Church leadership

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by freeatlast, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. freeatlast

    freeatlast
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    When looking over the qualifications for pastors and deacons they are relatively close. The main difference is that a pastor must be able to teach and that is clear that they are to lead the church as one with authority using God's word.

    The deacons responsibility is not spelled out but with the example in Acts of the deacons and the absence of any qualification to teach and based on the Greek word for deacon it would seem that they were never intended to have any authority in leading the church, but rather those who held a position of service in catring for widows and doing other church related needs.

    So here is my question. Why do we Baptists use deacons to lead the church. Now I already know that some are going to deny that deacons are used that way, but the truth is they are. In fact in most Baptist churches the deacons have more power then the pastor. I have seen deacons literally fire a pastor and I know of few Baptist churches that does confide and seek approval of the deacon body to do certain things. So how did this practice get started since scripture seems to suggest that only elders/pastors are to lead the church and not some separate board or body called deacons?
     
  2. Aaron

    Aaron
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    That's not true. They were selected from among the church to be "over the business" of distributing the carnal goods of the church. They are what we call trustees today.
     
  3. freeatlast

    freeatlast
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    A thorn by any other name is still a thorn. I bet I can come up with some water front swamp land to sell you also. :laugh:
     
  4. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
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    Here's the short answer: Many churches, and not just Baptist ones, follow man-made traditions and not scripture.

    Here's the long answer: It's not that men purposely become deacons with the idea of becoming the church authority and throwing their weight around like some kind of overseer on a plantation. It's that many men over the past few decades have become deacons without ANY knowledge of what the Bible says that a deacon is. And that is the pastor's fault.

    The deacons at my church - the ones who are left - are true servants. In all the word entails. They do a good job at fulfilling the purpose of deacon. :flower:

    But I do know what you are talking about then you say that some deacons want to "run the church". I've seen it at my own church 20 or so years ago. It's just like some pastors want to micro-manage the church.

    This can go for anyone who has a role to play at the church. They aren't taught what the Bible says about the purpose of gifts and the purpose of the members of the body all working together in obedience to Christ. Sometimes people just want to use their niche at church as a soap box or a spring board to sow discord.
     
  5. David Lamb

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    Because each baptist church is autonomous, there may possibly be some where deacons "have power to fire the pastor", and where the church as a whole seeks the approval of the diaconate. But you cannot say that "we baptists" use deacons to lead the church. Some baptist churches may do so, but "we baptists" is too all-inclusive in this case.
     
  6. David Lamb

    David Lamb
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    :confused: Sorry, but I don't understand your post. :confused:
     
  7. freeatlast

    freeatlast
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    When did the Lord make any church antonomous?
     
  8. freeatlast

    freeatlast
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    The changing the word deacon to trustees.
     
  9. David Lamb

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    To save giving a detailed answer which may not be necessary, may I just say at this stage what I meant by "autonomus"?

    I meant simply that there is no heirarchical organisation of baptist churches - nothing similar to the Anglican system where each local Anglican church is under the rule of the diocese, which in turn comes under a province.

    So in the context of this thread, my meaning was that because local baptist churches differ on so many things, including this matter of deacons, it is a mistake to imply that all baptist churches have the same views on a matter.

    I hope that is clearer.
     
  10. freeatlast

    freeatlast
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    Thank you David I actually understood what you were saying and perhaps I was not being fair, but I was trying to make a point. That being that just because we call ourselves Baptist does not mean we are doing things like the Lord wants or commands. I think the term autonomus is used to the point of sin in most churches. It lends itself to antinomianism with each church doing what is right in their own eyes instead of what is right in the eyes of God. We need to return to the book.
     
  11. glfredrick

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    I have noticed that the same churches that neglect the use and office of "elder" also typically have a deacon board that rules over the church.

    The conflation of one office with another is tradition, not Scripture, and it is sin that often holds down the churches so doing.

    There are three Greek words used synonymously in Scripture for the office of church leader (pastor), poimen, episkopas, and presbuterous. Diakonos is not one of the synonymous words used for church leader, nor are the diakonos ever seen in Scripture in a capacity where they have "rule" over one of the leaders of the church.
     
  12. TCGreek

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    Your premises are all wanting.

    Were those in Acts the first deacons? If they were, then you have some problems on your hands.
     
  13. revmwc

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    A link to an article on this subject and a few excerpts from that article.

    http://www.baptiststart.com/print/role_of_deacons.html



    The Office of Deacon Was Created for the Purpose of Handling the Benevolence Ministry
    The Biblical account is quite clear on the founding of the deaconship and nowhere does Scripture repeal the original purpose:


    “NOW ABOUT this time, when the number of the disciples was greatly increasing, complaint was made by the Hellenists (the Greek-speaking Jews) against the [native] Hebrews because their widows were being overlooked and neglected in the daily ministration (distribution of relief). So the Twelve [apostles] convened the multitude of the disciples and said, ‘It is not seemly or desirable or right that we should have to give up or neglect [preaching] the Word of God in order to attend to serving at tables and superintending the distribution of food. Therefore select out from among yourselves, brethren, seven men of good and attested character a nd repute, full of the [Holy] Spirit and wisdom, whom we may assign to look after this business and duty.’” Acts 6:1-3 (Amplified)

    The Office of Deacon Was Established to Free the Apostles (who functioned as the first pastors) to Pray and to Prepare to Minister the Word
    The Apostles, in dealing with the benevolence ministry problem at the Jerusalem church, told the congregation that,
    "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word." Acts 6:2-4 (NKJV)



    The Drift Among Baptists From the Biblical Model

    "In the later half of the eighteenth century, a new concept of Baptist deacons emerged and continues to exist in many churches today. This was the view of deacons as church business managers. This view stressed to a seemingly excessive degree the administrative function of deacons and tended to distract from other areas of service previously given equally strong attention"
    (Charles W. Deweese, The Emerging Role of Deacons, Broadman Press, 1979, page 34).

