9Marks Churches

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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby William Thornton » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:46 am

Since I started seminary 35 years ago, SBC churches that have elders have moved from a very, very few to a minority but quite common especially among new churches.

One should make a distinction between elder "led" and elder "ruled" churches. Both are baptistic by being non-hierarchical and autonomous but the former is congregationally governed and the latter not. I think there are historical precedents for baptist churches having elders.

I attend an SBC church that has a "lead pastor" who is an elder, a few lay elders, but no deacons.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Sandy » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:56 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:You conflated some things here Sandy. Inerrant, infallible, and authoritative are three different things and neither inerrancy or infallibility is necessary to believe the Bible is authoritative. No one in the SBC ever said the Bible wasn't authoritative.


I respectfully disagree with that. There were those in the SBC who were distinguishing between parts of the Bible that they considered "less" authoritative than others, and parts which they did not consider authoritative at all, including invoking the "Jesus criterion" to discount and dismiss parts of the Bible because Jesus didn't directly address them. But that's a different discussion.

Timothy Bonney wrote:The nine marks aren't bad. But just strike me as oddball or semi-redundant or even semi-condecending. Almost everyone of them includes the word "Biblical" as if other Christian's exposition, sharing of the goodnews, evangelism, may or may not be Biblical? Also his insistence of using the term "expositional" when the more usual term for the same thing is expository seems a bit odd. Bu,t the wording makes the group sound sectarian.


It may be that there is an element of this involved with the group. Thirty years ago, with the thinking and paradigms that were in place, you could probably draw that conclusion. But this group is largely drawn from the under 50 crowd, and in fact, I'd say probably under 40. They're more interested in clarifying, and establishing the foundations of their own faith than they are in using such terms to set themselves above others. And while that's not universally the case across all of the 9 Marks network, Dever's congregation is a young group made up mostly of people without a religious background. Because that in and of itself is so unusual in Protestant Christianity these days, with median ages of denominational churches now approaching 60, the appeal of 9Marks may be that churches think they can use its principles to reach into this age group.

Timothy Bonney wrote:The group is apparently opposed to the social elements of the gospel denying their existence. http://www.9marks.org/answers/what-are- ... are-gospel . That's pretty shaky ground theologically when Jesus made meeting the needs of the "least of these" one of the requirements of the kingdom.


Well, again, while this is a network of churches, and one certainly doesn't speak for all, Capitol Hill Baptist is probably one of the most active churches in this regard in DC, along with National Community Church, their social ministries are among the most visible in the DC area.

As far as "historic Baptist practice" goes, there's really no line in the sand among various traditions of independent, autonomous churches, and loose confederations of churches that form denominations, as opposed to the connectional churches. In the UMC, there's an ecclesiastical authority apart from the local congregations, and as I understand it, they determine everything from polity to the content of Sunday school literature. Baptists don't have that, as you know, and there's always been a reformed influence among Baptists. Church polity isn't definitive of historic Baptist practice as independence and church autonomy is.

Timothy Bonney wrote:I honestly don't understand the value of such parachurch organizations for churches that are in a denomination. The SBC has plenty of resources for local churches without these kind of groups.


I agree. But the parachurch "book and video" business is a lucrative one, and in a denomination that has always pretty much functioned by the influence of its "prominent" and highly visible individuals who have established themselves as authors, especially of the curriculum materials that churches use. And in the SBC, since the BSSB/Lifeway more or less hand picked the "insiders", others took their program to be published and promoted elsewhere. I hate to sound cynical, but the income from these sources is quite high, with book and video sales, study guides, sequels, conferences. Look at David Platt. Would he be the new IMB head without the influence of his "Radical" parachurch program? Follow the cash.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Lou » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:50 am

Haruo wrote:I don't think the fact that Jesus was baptized has any bearing on the question of whether the apostles were baptized. On the latter point as far as I know the scriptures are silent. There's lots of stuff about Jesus' baptism, and a fair amount about apostles baptizing others (and about Jesus telling them to do so), but as for Peter, Paul, Thaddeus, or even Judas Iscariot having been baptized, I don't see it there. Citation?

