Historian: Origins of ordination among Baptists tangled

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by DennyGabriel, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. DennyGabriel

    DennyGabriel
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    The entire story is at http://www.abpnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4156&Itemid=53

    ARLINGTON, Texas (ABP) -- Pragmatism and tradition have stood alongside biblical and theological principles in shaping Baptist ordination practices, church historian Karen Bullock said at the recent B.H. Carroll Theological Institute colloquy.

    “The concept of ordination as practiced by Baptists today is a complex -- even problematic -- notion resting tenuously upon biblical, theological and even traditional pillars,” Bullock said.

    The practices of “setting apart” and “laying on hands” for those called to some special service role in the church clearly have biblical roots, she noted -- but later understandings of ordination also were influenced by the Roman Catholic tradition of “holy orders” and “solemn appointment."

    “In the earliest years of the Baptist story, Baptists were -- like their immediate Anabaptist, Puritan and Separatist predecessors -- very concerned about the biblical warrant for their practices,” Bullock said.

    When Baptists first began to practice ordination on a regular basis, each congregation would select its pastor, he would present evidence of calling and giftedness, and the church subsequently would ordain him to serve that specific congregation, she noted. Although ministers seldom moved from one church to another, if they did, they would go through the same process -- including laying on hands -- at each place.
     
  2. Zenas

    Zenas
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    Your link gives us an interesting article but it contains not one word about Karen Bullock and her take on ordination practices. Did I miss something?
     
  3. Zenas

    Zenas
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    I don't know what happened to DennyGabriel so I will posit some questions about ordination.

    1. Why do we ordain?

    2. Who can ordain? Should deacons and pastors ordain deacons? Pastors only ordain pastors? Or can a congregation ordain its pastor as was mentioned in the O.P.?

    3. Should a church recognize ordinations conducted in other churches? If so, which other churches? What about ordinations conducted in other denominations?

    4. Does ordination confer either grace or spiritual gifts? See 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6.
     
  4. TCassidy

    TCassidy
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    Because the bible says so.
    Churches ordain.
    No. Churches ordain.
    No. Churches ordain.
    Yes. Churches ordain their own leadership.
    A church should recognize the ordinations of other churches only as they apply to the other church. No church should recognize the ordination of another church as valid after the ordained person leaves that church for another.
    N.A.
    N.A.
    No. Ordination is a church's recognition of grace and spiritual gifts already bestowed by God on the person being ordained.
     
  5. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    I agree with TCassidy that churches ordain.

    Historically, the ordaining council has been composed of ordained me, both pastors and deacons.

    However, it seems to me that the ordaining congregation may choose anyone to sit on the counsel, ordained or not. I know of nothing in the Scripture which dictates that it should be all-ordained men.

    And, I see nothing in the scriptures which prohibit every church member from laying on hands.
     
  6. TCassidy

    TCassidy
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    My ordination worked that way. The counsel, made up of 12 men (including 2 of my Seminary professors!), were not all members of my local church. They questioned me for over 10 hours. When they were satisfied they recommended to my church that the church ordain me. The church members then voted to do so and everyone in the church had the opportunity to lay hands on me and pray. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life.
     
  7. Jim1999

    Jim1999
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    In my group of Canadian baptist churches, the church invited a council to form from existing pastors in local churches. The candidate presented his testimony and doctrinal statement before the whole assembly; church membership and the formed council.

    The candidate was questioned publicly. We do not ordain deacons!

    The council then sat and made their recommedations. Assuming the man was accepted, he was then called to the fore, where the deacons of that local church laid hands on the pastor and prayed over him. He was then pronounced to be the ordained pastor of that church.

    The ordaination was then approved by the group secretary in a letter to the man, the local church and the federal government (for legal purposes, marriage licence etc.).

    The ordination is valid throughout the fellowship of churches.

    A similar council may be formed to dismiss an ordained man.

    About 4 hours total passes. There is no need for 10 hours, in my opinion.

    Cheers,

    Jim

    Mr. Spurgeon refused ordination; "Why lay empty hands on empty heads?"
     
