Tag:

Government

Introduction

10 Sep 2013, by

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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A review of Baptist Church History will reveal that Baptists have always maintained one type of church polity. Only in more recent days have some Baptist leaders added another way of doing church governance. Baptist history is replete with extant documents that substantiate this observation. When one reads representative Baptist ecclesiastical writings such as confessions of faith, tracts, books, ordination sermons and church minute books, it becomes obvious that this assertion is correct.

Baptists have historically interpreted the New Testament Scriptures to describe one type of church polity. This polity has been described as Congregationalism with the biblical leadership of a pastor and deacons. And if a Baptist church was large enough, it included more than one pastor in church leadership.

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