Customs of Primitive Churches, Missionaries or Evangelists

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by rlvaughn, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,140
    Likes Received:
    25
    PROP. XVI. Of the office of missionaries or evangelists

    XVI. The office of missionaries or modern evangelists is, generally, occasional and temporary; therefore their titles (like those of pastors, bishops, &c..) are but relatives, which they lose when the relation that giveth them rise, ceaseth; for which reason they must be chosen out of those that had been ordained teachers. Their work is, to itinerate on the special errands of the churches. They are put in their office by the choice of those churches; ordination; prayer; &c. with fasting. And are to be paid by the same churches.

    1. The combination of churches renders itinerant preachers necessary. That there were such in primitive churches appears from 2 Cor. viii. 23, where we read of the messengers or (as it is in the original) the missionaries or apostles of the churches. Also from 3 John. 7. They are the same with the ancient evangelists, extraordinaries excepted.
    2. That their business is, to itinerate on the errands of the churches; and that they are to be chosen of the same churches appear, from 2 Cor. viii. 19, Chosen of the churches to travel, &c. Such were the itinerants mentioned in 3 John 7.
    3. What the public concerns of combined churches are appear daily. Some are vacant and want supply; some poor that they can get no minister; some have divisions which require help to adjust them; some churches want help in choice, ordinations or settling of officers; often churches are to be [constituted]; some dark corner may want the ministry, &c. How expedient then is the office of apostles of churches!
    4. How they are to be put in office is not without some direction in scripture. The office received by Paul and Barnabas at Antioch was, in part, temporary; for in ch. xiv. 26 it is said they returned, having fulfilled the work to which they had been ordained in ch. xiii; and that ordination was by fasting, prayer, laying on of hands; ch. xiii. 2-4.
    5. That they are to be paid by the churches which employ them, may be argued from 3 John 7; the ministers there mentioned went forth preaching, taking nothing from the gentiles. Who then did they take something from to bear their expense? why from the churches in Judea who had employed them.
    6. If any desire to be further satisfied about the above office, let them read the great Mr. Grantham on the subject, whose method of reasoning is (in our opinion) conclusive. We have seen the ordination of an evangelist or missionary in the north of England; but as we have not minutes of the transaction we can only relate the matter in general. "A set time and place were fixed upon by the churches associating together in that part of the country. Deputies were sent by every church. They met fasting. After common service was over, one of the ministers introduced the business by a short speech, and prayed. Then they consulted who among them was best qualified. Several were nominated; it was put to the vote; which was decided by balloting. He that had the majority of votes was declared duly elected. His acceptance of the office being obtained, he was desired to kneel. The ministers laid their hands on his head; and used words expressive of the action. When ordination was over, the ministers and deputies gave him the right hand of fellowship; and a promise of maintenance in behalf of their respective churches. Then was addressed to him a charge relative to his office, and the duties thereof. A psalm was sung, and the assembly dismissed with the benediction."

    [Note: Interesting that Edwards is a Regular Baptist yet calls a General Baptist "the great Mr. Grantham." He is apparently referring to Grantham's A Defence of the Office of Apostles in 1671 or A Defence of the Office of Messengers in the Church to be of Divine Right in 1678 (apparently the same material in both works; the latter can be found in Christianismus primitivus: or, The ancient Christian religion, in its nature, certainty, excellency, and beauty (internal and external) particularly considered, asserted, and vindicated, Book IV, Treatise 5, p. 152). Also the reference to Grantham's book and Edwards's attendance of such an ordination in England suggest to me that Edwards view was not the common one on this subject among the churches of the Philadelphia Association.]
     
    #1 rlvaughn, Jul 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
  2. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,074
    Likes Received:
    101
    Though Edwards appeals to Grantham, it seems they are really talking about two different things. The Generals in England eventually devolved extraordinary authority upon their messengers or apostles.

    J.F.V. Nicholson, The Officer of "Messenger" amongst British Baptists in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, The Baptist Quarterly 16 (1958).

    The Particulars did not consider messenger or apostle a separate office with special authority, as Grantham did. A messenger was instead essentially an evangelist or missionary provided for a limited time. According to the records of the Philadelphia and Charleston Associations, John Gano of the Philadelphia Association was at least twice chosen to be a messenger or evangelist, once at the expense of the Philadelphia Association (after Edwards declined) and once by the Charleston Association.

    What Edwards seems to be talking about is something between the Particular and General practice. Grantham is outlining a separate office with extraordinary authority. Edwards make it clear that a messenger is to be a temporary appointment and with the agreement (and support) of the churches involved, something like the circuit-riding Methodist ministers on the frontier, with the difference being that the Methodists appointed ministers for the churches involved, as they still do. I suspect a similar situation prevailed in the latter days of the Generals because of the extreme shortage of ministers and small congregations that could not support a pastor.

    But there is one caveat: The Philadelphia Association had a unique position and authority that its representatives sent to other associations had an authority no modern Baptist association (or even convention) has today.

    Gano attended the 1759 meeting of the Sandy Creek Association:

    Robert Baylor Semple, A History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia revised and extended by G. W. Beale (originally published 1810, revised edition in 1894; reprint, Lafayette, Tenn.: Church History Research and Archives, 1976), 65 — quoted in Josh Powell's Shubal Stearns and the Separate Baptist Tradition, Founders Journal Spring 2001, pp. 16-31.

    The Philadelphia Association (of which Edwards was moderator) reserved to itself the right to ordain ministers and its decisions on matters presented to it, though technically only advisory, were almost universally accepted as binding by the member churches and often by churches from other associations.
     
  3. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,140
    Likes Received:
    25
    The Separate Baptists' ordination of Samuel Harriss as apostle seems to follow much of what Edwards prescribes and describes -- fasting, prayer, laying on of hands, charge, right hand of fellowship. One wonders whether they might have been influenced by Edwards, since this occurred some 6 or 7 years after. A Separate Baptist named Jeremiah Walker wrote on the topic (according to Benedict, Semple, Morgan Scott, and even Alexander Campbell). His book or pamphlet probably has been lost to posterity; there are no copies listed on World Cat.
     
  4. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,074
    Likes Received:
    101
    Harriss (and two others, according Broadus and Benedict) were ordained apostles by the Virginia Separates, but the experiment lasted only a year and was discontinued. Whether Harris was influential is difficult to ascertain from the documentary evidence. Generally, Philadelphia was more influential with Charleston than the Separates, but the fact that Philadelphia was repeatedly called up on to provide messengers in their district, as well as Edwards' praise of the Separates, seems to indicate the Separates were, more or less, on good terms with Philadelphia.

    According to Gano, he was "ordained" by Philadelphia to make one of his missionary trips to the South at the request of the local churches (and association) there. His mission appears to have been a combination (as outlined by Edwards) of being an evangelist as well as ministering to small congregations that did not have their own ministers.
     
  5. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2000
    Messages:
    9,636
    Likes Received:
    310
    Hmm, interesting. This reminds me of how the Council of Evangelical Christian-Baptist Churches operates\operated in the Former Soviet Union.
     
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page

Loading...