This question is in a scenario form:
A member of the Lord's church was asked to move his seating in the church building during worship on several different occasions. This member refused to do so after several requests. This member was consequently brought before the congregation with the charge listed above as sowing discord and being disobedient to leadership. The member made known to the minister that he had no intentions on moving out of his seat. As a result, the minister publicly read a withdrawal letter dismissing him from congregation until he repents.
I guess my question is: Can a congregation withdraw from someone for refusing to move out of his seat?
Note: The seating was asked to be changed due to a TV ministry allowing that the congregation look full during worship. Also, the congregation has no deacons and elders
Can a church do this? Clearly someone did. Is it right? No. The one violating God's law was the preacher. First, the reason for asking was due to pride. He wanted his congregation to appear larger than it really was. He was also try to deceive others to boost his pride. The reason for the withdrawal was because his pride was wounded. Though he was not an elder (thankfully), he was attempting to run a congregation, for which he has no right, as a dictator instead of a a leader. "And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called 'benefactors.' But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves" (Luke 22:25-26).
What should be done? The correct response would be for the congregation to withdraw from the preacher, but this isn't likely to happen since they went along with this event. Better for the person to find a congregation faithful to the teachings of the Lord.
Sorry, I have one more concern: the police were called after the person sat in his regular seat. He was escorted out by police.
I want to thank you so much for your biblical response. This is truly what I thought all along. If a congregation is functioning without elders, is it then the preacher's job to lead the congregation in all matters? Assuming from your previous answer, that would be no. However, could you give me more biblical insight?
Thus the congregation violated yet another command:
"Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren!" (I Corinthians 6:1-8).
Preachers do not substitute for elders. A preacher and an elder have different duties. A preacher might be a preacher and an elder if he is qualified for the position, but he would be holding down two jobs.
In regards to the operation of a church, see:
- Do the elders and preachers constitute the church in decisions?
- Pastors and Preachers
- The Rule of Elders
Thank you so much. This has been very helpful.