Should congregational votes be limited to tithing members who attend a specified number of Sundays?
I think I should first tell you that while I came out of a church where the congregation voted, this has not been a part of my recent experience. As I understand the Bible, the church is led by elders, and not by a congregational vote. This means that the issue of gaining support and voting by the immature is not a factor. Having said this, it is quite clear to me that the elders do not make their decisions in a vacuum. The situation in the church at Jerusalem (Acts 6) was one that required a decision on the part of the elders (actually, the twelve), but the entire congregation saw the wisdom of their decision (6:5). Notice, too, that while the twelve set the standards for the needed “deacons,” it was the church who selected them, and their selection was given formal approval by the 12 (6:6). A similar situation seems to arise in Acts 15, with the Jerusalem Council.
All of this is to say that the church regulations you have mentioned cannot really be compared with Scripture because there appears to be no elder rule. Once one steps aside from elder rule, you are in unchartered waters. This is where “politics” begins to play a strong role, and where such rules as you’ve mentioned begin to appear.
Having said all of this, I would tell you that in our church the elders desire to be willing to listen to what anyone has to say. If their words conform to the Scriptures, then we will heed their words (in truth The Word). On the other hand, if what they suggest is wrong, then they will be told why their desires cannot and will not be heeded. In the final analysis, the issue is, “What said the Lord?” If a brand new believer can point out where we are wrong, we need to listen.
With the rules you have shared, the “old guard” is definitely enfranchised, and the newer members and “uncommitted” are not. It almost comes down to “no money, no vote.” In our church, we think that it is unwise and unbiblical for “the left hand to know what the right hand is doing” and so we don’t know who “tithes” and who doesn’t. If we are to do such thinks privately, then how can they be a standard for who votes?
Related Topics: Ecclesiology (The Church)