Tag:

Baptist

Chapter 11

5 Nov 2015, by

“Patient continuance in well-doing.”—Romans 2:7

The inevitable result of the Norwich Chapel case, was to widen the already existing breach between the Strict and Particular Baptists, and the rest of their denomination. By the latter the issue of the celebrated suit was almost universally regarded as a victory of charity and candour over narrowness and bigotry. Nearly all the public references to the men who had dared the desperate venture expressed the utmost exultation that they had been worsted in the unequal fight. Few appeared to regard their self-denying heroism with any other sentiment than pitying contempt. Men who had secretly desired to introduce a similar innovation in other quarters, but had hitherto lacked the courage of their convictions, now began to wax bolder; and many hazarded the prediction, that before many years had expired, the practice of strict communion would be unknown in the…

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Chapter 12

5 Nov 2015, by

“His character was marked by great caution and wisdom. Some deemed him too hesitating and slow. Still they generally found that at last he was right, and that the steps he had taken were safe. He was a prudent, and admitting our individual and characteristic infirmities, a truly wise man. He never involved himself in difficulty, or plunged into danger through his imprudence. He always thought much before he decided, and when he moved he felt that his ground was firm. He was cautious in abstaining from everything violent. He was no mere party-man; he never committed himself by any political demonstration, and studiously avoided the arena of warm and angry debate, of violent, of clamorous controversy, He strictly confined himself to his duties as a minister of the Gospel. and assiduously discharged them. He never, like many, stepped beyond his own province. He knew what he had to do, and did it. He was characterised by his sageness, which increasingly developed as he advanced in years.”—A Portraiture of William Jay.
By Rev. Thomas Wallace

This chapter will be devoted to a review of the last fifteen years of John Hazelton’s career, a period which was the least eventful, but in many respects the happiest and most useful of his life.

In 1873 many of our bravest standard-bearers had fallen, and not a few others had almost accomplished their warfare below. John Foreman and James Wells had fallen asleep; George Murrell had passed away after a long life of holy service: George Wright had finished his work, and was waiting for the open vision, while Philip Dickerson, William Palmer, and…

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Chapter 13

5 Nov 2015, by

ANALYTICAL.—THE PREACHER.

I would describe him simple, grave, sincere,
In doctrine uncorrupt; in language plain,
And plain in manner; decent, solemn, chaste,
And natural in gesture; much impressed
Himself, as conscious of his awful charge.
And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds
May feel it too; affectionate in look,
And tender in address, as well becomes
A messenger of grace to guilty men.—Cowper.

Nothing was further from the character of John Hazelton than the common ambition to figure as “an all-round man.”

He had thoughts on politics, and deemed it right for a Christian to vote according to his convictions, but he attended no meetings that were not distinctly religious or philanthropical, and he was always silent in public on the questions of the day. He was well read: but he never delivered lectures or wrote articles on social or literary subjects. He possessed many of the qualifications of a commentator, but he penned no expositions, nor were any critical or exegetical notes found…

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Chapter 14

5 Nov 2015, by

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee, peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, peace be within thee, because of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek thy good.”—Psalm 122:6-9

John Hazelton was as remote from the spurious catholicity which acknowledges and receives all professed Christians without inquiry into their faith and practice, as he was free from the bitter sectarianism which cannot acknowledge the existence of spiritual good without the pale
of its own communion.

He nevertheless at all times manifested a denominational spirit. He loved his own section of the Church with profound affection, identified himself with it with unconcealed satisfaction, rejoiced in its prosperity, and sought its good in every possible way.

He frequently rendered important service by his valuable Addresses at Recognition Services. The following is a sketch…

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How fine has the day been!
How bright was the sun!
How lovely and joyous the course that he run!
Though he rose in a mist when his race he begun,
And there followed some droppings of rain:
But now the fair traveller conies to the west,
His rays are all gold, and his beauties are best;
He paints the sky gay, as he sinks to his rest,
And foretells a bright rising again.