As for Saul/Paul, see Acts 9:18. There is no mention of the other apostles being baptized, although in agreement with other commenters here I think it's a safe assumption to make that they were. But Haruo's implied point that the 9Marks guys (like all the rest of us) do in fact sometimes assume facts not in Scriptural evidence, is well taken.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:39 pm

William Thornton wrote:Since I started seminary 35 years ago, SBC churches that have elders have moved from a very, very few to a minority but quite common especially among new churches.

One should make a distinction between elder "led" and elder "ruled" churches. Both are baptistic by being non-hierarchical and autonomous but the former is congregationally governed and the latter not. I think there are historical precedents for baptist churches having elders.

I attend an SBC church that has a "lead pastor" who is an elder, a few lay elders, but no deacons.


By "both are Baptistic" do you mean that Baptist churches do it or that it fits the theology of Baptists? (Realizing that Baptists are autonomous and can believe pretty muchy anything.)

What I remember from Baptist history and doctrine classes was that the Pastor/Deacon arrangement was the original historic way of organizing Baptist churches. Also that is what is found in the BFM last I remember. Also the previous verson of the BFM (1920?) called the pastor the Elder of the church. That seems like a significant theological change between 1920 and 2014.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:27 pm

Sandy, I'm really surprised you'd reference the removal of Jesus as the criterion for as evidence for not believing in Biblical authority. From my perspective that change actually lessoned the role of Jesus and lifted up the Bible as a paper savior. Conservative Protestants castigate some Roman Catholics for making Mary "co-redemtrix" with Jesus. But removing Jesus as the criterion for scriptural interpretation verges on the error of making the Bible "co-redeemer" with Jesus. It was a theologically dangerous move because there are many many lenses through which you can interpret the Bible. If Jesus isn't the lens for interpretation you tread on shakey ground.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:28 pm

Lou wrote:
Haruo wrote:I don't think the fact that Jesus was baptized has any bearing on the question of whether the apostles were baptized. On the latter point as far as I know the scriptures are silent. There's lots of stuff about Jesus' baptism, and a fair amount about apostles baptizing others (and about Jesus telling them to do so), but as for Peter, Paul, Thaddeus, or even Judas Iscariot having been baptized, I don't see it there. Citation?


I see early church practices as being some what in flux still in the developmental stages. So requirments for baptism may not have been yet universally applied.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Sandy » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:56 pm

For Baptists, the distinction is in the difference between General Baptists (unlimited atonement) and Particular Baptists, or Baptists in the Reformed theological tradition, based on their belief in what they termed "particular" redemption. While the theology and church order of the General Baptists prevailed, there have always been those in the Reformed tradition.

As the SBC developed, it was much more influenced by General Baptists. The BFM reflects church polity, but not in a way that is as definitive as a doctrinal statement on this particular point might be in a Presbyterian or Lutheran denomination.

As far as the "Jesus criterion" goes, it was not, nor was "He", removed from the BFM. The statement that replaced it, "All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation. " is much clearer, and a much stronger statement that Jesus simply being a "criterion" for the interpretation of random passages of scripture. If scripture is a testimony to Jesus, that's much clearer regarding his role as Savior than the criterion statement, which only emphasizes his teaching role.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:08 pm

Sandy, I do remember the different strains of Baptist history from General and Particular Baptists. And I know the SBC has always been a mix. However as I go back through Baptist confessions of faith I don't find confessions that hold up any kind of Elder model. I also know that Baptist churches are entirely (and from my perspective frightenly) autonomous.

Does that ever bother you or concern you? It is conceivable that through church autonomy a Baptist church (or even a denomination) could entirely depart from anything connected to historic Baptist polity or doctrine and yet call itself Baptist. I would think conservative Baptist would have some concern about losing their historic beliefs. I think some do since there has been some what of a conflict over the growing Calvinist movement in the SBC.

If a church abandons the historic polity of having a Pastor and Deacons for a Presbyterian Session of Elders what exactly makes it a Baptist church other than its autonomy which many non-baptist churches possess?

I think that current SBC leadership has a reason to be concerned with creeping Calvinism in the denomination.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Sandy » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:30 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:Sandy, I do remember the different strains of Baptist history from General and Particular Baptists. And I know the SBC has always been a mix. However as I go back through Baptist confessions of faith I don't find confessions that hold up any kind of Elder model. I also know that Baptist churches are entirely (and from my perspective frightenly) autonomous.

