If you called him Elder?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    What would you pastor say, if you addressed him as Elder?


    This is from a thread OP by Tatter 77 and then specified by Tom Butler - posts # 7 & 8

    Salty
     
  2. Zenas

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    He might object but it would be real easy to show him plenty of scripture that demonstrates he is an elder, . . . or an overseer. Now if I may broaden the scope of the thread, which model of church polity is more scriptural--congregational, with no elders but the pastor? board of elders? single elder, where the pastor/elder makes all the decisions? or hierarchical where there is common leadership over several churches in a presbytery, diocese or whatever? It will be helpful if people advocating a particular model would provide scriptural support rather than just saying this is how it ought to be.
     
  3. Jerome

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    Our former pastor would probably be ecstatic, as he had bought into this "elders" fad and was trying to impose it on our church. He even tried to jettison the title of pastor.
     
    #3 Jerome, Jan 16, 2011
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  4. Alive in Christ

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    I believe the title of "elder" as opposed to Pastor is pretty common in the black churches, isnt it?
     
  5. freeatlast

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    I assume nothing or laugh.
     
  6. Old Union Brother

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    It is the term we use as well in the Old Regular Baptist
     
  7. Jerome

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    Look how the ministers at the 1689 London Baptist Assembly signed their Confession:

    Source: Reformed Reader
     
    #7 Jerome, Jan 16, 2011
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  8. Gershom

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    Most black churches I have known use Bishop or Pastor.
     
  9. Earth Wind and Fire

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    OK, now whats the difference between Pastor & Minister?
     
  10. StefanM

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    Apostle is also fairly common in charismatic/Pentecostal circles.
     
  11. Ruiz

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    I read a lot of primary source materials and I have seen people referred both as Elders and Pastors throughout Baptist History. Of course, we all know that the Bible uses "Elder" and "Pastor" interchangeably, but "Elders" today usually signify the parity and plurality within a church. However, most Baptist churches I know who practice parity and plurality still use the title "Pastor." Some are more Presbyterian to distinguish a full time "Pastor" and ruling "Elders." However, I do not find this as Biblical.

    When studying some primary source material during the Revolutionary War, I studied John Leland's influence and found many churches called their "Pastor" an "Elder", even if they did not practice parity or plurality (though most that I read on did practice).

    I do not know why there has been such hostile reactions to the understanding of more Elders/Pastors. If the person meets the qualification of I Timothy 3, then there should not be an objection.... nor could there truly be a Biblical objection. If people object to the plurality then they have an issue with most churches of 200 or more. If they object to the parity, they have a problem with the Bible itself.

    Thus, I do not see there can be a legitimate objection against the word Elders (used in the Bible), having more than one (Biblical), and parity (Biblical). Usually they are against some abuse... but I do not see how they can be against qualified people becoming a pastor, even if they don't get paid.

    Usually the complaint is the parity of Elders. I, though, once told someone who objected to their Pastor wanting to "get control" by saying, "Do you realize that your Pastor is actually willingly relinquishing power and placing his vote on absolutely everything on equal footing with other men? This does not mean he is grabbing for power, but giving up power."

    The person didn't like my assessment but acknowledged that ultimately I was right.
     
    #11 Ruiz, Jan 16, 2011
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  12. Salty

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    Simple - because - "thats the way we have always done it".
     
  13. Jim1999

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    If someone called me anything other than pastor or Jim, I probably wouldn't respond. I don't buy this modern move to eldership.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  14. Jerome

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    Perhaps Ruiz could share how his "elders" theories panned out in the churches that he pastored?
     
  15. Ruiz

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    Jerome,

    I am not sure what you are asking or want in your inquiry, but I do not see how the practical outworkings has anything to do with the Biblical understanding in light of this context. Basically, when I have been a part of a church that holds to elders, there have been four types of different practical out workings. Two have been complete plurality and parity. Two have had a desire for Elders but other issues hindered the appointing of Elders (though, I believe both Churches have Elders today, or are just about to appoint them). One is less congregational and more Eldership rule. The final one was parity and plurality but congregational but seemed less congregational than most other congregational churches with eldership.

