Why No Elders In Baptist Churches?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by kiriath_jearim, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. kiriath_jearim

    kiriath_jearim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    In light of the fact that the New Testament epistles mentions elders several times and Titus 1:5-9 describes their responsibilities, why don't modern Baptist churches utilize the office of "elder"?
     
  2. standingfirminChrist

    standingfirminChrist
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
    Messages:
    9,454
    Likes Received:
    0
    some do, kiriath.

    I was called to minister a few years back at a Baptist congregation where they did indeed call some of the ministers there 'Elder'.
     
  3. NateT

    NateT
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    886
    Likes Received:
    0
    SFIC is correct. Some of the more notable churches that have elders: Capitol Hill Baptist Church in DC(Mark Dever as preaching elder) and Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis(John Piper as preaching elder).

    You might check out IX Marks as they would have more information on baptists and elders.
     
  4. Ransom

    Ransom
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    4,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    In light of the fact that the New Testament epistles mentions elders several times and Titus 1:5-9 describes their responsibilities, why don't modern Baptist churches utilize the office of "elder"?

    Biblically speaking, I don't think you can draw a sharp distinction between the office of "pastor" and the office of "elder." In the past I have regularly attended churches that had officers they called "pastors" and other officers they called "elders." In other churches "pastor" and "elder" were interchangeable because the team of pastors were the ones responsible for the spiritual leadership of the church.
     
  5. JRG39402

    JRG39402
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    0
    Isn't it possible that the churches have "elders" and just don't call them that? Dogs don't call themselves dogs, but that is what they are. :)
     
  6. JGrubbs

    JGrubbs
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Messages:
    4,761
    Likes Received:
    0
    New Testament churches were led by a plurality of co-equal elders (also called pastors and overseers) in an arrangement that was completely non-hierarchical. There are still some Baptist churches that follow this model today, but most do seem to have a single pastor who runs things.

    Here is an essay from John Piper on Biblical Eldership:

    http://www.desiringgod.org/library/tbi/bib_eldership.html

    Dave Black has some good stuff about eldership on his Unleashing the Church site as well:

    http://www.unleashingthechurch.com
     
  7. npetreley

    npetreley
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    Messages:
    7,359
    Likes Received:
    0
    I must be living in another world. Every Baptist church I've attended has had elders.
     
  8. J.D.

    J.D.
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2006
    Messages:
    3,553
    Likes Received:
    8
    I don't want this to become a CvA discussion, but I can't help noticing that ALL of the elder-board churches I know of are Calvinist.
     
  9. OldRegular

    OldRegular
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Messages:
    22,678
    Likes Received:
    53
    They do. You just have to know which churches use the term elder. You might try the Baptist History forum.
     
  10. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    12,723
    Likes Received:
    0
    The Old Regular, United and the Primitive call them Elders, or at least here in KY.
     
  11. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not mine. www.lakeridgechurch.com
     
  12. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Messages:
    892
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm not so impressed by what someone calls their church leaders. The real question is, are they fulfilling the role of elders. A lot of Baptist churches have pastors that fulfill some of the role of elders and deacons that fulfill the rest of the role of elders but not the role of deacons.

    If you look through Baptist confessons of the past, most of them called the offices of the church "elder" and "deacons." That began to change in the late 1800's-early 1900's when they slowly started calling the offices "pastor" and "deacons."

    The question remains - is there biblical warrant for one person in charge of the church (besides Jesus Christ)?
     
  13. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sometimes I call my pastor elder, at other times bishop. He's all three.

    The text is Acts 20, where Paul calls the elders to Miletus (v. 17). There, he admonished the elders to keep watch over the flock, over which the Holy Spirit had made them overseers (Bishops). He told them to shepherd (pastor) the church of God. So, the elders, bishops and pastors were the same people.

    That said, the churches in Jerusalem probably had a plurality of elders, since there were probably many preaching stations because of the large number of members, and no 3000-seat meeting house. Is this an example for modern churches to follow? Some people whose views I respect think so. I'm listening to both sides of the discussion.
     
  14. genesis12

    genesis12
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2005
    Messages:
    799
    Likes Received:
    1
    I've been in a number of SBC churches. The Pastor has always been the lone Elder, with the others known as Deacons, usually 7 of the latter. The fellowship I am in now has one Elder (you guessed it: the Pastor) and 32 Deacons. Go figure.
     
  15. npetreley

    npetreley
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    Messages:
    7,359
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've only been to two reformed Baptist churches. The rest were drenched in free will. But they all had elders.
     
  16. computerjunkie

    computerjunkie
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2003
    Messages:
    1,827
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know this is an old thread, but I didn't want to reinvent the wheel, so to speak!

    I've read with interest this thread and I have what may be a "stupid question". What is the role of committees in an elder-led Southern Baptist Church? Or do these churches have committees? I believe "elder-led" refers to lay leadership, but don't committees have the same role?

    And what is the role of ministers in an elder-led Southern Baptist Church? (i.e., Minister of Evangelism, Minister of Married Adults, Singles, Senior Adults., etc.)

    I'm a little confused as to some of the differences.

    Thanks
    CJ
     
  17. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    12,723
    Likes Received:
    0
    Committees in our church are appointed by the Moderator after a move and second by the church to do so. The Committees are appointed for a specific reason such as to oversee a building of a lunchroom, go visit someone to find out why they haven't been to church for such a long time and all other matters that come before the church that need overseers. After they have accomplished the task they are relieved of their duties and committee dissolved.
     
  18. computerjunkie

    computerjunkie
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2003
    Messages:
    1,827
    Likes Received:
    0
    Does the congregation vote on items of business for the church?
     
  19. Jack Matthews

    Jack Matthews
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2006
    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'm a member of a three and a half year old Baptist church with Elders who are responsible for governing the church, and Deacons, who are responsible for service ministry. The pastor and staff attend the Elder meetings and have a vote in making recommendations to the congregation on all issues related to governing the church.
     
  20. computerjunkie

    computerjunkie
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2003
    Messages:
    1,827
    Likes Received:
    0
    So the congregation doesn't vote, but accepts the recommendation of the elders, correct?

    What role do the ministers serve?
     

Share This Page

Loading...