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"The divine order of the New Testament is sufficient to organize the church of Christ. If more were needed, it would have been given by inspiration." -James White, "Gospel Order," The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Dec. 6, 1853
Rearing Churches for Self-Government
Planting a church is like having a child. For the apostles, the churches they planted were their children.
"My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you." Galatians 4:19.
Infants and children need the presence of their parents to care for them and train them while they are young. But the time comes when the young adults must leave their parents' home and go out on their own.
"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother. . . ." Genesis 2:24.
It is the parents' job to prepare their children for the time when they will no longer be with them in the home.
"The object of discipline is the training of the child for self-government." Education, p. 287.
When young people reach adulthood, they no longer need their mother and father to take care of them and feed them. Yet, as long as they live, parents are intensely interested in the welfare of their grown children and grandchildren. They may not live near them, but they pray for them and keep in touch with them and visit them.
"And Paul did not forget the churches thus established. The care of these churches rested on his mind as an ever-increasing burden. However small a company might be, it was nevertheless the object of his constant solicitude." Acts of the Apostles, p. 186.
"Even when in distant mission fields, far from the scene of his earlier labors, he continued to bear upon his heart the burden of urging these converts to remain faithful, 'perfecting holiness in the fear of God.' 2 Corinthians 7:1. Constantly he tried to help them to become self-reliant, growing Christians, strong in faith, ardent in zeal, and wholehearted in their consecration to God and to the work of advancing His kingdom." Acts of the Apostles, p. 201.
"Self-reliant" churches are no longer dependent on pastoral/parental care. Adult churches surpass in significance the humble workers who raised them up. This does not mean that mature churches are no longer accountable to anybody. Adulthood does not free an individual from his accountability to society. The early training of young churches is designed to equip them to function on their own as responsible members of the larger body of believers.