Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Elder’

Definitions and Other Challenges

February 23, 2016 Leave a comment

By Tom Chantry

I have been writing this week on questions of local church polity as they have been addressed by Reformed Baptists, and on the comparative model of Presbyterianism. I have a few suggestions to make – theses for debate, if you will. Before I come to them, however, I have a number of further observations to make on the state of our churches and the ministry within them. Consider these challenges which must be addressed if we ever wish to arrive at a more sensible polity.

1. The names of offices have become seriously confused.

When we have attempted to name the offices of the church, we have entered into a realm of confusion. The only office explicitly called an “office” in our English New Testament is that of bishop. (I Timothy 3:1) Yet we do not often use the word “bishop” because its accepted meaning in the wider culture is different from that used in Scripture. A bishop is an overseer of the church, and there were several of them in Ephesus (Acts 20:28), but society has been trained to think of a “bishop” as a single officer over many churches. Unwilling to….

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Advertisements

Understanding the Presbyterian Model

February 16, 2016 1 comment

By Tom Chantry

Yesterday I wrote about some of the problems faced by Reformed Baptists in developing our polity. Differences between us have been exacerbated by the fact that some – but not all – of us have been influenced by Presbyterianism, particularly with regard to local polity. This problem is even further exacerbated by the fact that some have, I am convinced, completely misread Presbyterian polity. Is it possible that some Reformed Baptists have developed their principles of government in reaction to what was a basic mischaracterization of Presbyterianism?

It is with such thoughts in mind that I listened with great interest to a recent episode of the Mortification of Spin podcast. I urged yesterday that my readers listen to it before reading today’s post, and I want to repeat that advice today. Carl Trueman, an OPC Pastor, Todd Pruitt, a PCA pastor…

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

A Few Polity Questions

By Tom Chantry

One of the issues which continues to bedevil the Reformed Baptist movement as we seek to adopt and apply not only the doctrine but also the polity of our confession of faith is the relationship of the title “pastor” to that of “elder.” For any of us to pretend that this matter has been resolved is probably to deceive ourselves. A number of positions exist, and our confession is less than absolutely clear in the resolution of these differences.

Since the Particular Baptist movement grew in the soil of England’s Puritan era, and since the 1689 Confession is in part a revision of the Westminster, we would do well to frame the discussion with reference to the definitions which exist in Presbyterianism, and then to ask whether and how Baptists have viewed the matter differently.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Elders Represent the Knowledge of Christ in the Church Pt 2

Continuing our observations of the ministry of Paul and his companions to the Corinthians, in chapter two, we immediately see the pastoral prerogative Paul exercises in his apostolic office continued from chapter one. He has said that he did not come that he might spare the Corinthians, and it is right to ask: from what is he sparing them?

 

Read the entire article here.

Elders Represent the Knowledge of Christ in the Church

March 31, 2014 1 comment

A Brief Forward

The title of this series of posts is “Elders Represent the Knowledge of Christ in the Church;” however, by this statement, we do not intend that there is no knowledge of Christ in the other members of the covenant communities that represent the catholic church in local assemblies of such members, but rather, we intend that there is an order to that deposit of knowledge of God in Christ Jesus by which He graciously communicates this knowledge to His church. We also do not intend, by the word “knowledge,” here, simply that which is able to be intellectually grasped, but also, by the same Spirit of Christ, experientially grasped and applied. This order and divine method is intended by the apostle Paul in such places as Ephesians 4:11-16 and 1 Corinthians 12:13-31, and is inherent (and often explicit) in all he writes in all his epistles, but these two texts touch upon it most explicitly, so the reader is invited to study them for further edification.

The overall text we will be concentrating on is that of the first five chapters of 2 Corinthians, to show how this went forth in the first elders (the apostles and their immediate contemporaries) of the church to the church in the area of Corinth. The key text from within this broader text will be given at the start of the exposition for consideration and meditation, which will be 2 Corinthians 5:16-17.

Introduction

The office of elders in the church is often not fully understood, overlooked by those who are taught, led and protected by these men who are gifts of Christ to His church, and often looked upon as a position of personal authority (sometimes by those who hold that office); in truth, it is sad, on the first two counts, due to a large scale, purposed ignorance, by those who are led, fed and protected by those elders (and this fault lies, first of all, with the bad teaching of such who ought not to be elders), of what the Scriptures teach about this most weighty position, and tragic on the last count, due to purposed abuse of that authority by those who are elders in some churches, when the authority is not theirs at all, but actually Christ’s, and the elders only hold, in stewardship, that which Christ has, through His Spirit, gifted them with for the feeding, leading and protection of the respective local churches of which they are to be examples of His excellencies.

