their church seems to continually go through conflict and tension among the members. After asking a few questions I explained that their problem is that they are in a “Laodicean church”.
Most folks think of Laodicea, in Revelation 3, as being the “lukewarm” church but the very name of the church reveals a more foundational problem. Laodicea comes from two Greek words. The first one means “the people” – where we get our word “laity”. The second word can mean justice or vengeance or, rulership. In other words, Laodicea is a church ruled by the people – a democracy.
While democracy may be a fine structure for civil government, it is a recipe for disaster in the church. Never do we see God’s people allowed to vote on their leader or vote to determine their direction. God chose a man, endued him with authority and then the people chose either to follow – get on board with God’s plan – or rebel and suffer the consequences.
The closest we come to seeing a democratic form of government is at one of the lowest points of Israel’s history, the time of the Judges, when “every man did what was right in his own eyes”. It was a mess morally, spiritually and nationally.
In a democracy, everyone has a right, indeed a responsibility, to cast their vote, to let their voice be heard, and every vote is of equal worth. When you have a church with that philosophy you are asking for chaos. When everyone feels they have a right, perhaps even an obligation, to voice their opinion (what is right in their own eyes), and their opinion is of equal worth regardless of whether or not they have spent time talking with God about it, regardless of how much they understand God, His Word or His ways, it is a sure formula for chaos. In this church there was no spiritual authority going to God and going to God’s Word to see what He had to say about it. Jesus was standing outside knocking and asking to be let in but He is not needed because “majority rules” – instead of Christ ruling.
The old timers used to say, and I guess I am one of them now, “in a time of crisis a prayer meeting beats a board meeting (or a congregational meeting) every time”. Who has God set in the fellowship as a spiritual leader? Who among you has insight not only into the Word of God but also the Way of God? Determine who God has set as men of spiritual authority in your midst then follow the pattern in Acts 15 when a huge decision was being made about allowing Gentiles into the church. Both sides presented their case and James, based on Scripture, made the final decision. It was done and the church moved on it peace.
NOTE: Every form of church government has its flaws because the flaws are in the people who carry it out. Any form of government will work if you have godly people and no form of government will work when you have scoundrels at the helm.
Psalm 133:1, 3
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.