Baptists - Why Do You Do It?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by rlvaughn, Jan 27, 2003.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    The following things are a few things that are fairly consistent among most Baptists. If you believe in and practice some or all of the following - WHY??

    1. Why do you believe in local church autonomy?
    2. Why do you have congregational church government?
    3. Why do you worship on the first day of the week?
    4. Why do you use unleavened bread & wine in the Lord's supper?
    5. Why do you have two church ordinances?

    If your practice varies a little, don't argue with the others, but tell us WHY you believe and practice what you do (e.g. unfermented grape juice, 3 ordinances, Saturday worship). But let's try to not get too far away from the basic questions.
     
  2. Dr. Bob

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    1. Why do you believe in local church autonomy?
    The Bible teaches that each church had their own officers, actions, missions (or not) and NO central organization. God scattered them for a reason.

    2. Why do you have congregational church government?
    The Bible teaches that the church decided what to do (Acts 6, 13 are two good examples). They were not dictated from Nashville or the Vatican.

    3. Why do you worship on the first day of the week?
    The Bible teaches that, although they met "daily", the first day of the week was set aside as a new day of worship.

    4. Why do you use unleavened bread & wine in the Lord's supper?
    The Bible teaches that these were what Jesus used as the Pesach and that we were to follow His example (I Cor 11). Leaven is often used to picture sin and impurity; unleavened bread and (unleavened) wine and not leavened Welchade fulfills this picture.

    5. Why do you have two church ordinances?
    The Bible teaches that we are to immerse believers and to remember the death of Christ through the Lord's Supper until Jesus raptures us outta here. No other practice or ordinance is so commanded in the writing to the Church. (Foot washing was a hospitable practice and its ONLY reference in the Epistles lists it along with good works of hospitality, NOT as an ordinance).
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

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    My dear Brother Robert, is this a trick question?

    Four of your five questions are answered in the New Testament.

    The Scriptures support the notion that churches were responsible for their own decisions. Matthew 18:17, Acts 6:2-3, Acts 11:22, Acts 15:3, Acts 15:22, 2 Corinthians 8:19, etc.

    The above references also apply to this as the Greek word for church is ekklesia which can be interpreted assembly. I'll throw in one more that shows congregationalism in action: 2Corinthians 2:6

    This one comes from tradition, but we do know that Christ was resurrected on the day following the Jewish Sabbath, Sunday.

    My church uses grape juice, but nonetheless the Lord's Supper is observed as a remembrance as stated in 1Corinthians 11:24.

    We observe Baptism out of obedience and the Lord's Supper out of remembrance.

    I will now sit back and wait for you to set the hook. ;)
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

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    Could you provide me with a reference for this, Dr. Griffin?
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

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    I thought about Robert's post today. The question "why do you do certain things" was answered "because the Bible teaches it." This begs the real question of "why do we try to follow these Biblical models and examples rather than developing a different system?"

    Perhaps that was the intent of this thread in the first place.
     
  6. rlvaughn

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    Ok, Clint, you are doing entirely too much thinking! :eek: ;)

    Actually, there is a method in the madness of posts that I have started in the last few days. This is not really a trick question. :D Honest! ;) Actually, there is something I am trying to understand about the way some Baptists think. If I reveal too much of the underlying reason for asking this question, I'm afraid I could skew the results. So I'll sit back for a little while and listen to what others have to say. Then I'll set the hook. [​IMG]

    Guess you'll just have to be patient, brother. [​IMG]
     
  7. Gina B

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    1. Why do you believe in local church autonomy?

    It's biblical.

    2. Why do you have congregational church government?

    I wouldn't exactly call it government, but people that help make the church run smoothly. The different callings are biblical.

    3. Why do you worship on the first day of the week?
    Because that's when my church holds services. If they held them on Tuesday I'd go on Tuesday.

    4. Why do you use unleavened bread & wine in the Lord's supper?

    I guess I don't, I haven't participated in a long time. I'm not a member yet of the church I'm going to so I can't, and at the old one the pastor had me so scared I'd get really physically sick from it if I was unworthy I always managed to be in the nursery or elsewhere...then they'd hunt me down and offer it and I'd still have to say no, but at least it wasn't in front of everyone!

