Hierarchy in Baptist Churches

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by saturneptune, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. saturneptune

    saturneptune
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    We have had several threads on church government, between congregational and elder rule,. That really has nothing to do with this issue. The question is, does anyone out there think a hierarchy is a good idea or Biblical? How would our local autonomous Baptist churches be different if we had a hierarchy?
     
  2. JohnnyReb

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    I think when Christ stops being the head of the Church there is a serious problem. Humans get power hungry and start using Christ to embolden themselves with power over others. This I have issue with.

    I am not against elders and a sense of order....but that order is headed by Christ.
     
  3. saturneptune

    saturneptune
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    Thanks for the response. The Baptist denomination is the only one I know of that does not have a hierarchy. This is one of the reasons I became a Baptist from the Presbyterian Church. Their higher authority was called a Presbytery and over them, the Synod. The Presbytery had a say so in the local church budget, modifications to the building, the choosing or firing of a pastor, Sunday School material, and on and on.

    IMO, Baptists would not do well with a hierarchy. They have never had to deal with one, and take lots for granted, like choosing a pastor or the annual budget, or forming their own bylaws and Constitution.

    The reason I started this thread is to find out if anyone thinks there is any Biblical support for a hierarchy. Every other church, from the Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Church of Christ, various stripes of Pentecostal, even Mormons, all have a hierarchy. Baptists are unique in this manner. It should be a cherished right.
     
  4. JonC

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    I don’t know. I think that a case could be made from the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) for a type of accountability beyond that of the local congregation. I have sometimes wondered if a type of hierarchy may have prevented some congregational churches from drifting so far from Scripture. (Of course, when I look at other denominations that have a hierarchy and have drifted, I know that this would probably not have helped).

    The danger, IMHO, of congregational rule is when the congregation insists on having their “ears tickled.” I have attended churches where the pastor would simply be voted out if he offended a certain group of people or insisted on actually practicing church discipline.

    Still, I prefer an autonomous church government…it is biblical (not that the Presbyterian form of government is unbiblical) and I believe it focuses on the church as the body of Christ.
     
    #4 JonC, Sep 27, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2013
  5. JohnnyReb

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    As you stated before there has been a lot of talk about church government on here. So apparently Some Baptist Churches do have it. I personally have not attended one nor will I attend one. Christ is my Lord and my Judge. I admire good Church leadership but will not accept man made rules and regulations that are not scriptural.
     
  6. JonC

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    I didn't know there were any Baptist churches that held to government beyond the local body (I, perhaps erroneously, thought that this was one characteristic of the Baptists...although not, of course, restricted to Baptists).
     
  7. JohnnyReb

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    Good points. But a congregation as you described knows its sins. We know that not all people will be true believers so if they can't handle the truth when they hear it then let them remain lost. Knowing the truth and denying it is chosen path.
     
  8. JohnnyReb

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    No I'm talking about the baptist churches requiring classes and different things for new members and who knows what else. Jumping hoops to join a church seems like pleasing a government to me. When I joined my Church my faith in Christ and the fruits it was producing was all I needed.
     
  9. JonC

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    Sometimes the "tares" seem to outnumber the "wheat." There is room for different types of church government - each has it's strengths and weaknesses. I also prefer congregational.
     
  10. JonC

    JonC
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    Oh, I misunderstood. I thought you were talking external to the local church.

    I actually support "new member" classes and would prefer that they be required for membership. When we are saved we belong to the Church. But I think it important to know the doctrines of a local church before I obligate myself as a member and they should know where I stand before they accept me as a member. That's just my opinion, and I don't know many churches actually do this.
     
  11. JohnnyReb

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    Maybe I just personally don't put a lot of emphasis on actual membership. To me if someone joins and leaves a month later what skin is it off my back?? People come and go. The people who belong and want to be there will remain. Membership is just a name on a list and doesn't go much further than that for me.

    For example....what if I just remained a visitor but never missed a service for x amount of time. Does my name being on the membership list or not on the list really make any difference in the fruit I can produce??
     
    #11 JohnnyReb, Sep 27, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2013
  12. JonC

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    I also don't put much stock on the "membership list." I disagree, however, about the importance of membership in terms of commitment to a local church. It does make a difference in terms of accountability, functioning within the local church body and fellowship. I think one problem today is the ease in which people move in and out of local churches. We have a consumer mentality when it comes to church, which is unfortunate.
     
  13. saturneptune

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    Right, a church can be autonomous without hierarchy and have either congregational or elder rule. That is a totally separate issue of having a hierarchy. A hierarchy would bring a greater chance of elder rule, but the two issues are apples and oranges.
     
  14. Yeshua1

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    Think that we would do well to have Elders/deacons , as those seem to be authorized in the bible!

    Don't see though set up like some have in other churches with national headship leadership determing that each church teaches same way!
     
  15. Herald

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    Well, for starters, that church would cease to be Baptist.
     
  16. Tom Bryant

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    No, being a name on a membership list does nothing for you. But the church is not about the individual. The Bible descibes the church as a family. It is about doing life as a group of people who have organized themselves to cooperate in serving the Lord and their community.

    If a church has to buy property or even decide to rent a bldg to meet, they need some way of doing that. Membership is part of that. It is the actual members who have committed themselves to doing ministry as a group and a family who ought to be able to decide what to do. If you invest that power/authority in a elder team or do it through the church as a congregation, you must decide who can vote to do that.

    Who decides who the next pastor or leader is? Do they get to decide it on their own or is there some kind of church decision? Who gets to make those decisions? Whoever shows up?
     
  17. JonC

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    Is the thread about a hierarchy within each individual church or a hierarchy form of government external to the local church?
     
  18. Yeshua1

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    I think that there should still be some type of "leadership" over the local church, in the sense of being able to step in/assist if needed...

    For i have personally seen fully Independent churches that split asunder to to the Board being family/yes men to the Pastor, another where the pastor refused to leave depite the memebership voting him out, so taht divided the church!
     
  19. JonC

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    Could that leadership also not come from within the congregation? Perhaps this also stresses the importance of bylaws in congregational churches.
     
  20. JohnnyReb

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    You know there's just no way possible to get it all right no matter what kind of leadership ect. Humans in the flesh will always have squabbles and disagreements in the Church no matter who is leading and ruling. We don't have Christ standing behind the pulpit to direct every little thing. But we do have his word and I suppose it is our responsibility to follow it and decide what is right. When In doubt about a doctrine or church leadership all you have to do is open your bible and find the answers. Ultimately WE are responsible individually for our spiritual path.

    A big problem I think is a lot of people don't fact check their leaders with their bible and just blindly follow. Maybe that's why I'm so against a church government. Folks put their bible on the shelf and follow the leader in order to be accepted into the group. My bible is my guide and leaders in my church must abide by its teaching and not their own
     

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