Scriptural method for choosing church leaders

There are two methods of selection in Scripture: spoken directly by God (or by appointment by prophets) and casting lots. Unfortunately, democracy or voting is not one of them, nor mentioned in the Bible anywhere.

Casting Lots

Scripture repeatedly mentions selecting leaders, choosing things and finding God’s decision by lots.

Acts 1:26 And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

  • The replacement for Judas to choose Matthias was by casting lots (Acts 1:26)
  • The work for the Sanctuary by the priests were divided by lot (1Chr 24:5; Neh 10:34)
  • The duty of Musicians were by casting lots, great, small, teacher and student (1Chr 25:8)
  • The duties for the division gatekeepers were by casting lots (1Chr 26:13)
  • The land of Israel was divided by lots (Num 33:54)
  • In the law, scapegoat and the goat that belongs to the LORD was chosen by casting lots (Lev 16:8).
  • Jonah was chosen by lot in the ship (Jonah 1:7)

Isa 34:17 He has cast the lot for them, And His hand has divided it among them with a measuring line. They shall possess it forever; From generation to generation they shall dwell in it.”

Scripture says, even God cast lot but that’s a prayer from Isaiah and not spoken by God. Jesus very clearly confirmed that the Father doesn’t play dice (Matt 10:29-30). It is similar to Isaiah’s prayer of our righteousness as filthy rags (Isa 64:6) but God says we can only be saved only by our own righteousness (Ezek 14:14) confirmed by Jesus (Matt 5:20). We can’t use a prophet’s words of a prayer to reject what the Father spoke and what His Son taught. Hence, I don’t value Isa 34:17 much.

Ezek 45:1 “Moreover, when you divide the land by lot into inheritance …

Ezek 47:22 “It shall be that you will divide it by lot as an inheritance for yourselves …

Ezek 48:29 “This is the land which you shall divide by lot as an inheritance ..

The division of inheritance in during the period of Ezekiel’s Temple in future is by lots.

Prov 18:18 Casting lots causes contentions to cease, And keeps the mighty apart.

Unlike the ancient times where the Holy Spirit was given only to a few, today God had poured out His Spirit. Hence, personal decisions depends on how God speaks to us. It can either be in dreams or visions or God speaking to us through the Scriptures. Unfortunately, we can’t trust others dreams or visions, nor can we confirm if they are even true since many false prophets and false teachers exist. When more people are involved, I believe the only biblical method to seek the decision of the Lord is to pray and cast lots, similar to how the apostles chose Matthias after specifying the qualifications. Casting lots usually gets involved to cease contests when multiple people want the same position.

Voting

Num 14:4 So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”

Exod 32:1 … Come, make us gods that shall go before us …

If God wants people to have democracy and choose their own leaders, this what the people want: Let us select a leader and return to Egypt (Num 14:4). Come, make us gods that shall go before us (Exod 32:1). Democracy just requires more stiff necked members to choose bad leaders.

Isa 1:9 Unless the LORD of hosts Had left to us a very small remnant, We would have become like Sodom, We would have been made like Gomorrah.

Gen 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Do you think it is best to seek what the congregation thinks would be good in fulfilling roles or what God wants?  If we are left to ourselves in choosing leaders without God, we will end up like Sodom and Gomorrah (Isa 1:9; Gen 6:5). In democracy, the congregation gets what they want, not what God wants. If the congregation is good, then good leaders get elected. If the congregation becomes sinful and stiff-necked, then sinful leaders get elected to lead the congregation astray. Asking the congregation to select leaders is democratic method of popularity contest.

Luke 16:15 .. what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

In the Scriptures, we either see God choosing men and Prophets (e.g, Moses) choosing able men based on specific criteria and teaching them what to do under his leadership (Exod 18:20-22). The choice was never given to the congregation. If the choice was given to congregation, the leaders serve the congregation rather than God.

Conclusion

Scripture only supports theocracy (1Sam 12:12) where the Father is the king of the kingdom of Israel (Acts 1:6-7) and Son is the king of His kingdom of Heaven (John 18:36-37). If Christ is our King, we need to ask Him to appoint leaders and the decision for who should lead must never come from us.

Prov 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.

The approved Scriptural method to know the decision of God when there is some contention on who must be a leader for the congregation must be by casting lots after prayer. We call Christ as our King. Don’t you think He has a say?