Am I my Presbyters’ keeper?
Presbyterianism has hit hard times in America. We are not as Presbyterian as we think.
Yes, we have meetings of a Presbytery. But a Presbytery meeting does not make a Presbyterian. It is also what we do between the meetings of the Presbytery. It is what we do as churches in relation to each other.
The Form of Government of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expresses this biblically beautiful idea as the Regional Church and the Presbytery.
The Presbytery is the “governing body of a regional church.”
The Regional Church is “all the members of the local congregations and the ministers within a certain district.”
As such the Presbytery has responsibilities toward the regional church. And ministers have a responsibility toward the regional church. And that responsibility does not end at the call of the moderator. Nor at the threshold of his local church.
We Presbyters are our brothers’ keeper.
Every exhortation toward like-mindedness, mutual submission and love toward the saints in the New Testament is not only applicable to the local church. It is equally applicable to the regional church. In some case, explicitly so.
1 Corinthians 1:2: “To the church of God which is at Corinth”
1 Corinthians 14:34: “Let your women keep silent in the churches”
The city of Corinth is recognized as one church. Yet it clearly had many churches. And Paul writes his admonitions to this collection of churches.
Paul is writing to a regional church, if not also a Presbytery.
Clearly Paul’s letters to the Corinthians is a letter directly applicable to Presbyterians of today. It means we are called to be concerned about the regional church.
It is not sufficient to feel obligated to attend the bi-annual meeting of the governing body. We must feel the obligation toward the regional church as a church throughout the remainder of the year.
Just like Paul.
He was concerned about unity, discipline and doctrinal purity at Corinth. And we ought to be concerned with the same in our regional churches and among the ministers.
So, the next time you are tempted to turn your brain off when the moderator dismisses the Presbytery, consider how you can continue to care for the regional church.
You are your Presbyters’ keeper.