Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The new Shepherding Movement

In this post I’m not taking sides on AHA controversy. I’m just commenting on an objection to AHA.

Below is a guest post from Justin Edwards. Justin was one of the leaders of the Abolitionist Society of North Carolina, a chapter of the larger AHA movement. Justin is married to Jennifer, and they have three children.

So to anticipate one objection, yes, I am still an abolitionist, but no, I no longer endorse or support AHA.

AHA claims to be under the authority of the local church, yet the church many of them are a part of is not a local church ruled by, led by, taught by, or equipped by elders, which Jesus Christ has appointed to shepherd His Church realized in the local church (Hebrews 13:7, 17; 1 Peter 5:1-11; 1 Timothy 5:17). Nor is this a church plant that was established under the authority of another local church, nor are the members at Door of Hope sent out to do any work of the ministry they claim to be doing. This is where their orthodoxy affects their orthopraxy in a negative way. They are in no way “subject to the elders” (1 Peter 5:5) and in no way can they “obey their leaders” (Hebrews 13:17) because they have no leaders (elders).

What is the scope of elder authority? If a Christian prolife organization must be authorized by church elders, what other things must their elders authorize? Did elders arrange Justin’s marriage to Jennifer? Does Justin require permission from his elders for the number of children he’s allowed to have?

The blanket appeal to elder authority which critics of AHA resort to reminds me of the Shepherding Movement. We’ve been down that road before. It doesn’t end well.

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