• Samuel Walker

    An Appraisal Of My Pastoral Ministry For The Year 1858

    My Dear People,—The close of one year, and the commencement of another, is calculated to suggest solemn thoughts—none perhaps more solemn than those which arise out of the relation of pastor and flock. In that relation you and I have stood to each other during the year that is gone, and nothing is more uncertain than the continuance of that relation to the end of the year that is coming. This point of itself is worthy of notice by both of us in our respective positions. The notice of it which my heart suggests to me is, a few simple observations, not addressed to you merely from the pulpit as in the course of my ordinary ministrations, but in a somewhat more permanent shape; such…

  • Jared Smith on Eldership

    3 The Origin of Eldership

    In our previous studies, I have set out my understanding of the term elder—that it is an unofficial title of honor given to men and women, who by virtue of their age and experience, are sought after for their wisdom and influence by the younger members of society. That this is the basic meaning of the Hebrew and Greek terms, together with the universally accepted use of the term in every village and province around the world, cannot be disputed. It is only among certain Christian denominations the meaning has been changed to include an official title of appointment representing one and the same office as bishop/pastor. I believe this is an abuse of the term which has led to erroneous views of church governance. 

  • Jared Smith on Eldership

    2 Identifying Biblical Eldership

    If a plurality of elders is the scriptural mode for church governance, as asserted by the Reformed Baptists, then every church falling short of this practice is in error. And a serious error it is, for the Reformed Baptists have made this issue a leading point of doctrine. Their biblical thesis for a plural eldership hinges on four propositions: First, church officers were chosen from the congregation at which time they became ‘elders’ (whether it be teaching or ruling elders). Second, the pattern recorded in the New Testament always points to each church having a plurality of elders. Third, this scriptural pattern is paramount to an apostolic prescription that is binding on each church—ideally, every congregation is responsible to appoint a plural eldership.  Fourth, the…

  • Jared Smith on Eldership

    1 An Introduction To Plural Eldership

    During the 1950’s, a resurgence of Presbyterian theology greatly influenced a number of Baptist ministers. At that time, a revision was made on how Baptist churches should function. Drawing from the Presbyterian teachings on church polity, it was advocated that each congregation should be served by a plurality of elders and deacons. Elders would be responsible for the spiritual welfare of the church; deacons would be responsible for the physical upkeep of the church. As this concept was developed, two camps of plural eldership emerged:

  • Jared Smith on Eldership

    Preface To The Teaching Transcripts

    The following articles are transcripts (with slight revisions) of my pulpit teachings between the years 2010-2013, given to the church meeting at Kensington Place, London, over which I was then pastor. In the Autumn of 2009, the church came under internal and external pressures to replace the pastoral office with a plural eldership, as advocated by the Reformed Baptists. Since this type of polity had never been practiced by the 150 year old church, I was not quick to adopt the system. Nevertheless, I was willing to make the change so long as the Scriptures sanctioned it. The arguments set forth by the plural eldership proponents were strong and convincing—on a biblical and practical level. However, there were a number of contradictions and unsettled issues…

  • Edward Hiscox's New Directory For Baptist Churches

    11 The Christian Ministry

    Few questions can be so vitally important to any Church, whether as relates to its own peace and prosperity, or to the success of the work it is appointed to do, as that of the kind of ministry which shall serve and lead it. No greater blessing can be granted of Heaven to a Church than a capable, judicious, pious pastor; and no greater calamity can befall one than to have an incompetent, unfaithful, secularized, and worldly minded minister. The people naturally contemplate the office with feelings of reverence, and consequently regard the incumbent with very great deference, to say the least. The young, in a special manner, consider what he says as true, and what he, does as right. The position commands high regard,…