A question for Southern Baptists

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Oasis, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Oasis

    Oasis
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    Hi all,

    A friend of ours asked me a question I can't answer.

    Can a congregation can keep it's affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention if it has no deacons?

    She spent thirty years in this congregation and is very upset at what has transpired there over the last 5 years. Three deacons resigned a few years ago(her husband was one)and recently the last two resigned. So far there has been no effort to appoint new deacons. She and her family have been attending another SBC for a couple of years but she is saddened and concerned for friends she has still attending the congregation in question.

    The Pastor now has what he wants...total control and no accountability.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    ybiC,
    Kab
     
  2. saturneptune

    saturneptune
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    All Southern Baptist churches are totally autonomous. The SBC has no governing authority. Since all churches are autonomous, they can choose whatever government they want. Now, I have never seen what you are describing above. It would be up to that congregation to frame a constitution and elect deacons. Just having a pastor in charge is not healthy. The fault for that situation lies directly on that local congregation.

    As far as maintaining an affiliation with the SBC, if it really matters, I know of no requirement by the SBC to have a certain form of government. Some churches have elders. If the SBC kicks out a church, it usually has to do with a moral issue, as the church last month they kicked out for being lax on gays and lesbians.

    The SBC has nothing to do with the problem you describe above. It is a problem in the local church, probably a combination of a power hungry pastor, and a spineless congregation.
     
  3. Tom Bryant

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    in a word, yes. Now as to whether they would be a real NT church, the answer might be different.
     
  4. Oasis

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    Thanks for your insight saturnneptune. I will pass that on to my friend.

    saturnneptune
    You hit it right on the head.

    I was a teacher and choir director there and Glenda(my wife)and I were very involved. When we started seeing the problems with the Pastor I spent hours talking to the head deacon. He and the others couldn't see the forest for the trees and when they finally did?...it was too late. Three resigned and the others followed recently.

    The Pastor(a single man)was/is behaving inappropriately with some of the women; had an physical affair with at least three women there that we know of; acted inappropriately with a deacons wife; etc..........

    It was/is a mess, and you're right. Those left are completely spineless. Thanks again.

    ybiC,
    Kab
     
  5. Oasis

    Oasis
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    Tom
    Tom, do you think that a congregation is Biblically required to have some form of government...even a very small congregation...say just a few families?

    ybiC,
    Kab
     
  6. Allan

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    I agree with the two previous statements.

    Please understand that deacons scripturally were not placed in the church as an oversight commitee nor as the pastor watch commitee and neither were they placed there to off-set control and provide 'additional' accountablilty.
     
  7. Allan

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    I'm not Tom but I will say, yes.

    You can not have a scriptural local NT Church without church government. That government however has to be fleshed out by the congregations understanding and study of scripture regarding this aspect.
     
  8. Oasis

    Oasis
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    Allan
    Hi Allan,

    Let me take that question a bit further. In this day and age the majority of folks are close enough to a congregation large enough to have organized leadership. But what about those folks who live in secluded areas and may not be able to meet with anything more than a few neighboring families...perhaps even just their own family? There are folks today in this situation. We were in that boat ourselves for a few years in the mountains of Colorado.

    My understanding of Scripture is that the Church is the people, the Body of Christ. So wouldn't these folks represent the New Testament Church?

    Allan please understand that I agree with you that where there are enough folks meeting together and there are those that are qualified to be leaders they should be organized.

    ybiC,
    Kab
     
  9. tinytim

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    I think you hit the nail on the head. I think the misunderstanding is what a deacon is for..

    A deacon is to serve the needs of the congregation.. not a church boss.

    I know of a church that is small enough for the pastor to meet all the needs, and therefore the church needs no deacon at this point.

    The pastor doesn't run the church.. they have a congregational government...

    As the church grows they will have more needs than the pastor can meet.
    At that point the church should appoint deacons to help the pastor minister.

    The OP smells of a power feud.

    If the pastor wants complete control, that is horrible.
     
  10. Oasis

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    Hi tinytime,

    Unfortunately this is the case with this Pastor.
    I agree with your post. Many congregations have started in that manner and as they grew?...those that could serve did so.

    ybiC,
    Kab
     
  11. Revmitchell

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    The pastor is accountable to God regardless of any other leadership. He is quite capable of handling the Pastor. Also in Baptist churches the Pastor is accountable by scripture which works better than an unscriptural deacon board. And the Pastor is also accountable to the church and the church can take a vote any time it deems appropriate.
     
