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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….

 

 

 

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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…

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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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?

 

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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.

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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

Chapter XXVI : Of the Church

September 26, 2012 Leave a comment

1. The Catholick or universal Church, which (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit, and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole (a) number of the Elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

a Heb. 12.23. Col. 1.18. Eph. 1.10,22.23. & ch. 5.23,27,32.

2. All persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the Gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ, according unto it; not destroying their own profession by any Errors everting the foundation, or unholyness of conversation, (b) are and may be called visible Saints; (c) and of such ought all particular Congregations to be constituted.

b 1 Cor. 1 2. Act. 11.26.

c Rom. 1.7. Eph. 1.20,21,22.

3. The purest Churches under heaven are subject (d) to mixture, and error; and som have so degenerated as to become (e) no Churches of Christ, but Synagogues of Satan; nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have a (f) Kingdome in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make profession of his Name.

d 1 Cor. 15. Rev. 2. & ch. 3. [Most modern editions cite 1 Corinthians 5 rather than 1 Corinthians 15 here.]

e Rev. 18.2. 2 Thes. 2.11,12.

f  Mat. 16.18. Ps. 72.17. & Ps. 102.28. Rev. 12.17.

4. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, in whom by the appointment of the Father, (g) all power for the calling, institution, order, or Government of the Church, is invested in a supream & soveraigne manner, neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is (h) that Antichrist, that Man of sin, and Son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.

Col. 1.18. Mat. 28.18,19.20. Eph. 4.11,12.

h 2 Thes. 2.3-9.

5. In the execution of this power wherewith he is so intrusted, the Lord Jesus calleth out of the World unto himself, through the Ministry of his word, by his Spirit, (i) those that are given unto him by his Father; that they may walk before him in all the (k) ways of obedience, which he prescribeth to them in his Word. Those thus called he commandeth to walk together in particular societies, or (l) Churches, for their mutual edification; and the due performance of that publick worship, which he requireth of them in the World.

i Joh 10.16. chap. 12,32.

k Mat. 28.20.

l Mat. 18.15-20.

6. The Members of these Churches are (m) Saints by calling, visibly manifesting and evidencing (in and by their profession and walking) their obedience unto that call of Christ; and do willingly consent to walk together according to the appointment of Christ, giving up themselves, to the Lord & one to another by the will of God, (n) in professed subjection to the Ordinances of the Gospel.

Rom. 1.7. 1 Cor. 1.2.

n Act. 2.41,42. ch. 5.13.14. 2 Cor. 9.13.

7. To each of these Churches thus gathered, according to his mind, declared in his word, he hath given all that (o) power and authority, which is any way needfull, for their carrying on that order in worship, and discipline, which he hath instituted for them to observe; with commands, and rules, for the due and right exerting, and executing of that power.

o Mat. 18.17,18. 1 Cor. 5.4,5. with v.13. 2 Cor. 2.6,7,8.

8. A particular Church gathered, and compleatly Organized, according to the mind of Christ, consists of Officers, and Members; And the Officers appointed by Christ to be chosen and set apart by the Church (so called and gathered) for the peculiar Administration of Ordinances, and Execution of Power, or Duty, which he intrusts them with, or calls them to, to be continued to the end of the World are (p) Bishops or Elders and Deacons.

p Act_20:17, with v.28. Phil. 1.1.

9. The way appointed by Christ for the Calling of any person, fitted, and gifted by the Holy Spirit, unto the Office of Bishop, or Elder, in a Church, is, that he be chosen thereunto by the common (q) suffrage of the Church it self; and Solemnly set apart by Fasting and Prayer, with imposition of hands of the (r) Eldership of the Church, if there be any before Constituted therein; And of a Deacon (s) that he be chosen by the like suffrage, and set apart by Prayer, and the like Imposition of hands.

q Act. 14.23: See the original.

r 1 Tim. 4.14.

s Act. 6.3.5.6.

10. The work of Pastors being constantly to attend the Service of Christ, in his Churches, in the Ministry of the Word, and Prayer, (t) with watching for their Souls, as they that must give an account to him; it is incumbent on the Churches to whom they Minister, not only to give them all due respect, (u) but also to communicate to them of all their good things according to their ability, so as they may have a comfortable supply, without being themselves (x) entangled in Secular Affairs; and may also be capable of exercising (y) Hospitality toward others; and this is required by the (z) Law of Nature, and by the Express order of our Lord Jesus, who hath ordained that they that preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel.

t Act. 6.4. Heb. 13.17:

u 1 Tim. 5.17,18. Gal. 6.6,7.

x 2 Tim. 2.4.

y 1 Tim. 3.2.

z 1 Cor. 9.6.-14.

11. Although it be incumbent on the Bishops or Pastors of the Churches to be instant in Preaching the Word, by way of Office; yet the work of Preaching the Word, is not so peculiarly confined to them; but that others also (a) gifted, and fitted by the Holy Spirit for it, and approved, and called by the Church, may and ought to perform it.

a Act. 11.19,20,21. 1 Pet. 4.10.11.

12. As all Believers are bound to joyn themselves to particular Churches, when and where they have opportunity so to do; So all that are admitted unto the priviledges of a Church, are also (b) under the Censures and Government thereof, according to the Rule of Christ.

b 1 Thes. 5.14. 2 Thes 3.6.14,15.

13. No Church-members upon any offence taken by them, having performed their Duty required of them towards the person they are offended at, ought to disturb any Church order, or absent themselves from the Assemblies of the Church, or Administration of any Ordinances, upon the account of such offence at any of their fellow-members; but to wait upon Christ, (c) in the further proceeding of the Church.

c Mat. 18.15.16,17. Eph. 4 2,3.

14. As each Church, and all the Members of it are bound to (d) pray continually, for the good and prosperity of all the Churches of Christ, in all places; and upon all occasions to further it (every one within the bounds of their places, and callings, in the Exercise of their Gifts and Graces) so the Churches (when planted by the providence of God so as they may injoy opportunity and advantage for it) ought to hold (e) communion amongst themselves for their peace, increase of love, and mutual edification.

d Eph. 6.18. Ps. 122.6.

Rom. 16.1,2. 3 Joh. 8,9,10.

15. In cases of difficulties or differences, either in point of Doctrine, or Administration; wherein either the Churches in general are concerned, or any one Church in their peace, union, and edification; or any member, or members, of any Church are injured, in or by any proceedings in censures not agreeable to truth, and order: it is according to the mind of Christ, that many Churches holding communion together, do by their messengers meet to consider, (f) and give their advice, in or about that matter in difference, to be reported to all the Churches concerned; howbeit these messengers assembled are not entrusted with any Church-power properly so called; or with any jurisdiction over the Churches themselves, to exercise any censures either over any Churches, or Persons: or (g) to impose their determination on the Churches, or Officers.

f Act. 15.2,4,6. & 22,23.25.

g 2 Cor. 1.24. 1 Joh. 4.1

The 1677/89 London Baptist Confession of Faith

Concerning Becoming a Minister

September 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Do not believe that any man will become a physician unless he walks the hospitals. And I am sure that no one will become a minister or a comforter unless he lies in the hospital as well as walks through it, and has to suffer himself.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) _New Park Street Pulpit_ Vol. 4 [1858]