Sproul Jr. lists five things that are relatively unclear in the bible. They are: 1) Proper form of church government; 2) Proper form of a service of worship; 3) Proper form for preaching the word; 4) Proper way to move from single to married; and 5) More information on the incarnation and the Trinity. But contained in Sproul's No. 1, Sido finds No. 6, with my emphasis added:
The Bible is crystal clear that women are not to rule in the church, and that we are to submit to the elders over us. See Hebrews 13 for the latter. Thus the Reformers were correct to list discipline as a mark of the true church. If you are not under the authority of name-able specific elders, you are not part of the visible church and thus do not have a credible profession of faith. You should get under authority.Sido has some choice things of his own to say about this, some of which I'll lift and place here:
It always bothers me and should always cause you to pay close attention when someone airily claims that a whole chapter of Scripture [Sido references Heb. 13 in his argument] supports the point they are making without attempting to engage in the text at all and you should especially be on guard when they make statements with enormous implications to your very salvation based on these sweeping generalities. The idea that if you are not a member of a “proper” local church with name-able elders who carry out church discipline that you don’t have a credible profession of faith is a dangerous and Scripturally untenable statement. It sounds sweet to the ears of those who embrace certain church traditions but to question the salvation of someone because they don’t cling to your ecclesiastical traditions is arrogant and prideful.
And he concludes with:
The lesson here is that just because someone refers to a passage of Scripture and is published by a famous ministry doesn’t mean you should just take them at their word, especially not when they are questioning the salvation of other Christians.Now I want to bring up the point I was making in my previous post on Ezekiel 34. God's sheep can be lost, scattered, dominated, sickly, diseased, broken, wandering and slaughtered all at the hands of shepherds who did not care properly for the sheep. And God doesn't blame the sheep in that passage. Many people today who aren't currently involved in a church, or maybe are but are minimally involved, or who even are completely involved but haven't "signed the dotted line" of the membership papers can all fall under the pronouncement of Sproul Jr. and others who believe similar things. I love to hear Christians' testimonies and life stories. It amazes me how many people - including devout pastors - have had short periods of time or even seasons of their lives without the kind of church involvement Sproul Jr. speaks about. And for many of these people, myself included, having your spirituality, level of humility or even salvation continually questioned or doubted doesn't help the cause any. Especially for those who are younger in the faith. Men like Sproul Jr. need to stop the "my way or the highway" authority trip and see God's sheep for who they are. God's.