A Self-Driving Church vs The Autonomous Church

A Self-Driving Church vs The Autonomous Church

A Self-Driving Church


The Autonomous Church
Matthew 18:15-18

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

This is the clearest demonstration of an independent church we see in scripture. NOTHING HERE infers interference from any outside authority.

But other references that reinforce this doctrine include:

Eph. 1: 22, 23 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Acts 5:29  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Revelation 2:7 (and 17) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;

Matthew 16:18  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.


Those who don’t believe in an “afterlife” don’t get the Bible because here on earth, the church is a representation of heaven.

In the Old Testament at the end of Numbers 15 and beginning of Numbers 16, we see early precedence to the desire of the Lord’s to be involved with His people in an independent assembly that is dedicated to Him. And in Korah we see the heckle of denominationalism and external influence that brought immediate destruction under the rigid theocratic rule of God’s divine presence.


Objective: To create awareness of the independence & resulting perpetuity a church has from external influences, while establishing the expectation of our Lord regarding how we engage others outside the church.


The term “autonomy of the local church” refers to a method of determining the rule of church activities.

Autonomy: the right or condition of self-government.

Autonomy is a compound word consisting of autos, self, and nomos, meaning law. Hence, self-law or self-governing. Autonomy is simply defined as, “Independence…the right of self-government…a self-governing community”


4 Benefits of Autonomy

  1. It maintains Jesus as Lord as no human or organization is to come between a Church and its Lord (Bride & Groom)
  2. It supports true liberty because there is no imposition of alien-will upon the hearts and lives of God’s people. Such as becomes the case with “National Religions” or the imposition of laws that are not accepted in the church ie: abortion
  3. It constitutes a bulwark (a wall or hedge) against wholesale departures from the faith. If one church goes apostate, it doesn’t take down the whole organization such as in the case of a “universal” church.
  4. It permits broad fellowship between churches even amidst minor variations in faith and order. Church Cooperation, ie: ABA
    1. Like faith and order ONLY
    2. Cooperation between churches should be PRIMARILY with God, Fellowship is about fellowshipping with God, not man.
    3. Dangers of Church Fellowship and Cooperation:
      • Cooperative budgets lead to a lack of trust in God and dominative attitudes
      • Cooperative literature makes Pastors lazy, defocuses local need for topical preaching
      • Becomes a pivot point from independence to denominationalism
      • Promotes all sorts of subtle/ carnal agenda’s

Limitations of Autonomy – We are limited by…

    1. The Word of God – We are executive, not legislative. We carry out God’s law, not create it. Psalm 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
    2. The Great Commission – A church is not to go outside it terms of the commission to evangelize, baptize and teach. It’s not a to become a business or political forum. (The line between fund-raising and becoming a business is in what you do with the profits) Matt 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
    3. The Law of the Land – We are to obey the law of the land as we conduct our business.  Romans 13: 1-2 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 

Mark 12:17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar‘s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.

  • The Rights of its Members – A church can only exercise authority over its members in spiritual matters. It cannot interfere with their personal rights in any way, except if the personal practice of a member becomes inconsistent with their position as a member, then the church is expected to maintain holiness by exercising its disciplinary function.


Dangers of Denominationalism – “Apostasy” It is human and NOT divine authority, it grows out of the sympathies of Christian fellowship and the need of mutual help. Basically, it’s a departure from trusting God towards trusting Man.  A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

“Baptist” is NOT a denomination, it’s a heritage.

  1. They remove certain responsibilities from the people and eventually weaken them spiritually by providing a “program” which reduces their conscious responsibility towards the Lord. “Loyalty to the Denomination”
  2. Centralized power attracts carnal power-hungry men to lead.
  3. Denominationalism gives dangerous power and influence to these carnal men and create serious snare and temptations to many sincere men in leadership.
  4. Complete apostasy. This unscriptural authority eventually results in imposing an utterly unscriptural program upon local churches.

Path to Apostasy… Fundamentalism > Institutionalism > Denominationalism > Modernism > Apostasy

The Promise of Perpetuity – The word derives ultimately from the Latin adjective perpetuus (“continual” or “uninterrupted”), which is also the source of our perpetual and perpetuate. It frequently occurs in the phrase “in perpetuity,” which essentially means “forever” or “for an indefinitely long period of time.”

Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The church is the instrument God has deployed on earth to provide Protection, Provision, Purpose, Power and Perpetuity. Given the patterns he has in heaven, I think there will be “church” in heaven. But the preaching will be better.  ;0)

The church has a special calling, therefore it is designed with a special provision. We are not above anyone, we are not subjective to anyone. We are separated, sanctified, called out and peculiar towards God. But in that paradigm, we have perfect liberty to be exactly whom it is we’ve been re-born to be.  

  • We have every bit as much of God’s Spirit in us as we will ever have, making our spirit perfect, sinless and righteous in Christ.
  • That spirit desires to live in heaven and the autonomy of the church is an environment carved out on earth to provide that environment.

The church has only one authority and that is its head, Christ.

Benefits of membership are varied: Spiritual, Eternal, Physical, Financially Supportive, Social, Emotional, Educational, Industrial, Relational, and more…



Hebrews 10:25 tells us: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

This is often a verse used by the preacher to guilt people into attending services everytime the doors are open.  Nothing wrong with being in church everytime the doors are open, but that’s not entirely what I think it’s eluding to. 

It also is often considered to be referring to “The Day of the Lord” or “The Day of Judgment” approaching, which is also fine since it surely is, but the problem with using that as the sole interpretation is that such logic has the undercurrent of saying it’s ok to forsake church if you can’t see (or don’t believe you can see) the end of the world coming.

Rather let’s look at Hebrews 10:25 in context with verses 22 – 24.

Hebrews 10:22-25  22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Here we can say that as you see the church coming together and the power of God flourishing in the body we should be more diligent to attend, participate and forsake not. Nobody will blame you for not engaging a dead church but when God’s Spirit moves in an assembly, we are expected to get caught up with Him and participate as we “see the day approaching.”

We have “Heaven on Earth” through fellowship in the Spirit with each other under the infrastructure of the local New Testament Church.


I hope you take advantage of it!



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We can only accomplish “so much” through Sunday morning preaching, so let me tell you about our Internet outreach program and 2019 theme… 

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  1. Discover How Loving Others is the secret to powerful Christian living… ClintByers.com
  2. Determine who you love and want to serve
  3. Take a Spiritual Gifts Test to see what spiritual resources you have available to apply to that target group of people
  4. Choose your Talents from a list to define possible connectors that work for you, in alignment with those you will serve.
  5. Choose your Personal Interests from a list to determine a method that works for you, in connecting with those you will serve.
  6. Define a Ministry through the church to either join or start, in order to fulfil that destiny.
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Your Christian life will be fulfilling if you will set personal goals that empower you to love God and Others… through Christ.


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