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Who Runs the Church?: 4 Views on Church Government (Counterpoints)

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3.54  ·  Rating details ·  81 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
In the acclaimed Counterpoints series of books contrasting multiple views, this book explores four different models of church government--their history, foundations, and practical implications.
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Published May 26th 2009 by Zondervan (first published September 1st 2004)
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David Harris
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a collection of essays and responses that articulate four views of church government: Episcopalian, Presbyterianism, single-elder congregationalism, and plural-elder congregationalism.

If one believes the blueprint of church government should be OT + NT + First five centuries of (selective) church history, then Episcopalian is the way to go.

If one's creed is Sola Scriptura, but maintains that the blueprint is discovered in a syncretism of both Old and New Testament government (i.e.
...more
Joey
Why is your church structured the way it is? Have you ever given serious thought and study to what the Bible and church history have to say about it? If the church is the bride of Christ, which he paid for with his own blood, why do so many think that merely the habits of our forbears or our personal preferences should carry the day in church government?

Thankfully, Cowan (editor) has provided us with a great primer for the subject. With episcopal (bishop hierarchy), presbyterian (close & bi
...more
Josh
Sep 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, nonfiction
Very helpful on a topic I knew very little about. The bottom line, in my mind, is this: if you believe in the authority of church history on parity with scripture, episcopalianism; if you believe the NT church is a continuation of the OT nation of Israel, presbyterianism; and otherwise, congregationalism. Those who know me will know where I land on that ;-) (Incidentally, the book has two types of congregationalism, and the distinction between those wasn't as clear cut in my mind.)
Matt Chapman
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


A great introduction to the 3/4 most common forms of church government. Each contributer gives a fair and detailed presentation of their view and the subsequent rebuttals are helpful for thinking each one through critically. Worth reading from cover to cover to gain a fuller understanding of each polity and its implications for the local church. I was probably most impressed by Waldron's arguments for Plural-Elder Congregationalism and Taylor's case for Presbyterianism.
Jeff Boettcher
A very helpful discussion between various scholars from different church traditions. I would have rated this higher if the Episcopalian view was better defended. I was not a big fan of that author and thought he could have made a better case for his position.
Chris Armer
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great overview of the major positions on church polity. The book is written like a debate. Each author presents their argument, then the other authors offer rebuttals. They each give a closing statement at the end. I love the format!
Looking forward to reading more Zondervan Counterpoint books.
Adam Paul Cooper
zzzzzzzzzzzzz...
Jay Budzilowski
Dec 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
A thorough look at four prevalent views of polity in evangelicalism. Each contributor brings scholarship, logic, exegesis, and conviction to the table.
James Stultz
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book for learning who believes what and why when it comes to church government.
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3003403
Steven B. Cowan (M.Div.; Ph.D.) is the Jim Young Professor of Religion and Associate Professor of Christian Studies at Louisiana College in Pineville, La.
More about Steven B. Cowan...

Other Books in the Series

Counterpoints (1 - 10 of 34 books)
  • Four Views on the Role of Works at the Final Judgment
  • Five Views on Apologetics
  • Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy
  • Five Views on Sanctification (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)
  • Five Views on Law and Gospel
  • Four Views on Hell
  • Four Views on Divine Providence
  • Understanding Four Views on Baptism (Counterpoints: Church Life)
  • Four Views on Eternal Security
  • Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism

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