Does that ever bother you or concern you? It is conceivable that through church autonomy a Baptist church (or even a denomination) could entirely depart from anything connected to historic Baptist polity or doctrine and yet call itself Baptist. I would think conservative Baptist would have some concern about losing their historic beliefs. I think some do since there has been some what of a conflict over the growing Calvinist movement in the SBC.

If a church abandons the historic polity of having a Pastor and Deacons for a Presbyterian Session of Elders what exactly makes it a Baptist church other than its autonomy which many non-baptist churches possess?

I think that current SBC leadership has a reason to be concerned with creeping Calvinism in the denomination.


Part of the reason for not really seeing confessions of faith that hold up an elder model is that the groups which have them are so autonomous that they don't really have confessions of faith that are shared within the tradition or denomination. The Old Regular Baptists, and Primitive Baptists are staunch Calvinists, but outside of their associations, there are no written "confessions" of faith.

I believe there was an author, maybe Baker James Cauthen, who characterized the SBC as a "rope of sand." Churches that stick together closely for missions cooperation and yet each church an individual grain, autonomous and independent. There are Baptist churches who use the name, but are a far cry from "historic" Baptist principles, Westboro comes to mind, though I think there are others. But the ecclesiastical authority in the church is invested in the leadership of the local church, and no priesthood except that of the believers themselves. And as far as denominations are concerned, historic principles are trumped by Biblical principles. I'm not that big on denominational ecclesiastical authority. I think a local body of believers can invest trust in leadership that "leads" but doesn't necessarily "rule," is knowledgeable about how to interpret Biblical principles and teaching, and which senses and follows the dynamic of the Holy Spirit, and be pleasing to God. Churches, if they're spiritually connected and Biblically sound, rarely wander off track. It's more important to connect people to the body of Christ than it is to promote a denominational principle or distinctive. At least, to me it is.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:18 pm

Sandy, I get the idea of a "rope of sand." But are there boundries beyond which a Baptist church is no longer a Baptist church? If they aren't even using sand any more..... :lol:

Or is being Baptist totally reduced entirely to local autonomy? Is that the only distinctive that matters or really exists?

Also, I don't have Lumkin's book on Baptist confessions any more. I gave it to a Baptist friend since I didn't expect to use it much any more. But I remember quite a few of the confessions being from Particular Baptists and I remember no confession even by Particular Baptists that argued for a group of lay elders.

Historically Baptists were pretty close to Methodists on this. Early Baptist yearly annuals called pastors (not lay people) Elders. And the 1920 BFM uses that term for pastors as in Elders and Deacons with Deacons being lay people.

It seems like a big departure to me from historic Baptist principles. Not a big to me but I'm just surprised so few people seem to care that a number of Southern Baptists are bit by bit become a group of autonomous Reformed congregations with nearly Presbyterian polity.

The other question I have is the big Why?? What value do pastors see in convincing their churches to replace Deacons with lay Elders? I don't honestly see the point.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby William Thornton » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:54 pm

Timothy: The other question I have is the big Why?? What value do pastors see in convincing their churches to replace Deacons with lay Elders? I don't honestly see the point.

Some think it will avoid deacon dominated churches. Some think it proper because Mohler or Dever or someone else said so. Some go with the flow of the young, hip, restless, critical new clergy crop - peer pressure. Some insist the Bible demands it. Take your pick.

It is a trend. Some would say it is a fad.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Sandy » Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:36 pm

I don't think there's ever been conclusive agreement among Baptists as to what actually constitutes "historic Baptist principles" and what doesn't. There are some confessions of faith, but those are generally heavy toward things like soul freedom, the unique connection made between professing salvation, baptism and church membership, the nature of the triune God, the spontaneity and freedom of expression in worship, and if church polity and order is a factor, it is the lack of separation between clergy and laity, and the independence and autonomy of the local church, that are uniquely "Baptist." I haven't been in a Baptist church with elders, as far as being able to observe how that works, but in the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the churches are elder "led", not "ruled" and the congregation is consulted, via an annual meeting, regarding elder reports and decisions made.