    5. Why do you have two church ordinances?

    I didn't know we did. OH. Communion and baptism? On communion, Jesus said to. Maybe. I don't quite get it, usually you do something in rememberance of someone who had died, but he rose again, but it says that and even if he meant it only for the disciples present at the time I don't know for sure so I'd stick with it anyway.
    Baptism, he said believe and be baptized. So there's not much question to that one.

    I know, I know, I'm a wreck. [​IMG]
    Gina
     
  8. Jim1999

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    Does a trick question warrant a trick answer?
    _________________________________________________

    1. Why do you believe in local church autonomy?
    2. Why do you have congregational church government?
    ________________________________________________

    Biblical concepts

    ______________________________________________
    3. Why do you worship on the first day of the week?
    ______________________________________________

    The only passage of scripture talking about the "first day" is Acts 20:7. Even with this there is some discussion about when that first day was, using either the Jewish reckoning of time or the Greek reckoning; whether the day starts after sundown....or the next day....

    Then we have Rom 14:5ff where we read: "One man esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let everyman be fully assured in his own mind."

    This aside, history tells us that the early Christians habitually met on Sundays to break bread......History also tells us that Constantine declared Sunday a holiday. Prior to this neither Saturday nor Sunday was a holiday.

    I think the modern church continued with the Sunday practice as did society at large in observing Sunday as a day of respite from labours; factories, shops and all places of business stopped on the "Lord's Day".
    _________________________________________________
    4. Why do you use unleavened bread & wine in the Lord's supper?
    _________________________________________________

    Unleavened bread in cubes can be bought in some church supply houses along with special communion wine (no-alcoholic). Some churches use grape juice, which is loaded with sugar and a threat to diabetics.... in such cases, I have used water to represent the wine. I don't partake in "other" churches.
    ________________________________________________
    5. Why do you have two church ordinances?
    _________________________________________________

    The only two ordinances commanded in scripture

    Cheers,

    Jim

    "Even a fish wouldn't get caught if it kept its mouth closed."
     
  9. rlvaughn

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    But that's hard to do, isn't it? [​IMG] At least I find it to be so. Seems like you were trying to steal the bait without getting the point! ;)

    With the five questions listed above, I thought I could get something that ran fairly consistently throughout most Baptists (and of course there is my secret criteria, too :D ), but I see that even with them I couldn't do it. It appears that you all are in the same ballpark on 1, 2, & 5.

    Anybody else?
     
  10. tyndale1946

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    1. Why do you believe in local church autonomy?
    It's biblical

    2. Why do you have congregational church government?
    Also biblical

    3. Why do you worship on the first day of the week?
    In Genesis it says after God created the world on the seventh day he rested... We are also suppose to rest from all our labors. I'm sure the day of worship has changed over the ages as the calendar has and I guess that is what I have been taught.

    4. Why do you use unleavened bread & wine in the Lord's supper?
    Because that is also biblical... Unleavened bread and wine... Not grape juice

    5. Why do you have two church ordinances?
    Actually I think the church has three... Baptism by immersion... The Lord Supper... And Feet Washing

    Actually when you come to think of it... It might have been handed down from generation to generation... What we have been taught and how we were raised... btw I'm forth generation Primitive Baptist!... It's possible I could have been something else?... Boy that's scary!... Brother Glen [​IMG]

    [ January 29, 2003, 08:02 PM: Message edited by: tyndale1946 ]
     
  11. rlvaughn

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    Let me build a little foundation towards explaining what I am trying to understand. It is my perception that in 2003, most Baptists do not accept the idea that apostolic (New Testament) practice is normative. By "apostolic practice as normative," I mean that the practice of New Testament churches based on apostolic teaching and example is the standard for church practice. It is also my perception that these same Baptists do not absolutely reject the idea of apostolic practice as normative. At times they seem to apply the principle and at other times to reject it. That seems to create an inconsistent position in which it is normative at times and not normative at other times. The five questions were used because they are things that appear to be fairly consistent among Baptists, as well as things for which we have no direct command. Looking at the answers given thus far, I find:
    Everyone is basically in agreement on these two. These are two important well-defined practices that run consistently through almost all Baptists. Yet there is no biblical command to be autonomous or to have congregational government. Why do we do it? Wouldn't other systems be more practical in certain situations? It is my contention that on these two subjects, Baptists believe that apostolic practice is normative, and that the church automony and congregational government seen in the New Testament pattern ought to be followed.
    Lots of variation here, but I think it is fair to say that those who believe we should worship on the first day of the week do so because they see the apostolic practice as normative. There is no command that we must worship on the first day of the week.
    With these two, the answers are mostly in the same ballpark, with the exception of Gina's on communion, a little difference on the elements, and the difference in the number of ordinances in Glen's answer. Yet the pattern still holds. Don't misunderstand as to what I'm saying is not commanded here. I believe baptism & Lord's supper are both enjoined upon us, so I am only referencing that which I am saying is not commanded. Nowhere are we commanded that the elements of communion must be those used by Jesus when He instituted it. Nor are we ever told "thou shalt have two ordinances." There were other New Testament rites that were observed, but we almost consistently exclude them from rising to the level of an ordinance, even if we practice them. It is my contention again that it is apostolic practice that leads us to that conclusion.

