The Government of the Church -Aspects of Christ’s Authority in the Local Congregation, by Malcolm H Watts and Roy Mohon, published by Emmanuel Church, Salisbury, booklet, 64 pages, £2.50, available from the F P Bookroom.
This booklet contains papers given at a conference in Salisbury on the subject, as the title indicates, of the government of individual congregations. As far as it goes, this is a useful contribution to establishing scriptural Church government at that level. The argument, however, needs extending to cover, again from Scripture, the common government of a number of congregations by presbyteries and higher courts.
In the first section, Mr Watts establishes in a concise and thorough fashion the fact of a jus divinum (divine right) for a particular system of church government and proves that this is by elders – both teaching and ruling elders. He quotes from a large number of authors, including such stalwart Scots Presbyterians as George Gillespie and Samuel Rutherford. One remark, however, we cannot accept: that Christ “redelivered” the moral law.
Mr Mohon’s contribution consists of two parts. In the first he contrasts Christ’s authority in a congregation with human anarchy, and in the second he discusses the roles and responsibilities of elders awnd flock. However, having defined the flock as “saved sinners”, he pays no attention to the needs of those in the congregation who are not converted.
This is a useful booklet, but it needs to be supplemented by a more complete discussion of Presbyterianism: Thomas Witherow’s The Apostolic Church, for example, published by Free Presbyterian Publications.