II. GOD’S GOVERNMENT
Every elder should realize in a sober and profound way that the eldership is a matter of government in the church. We all know that another name for the elders is the overseers. The word "elder" refers to the person, and the word "overseer" refers to the office. As far as the person is concerned, these ones are the older and more mature ones. As far as their office is concerned, they work as overseers. The office of overseership is a part of God’s government in the universe. For this reason, the elders must know about God’s government.
In the New Testament, there are a few ministers of the word, each with his own characteristics. The center of Paul’s ministry is the church. The center of John’s ministry is the house of God. It deals with God as the Father, and the saved ones as the children of God. Although Peter’s epistles are not as numerous as those of Paul or as the writings of John, he is nevertheless a great minister of the word. Peter’s ministry deals exclusively with God’s government, which is God’s administration. Among the Lord’s children today, many know that Paul’s ministry is concerning the church, and many others know that John’s ministry is about the house of God. But there are very few people who know that Peter’s ministry is on God’s government or administration.
Because the church has been degraded, whenever the word government or administration is mentioned, some begin to wonder immediately if this is Roman Catholicism. For this reason, among most Protestant Christians, and particularly among the more spiritual ones, there is a common concept that it is better to have no government and no administration than to have one. To them, as long as you understand that the church is the Body of Christ and the house of God, it is good enough. All that is needed is to help others love the Lord and be spiritual. As long as others are helped to have the life of God and to walk before the Lord, everything is all right. To them, there is no need to have anything like government. But, brothers and sisters, we are not more wise than God. In the universe, there is such a thing as the government of God and the administration of God. This is something ordained by God, and we cannot neglect it.
In the Bible, the kingdom is a matter of government. The kingdom of God is the government of God. It is also the administration of God. Today the universe is in disorder because God’s government has not been honored. The elders should not only see that in the universe there is God’s salvation, God’s church, and God’s house; they must further see that in the universe there is God’s government and God’s administration. God is not a God of confusion. He is not a God without principle and rule. God is a God with principles, rules, order, and discipline. For this reason, God must establish His administration and government in the universe.
(The Elders' Management of the Church, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)