Hierachy and Elder Rule

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by saturneptune, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. saturneptune

    saturneptune
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    Most Baptist churches use a congregational form of government and have no hierarchy. My question for Pastors, or anyone else in a leadership position, do you think Elder rule and hierarchies are Scriptural based on the churches in Acts and the Epistles?
     
  2. Yeshua1

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    never been a pastor, but have been both a Deacon and an Elder in churches...

    Would say that the deacons usually handle the day to day operations of the building, in that involved with the maintenancing/upkeep etc, while the Elders in charge of the spiritual condition for the local church!
     
  3. mandym

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    Scripture gives the responsibility of overseeing the church to the pastors. Deacons are to see to the needs of the people. Deacons that act as administrators of the church (run the church) are acting outside of the their Biblical role.Congregational rule looks different depending on the church. Some churches like to micromanage everything.

    My church the Deacons are not admins. They see to the needs of the congregation regularly through a Deacon Family Plan system but are not decision makers in the church. We vote on the big things as a congregation the individual leaders of each ministry are the decision makers for those ministries. As the pastor I oversee, teach, encourage etc. those leaders.
     
  4. Allan

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    Since Elders are Pastors, I think the main contention is .. Do Pastors/Elders tell the church what to do irregardless of what the Church desires or believes?.. OR.. Do they listen to Church (like a husband to his wife and Christ to His Church) and guide them in such a direction that is biblical.

    I don't believe the Church should lead (sheep shouldn't lead sheep), nor should the Pastor/Elder lead as a dictator, but should lead and guide, while listening to the body of Christ and taking their hearts and cares into consideration.
     
  5. Tom Butler

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    Allan, your views generally reflect my own.
     
  6. saturneptune

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    I could agree with you on the premise that the board of elders (session) is more spiritually mature than the average church member. If elders were elected on the basis of social status, the difference is usually not there.
     
  7. Sapper Woody

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    If you do the math, the early church didn't call deacons until they had around 70,000 members. And then they called 7. And the job of the 7 was to minister to the widows, fatherless, etc. It wasn't to lead, or to dictate anything.

    A pastor has been called to oversee a flock. His job is to lead. The church should follow the pastor, but the pastor should also follow Godly counsel.
     
  8. USN2Pulpit

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    Agreed...But we also don't have any record in scripture of Robert's Rules being used. We don't know if any of the churches then brought up a motion, had it seconded, discussed, and then voted. All we know is that they were all together, the elders led, the people followed, and they were in one accord.
     
  9. Berean

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    Why do Baptist Churches who insist on following Scripture right down to every jot & tittle completely ignore Church organizational structional as outlined in The New Testament; Elders, Shepherds ( Bishops or Pastors) and Deacons? Also claiming to be congregational lead usually are Pastor controlled and lead.
     
  10. reformed_baptist

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    I would be interetsed in how you came to that number?
     
  11. reformed_baptist

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    The pastors/ elders job is to 'sheperd the flock' 1 Pet 5:21 under the chief sheperd. Soemthing interesting about a middle eastern sheperd is the way he leads from teh front and the sheep follow.

    It is all too easy for a pastor/ elder to drive the sheep in the direction he wants them to do, and that may even be required on occasions, but that is not to the norm. Through biblical council, biblical teaching and wisodm, coupled with Biblical example the pastor leads the people closer to Christ.

    To my mind the balance is a difficult one to get right all the time, and different sitautions call for more or less direct leadership.
     
  12. Logos1560

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    Baptist churches have typically advocated and had a congregational form of church government.

    I wonder whether some Baptist churches at least those with a pastoral staff or assistant pastors may in effect have a type of hierarchy.

    In some Baptist churches, the assistant pastors, youth pastor, or pastor of various other ministries in a local church, may all be elected by the congregation as the senior pastor is, and they together may act as a plurality of pastors/elders with congregational church government.

    On the other hand, when assistant pastors and other pastoral staff are directly hired by the senior pastor with no vote of the congregation, may be fired by him with no vote of the congregation, or are treated as the pastor's own employees, it would seem to be like a hierarchy or a modified form of episcopal church government.
     
  13. Sapper Woody

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    I am sorry that I don't have the complete numbers here. But I can show right now that it was at least 16,000.

    Acts 2:41 were added 3,000.
    Acts 4:4 were added 5,000
    Acts 6:1, these numbers were "multiplied", so at least 2x, possibly even more.

