“Majority Rule” Isn’t Always Right

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Baptist church polity is generally based on “majority rule”. Whichever side has the most votes on an issue wins. Generally, majority rule is a good idea, because there is wisdom in Godly counsel (Prov 11:4). But majority rule isn’t always best.

A case in point is in today’s Bible reading from Matthew 27:20 Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent of all charges brought against him by the Jewish leaders and was hoping to release him by letting the majority of the crowd decide for him. The chief priests and elders were aware that Pilate might do this, so they whipped the crowd into a frenzy to ask for Barabbas’ release rather than Jesus.

Thankfully, I have never witnessed a similar situation in a church, but I have heard horror stories. A small, disgruntled group goes into a business meeting with an “agenda”. Perhaps they want to fire the pastor because he parts his hair on the wrong side, change the carpet color (or not), or something like that. But they don’t have sufficient support for their ideas to be approved. They go through the church rolls and contact everybody who has ever been a member of the church, hoping to gather a group large enough to vote their way. When the meeting is called to order, a great deal of energy must be spent to verify that everyone that wants to cast a vote is eligible to vote; many of those in attendance haven’t darkened the church doors in years.

This is especially true when most Baptist churches have upwards of 50-60% “non-resident” members. What this means is that we have the names of people on our rolls, but we don’t have a clue where or who they are. But as long as their names are on the roll, they are eligible to vote. And thus, the majority rules; their agenda carries … and God’s doesn’t.



Are you seeking God’s agenda, or do you seek out people who will side with you and your agenda?