    Now this leads me to what I am trying to understand. For example, why does a Baptist follow an apostolic practice such as local church autonomy and then reject one such as plurality of elders? What is it that causes one to be held in esteem while the other is deemed unimportant? Do you consider that the apostolic practice causes you to take these positions, or are you basing your conclusions on something else? If so, what?From my vantage point, I have a hard time comprehending where some "draw the line."

    Baptists - Why Do You Do It?
     
  12. Clint Kritzer

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    As to the issue of following Biblical examples concerning congrgationalism, etc, I think the view is generally taken that the New testament accounts are just that, examples. "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." - 2Timothy 3:16-17

    Even in the New Testament we see instances of an evolving of practice. For example, in Acts 4:34-35 we see that the primitive church practiced an almost communal type living, and indeed there have been Baptist communes even as recently as the last century. However, this practice is not shown to last as Paul speaks to the Corinthians in 1Corinthians 16:1 about a collection and his letter to Philemon is addressed to a slave owner. The communal system did not last very long.

    As for your example of the plurality of elders, in many larger churches, there is even now a pastoral staff. In smaller churches having a plurality of elders would be redundant. Even the term "elders" may have been a hangover from Judaism as we see many accounts in the Old Testament where the city's elders would convene, usually at a gate.

    I believe the modern pastor is more equivalent to a prophet. To "prophecy" is to preach, that is to say, to speak what the Lord has layed on your heart. I looked up "elders" in the Greek Lexicon and found this definition:
    Do you have any other examples of variances from Apostolic teaching in mind?
     
  13. Jim1999

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    For humane reasons, all the barbs on my fish hooks have been removed..... [​IMG]

    I think the regular Baptist church is in line with apostolic practices as they fit into a modern setting.

    I don't view social evolution as a bad thing and out of sorts with biblical concepts or apostolic ideas.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  14. rlvaughn

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    Jim, I'm not sure how you are using the term "social evolution." Would evolving from a congregational to an episcopal system of church government fit into the type of evolution of which you speak?
     
  15. Jim1999

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    Absolutely not! I am talking about modernity. For example, the Sunday School movement is not apostolic. It was started by a British bobbie who saw the need to teach the urchins of East London and started the Sunday School movement. Certainly a good move within the framework of the local church. Moving into modernity; the social evolution.

    This is not moving away from the NT principles of teaching and evangelizing.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  16. rlvaughn

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    Clint, first let me say that most who believe that apostolic practice is normative mean by this apostolic practices that are common to the churches - not one time or isolated incidents. For example, the communal life of the church of Jerusalem was not reproduced in the churches as they spread into the Roman empire. Other items - such as congregational government, autonomy, plural elders - appear consistently in the record of early church life. Concerning elders, I think Paul's charge of Acts 20:28 does quite well in defining their work and purpose - feed the flock, oversee (also cf. I Pet 5). But despite what we might consider an elder to be, there is substantial evidence that churches in the apostolic era were consistently supplied by elders (plural, not one, and without regard to church size). Why would that example not be the standard for the churches in 2003? Finally, concerning your reference to congregationalism based on N. T. examples, do you feel that example rises to the level of authoritative for showing how church government should be carried on in 2003?

    I will try to bring out other examples as we go, but this is all I have time for tonight. Good night, brethren.
     
