Breach of Protocol

When we come across the word “protocol”, we often associate it with state diplomacy. British Oxford dictionary defines it primarily as: (1) the official procedure or system of rules governing affairs of state or diplomatic occasions; (1.1) the accepted or established code of procedure or behaviour in any group, organization, or situation.

The origin of the word was Late Middle English (denoting the original minute of an agreement, forming the legal authority for future dealings relating to it): from Old French prothocole, via medieval Latin from Greek prōtokollon ‘first page, flyleaf’, from prōtos ‘first’ + kolla ‘glue’. Sense 1 derives from French protocole, the collection of set forms of etiquette to be observed by the French head of state, and the name of the government department responsible for this (in the 19th century).

Nowadays, the word maybe used to refer to the accepted or established code of procedure or behaviour in any group, organization, or situation. Thus, we can apply the word in the church setting to define the code of procedure on the proper way church members and church-goers should conduct themselves in dealing with church affairs let alone church government. This code of conduct is spelled out in the church Constitution and By-laws and reinforced by pertinent verses in the Bible. Failure to observe the established protocol is called breach of protocol that creates chaos and disorder in the church. This is the main cause why a congregation divides.

Who are those protocol breakers? More often, they are church members who pretend they know fully the church Constitution and By-laws but who refuse to follow them to the letter because they interpret them secularly. They are those members who thrive on what good things other people will tell them that would tickle their ears. They do not want to be rebuked on their faults and when confronted hide their identities behind the cloak of other members. They are the ones who will abandon you when the goings get tough. They are those who Paul spoke of in 2 Timothy 4:3 …”For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

Brethren, be aware of them!


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