  8. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Ten hours, wow. I have been an interrogator for the public questioning of the candidate(s), but I ran out of questions before an hour was up. I've served on a half-dozen councils, and the private questioning by the council rarely took more than that. What in the world did they ask you that took that long? And I've been on councils for both pastors and deacons.
     
  9. Zenas

    Zenas
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    Are you saying a pastor needs to be ordained by every church that calls him? That means one man would have serial ordinations. I've never heard of that and I'm reasonably sure it's not done in Southern Baptist churches.
    Then you don't believe the plain meaning of 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6. Or do you think Paul conferred gifts to Timothy that are not available through ordinations today?
     
  10. Zenas

    Zenas
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    The same for me when I was ordained as a deacon 23 years ago. I'm not a spiritually sensitive person but I could definitely feel the presence of the Holy Spirit that evening.
     
  11. glfredrick

    glfredrick
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    I have been ordained twice, once as a deacon and once as a pastor. The pastoral ordination came first. I'm not sure why the church insisted on ordaining me as a deacon, for I was already a pastor, but that was a by-laws requirement. Since it did not effect my salvation and was merely an ordinance of the local church, I submitted and now have another piece of paper on my wall.

    In each case, however, the local church did the ordination, but others were present on my committee, including some big names in the Baptist world, seminary profs, etc. I consider it a blessing that these men, living for the kingdom of God, saw me fit for kingdom work alongside themselves.

    In another church setting (General Baptist Conference) we held associational level ordination meetings and "credentialed" pastors and deacons. I resisted this on my own part, already having my ordination in force. They accepted that and I ended up as both pastor and associational moderator for multiple years before moving apart from the GB once again. The church would not allow myself, my wife, nor my family as members, however, which I found rather strange. I was good enough to be their pastor and leader, but not one of them. :BangHead:
     
  12. TCassidy

    TCassidy
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    Much of the questioning dealt with Neo-Evangelicalism, the Charismatic Movement, Soteriology (real questions, not superficial ones, IE, Pelagianism, Semi-pelagianism, Augustinianism, Supralapsarianism, Infralapsarianism, etc.). One of the most memorable was "Briefly discuss the implications of the Hypostatic Union on the celebration of the Lord's Supper." :)

    I have been on several ordination councils and have taken pity on the poor candidate. Just about the only question I ask these days is, "If, in our infinite wisdom, we, the council, decide not to ordain you, what will you do." The only acceptable answer is "I will do what God has called me to do." :)
     
  13. TCassidy

    TCassidy
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    Yes, that is what I believe.
    I am not Southern Baptist. :)
    I believe every word of those passages.
    Ordination confers no gifts. It only confirms that God has already conferred those gifts. :)
     
  14. Zenas

    Zenas
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    Yes, I know that's what you said before but that is not what these passages say.
    They don't even imply that the gifts were already conferred. They flat out state that the gifts were conferred by the laying on of hands. I don't want to be argumentative but I don't see how you can reach that conclusion with your eyes open.
     
    #14 Zenas, Nov 12, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2010
  15. TCassidy

    TCassidy
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    The office of Apostle is no longer in existence. And thus the Apostolic ability to bestow such gifts is also no longer in existence.
     
  16. Zenas

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    All right, I'll accept that even though I don't completely agree with you. The reason I persisted in this line of questioning was that I suggested this possibility in Post #9 and you didn't respond to it. However, I will ask a follow-up question. If no gifts are conferred in ordination, why do it? I am not unmindful of your first post on this thread but, unlike baptism and the Lord’s Supper, I can’t find any scriptural command for us to ordain.
     
    #16 Zenas, Nov 13, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2010
  17. TCassidy

    TCassidy
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    Although I can't find any scriptural command for ordination it was a practice in the early churches as evidenced by Acts 14:23 "And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed." And Titus 1:5 "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed."

    However, I can't find any scriptural command for Sunday School, Bible Colleges, Seminaries, etc., but we still do all three, don't we. :)
     
  18. Jim1999

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    In addition, keep in mind the demands of modernity. Much more legalities are required of modern pastors than in times past. Marriage certification, burial rights in some areas.

    Ordination is just a public recognition of something we already know. The men being ordained have prolly been pastoring the church for a few years.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     

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