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Does Autonomy Excuse Accountability?

Greetings in the Name that’s above every name!

Autonomy, the right to be self-governed and self-led. It’s a term that we constantly hear and that we are extremely familiar within our fellowship. We believe, as do I, that each local church and pastor has the right to follow the vision which God has laid upon their heart. We don’t dictate what messages you’re to teach, what ministries or ministers you should have or even what missionaries you’re to support. In that regard, I believe that we are following the Biblical pattern which Jesus laid out in scripture when he said, “Whosoever will, let him come unto me.” But here’s the thing that’s always troubled me – does autonomy excuse accountability?

Again, when I read scripture, I find that “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.” For example, whenever a man and woman join themselves together in marriage, they do so with a volitional commitment. They don’t give up their identity or individual uniqueness, they merely merge it together in order to be part of something bigger than themselves, while at the same time sharing in the responsibilities of life. Well, I believe this same thing holds true for us.

Being part of the IFCA is a volitional commitment. Furthermore, it doesn’t negate our own individual vision or ministry; it merely allows each individual church and pastor to be part of something bigger than themselves. And here’s the paradigm shift in our thinking to which I referred in my last correspondence and which must take place in order for our fellowship to move forward into our future. To quote the apostle Paul in Romans 12:3, “Let no man think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” And why does he say this? It’s because if we’re truly going to be conformed into the image of Christ, we must become “kingdom minded” rather than self-absorbed.

As always, may God bless each of you richly!

In His Service,

Bro. Rick George

IFCA General Overseer

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