If a "historic Baptist principle" is determined not to be consistent with sound Biblical interpretation, then it is subject to change, to make certain the church is Biblical in practice and teaching, which is in itself as Baptist as you can be, with an identity that rests on the statement, "No creed but the Bible."
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:54 am

William Thornton wrote:
Some think it will avoid deacon dominated churches. Some think it proper because Mohler or Dever or someone else said so. Some go with the flow of the young, hip, restless, critical new clergy crop - peer pressure. Some insist the Bible demands it. Take your pick.

It is a trend. Some would say it is a fad.


Thanks William! That is the best answer I've heard on the topic.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:04 am

Sandy wrote: I haven't been in a Baptist church with elders, as far as being able to observe how that works, but in the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the churches are elder "led", not "ruled" and the congregation is consulted, via an annual meeting, regarding elder reports and decisions made.

If a "historic Baptist principle" is determined not to be consistent with sound Biblical interpretation, then it is subject to change, to make certain the church is Biblical in practice and teaching, which is in itself as Baptist as you can be, with an identity that rests on the statement, "No creed but the Bible."


What is the difference between Elder led and Elder ruled? Every kind of church I know of who has lay Elders elects them in an annual meeting and, at least on some things, consults with the congregation including my DOC and Presbyterian friends.

As to Biblical principles, I think Baptists had it right the first time when pastors were the Elders of the church but I find it quite interesting that now some Baptists are ending up thinking being more like Presbyterians or Disciples of Christ is actually more Biblical. Go figure.

Doctrines that change with the direction of the wind bother me. And since the Bible hasn't changed, creed or no creed, I don't see where they are now coming up with this new view of church polity. But, if this is where some Baptists want to go it doesn't matter to me. I just find it odd and surprising that a group that claims as one of its doctrinal standards placing the Bible first can end up with very different beliefs than its own founders had.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Sandy » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:15 am

Not having ever been in an "elder ruled" church, I don't have a frame of reference as to how that works out in practice. In a CMA church, the elders provide leadership for various church ministries, we have an elder who oversees the discipleship/small groups/educational ministry that includes Sunday School, VBS, and anything related to the teaching ministry, we have an elder who oversees the work of the deacons in ministry such as the food pantry, benevolence, widow care, we have an elder who oversees the finances of the church, we have an elder who looks after building and grounds, an elder who serves as associate pastor and takes care of youth, college and age group ministries, and the pastor is an elder in charge of worship and spiritual life. They provide leadership for these ministries, but the church is ruled by congregational polity, through its business session. The elders are required to report to the congregation, and they vote on recommendations made by the elders regarding their areas of ministry. It's not too different from a Baptist church where deacons do those kinds of things.

Timothy Bonney wrote:Doctrines that change with the direction of the wind bother me. And since the Bible hasn't changed, creed or no creed, I don't see where they are now coming up with this new view of church polity.


That's a straw man characterization. Doctrines don't "change with the direction of the wind." These kind of churches put a lot of thought and study into what they do. Church polity isn't doctrine. And seriously, I doubt that the percentages of Calvinists and Reformed, elder led churches among Baptists is much different today than it was fifty years ago, the difference being that now they tend to be the kinds of churches which appeal to younger people because of their emphasis on expository preaching, practical application, and relevant worship rather than on historic traditions, and they are becoming more active and engaged, via social media and technology, in the denomination. As evidenced by the statement of Capitol Hill Baptist on their cooperation with the SBC, the emphasis is on mission support and cooperation, not control. The old heads perceive it as a threat, but I don't think it is.

I find it somewhat thrilling, and personally inspirational to worship with a church that is deeply focused on glorifying God and making a connection with the Holy Spirit in worship, and isn't focused on maintaining some form of denominational "identity." The first time I visited Ecclesia Church in Houston, they were worshipping on Sunday afternoons in the old West End Baptist Church in Houston, a congregation whose 1,500 seat sanctuary, complete with chandeliers and balcony, dated back to the mid 1940's. It had dwindled down to about 60 older people, unable to connect with the upscale, eclectic, diverse community that had developed around it, and probably hadn't seen more than 100 in worship for decades, but the afternoon I visited, the sanctuary was literally jammed to the top of the balcony, and extra chairs had to be brought in for the hand-clapping, joyous, freely worshiping group of people who had gathered. They are actually a congregation that remains connected to the SBC, supportive of the Cooperative Program, and I believe they are elder led, though they are not particularly Reformed or Calvinist in their other doctrinal views. Rather than seeing their building put to good use, West End eventually tossed them out because, golly, they used electric guitars, a keyboard and drums during worship. The depth and purposefulness of their Bible study has become evident in that they have produced an extremely accurate, and clearly readable translation of the Bible, The Voice, which, unlike The Message is a full, scholarly translation of the Bible. It has become my preferred version for both reading and study. That's a church that's serious about getting into the scripture, and it is clearly not a "we want to write our own version" kind of thing.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Haruo » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:31 am

