Which Church ?By: Olyott Thomas Tinker Johnson Strivens
For many evangelicals, questions of church government and structure are of no significance. In deciding what church to attend, their only questions relate to the content of the preaching and the style of worship. If the sermons are biblical and the singing acceptable, why should we quibble over the denomination or grouping to which the church happens to belong? But the Bible is a demanding book, and it is a characteristic of the nonconformist conscience that it cannot rest satisfied with a mere obedience in part. Every consistent evangelical must seek to obey all of Scripture, so far as he understands it, because obedience to all of Scripture is what Christ commands. The nonconformist believes that the Bible has something very definite to say about how a local church is to be organised and governed, and about how it is to relate to other local churches. And we believe that the pattern laid down in the New Testament on these matters is not a matter of indifference which may be neglected. And so, though of course the content of the preaching and worship is vital, the question of the government and inter-church relations of the churches we attend are matters which we cannot simply ignore. To examine these issues, the John Owen Centre for Theological Study organised a conference, entitled 'Where have all the nonconformists gone?', which took place on 20th and 21st September 2004. These are the papers delivered on that occasion.