is a word used by Roman Catholicism to designate a church which has rule
over other churches, so a recent article in a church paper explained.
This theology comes from the prominent Catholic doctrine of Apostolic
Succession and abuses biblical church polity.
In biblical church polity, each church has a
right to conduct its business according to its own leadership from the
Holy Spirit, and no other church has any authority over that church to
make or change any policy whether it be proper or improper policy.
Some Baptists seem to believe that, if we as
Baptists believe and teach the succession of true churches down through
history, we are practicing Plebanianism. This is not true.
When a few members of a church of the Lord
Jesus Christ desire to start a new church, they cannot usurp the authority of
their own church by simply proclaiming that they are a church, leaving
their membership unchecked and loose at their own church. They must in
some way get their membership from their own church to the new church.
Just as all other work in Godís vineyard is
done through the auspices of a local New Testament church, so is starting
a new church done under the same auspices.
The doctrine of Apostolic Succession claims
that apostles pass authority from one person to another and from one
generation to another. This is not what happens in organizing a new
church. Church authority is not passed from one church to another,
therefore continuing that line of authority. Rather, God gives authority
to the new church as the first church releases the membership of those
members desiring to begin a new church. The authority does not come from
one church to another but from God himself through the pattern set down in
Until these members are released from
membership, the first church has authority over them as members by their
own permission by submitting to that authority when they came into the
church. They cannot dismiss that authority lightly or haphazardly. Just
as a person cannot become a member of a church by simply announcing that
he is a member, neither can he dismiss himself from a church simply
because he announces that he is a member of another church.
Plebanianism takes church authority too far
and confuses church polity, depending upon manís wisdom to carry on the
tradition of the Catholic Church rather than depending upon the Spirit of
Jesus is the Head of his churches; man is
not. He must wield the final authority, not man and not the churches.
Letís leave the authority with Jesus Christ, the Head, and practice the
patterns set down in scripture to give him all the glory.
1 Cor. 10:31
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the
glory of God.
-Pastor Ronnie Wolfe