Just such is the Christian. His course he begins
Like the sun in a mist, while he mourns for his sins,
And melts into tears; then ho breaks out and shines,
And travels his heavenly way:
But when he comes nearer to finish his race,
Like a fine setting sun, he looks richer in grace,
And gives a sure hope at the end of his days.
Of rising in brighter array.

“Jesus can make a dying bed
As soft as downy pillows are.”

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…a time to be born, and a time to die.” The sovereign Ruler of the skies allots to all men the duration of their sojourn here; and at His bidding the dust returns to the…

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Preface

18 May 2015, by

The subject of eldership in Baptist circles has been one of the most misunderstood issues of recent years, with the result that it has become fashionable and even considered orthodox for churches to supplement or replace a single pastor with a team of ‘elders’. I contend this mode of governance is unscriptural, impractical and unconventional. This pamphlet is designed to argue the case why Baptist churches should retain their historic practice of appointing one bishop/pastor, assisted by a group of deacons. I have completed a comprehensive textbook on this subject, which is under review for publication. In the interim, this pamphlet is an abridged preview of the larger forthcoming work, and I extend special thanks to Adam Nixon who encouraged the pamphlet’s preparation, and to Yasmin Cooper and Kevin Price for their editorial notes and helpful suggestions.

Jared Smith

May 2017

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Introduction

18 May 2015, by

It is commonplace to hear it staunchly affirmed by preachers that the term elder is one and the same with bishop and pastor; that the term is usually used in the plural, indicating the early churches were overseen by a plurality of elders. Hence, it is argued, if churches today are to reflect the most Scriptural form of governance, then elders must be appointed as overseers.

• Some believe there is parity among the elders, wherein all share equal authority as teachers/rulers; whereas others believe there is…

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When the term elder is used within Christian circles, it conjures up ideas of ecclesiastical clergy, either elected to office by the congregation, or appointed to office by the denomination. In fact, it is only within Christian churches that the term elder is made to mean something other than persons honored in virtue of their age, wisdom and influence. This irregular interpretation is rooted in a flawed hermeneutic of several biblical texts which refer to elders. It is assumed, because a few scripture passages use the term elder when identifying a bishop/pastor, that therefore, most (if not all) references to elders in the early churches must be bishops/pastors. The absurdity of this presupposition is comparable to one who boasts that all…

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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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Eldership advocates tend to sing the praises of the many benefits a church receives by appointing a plurality of elders. Seldom do they sound the alarm for the serious problems that arise from the appointment. Baptist historian Dr. Kenneth Dix confessed this was the initiating cause which led him to reject plural elderships—he believed too many churches have jumped on the bandwagon without giving sufficient thought to the inevitable problems arising from an eldership. To name just a few drawbacks:

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It is sometimes argued by eldership advocates that they are reforming contemporary churches to reflect the type of governance found in the primitive churches of the New Testament era and the Baptist churches of the Reformation era. However, I have demonstrated that the primitive churches recognized elders as unofficial leaders (household heads), rather than the official leaders (bishops). As for the Baptist churches of the Reformation era, there is no evidence…

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Conclusion

18 May 2015, by

Eldership advocates are not only misguided in what they believe about elders, but they are also mistaken in their crusade to pressure Baptist churches into adopting elderships. Their error is enlarged by their misleading interpretations of scripture and historic Confessional statements. Such is the nature of their self-confidence and arrogance, that many churches are giving in to this pressure through sheer intimidation. Churches should not fear eldership advocates…

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As I am in the middle of finishing an exhaustive book on the subject of elders, it is frustrating that I am not yet ready to fire back at those who are exerting great effort in promoting this newfangled theory of a plural eldership in Baptist churches. Their forceful claims to have received an inner revelation from God’s Word to which our Baptist forefathers were ignorant, is quite frankly a very arrogant position to nurture. When they boast their theory of leadership in churches is the ‘biblical way’, they censure and condemn all churches who have…

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