1 THE BODY OF CHRIST PART 6
When looking at the body of Christ or Christ’s body, we are looking at the church which is the body of Christ. In this report I will be comparing the relationship of the church in the following ways: the church’s mission and its purpose, the church’s relationship to Jesus Christ, church leadership and the authority in the body, the church’s relationship to the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and the relationship between the church’s members.
1.1 CHURCH LEADERSHIP AND AUTHORITY IN THE BODY
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. “Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same” (Romans 13:2-3 NKJV).
All authority has been given by God, and if we resist authority, we will bring judgement on ourselves. There is a constituted authority appointed by God. Here is a definition of constituted authority:
“CONSTITUTED AUTHORITIES. Those powers which the constitution of each people has established to govern them, to cause their rights to be respected, and to maintain those of each of its members.”
“The officers properly appointed under the constitution for the government of the people. Those powers which the constitution of each people has established to govern them, to cause their rights to be respected, and to maintain those of each of its members. They are called ‘constituted,’ to distinguish them from the ‘constituting’ authority which has created or organized them, or has delegated to an authority, which it has itself created, the right of establishing or regulating their movements.”
I think this definition and explanation of constituted authority works well after reading the C&MA’s organizational structure for church government. First of all, we believe all authority is given by our Creator, Who establishes our rights and limitations. God is our ultimate authority “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:28 NKJV). Each member is important to the church, but everyone must be under the constituted authority so we can honor God. When we agree with the C&MA Handbook and the faith, vision, and mission statements as an organism (a living organization), then we will work toward the goal of fulfilling the Great Commission and ushering in the coming King, Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18 – 20; 24:14).
A quote from the book, A Movement for God Chapter 11 Constituted Authority, states: “This principle of government was adopted by General Council as a means of insuring that the concerns of every member, every local church, and every officer can be expressed. It provides each local church the freedom to address the needs of people in its specific community, while providing for unity and cooperation with other member congregations across the continent.”
Constituted authority is the conformation of all entities in the C&MA while letting them express their concerns and addressing the local needs of the people. The C&MA is a hub structured organization that reaches out as the body of Christ. It is recognizing God as the giver of all authority which we respect and are obedient to while we serve and submit to Him and one another. God appoints all authority in the church. We must respect and follow the leaders in the C&MA as they have been raised up by God and have followed the principles laid out in the C&MA handbook. Therefore, when we think of the authority of leaders and the church, we can submit willfully knowing that God has first appointed all authority and secondly that the C&MA handbook is Biblically sound. The members of the C&MA from the leadership to the members of the body are all in agreement, so there are no schisms in the body of Christ.