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Bishops

“Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His Name.”—Malachi 3:16

Neither Luther or Calvin held those shallow Pelagian views, now so common, of a gradual amelioration and Christianising of the world. Calvin writes, “It is a superstition to think that the world is improving in religion and morality. It is not improving but it is always going back.” Luther says, “I know that the world is becoming epicurean; that is to say, they will lose faith in God and immortality, and give themselves up to the pleasures of the things of this world, and then suddenly shall be heard the voice, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh.’” These statements are Scriptural; we have no warrant to expect the conversion of the world, but in the words of James to the Church at Jerusalem, God visits the…

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Ephesians 4:11: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;”

The apostles and prophets were temporary offices, laying the foundation for both the establishment and edification of Christian churches—apostles were primarily sent to organize new churches; prophets were appointed to nurture existing churches. The evangelists and pastor-teachers are permanent offices carrying out a…

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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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Every form of organized society, whether civil, social or religious, is supposed to have officers, duly constituted to execute the laws, administer the government, and secure the ends contemplated by the organization. The Church is a commonwealth, a society, a family, and has its officers as leaders and administrators of its affairs. Officers, however, are not essential to the existence of a State, nor are they to the existence of a Church. They are nevertheless important to their highest efficiency, and the best exercise of their legitimate functions. The State does not lapse and cease to be. . .

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Is there any particular form of Church government revealed in the New Testament? And if so, what is it?

These questions will be variously answered by Christian scholars and Bible students. Some hold that no specific form can be deduced from the sacred records, and that no one form is best suited for all people and for all places; and that it was purposely left for Christian wisdom and prudence, guided by experience, to decide that question. . .

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