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A group of Christian leaders were in a meeting

Chair: We have been talking about this matter long enough. It is time we came to a decision. Should we allow the Treasurer to do electronic banking based on just one signature?

A vote was taken with the result that 4 voted for the motion, 3 voted against and 5 abstained.

Chair: Right, the result is clear. The motion is passed.

Barry: But the voting shows that the majority are not certain this is the way forward.

Chair: There are four for and only three against so that is a clear majority. That’s the way democracy works.

Barry: Yes, democracy may say that, but we are a group of Christian leaders who want to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord and the majority of us do not support the move.

Chair: Well how else are we to proceed? Do you want us to cast lots like the apostles did before they had the Holy Spirit?

John: Well the casting of lots wasn’t because they didn’t have the Holy Spirit, but because they knew it was Jesus’ prerogative to choose members of the Twelve and that was the traditional Jewish way of getting God’s will.

Chair: Don’t bring theology into it. We are a democracy now and have got to decide this matter according to the normal rules for a meeting.

John: I am sorry Chair, but Barry is right. A Christian group should think theologically and seek to know God’s will. In the Council of Jerusalem they could say that the decision seemed good to them and to the Holy Spirit. I don’t picture the Elders in Antioch having a three to two vote and then saying that the majority had decided to send off Barnabas and Saul, do you?

Chair: But those were big issues and we are only talking about banking procedures.

Mike: When I worked in Asia we always looked for consensus even on small issues. I remember one meeting where we had taken a vote and then the decision wasn’t implemented. I asked why and was told that although the vote had been clear there was no consensus and so they wouldn’t proceed. That taught me a lot about how important consensus was in that culture and I think it is really more Biblical.

Chair: So what do you want us to do?

Barry: I think that we should pray now and then leave this motion on the table until we next meet. Then we can all pray and think about the matter and ask that the Lord will bring us to a consensus .

John: I sit on the board of a Mission Agency and that is their principle: no consensus, get praying.

Chair: So is there a consensus on that suggestion?

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Ray Porter

Ray Porter

Chair of Global Connections Board
Ray retired from full time lecturing in 2013 and his main Oak Hill roles are now in supervising dissertations and keeping an eye on some aspects of the Theology for Crossing Cultures course. Ray's major ministries have been in two blocks of 14 years with OMF: one in Indonesia where he pastored and established churches, and the other as a regional director in the UK where he recruited and encouraged missionaries and mission support. Shorter slots have been as minister of a UK church and as New Testament lecturer at Belfast Bible College.

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