Church government

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Jacob_Elliott, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. Jacob_Elliott

    Jacob_Elliott
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    I can't speak for all Baptist churches, but in my area it seems that all the churches are deacon ruled followed by the congregation. Is this your experience?
     
  2. saturneptune

    saturneptune
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    Where I live in West Kentucky, the local Baptist churches follow two types of government. Either they have congregational rule, or elder rule. In congregational, the congregational votes on issues. In elder rule, elders are elected, and some decisions are a vote of the elders, and some the vote of the congregation. I cannot understand why you include deacons, as they are NOT a governing authority in either case. They are servants.

    In both cases, the pastor is the administrative head of the church. In elder rule, he is usually the chairman of the elders. Sometimes a group of elders is called a synod.

    The reason I object to elder rule is that elders are suppose to be elected on the basis of spiritual maturity. More often than not, they are elected on the social status within the community, and in the final analysis, are no more spiritually mature than the average layman. Elder rule becomes elder admiration.

    In Baptist churches, regardless of type of government, churches are autonomous, and do not have a hierarchy.

    There is Biblical support for both forms.
     
  3. Jacob_Elliott

    Jacob_Elliott
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    I honestly don't know where the deacon rule came from, the church would say they are congregation lead, however the deacons act as a grand jury, and legislature, and decide what issues the congregation gets to vote on. I prefer elder lead myself because in acts the churches are frequently told to listen to the elders. In some places the elders are put on par with the apostles in making decisions, and I believe they should be elder appointed because the original elders where appionted by the Holy Spirit through the apostles and the bible never talks about a congregation appointing them.
     
  4. nodak

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    Elder led is popular in our area.

    As for myself, my beliefs run the opposite into pure congregational under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
     
  5. Jerome

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    Just who are these 'original elders' you're citing?
     
  6. saturneptune

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    Modern day elders are not on par with the apostles. If a local church decides on elder rule, that is their business, since they are autonomous. I would not belong to a church that had such a government. I lived under that government in a Presbyterian church for 27 years. I do not know what you mean that "we should listen to the elders." They are just church members. You also say elders should be appointed. Appointed by whom?
     
  7. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
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    We have a Sr pastor, Associate Pastor, Elder Board, SR pastor on Board as an Elder...


    they make the financial/spiritual decisions in what to resent to the membership, but we vote on things such as Budget, Elders etc!
     
  8. Jacob_Elliott

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    Sorry the elders appointed by the apostles
     
  9. Jerome

    Jerome
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    So in the first church, at Jerusalem, who were the elders?
    Was it James? Please supply the Bible passage describing his appointment. Thanks.
     
  10. Jacob_Elliott

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    Acts 14:23- And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. (Acts 14:23 ESV)

    Acts 15:2-And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. (Acts 15:2 ESV)

    Acts 15:6-The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. (Acts 15:6 ESV)

    Acts 15:23-with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. (Acts 15:23 ESV)

    Acts 16:4-As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. (Acts 16:4 ESV)

    Acts 20:28-Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (Acts 20:28 ESV)

    1Tim 4:14-Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. (1 Timothy 4:14 ESV)

    1Tim 5:17-Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17 ESV)

    1Tim 5:19-Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. (1 Timothy 5:19 ESV)

    Titus 1:5-This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— (Titus 1:5 ESV)

    Titus 1:7-For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, (Titus 1:7 ESV)

    1Peter 5:5-Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5 ESV)

    Brother I have taken the time to compile a list of verses concerning elders. The verses clearly show that elders are appointed through the Holy Spirit (whether by congregation, or elders) they are special to God, they are on par with the apostles, they are given the task of caring for feeding and taking care of the church. In turn scripture says we must honor them and submit to their authority. Brother it sounds like you may have had a bad experience but I pray that the bad experience won't keep you from keeping to the scriptures
     
  11. Jacob_Elliott

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    Not sure, never list them by name. The author of 1peter in 1Peter5:1 claims to be an elder, but I can't say he was in Jerusalem.
    Som scripture that mentions them:
    Acts 15:2-And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. (Acts 15:2 ESV)
    Acts 15:6-The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. (Acts 15:6 ESV)
    Acts 16:4-As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. (Acts 16:4 ESV)
     
  12. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
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    Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas. These were the men chosen to handle the business of the church -- in Acts 6:1-6, which at that time was limited to the feeding of the communal believers, either forced out of their homes and jobs because they belonged to the Way, or who sold all they had and gave the proceeds to the church to feed and house those who had lost everything.