  17. Clint Kritzer

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    One quick question while I chew on your last post: is there any reference to elders being ordained (having hands laid on them) as deacons were in Acts 6? Is the practice of ordaining ministers directly referenced in the Scriptures? I ask because In Acts 18 & 19 we see the Apostles speaking in Ephesus and then suddenly in Acts 20, Paul is addressing this group of elders. These were new converts. By what criteria did this council come into being? In 1Timothy 2:6 Paul instruct Timothy that an overseer should not be a new convert. Theory? Comment?

    This brings to mind another example of a practice that perhaps we do not follow as closely. The laying of hands was used much more in Acts than in the modern church. Hands were laid on new converts (Acts 8:17), when sending out missionaries (Acts 13:3), healing the sick (Acts 28:8). This is a practice that Christ used as well, showing from whom the power imparted (Matthew 8:3, 14-15).
     
  18. Dr. Bob

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    Titus was instructed to ordain elders in the new churches he was establishing in Crete.

    Not new, untrained men (lay hands suddenly on no man) for the process takes time.

    Much of the problem of interpreting Acts is to realize that vast time frame involved. It's just the next page or next chapter to us; it often is MANY YEARS of training, teaching and developing to the point of "eldership".

    We have a plurality of elders in our church. I feel it closer to the pattern you have demonstrated, so side with you there. :rolleyes:
     
  19. Bob Farnaby

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    Questions 1 & 2, because they seem to be the New Testament pattern
    Question 3 That's when we have the services, relatively few people prevented by work or school commitments. - and there are 7th day baptists. [​IMG]
    Question 4 The bread we usually use isn't unleaven, it's just the ordinary stuff from the supermarket. and we usually use an horribly sweet red coloured fruit juice ... not wine.
    Question 5 Communion for rememberance, baptism for commitment, BOTH as act of obediance, and they are the two clearly identified in the new testament.

    Regards
    Bob
     
  20. Clint Kritzer

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    Thank you Dr. Griffin. I do not wish to derail Brother Robert's thread with a discussion of elders but I would like to explore this notion a bit further. I find in Titus 1:5 that Titus was charged with the task of appointing elders.

    From what I can find, the church in Ephesus was established from Paul teaching in the already established synagogue. We find this account, as previously stated, in Acts 19 & 20. This was Paul's second missionary journey and I do not see how too many years could have passed between the first conversions and the account cited in Acts 20:13-38 {Paul's address to the elders of Ephesus). However, as this was an already established synagogue, would the elders herein mentioned have been the original Jewish elders of that assembly? It appears that by the time Paul gives this farewell address this a well established council. As a side note, we also find that this same church needed reprimand in Revelation 2:1-7.

    The church in Crete,however, seems to have been established hastily on Paul's fourth missionary journey. We find the account of Paul visiting there in Acts 27:7. Paul was on his way to Rome at the time and seems to have been evangelizing enroute. Hence the Letter to Titus speaks of "unfinished business" in verse 1:5. There is no mention of an established Judaistic base. Therefore it is possible that a church polity was being built from the ground up under the direction of Titus as opposed to a theological policy change in Ephesus, and hence, a need to appoint a council of elders. This theory does support Robert's notion of the plurality of elders as a necessary element in the early church.

    It appears that Paul wrote the Letter to Titus after his first imprisonment in Rome as referenced in 3:12 and Acts 28. The fact that Paul would "Winter in Nicopolis" indicates that he was free to roam and thus not imprisoned.

    So this time frame of establishing a church in Crete and appointing (I have not found the word "ordaining" or a seperate laying of hands) elders, or at least the charge to Titus, was not necessarily that many years at all. Acts 28 indicates that Paul was imprisoned for a mere two years. He was imprisoned again a mer five years later. The entirity of Paul's second missionary journey (Acts 15:40 - 18:23) which spanned about 2000 (roughly estimated) miles was three years (49 - 52 AD). However, Paul returned to Ephesus on his third journey (53 -57 AD). It was then that he learned that the church had not received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:6). Thus the time spent at Ephesus from receiving the Holy Spirit in Acts 19:6 to Paul's depature in Acts 20:38 was probably no more than the two years spoken of in Acts 19:10. Paul also on this journey visited Rhodes, Caesarea, Jerusalem, Tarsus, Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, Antioch, Troas, Neapolis, Phillipi, Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thessalonica and Barea, coming back to his starting point in Athens. That is a rather full agenda for a four year journey with two years devoted to one church.

    I think I got my facts straight! [​IMG]

    Robert, my apologies for the derailing of your topic.
     

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