    (3,000 + 5,000) * 2 = 16,000

    And this isn't counting the souls that were "daily added" before the mulitplication.

    I had to look up some scripture on the internet, as my Bible isn't readily available right now. But it has been explained to me in a way before that made sense that it was about 70,000. Wish I had that in front of me right now. But, since I can't get to that, let's just go with 16,000 before the ordination of 7 deacons. This still means that there were roughly 2300 people per deacon.

    But even the smalled number doesn't negate the fact that the deacons were called not to lead, but to serve.
     
  14. Sapper Woody

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    I don't mean to be rude, but I've seen a LOT (About 6-7 different flocks of sheep each mission) of shepherds over here, as well as goatherds. Now, keep in mind that the way that shepherding is done now might very well (and probably is, knowing what we read in history and the Bible) be different than back then.

    But the way that they work over here now is basically let the sheep roam where they will, and only stepping in when one gets close to danger. They don't actually lead their flock, they just keep them away from danger.
     
    #14 Sapper Woody, Jul 16, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2012
  15. saturneptune

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    Woody,
    I wanted to say how much I admire your Christian witness while in the service. In the Navy, I was a not a Christian, and given the surroundings on liberty and time off, I had zero chance of becoming one during those few years. Even a Christian has a real challange keeping his or her witness in the Navy. Not so sure about your branch, but wanted to let you know it gives me a very comforting feeling observing your witness.

    Back to the thread, I think elder rule is impossible unless the elders elected are more spiritually mature than the congregation. That does not mean economically better off.
     
  16. Jerome

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    And a spiritually mature believer would not desire let alone assume "raw power"/"direct leadership"/"preeminence"/etc. anyway.
     
  17. ktn4eg

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    Here's my story and I'm sticking w/it:

    From abt Aug 1972 - Jan 1996, I was a member of a church in Clarksville TN. Absolutely the worst waste of time were the Business Meeting(s) where Bro So-and-so, after a motion & second moved to support Missionary So-and-so for $10/mo (Of course that was back in 1972, and to the best of my knowledge that $10/mo was never adjusted to represent any annual COLA. Not sure how many pastors we have today who were pastoring back in 1972 who never asked for a salary increase since then....But I digress.:smilewinkgrin:), etc., etc., ad nauseum.

    Our Wed night "prayer" service consisted of "any prayer requests" & then the pastor proceeded on w/His latest rant on whatever...But again I digress.

    Long story short, for the most part I dreaded the business meeting(s).

    Then when I moved to UCLA (Upper Corner of Lower Antioch [TN -- SE part of Nashville] :smilewinkgrin:) in late 1995, I came to a church that was in the process of transitioning to a elder-led type-of church govt. (Prior to that, she held an ANNUAL business mtg in the fall!)

    Is my church "perfect in all her ways?" Of course not....They let me join didn't they? :tongue3:....All that to say this....If Sis Sapphira or Bro Ahab still have any questions/comments, the weekly Elders' mtg(s) are open for "civilians," and if either or both can't attend, then our records are open to them at any time.

    Moreover, we still have deacons, and they help with the Lord's Supper as well as visit the sick, shutins, etc. When you join w/us, you're "assigned" to a deacon of your owning choosing.

    Finally, my church is a "cell-based" [We prefer to call them "Life Groups."] church. While our elders will visit any who ask, we've found that, apart from our Sunday morning "Corporate" services, it's better to "do life" that way.

    NOW, am I against any other form of church life? Of course not. What works for any other church may not work in the way "we do things" (We are autonomous, aren't we?).

    As I said above, "That's my story & I'm sticking w/it."

    OK....."RELEASE THE HOUNDS"! :laugh:
     
  18. reformed_baptist

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    A better translation of Acts 6:1 is 'increasing.'


    Conservative estimates put it nearer 10 000, remember many of that first 3000 were travellers :D and if 12% of the population were Christains there would have been more record of it in the histroy books I think.

    But then aren't elders called to serve too!
     
  19. reformed_baptist

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    I don't me to rude either, but it isn't me that you are contradicting!

    John 10:3 "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 "And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. (Joh 10:3 NKJ)
     
  20. Sapper Woody

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    That's why I worded my response the way I did. There definitely seems to be a difference between the way things were done and the way things are done now. This brings up some interesting questions, such as whether or not Pastor's leading strategies should change just as shepherding techniques have changed.

    Not suggesting anything really. Just providing some food for thought/discussion.
     

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