    No, he was an apostle.
     
  13. Jacob_Elliott

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    Ah, thank you for the clarification!
     
  14. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
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    :thumbsup:
     
  15. Tom Butler

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    Acts 20 provides some light on the subject.

    Paul, in Miletus, sent for the elders of the congregation at Ephesus. When they arrived, he gave them sort of a farewell, beginning in verse 19.

    In verse 28 he instructed them:
    (ESV)

    Paul uses the analogy of the flock, likening the members of FBC Ephesus to sheep. Therefore, the elders were also to function as shepherds. Another word for shepherd is pastor.

    Paul also described these elder/pastors as overseers, made so by the Holy Spirit. Another word for overseer is bishop. This title also describes the function of elders/pastors as overseers.

    Notice that all these descriptions apply to one person. The elder's role is to be pastor (shepherd) and bishop (overseer) FBC Ephesus, by the way, had a plurality of elders (as did FBC Jerusalem).

    Here's an interesting thing. Peter, writing in his first general letter referred to Jesus as the "Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." (I Pe 2:25)

    This helps us understand why our pastors are sometimes called "under-shepherds."

    It also helps us understand that, even though our churches are congregational in government, the elder-pastor-bishop may rightly be considered the "chief among equals."

    Another axiom is that with responsibility must come commensurate authority. It is self-defeating to deny God's called elder-pastor-bishop the authority he needs to fulfill his calling.

    In some Baptist churches, deacons mistakenly think they are supposed to run the church, partly because the members also think that's what deacons do.

    Deacons are servants, and should be some of the most spiritual men in the church. Sometimes churches will look to those spiritual men for leadership, which is okay. But in no case should those deacons consider themselves a "board."
     
  16. sag38

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    Many churches have a hybrid reflection; a mixture of governing models This is true in my church where many decisions are made by the congregation. However, these decisions come about on recommendation of the deacons. My deacons have dual roles. They help me shepherd the congregation and function as elders would. Don't know about this being unbiblical. It works well for us. As pastor and administrator I often direct issues away from deacons to specific committees and leaders of ministries enabling them to function as designed. I am trying to train people to not first run to me or a deacon when they have a question or a problem about the church. Got a light bulb out don't tell me about it or run to your deacon. Go to the bldgs and gnds chair. Better yet, be empowered and change it yourself.
     
  17. Bro. James

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    Who Got the Keys?

    Mt. 16 speaks of authority and commission to carry out matters in the assembly. The majority of those called Christian are still having difficulty with the particulars. This includes everything from the holy(?) see to a congregational majority with members having one vote, including the pastor and deacon.

    Is it possible to have church without a pastor or deacon? Apparently not.

    Many congregations have shirked their responsibilities by allowing the paid clerics, clergy, and deacon boards of F&AM to to run the churches of The Lord Jesus Christ. He is giving some time to repent; others have had their candlesticks removed. This is another thread: who still has their candlestick? Some never had a candlestick. See Rev. 2,3, the letters to the Seven Churches of Asia.

    Jesus has a problem with lording over His flock, He calls it the deeds of the Nicolaitains--the overthrow of the people. See also the etymologies of St. Nicholas aka St. Nick. See also: Nike.

    Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

    Bro. James
     
    #17 Bro. James, Nov 27, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2013
  18. nodak

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    Another thing to remember is this:

    no matter the form church government takes, all authority in the church comes from God to the church. The church then mediates it, some directly through congregational vote and some through elders.

    But never and at no point are we to become blind followers.

    A church in our town (not a Baptist church) is "elder led with the pastor chief among equals."

    Said church is currently, under the pastor's leadership and with the elders busy "discerning", considering beginning to do gay "blessing ceremonies."

    So whichever you are led to be part of, never ever take off your thinking cap!

    There may be only one in a million bummy pastors or elder boards, but if you encounter that one, it could do you and your family grave harm.

    Peace and enjoy your Thanksgiving!
     
  19. Tom Butler

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    I neglected to state my conclusion in my earlier post.

    It is that the church knows only two offices: pastor-elder-bishop and deacon.
     
  20. Thousand Hills

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    Good discussion, let me ask, which is the worse recipe for disaster:
    - An overbearing Pastor, my way or the highway.
    - A board of deacons that run the show
    - A committee for everything under the sun, many of which are run/chaired by the same small group in a church.
    - A "family" church where a large percentage of the congregation is made up of branches from two or three family trees.
     

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