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Pastors

“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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Based on Bob Juch’s Kin, I have traced my maternal ancestry to Jean de la Fontaine, born in the year 1375. The information contained in this article is gathered verbatim from Descendants of Jean de la Fontaine. This website acknowledges: “Some information in this family tree is taken from the book, “From Riches to Rags to Respectability – a Fontaine Family,” written by Winston F. Fontaine and published for the author by Alabama Ancestors, Mobile, Alabama, 1987, and is submitted with the permission of the author.”

I have chosen to submit this article to the online resources of the AHB, because I share…

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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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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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This is the first article setting forth representative documents that support the truth that Baptist Churches have always had pastors and deacons as their Biblical church officers.

The First London Confession of 1644/46 and the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1677/89 are no doubt the two most influential Confessions of faith in existence. These confessions hold much weight in any discussion of Church Polity. Both can be found in Lumpkin’s Baptist Confessions of Faith. On page 166 of the First London Confession, in Article XXXVI, the subscribers tell us . . .

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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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Augustus Hopkins Strong (1836-1921), a leading Theologian espousing Particular Baptist convictions and author of “Systematic Theology”. With reference to the pastoral office in a church, he wrote:

In certain of the New Testament churches there appears to have been a plurality of elders (Acts 20:17; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5). There is, however, no evidence that the number of elders was uniform or that the plurality which frequently existed was due to any other cause than the size of the churches for which these elders cared.

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