Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Lone Ranger Rides Again (Laodicea - Canon 40)

Bishops called to a synod must not be guilty of contempt, but must attend, and either teach, or be taught, for the reformation of the Church and of others.  And if such an one shall be guilty of contempt, he will condemn himself, unless he be detained by ill health.

At times the duty of an overseer extended past the local church.  Synods and councils served at least two purposes: tap the combined wisdom of many counselors (Prov 11:14; 24:5-6) and arrive at a consensus of how to address influences—doctrinal or practical; internal or external—damaging the church at-large.  In a smaller scale, it was convened to give attestation to an ordination or other ruling affecting a local region or church.  Absence at a synod was clear testimony that the overseer was above or outside the influence of the church catholic.

Just as no man is an island, no church is either.  By extension this means that the decision of a church leader intent on going his own direction will affect those both inside and outside the local church.  This means that if your pastor proposes his pet ministry project saying little more than "Hi-yo, Silver!  Away!" then be wary.

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