Posted On April 10, 2016

In Proposition 97, George Peters states:

“The various forms of Church government indicate that the Church is not the promised Kingdom.”

One King and one form of government is the construct predicted in the coming Kingdom. We certainly do not see that as the current state of affairs given the variety of church governmental structures in existence.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 97 is the following:

“Some hold that by virtue of the church being a Kingdom, Christ rules over it by a viceregent (i.e. the Pope); others, by a divinely appointed and regularly descended Episcopacy; some, by the rules of the State, forming State religions; others, by the ministry and officers of the congregation; some, by individual congregations who in the aggregate form the Kingdom; others, by General Councils, Conferences, Assemblies, or Synods; and others, by the associated union of the civil power with the church either as primary or subordinate. There is a variety to suit all inclinations. Again, some tell us that the church is a Kingdom, but that no one form of government is prescribed, it being left optional others, that the government of the church must be so shaped as to accommodate itself to the civil; others, that the New Testament leaves the whole matter discretionary with every individual congregation to assume one; and still others inform us that the church, whilst a Kingdom, is not one is the strict sense of the word, only symbolically, but is a society of believers governed by the moral law and the institutions of the New Testament, its members still being subject to the civil power, etc. History is filled with the tenet of church government. Is such a sad diversity consistent with the idea of Christ’s covenanted Kingdom? The idea of a stable, well-ordered, acknowledged, and duly enforced government is connected by all the prophets with the Messianic Kingdom, but if the church is it, what party can rightfully claim it? So little is this the predicted Kingdom that there is no one here (excepting we take the infallible Pope, or Young, or others, who claim to speak by inspiration) to decide when believers differ among themselves respecting the government itself. Is it not strange that intelligent men continue to insist upon having such a Kingdom present, when they differ so essentially among themselves concerning such a weighty matter as the form of the Kingdom? Can we imagine that when Christ’s Kingdom so covenanted and predicted is once truly set up, that it will be in a shape so indecisive and peculiar, that men will contend with each other as to its nature and form? No! Never! In the day that the Lord is King over all the earth (Zech. 14), and His majesty and power is seen in giving and enforcing the law, in restoring and upbuilding with Godlike energy and force the Davidic throne and Kingdom, men will not find it so insignificantly or enigmatically expressed that its organization, etc., can become a question like the preceding.”

There is not much to add to what Peters has shared in this observation. Christ is the ruler of the coming Kingdom. Plain and simple. The current state of affairs does not represent how Scripture describes the government, structure, and experience we will enjoy in the future, predicted, Kingdom of the Messiah.

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