William Styles published a book in 1902 entitled, “A Guide to Church Fellowship, as Maintained by Primitive, or Strict and Particular Baptists”. On pages 31 and 32, under the general heading, “ Error Concerning the Covenant of Grace to be Resisted”, the following statement is found:
“Any so-called Gospel which expressly or implicitly denies these truths [anti-duty-faith and anti-free-offer]—which represents the regeneration and conversion of sinners to be contingent on the earnestness and activity of “Gospel workers”—or the progress of God’s salvation…
William Styles published a book in 1902 entitled, “A Guide to Church Fellowship, as Maintained by Primitive, or Strict and Particular Baptists”. On pages 78 and 79, under the general heading, “Duty-Faith is Denied by All Strict and Particular Baptists”, the following statement is found:
“Duty-faith is the doctrine that it is the duty of natural men to exercise spiritual Faith in the Lord Jesus, and so to obtain salvation. Its emphatic denial is a distinguishing feature of the Strict and…
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…
This thirty-seventh study investigates the testimonies of three apostles—Paul, Peter and John—each of whom identifies himself as an ‘elder’. These testimonies are tested against two divergent views on the meaning of elder:
First, the traditional view, which asserts the terms ‘elder’, ‘pastor’ and ‘bishop’ represent three aspects of the selfsame office: Subsequently, an ‘elder’ is one who is gifted by Christ, selected from the congregation, chosen by the church and appointed to the office of ‘elder/pastor/bishop’.
Second, a reconstructed view, which suggests the term ‘elder’ is distinct from the office of ‘pastor/bishop’: Subsequently, an ‘elder’ is one who is the household head (husband/father) of his own family—and as there are many families in one congregation, so there are necessarily many elders—who assumed the role of leadership, in consultation with the other household heads, within the early churches. Out of these elders (never appointed to an office), Christ gifted certain men to serve as ‘pastors/bishops’—while this man would have retained his honourary title of ‘elder’, he would have gained the official titles of ‘pastor’ or ‘bishop’.
This thirty-eighth study explores the persons designated ‘elders’ in the church at Jerusalem. The term is mentioned eight times in three passages: Acts 11:30; 15:2-16:4; 21:18. While the traditional view has regarded these ‘elders’ as holding a special office, such as pastor/bishop, a fresh analysis of the texts suggest these persons were the unofficial leaders comprised of the household heads. It is proposed the traditional view is constructed upon a faulty hermeneutic—reading back into the texts preconceived ideas drawn from subsequent scriptures:
Whereas the right hermeneutic is to interpret the subsequent scriptures by the meaning of the term as first used in Acts 11:30—this principle of interpretation is known as ‘First Mention’ and according to A. T. Pierson is that principle by which “the first occurrence of a word, expression, or utterance, is the key to its subsequent meaning, or it will be a guide to ascertaining the essential truth connected with it.”
Baptists have a history of which they need not be ashamed—a history of noble names and noble deeds, extending back through many ages, in which the present generation well may glory. From the days of John the Baptist until now, a great army of these witnesses for the truth, and martyrs for its sake, has illumined and honored the march of Christian history. The ages since Christ have known no purer, nobler lives, no braver, more faithful witnesses for the Gospel of Christ, no more glorious martyrs for its sake, than many of those who honor us by being called “our fathers in the faith.” They were true to conscience and to principle, and loyal to Christ, at a cost to which we are strangers. They went gladly . . .
Severe Persecutions Of The Believers About The Year 130
About this time, writes P. J. Twisck, the instruments of the devil could not invent punishments severe enough, but what they considered the Christians worthy of. For they were watched in their houses as well as without; men cried out against them in all public places; they were scourged, stoned, and dragged about; their goods were plundered; they were…
A.D. 29. After the day of Pentecost the disciples went everywhere gladly preaching the word, while great success attended their ministry. In a very short time a second church was planted at Samaria, and soon another at Antioch. Persecutions were now inflicted upon the Christians everywhere, and Saul was on his way to Damascus, with authority to arrest men and women, and breathing out threatenings and slaughter against all Christians, when he was suddenly stricken down and made to cry out for mercy. Being converted to the Christian faith, he attached himself to the church at Antioch.
ANABAPTISTS.—In the year A. D. 500, we find Anabaptists existing in France and Spain. ”In the language of councils at this period, Christians are denominated, either from their opinions, heretics, or with a view to their discipline, schismatics; but there was one article of discipline in which they were all agreed, and from which they were frequently named, and that was BAPTISM. They held the Catholic community not to be the church of Christ; they therefore rebaptized such as had been baptized in that community, before they admitted them to their fellowship. For this conduct they were called Anabaptists.”
ALBIGENSES.—In the year 1019, we find the Catholics inflicting their accustomed persecutions upon the Albigenses in France. The Catholic idea of salvation by works, was so completely rooted and grounded in the people of that faith that no effort was made to propagate their doctrines except by compulsion. The idea had become universal, among them, that out of their church was no salvation, and that the end justified the use of any means, howsoever wicked, which might be used to compel submission to their faith. “With the Catholic, out of the church was death; within it was life, and in its maddening thirst for power, the Catholic party sought to crush everything beneath its feet, which it could not gather within its folds.