Hey Christian, Polity Matters!

Matt Smethurst | August 31, 2015


When it comes to the most important things in life, where does church government or “polity” land on your list? Not high, I suspect. Evangelical Christians are known for many things; careful ecclesiology isn’t one of them.

I professed Christ for years before bothering to submit to a church.

“Ours is an anti-polity age, perhaps more than any other time in the history of the church,” Jonathan Leeman observes in Baptist Foundations: Church Government for an Anti-Institutional Age (B&H Academic). “Yet polity remains as important now as it was in the New Testament.” Edited by Leeman and Mark Dever, this new volume brings together 11 contributors to mount an exegetical and theological case for elder-led, deacon-served, congregational church governance.

I spoke with Leeman, editorial director of 9Marks and author of several books—including The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love (Crossway, 2010); Reverberation (Moody, 2011); Church Membership (Crossway, 2012) [interview]; Church Discipline (Crossway, 2012); and Don’t Fire Your Church Members (B&H, forthcoming)—about why authoritarianism is uniquely evil, Christian “freeloaders,” the problem with “belonging before believing,” and more.


We live in an “anti-polity” age, you suggest, largely because we live in an “anti-authority” age. Many are turned off to polity because they’re turned off to authority. Perhaps they’ve experienced authoritarianism masquerading as authority.


To read the rest of this article, visit http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/hey-christians-polity-matters.