    The drift started as an effort to "Relieve the minister from the secular concerns of the church" (a treatise on church discipline, Charleston Association, S.C., 1774 cited by Deweese).

    But by 1846, R. B. C. Howell was using new terminology, saying that deacons are, "A board of directors, and have charge of the all the secular affairs in the kingdom of Christ" (The Deaconship, Judson Press, page 11). "...The deacons in their own peculiar department are, as we have said, a BOARD OF OFFICERS, or the executive board of the church, for her temporal department..." (Pages 112-113). This is when and how in Baptist life deacons came to be called a board. This term has no bibical rooting in word or concept.


    Howell regarded the spiritual ministry of the pastor and the temporal ministry of the deacon as separate areas, or departments: "...The pastor has supervision of all the spiritualities of the church, and is therefore bishop or overseer in that department; so the deacons are overseers of all her temporalities, of which they have full control" page 12). He stated, however, that, "It is not, lastly, the duty of deacons to rule in the church" (page 66), explaining that, "Deacons are not ruling elders" (page 69).

    There were those, at the time, who saw this trend as a cause of concern. In 1852, one New York pastor/historian warned against the concept of the deacon as being a person, "Of so much importance and ecclesiastical consequence in the Church, that all the membership, and all the affairs in the Church, and the Pastor, must be dictated, and ruled and governed by him." In 1897, Edwin C. Dargan, professor of homiletics and ecclesiology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, warned of the tendency of deacons to act as "a sort of ruling presbytery" (both quotes cited by Deweese, pages 47-48)







    How to Know if Your Church is Off Track

    Howard Foshee listed three evidences that deacons are operating under the concept of a board:


    (1) When all major recommendations from church operations and church committees are screened by the deacons whether they should go to the congregation.
    (2) When the pastor and staff members are directly responsible to the deacons rather than to the church.

    (3) When the use or expenditure of major church resources, such as facilities and fiances, must first be approved by the deacons.

    (The Ministry of the Deacon, Howard B. Foshee, Convention Press, 1968, page 33)
     
  14. TCGreek

    TCGreek
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    I'm interested in what the Bible says, not what some article says.
     
  15. revmwc

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    Well the bible calls them servants not leaders, the article just shows how we got to where we are.

    Acts 6:2, "...the word of God, and serve tables." The Greek for serve is:
    Diakoneo which is where the term deacon comes from so it was not good for the Apostles to be deacons "Diakoneo".

    Their purpose is seen right here in Acts 6:2 the Diakoneo was to serve tables, serve the needs of the widows and over all take care of the physical needs of the church.
    Diakoneo:

    to be a servant, attendant, domestic, to serve, wait upon
    to minister to one, render ministering offices to
    to be served, ministered unto
    to wait at a table and offer food and drink to the guests,
    of women preparing food
    to minister i.e. supply food and necessities of life
    to relieve one's necessities (e.g. by collecting alms), to provide take care of, distribute, the things necessary to sustain life
    to take care of the poor and the sick, who administer the office of a deacon
    in Christian churches to serve as deacons

    to minister
    to attend to anything, that may serve another's interests
    to minister a thing to one, to serve one or by supplying any thing

    notice the meaning in bold. They were to care for the poor and the sick to administer the tables of widows according to Acts 6.
     
  16. glfredrick

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    I'm not fond of "praise music" either.

    We never really do that at our church. We're not a "happy-clappy" church, but rather one who sees the gospel as our mandate for life, and who expresses worship in a manner consistent with Scripture by the gifts of the people God brought into THIS congregation.

    In other words, we don't import music. We do our own, including writing, arranging, and recording. Our music is balanced between new lyrics and existing lyrics, all set to a new arrangement, and none of which might be considered "praise music." It is "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs."

    And, the music described above is about equally split between songs of lament and hymns of praise -- but nary a "praise chorus" in sight.

    Gotta get you a plane ticket to Louisville... :smilewinkgrin:
     
  17. Salty

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    Our church constitution had three offices:

    1) Elders (including pastor) takes care of spiritual matters of the church
    2) Deacons - takes care of physical needs of the church members
    3) Trustees - takes care of the legal needs of the church - including maintaining the church building, ect
     
  18. TCGreek

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    Yet Acts 6 does not call them deacons. Your reconstruction is at best artificial.
     
  19. freeatlast

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    I am listening.
     
  20. revmwc

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    Considering that almost every commentary you pickup especially in baptist and many bible church teachers all say they were deacons. Where you find the term deacon in scripture it is translated from the word "Diakoneo" or it's deriviative. Acts 6 uses the the word "Diakoneo" as serve in serving tables. What would you conclude from that?
     

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