    The church I was at during my sabbatical, in my opinion, was the most Biblical and performed Eldership the best. Had it not been for my major health issues, we probably would have remained there, but God saw fit to use these issues to remove us from ministry.

    Yet, I do not know what you are trying to get at with your statement. Do I believe in parity and plurality? Yes! Do I believe in the modern model most often used in the church? No! I find the modern model most unBiblical in a number of ways. Yet, I cannot answer a question that is as vague as the one you put forth.
     
    #15 Ruiz, Jan 16, 2011
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  16. pinoybaptist

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    The title of our pastors are Elders.
    Some prefer to address them as pastors, the majority call them Brothers.
    Personally, somebody's DD or ThD or church title don't mean a rat's dropping to me if he can't preach Christ as successful Redeemer and Savior, seated intercessor, and coming King, whether he be a primitive baptist, modern baptist. or messed up
    baptist.
     
  17. Tom Butler

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    I understand parity and I understand plurality, but I'm not sure I understand them in the context of elders.

    Brother Ruiz, would you provide more detail?
     
  18. Tom Butler

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    It's pretty apparent that in Jerusalem, for instance, it was unlikely that there was a single location where the thousands of members of the church there could meet at one time.

    Therefore, it's likely that there were several "preaching stations," which required a plurality of elders to lead teaching, preaching and worship.

    In this case, multiple elders makes sense.

    I'm not convinced that a plurality of elders is required unless there are similar circumstances.
     
  19. Jerome

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    Neither was John Gill:

    John Gill, A Body of Practical Divinity:

    Andrew Fuller, “On Church Government and Discipline”:

    Spurgeon said of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Baptist church:

    Spurgeon recognized, as his predecessor Gill had, that large churches needed more than a single pastor/bishop/elder. There was none of today's mandatory-"plurality-of-elders-in-parity"-even-in-the-smallest-Reformed-Baptist-church nonsense.
     
    #19 Jerome, Jan 16, 2011
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  20. Ruiz

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    Basically, parity means that there is no hierarchy. All Pastors are equal. In my circles, there is not a "higher" executive Pastor but each are one among equals. They work together in wisdom to ensure the proper direction of the church. Yet, they also recognize unique giftings among the other Pastors. For instance, there may be one who is more gifted in counseling and another more gifted in missions and still another more gifted in theology. While they are equal in authority, the Elders will turn to the ones that God has gifted in certain areas when those issues arise, recognizing God's unique blessing on that person in that one area.

    Plurality means there is, in general, more than one. Unlike most churches who believe Pastors must be seminary trained (generally), we do not see this criteria in the Bible. Rather, we see the qualifications of I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 not requiring seminary training. If the Elders have someone who meets those qualifications and who shows forth wisdom and spiritual maturity (which is a part of those criteria) the Elders will consider them to be a Pastor. Usually, this requires a time of training and examination by the Pastors and interviews with others in the congregation. Most of the churches I work with will then present the nominee to the congregation for final approval. This is not like the Presidential elections (10 votes for person "A" and 9 for person "B", thus person A wins) but an affirmation or denial vote. I know of only one vote where a person presented did not get elected (most must be elected by a super majority). In that one case, after addressing some issues, the election was redone and the congregation gave their approval.

    Thus, Elders are wise and mature men who submit to one another and work together for the good of the church. They keep each other accountable and pray for each other but they do not have the authority over the other. These elders do submit to each other when necessary, which I believe to be a most beautiful part of them working together. I have been in situations where all the Elders agree with going one direction and one disagrees. The other Elders have submitted to the one Elder for a time in order to proceed in one accord. After some time, the one elder came back and said that he will now submit to the rest of the Elders' views on this certain area.

    If you think Eldership is about getting a majority of votes on an issue, then you have the wrong mindset. Elders are not democratic. I saw a situation where a man wanted to begin a new ministry in a church and all the Elders rejected the idea... but they believed in wisdom that they should allow the ministry. It takes wisdom more than a mere vote and who can get the most votes. They ask questions like, is it wise to still continue with disagreement? Is it wise to proceed? Is it wise not to proceed? Should more time be given to foster more agreement? etc...
     

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