What type of governing body did it have in Biblical times?
It is important for us to learn how the first century church
was set-up since many of the churches of today have different
types of government. For example, the Roman Catholic Church
has a man in which they refer to as a Pope who is head of that
church. Still other churches have conventions with representatives
from the individual congregations who make laws and decide what
kinds of activity that their denomination will be involved in.
Still others, especially cults, have a one-man rule that makes
ALL the decisions for that religious group, including laws in
which they will abide by.
Almost all churches have a headquarters here upon earth or
a central figure (person) in which they submit to. However,
the church of Christ has NEITHER! We look to Jesus Christ who
is in heaven for authority in religious matters and for our
moral standard. Even though He is in heaven, Christ does not
have a vicar to represent Him here on earth. A vicar, in this
sense, would be someone here upon earth to be head of the church
and to serve as our Lord’s representative. But the Bible
nowhere even suggests that anyone other than Jesus Christ should
reign over His church. Even after He was resurrected from the
dead and ascended into heaven, the scripture declared that our
Lord and Savior is the head of the church (Colossians 1:18;
Ephesians 1:22-23). The New Testament is the will of Jesus Christ
and therefore it is to govern the church rather than the creeds
of men (Hebrews 9:16-17; Hebrews 10:9-10; Matthew 15:9).
The New Testament church has no governing body here upon earth
outside the local congregation. Each local church is to be autonomous,
meaning self-ruled, independent. Even in the individual congregation
there is no one who has the right or the authority to make laws
in matters of faith. Matters of faith have to do with those
areas in which the Lord has given commandments and instructions
Within each congregation, when two or more of the men meet
the qualifications for elders, the membership should select
two or more of these men to serve as their shepherds (1 Timothy
3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; Acts 14:23). Those ordained in a local church
are the spiritual overseers, but do not have the authority to
make laws in matters of faith for those in whom they oversee,
nor do they have the authority to oversee other congregations.