"Elder ruled" makes me think of the polity where the Elders are a self-perpetuating board, i.e. when a vacancy occurs, the Elders elect a new Elder to fill it. No power resides in the congregation in such a polity. Very biblical, look at how Judas Iscariot was replaced in the case of the Twelve. However, I doubt if many present-day churches of this stripe draw straws to let the Spirit lead.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:17 am

Sandy wrote:

That's a straw man characterization. Doctrines don't "change with the direction of the wind." These kind of churches put a lot of thought and study into what they do. Church polity isn't doctrine.


Polity is doctrinal for Baptists and a lot of other Christians. I can't imagine that Baptists doctrinally would be OK with abandoning congregational polity for example and they'd refuse to do that on a doctrinal basis. The change to a lay Elder system looks to me like it usually comes from the Pastor and not from a thought out action by the church, at least in its origin.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Sandy » Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:01 pm

The BFM statement on the church:

Baptist Faith and Message 2000 wrote:A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.


So, what here would keep a congregation from designating elders as leaders of its ministry, handing them a pastoral responsibility, paid or not, and considering them a "pastor" of something? Obviously this is congregational polity, but the word "pastor" is used interchangeably in the New Testament with other terms translated from the Greek, Episkopos. A church can be both congregational, and elder led. Most Baptists function that way.

That's a very similar statement to those found in the previous BFM confessions, going back to at least 1925. Don't see anything there that would prevent a church from utilizing an elder led as opposed to deacon led congregation.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:43 pm

Sandy wrote:So, what here would keep a congregation from designating elders as leaders of its ministry, handing them a pastoral responsibility, paid or not, and considering them a "pastor" of something? Obviously this is congregational polity, but the word "pastor" is used interchangeably in the New Testament with other terms translated from the Greek, Episkopos. A church can be both congregational, and elder led. Most Baptists function that way.

That's a very similar statement to those found in the previous BFM confessions, going back to at least 1925. Don't see anything there that would prevent a church from utilizing an elder led as opposed to deacon led congregation.


Aren't you ignoring " Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons...." ?

My reading of Elder in the New Testament, which hasn't changed since I became a Methodist, is that the Elder is the ordained pastor of the church. I agree that Episcopal (Bishop) and Presbuteros (Elder) are both the same office. (Methodists also agree with that one too. Our Bishops are Elders with the function of overseer.)

If a Board of Elders is really the pastor(s) of the church than they should be ordained as pastors rather than constituted as a lay body.

All this removes the role for deacons in the Baptist church which is supposed to be a servant role. But then Baptists have often acted like the Deacons were a ruling board rather than a group of servants, also not a good use of Baptist polity.

Sandy, you may be able to bend the BFM 2000 to make Elder board fit it but I don't think that was the intention of the writers. I also know that Baptists don't really care much about confessional statements. I just find it interesting that by the confessional statements the SBC does have that the polity of some churches is shifting away from the historic, the pastor and deacons are the leaders of the church which the pastor being understood as the Elder (presbyter) to the idea that a lay board are the elders and who knows what the deacons do now.

Some day maybe the SBC can rightfully change its name to the Southern Congregationalist Presbyterians. :lol:
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Sandy » Wed Sep 03, 2014 2:16 pm

I believe that elders are ordained. I've never been in a Baptist church where a distinction was made between elders and deacons as far as the 'setting aside" or ordination was concerned, nor where there is a separate class of "clergy" as opposed to "laity." Pastors are theoretically chosen up out of the membership of a local church, and remain as members of a local church, even moving from one place to another. They are not distinguished as "clergy". And that, too, is a Baptist distinctive.

