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Sam Waldron Believes in “Absolute Parity”? A Misleading Misnomer

December 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Though I do not know Tom Chantry, Dave Dykstra has treated me with great kindness in the past. I have read with interest the perspectives of Dave Dykstra and Tom Chantry on the history of the Reformed Baptist movement in the United States on Chantry’s blog. I think that Dykstra and Chantry have tried to be fair to the Reformed Baptist Church of Grand Rapids (RBCGR) of which I was a pastor for 24 years. Still, at times I have cringed at statements that I thought needed qualifying or were one-sided. I may yet decide to give my qualifications and perspectives about some of these matters. Here, however, I am forced for the sake of accuracy, clarity, truth, and simple self-preservation to take issue especially with one statement made by them in their 12th blog post:

“In the 1980s, Grand Rapids Pastor Sam Waldron in his 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith: a Modern Exposition (amazon) would express the absolute parity view held in both Montville and in Grand Rapids.”

Let me state my concern very clearly. I do not now and have never held the view of “absolute parity” of the elders. Let me make clear what I mean and why I say this. The phrase, absolute parity, makes it appear that I hold a view of parity that is not qualified or nuanced. I do not. There are people out there who hold views of parity that are in my view unqualified. I believe there are those of the “Brethren” persuasion who might hold something that could be called absolute parity. But I do not. The notion, for instance, that no elders should be supported or that all elders should be supported equally would seem to follow from an absolute parity view, but it is something that I have never held. In the very book cited by Chantry-Dykstra I made clear that parity does not require all elders to be supported equally. Here are a couple of quotations from my exposition of chapter 26 of the 1689 Baptist Confession.

 

Read the entire article here.

Confession statement 44

September 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

XLIV CHRIST for the keeping of this church in holy and orderly communion, placeth some special men over the church who by their office, are to govern, oversee, visit, watch; so likewise for the better keeping thereof, in all places by the members, He hath given authority, and laid duty upon all to watch over one another.

Acts 20:27.28; Heb.13:17,24; Matt.24:45; 1 Thess.5:2,14; Jude 3.20: Heb.10:34.35 [cf. 24,25], 12:15.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46 

Confession statement 38

August 7, 2013 2 comments

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

XXXVIII. THE ministers of Christ ought to have whatsoever they shall need, supplied freely by the church, that according to Christ’s ordinance they that preach the Gospel should live of the gospel by the law of Christ.

1 Cor.9:7,14; Ga1.6:8; Phil.4:15,16; 2 Cor.10:4; 1 Tim.1:2; Ps.110:3.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46 

Confession statement 37

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

XXXVII. THAT the ministers lawfully called, as aforesaid, ought to continue in their calling and place according to God’s ordinance, and carefully to feed the flock of God committed to them, not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.

Heb.5:4; John 10:3,4; Acts 20:28,29; Rom.12:7,8; Heb.13:7.17; 1 Pet.5: 1.2,3.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46

 

Confession statement 36

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

XXXVI. BEING thus joined, every church hath power given them from Christ, for their wellbeing, to choose among themselves meet persons for elders and deacons, being qualified according to the word, as those which Christ hath appointed in His testament, for the feeding, governing, serving, and building up of His Church; and that none have any power to impose either these or any other.

Acts 1:23,26,6:3,15:22.25; Rom.12:7,8; 1 Tim.3:2,6.7; 1 Cor. 12:8,28; Heb.13:7,17; 1 Pet.5:1,2,3, 4:15.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46 

Churches ought to govern themselves

broadusIt may be well to state briefly what I understand to be the leading distinctive views of the Baptist churches. The fact that certain of these are more or less shared by others will be remarked upon afterward.

4. We hold that these societies called churches were design as shown in the New Testament, to be independent. They no right to control one another. Ample warrant there is for operation in benevolence and for consultations as to questions truth and duty, but without assuming to legislate or in any sense to rule one another. And they must be independent of what we call the State as to their organization, faith, worship, and discipline, while, of course, amenable to the State if they violate those moralities which are essential to public welfare; nor must they suffer themselves to be dependent on the State in the sense of receiving from it pecuniary support.

Now, I repeat that we do not consider these externals to be intrinsically so important as the spiritual, or even the ethical, elements of Christianity. But they are important, because they express the spiritual and react upon it healthily or hurtfully, and because the Author of Christianity, in person or through his inspired apostles, appointed and commanded them. And we think it a matter of great importance that they should be practiced in accordance with, and not contrary to, his appointment, that, in the language of his text, his disciples should observe and conserve (for the word includes both ideas) all things whatsoever he commanded them. We are glad that as to one or another of these distinctive views some of our fellow Christians of other persuasions agree with us more or less. We welcome all such concurrence, and it is not now necessary to inquire whether they hold those opinions with logical consistency. For ourselves, we do not claim to be fully acting upon these views, but we aim to do so, acknowl- edge ourselves blameworthy in so far as we fail; and we desire, notwithstanding our shortcoming in practice, to hold them up in due prominence before ourselves and others. I wish now, first, to present reasons why Baptists ought to teach their distinctive views, and then to remark upon means and methods of performing this duty.

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

Good Work is not Done Necessarily by Wise Plans

No good work is undertaken or done with wise reflection. It must all happen in a half-sleep. This is how I was forced to take up the office of teaching. If I had known what I know now, ten horses wouldn’t have driven me to it. Moses and Jeremiah also complained that they were deceived. Nor would any man take a wife if he first gave real thought [to what might happen in marriage and the household]. Here Philip said that he had diligently observed that in history great deeds had never been done by old men. “This was so,” said Luther, “when Alexander and Augustus were young; afterward men become too wise. They didn’t do great things by deliberate choice but by a sort of impulse. If you young fellows were wise, the devil couldn’t do anything to you, but since you aren’t wise, you need us who are old. Our Lord God doesn’t do great things except by violence, as they say.” —

Luther’s Tabletalk No. 406