Read the entire article here.

Some say the sacred use of a word is frequently quite different from the classical use

August 9, 2013 1 comment

broadusChapter 7-1: Baptizo – Classical and Biblical.

But another class of persons endeavor to go deeper, not relying upon the opinions of others. They say, grant that the classical use of baptizo is as the lexicons mentioned teach, that it always means immerse, and kindred ideas; yet the Biblical use is very different, for in the Bible it certainly sometimes means sprinkle or pour. The attempt is made to show this from various passages; really, it seems that so many are tried because it is felt that none of them are exactly conclusive. I should be glad to go over all that have been thus appealed to, but time does not allow that, and I can only mention those which are most frequently relied on, or which seem most plausible.

I. It is said that, in the case of certain other words, such as pastor, bishop, elder, church, supper, the sacred use is frequently quite different from the classical use; and this is thought to afford a presumption that there is also a difference as to the word baptize. But most of these words have not changed their meaning to something quite different; there is only a figurative or novel application, while the ground idea remains the same. Thus the pastor is a shepherd (figuratively), the bishop is an overseer (spiritually), the church is an assembly (actual or ideal). So baptize is still an immersion, having only a special reference and meaning. The word “supper” has been much insisted on, as having a wholly different sense in the New Testament from its classical use. But when the Apostle Paul speaks of the Christians as coming together to eat “the Lord’s Supper,” (I Cor. 11:20) it was a supper. We continue to apply the term “supper” when it is eaten at other times of the day, but Scripture does not so apply it. Besides, our Lord did not tell us to eat a supper, but to eat bread and drink wine. This is what we must do; and we make here no substitute, either for the elements (bread and wine) or for the action (eating and drinking). So the appeal to “supper” is quite inappropriate. The use of “elder,” however, seems to be a case in point, for this word has changed its meaning. But the change is not in sacred, as distinguished from secular use. The application of the term “elder” to a person who is not old is found in classical Greek, as also in Latin and English. The Greek word presbus, an old man, is used in classical Greek to denote an honorable man, an ambassador, a senator. So with the Latin senator, and the English alderman. This, then, is not a case in which the word acquires an entirely different sense in sacred from what it had in classical use. And so all the examples cited break down, and this supposed analogy and consequent presumption, much relied on by some, amounts to just nothing.

John A. Broadus-Immersion Essential to Christian Baptism

Baptist ought to strive to put learned men in the pulpit

broadusII. MEANS AND METHODS OF PERFORMING THIS DUTY

2. If actions speak louder than words, we may practically teach our distinctive views by everything that builds up our churches in Christian character and promotes their legitimate influence. Baptists are in some respects placed at serious disadvantage in consequence of trying to do their duty. They have not restricted their ministry to men who had a certain fixed grade of education, but have encouraged all to preach who felt moved to do so, and whom the churches were willing to hear. In this way they have greatly helped to meet the vast demand in our country, and have gained a powerful hold upon the masses.

What would have become of the scattered millions in this new country had it not been for the Methodists, the Baptists, and some others who have pursued a like course? But the result is, that we have a great mass of comparatively uneducated ministers and members. Moreover, our Episcopal and Presbyterian brethren brought over the sea the social influence derived from an established church; and this social superiority they have easily maintained in many of our cities, particularly as their ministry was at the same time restricted to men having considerable education. The result is that, while Baptists have many families of excellent social position and influence, and many ministers of high cultivation, yet, in virtue of having a great number who are in these respects comparatively wanting, they have to bear, as a denomination, the odium of social and educational inferiority.

I do not regret this as regards, our past. I think our principle as to the ministry is right, and I rejoice that we have been to take hold of the multitude. But we must strive earnestly to better this situation in the future by steadily lifting up this great body of people as fast as we can. Whatever elevates the educational condition of our denomination or gives more of social influence, provided this be not gained by worldly conformity, will help in securing respect and attention for our distinctive tenets. And a like effect will be produced by the increasing development of benevolence among our churches, and by a completer report of what is actually done.

John A. Broadus-The Duty of Baptists to Teach Their Distinctive Views