September, 2013

In recommending Dr. Ella’s biography on John Gill, Pastor Don Fortner writes: “George Ella has been used of God to give the Christian public an opportunity to understand and appreciate one of the giants of church history in this thoroughly researched biography. As I recommend Gill’s writings to anyone who wants to understand the Bible, I heartily recommend George Ella’s biography to anyone who wants to understand Gill.”

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The Reformed Baptist Movement has given rise to a new form of church leadership not practiced by Baptist churches prior to the 1950′s. The majority of modern books and articles almost invariably assert that each church should be overseen by a plurality of elders. While many churches have conformed to the new trend, others staunchly cling to their traditional practice of having a single pastor assisted by a group of deacons. It is unwise to follow a trend, or support a tradition, without knowing the scriptural, historic and practical reasons undergirding the practice.

I have invested more than seven years of extensive research on this subject. My notes and gathered resources are several thousand pages large. Some of this material was condensed and presented in more than a hundred lectures. The material has been reworked for print and is under review for publishing. The following post is the Introduction to the book.

If the church to which you belong as a member is under pressure to adopt an eldership, please contact me direct with any questions you may have concerning its scriptural meaning, historic relevance or practical application.

Jared Smith

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10 Sep 2013, by Jared Smith

Eldership Slide - Movement

Clifford Pond served in the pastoral ministry among Grace Baptist churches for more than 50 years. Having seen the need for congregations to better understand the complexities of adopting a plurality of elders, he wrote a book entitled “Only Servants.” The back cover of the book offers a reason why the author is a respected authority on the subject: “Clifford Pond writes out of a lifetime of pastoral ministry, having served churches in Suffolk and Surrey as well as exercising a wider ministry at various times by responsible leadership in young people’s fellowships, associations of churches and the council of Grace Baptist Mission.”

In the fifth chapter, under the heading “Plurality of Elders and Deacons”, Mr. Pond writes:

“Since the Second World War every part of life generally has been questioned, and churches too have been put under the scrutiny of Scripture…For example, in the earlier part of this century the most common structure in local churches was a pastor with a group of deacons. In the absence of a pastor…

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