  12. sag38

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    The first church I served as pastor had no deacons. There were a couple of ordained men but none were active. And, we got along just fine. They are not a requirement for a functioning church.
     
  13. Allan

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    I think maybe the problem is your understanding of what constitutes 'goverment'. It 'sounds like' you seem to think it involves multiple people, ie.. large churches have. But if that is true then this is not an accurate view. A church of 5 people can have government. they just don't need that amount of people to do such, and most likely some of those things other largers churches have had to 'add' to the basics in order to help it function more fluidly and naturally.

    This is true to a point. It represents the Universal Church. Here is something that may help you see the distiction:

    Scriptures concerning the Universal Church - Or The Church.
    1. Added to by the Lord...........................Acts 2:47
    2. Entered by baptism..............................I Cor 12:13
    3. None but the saved.............................2 Tim 2:19
    4. Satan Can’t prevail against....................Matt 16:18
    5. No functional organization, nor
    .....Oversight or treasury of the church.......Eph 1:22-23
    6. Distributive (individual) action................Eph 5:24
    7. General focus is the relationship of Christ to Christians (seen in Eph 1:22-23 and many other places)

    Scriptures concerning the Local Church
    1. Joins oneself to...................................Acts 9:26-28
    2. Accepted into or received by.................Act 18:27
    3. Some are sick or dead..........................I Cor 11:30
    4. Satan can prevail against......................Acts 20:29-30
    5. Relationship of Christians w/..................Act 15:22-23
    ................Christians .............................Col 4:12
    6. Functional organization with
    ........Oversight and treasury....................Act20:28; I Cor 16:2; 1 Pet 5:2
    7. Collective group action.........................Phil 4:15


    :) No problem. I would suggest you look into Congregational and Federal Church Goverments since most churches sort-of mix the two. Both can be seen as being expressed in scripture and both have the most biblical support, though both by themselves do have some weakness as well.
     
    #13 Allan, Jul 23, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2009
  14. rdwhite

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    Thank you for posting this, I have been intending to compile a list, but you know what they say about intentions.....
    :thumbsup:
     
  15. rdwhite

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    I am in a church right now with three ordained deacons, but only one is semi-actively serving as a deacon, and the other two aren't even active members. I don't remember the last time we had a deacon's meeting. We have men's meetings.
     
  16. SBCPreacher

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    If it were me, and the church didn't have the guts to remove the pastor for his adultery/fornication, I'd just have to find another church. If there was not another in my area, I guess I'd have to start a home church. Either way, I would never sit under this man's preaching again - unless some real, genuine repentance and a great deal of time out of the ministry seeking council took place, which sounds like isn't going to happen.
     
  17. saturneptune

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    I did not mean to leave the impression that the deacon has any authority. They are servents. They should serve the pastor and support him. What I meant to say is that when the pastor asks the deacons for advice, it is usually the sign of a healthy situation.

    Now, if you have an elder form of government, as some Baptist churches do, then they do have governing authority, in some areas, in place of the congregation. The bottom line is everyone in leadership has to be accountable to someone.
     
  18. Tom Butler

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    Since you asked, and since Allan has given his answer, let me chime in. The descriptions he attributed to the Universal Church are just as applicable to the local church. Actually, that's all there is. The Universal Church is a nice, but useless, fantasy. Only the local church is uniquely qualified to carry out the great commission. Occasionally the word church is used generically or in an institutional or prospective sense. But its concrete expression is in a local, assembling congregation.
     
  19. Oasis

    Oasis
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    I appreciate the insight and information being offered.

    I can see the need and calling for people to serve no matter the size of the congregation, and in the larger congregations I understand the need for the distribution of responsibility among those quailified and willing to serve the congregation. This also keeps one leader from shouldering all the responsibility and keeps them from being tempted by power.

    I think what causes many problems, in general, is that as members move up in responsiblity they start looking down at the congregation instead of continuing to look up with them.

    ybiC,
    Kab
     
  20. Tom Bryant

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    I think every church ought to be organized. And every church does have an organization, whether it is formal or informal. In my experience, it is usually the informal organization that really controls the church.

    Keep praying for the church and the people. Let God handle the issues through His people. There may be nothing you can do about it from the outside but He can.
     

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