Timothy Bonney wrote:All this removes the role for deacons in the Baptist church which is supposed to be a servant role. But then Baptists have often acted like the Deacons were a ruling board rather than a group of servants, also not a good use of Baptist polity.


Deacons in many Baptist churches, including most of those I've served, function that way, so maybe the tendency is there to move in this direction.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Wed Sep 03, 2014 2:50 pm

No Sandy. I was formerly listed as clergy in an SBC annual, in associational minutes and annuals while in the SBC. Ordination is recognized for clergy beyond the local church even in the SBC. My ordination form from an SBC church says that I was ordained "to the work of the gospel ministry." I have seen deacon ordination certificates (I used to give them out too) and they don't say the same thing nor is the church voting to do the same thing. Pastor and Deacon ordination aren't the same and yes pastors are destinguished as clergy even though their membership is vested in the local church.

Are you sure you worked in the SBC I did? You sure did not sit in the same ordination councils.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby William Thornton » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:19 pm

Haruo wrote:"Elder ruled" makes me think of the polity where the Elders are a self-perpetuating board, i.e. when a vacancy occurs, the Elders elect a new Elder to fill it. No power resides in the congregation in such a polity. Very biblical, look at how Judas Iscariot was replaced in the case of the Twelve. However, I doubt if many present-day churches of this stripe draw straws to let the Spirit lead.


Right. Elders own and control the church.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Sandy » Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:43 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:No Sandy. I was formerly listed as clergy in an SBC annual, in associational minutes and annuals while in the SBC. Ordination is recognized for clergy beyond the local church even in the SBC. My ordination form from an SBC church says that I was ordained "to the work of the gospel ministry." I have seen deacon ordination certificates (I used to give them out too) and they don't say the same thing nor is the church voting to do the same thing. Pastor and Deacon ordination aren't the same and yes pastors are destinguished as clergy even though their membership is vested in the local church.

Are you sure you worked in the SBC I did? You sure did not sit in the same ordination councils.


Ordination in the SBC is strictly a local church matter. Yes, there are ordination councils, made up of other ordained ministers in the association or the area, but they are convened under the authority of the local church alone. Being listed in an associational or state convention annual is not a denominational endorsement or any sort of official recognition. Deacon ordinations, too, are often conducted with other ordained deacons from other churches invited to participate but they, too, are conducted only under the authority of the local church. The list of ordained ministers in an associational or state convention annual is compiled from the names submitted by the local churches where those pastors and staff members are members. Those lists are divided up by the kind of pastoral position the individuals hold, i.e. pastor, youth pastor, worship leader, discipleship minister, etc., and there is a list that is simply labeled "other" for retired, supply and interim ministers. An ordination council can't convene, and ordain a pastor without a confirming vote of his local church. And while most SBC churches will accept ordination from other churches "of like faith and order," usually meaning other Baptist churches, I've encountered some who don't recognize another congregation's ordination, and which convene a council every time they call a new pastor.

And since there is no ecclesiastical authority attached to ordination itself, without a local church involved, there's no "clerical" function outside of a local church. So a church that ordains elders would list them in the associational annual according to their ministry role. There are a lot of people listed in those annuals who are not "vocational" pastors. I'm not saying their roles are the same, but there's no ecclesiastical authority of pastors over deacons. Now, I've been in a few Baptist churches where the deacons definitely had a level of authority beyond servanthood, but there's no clerical order.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:50 pm

Sandy wrote:
Timothy Bonney wrote:No Sandy. I was formerly listed as clergy in an SBC annual, in associational minutes and annuals while in the SBC. Ordination is recognized for clergy beyond the local church even in the SBC. My ordination form from an SBC church says that I was ordained "to the work of the gospel ministry." I have seen deacon ordination certificates (I used to give them out too) and they don't say the same thing nor is the church voting to do the same thing. Pastor and Deacon ordination aren't the same and yes pastors are destinguished as clergy even though their membership is vested in the local church.

Are you sure you worked in the SBC I did? You sure did not sit in the same ordination councils.


Ordination in the SBC is strictly a local church matter. Yes, there are ordination councils, made up of other ordained ministers in the association or the area, but they are convened under the authority of the local church alone. Being listed in an associational or state convention annual is not a denominational endorsement or any sort of official recognition. Deacon ordinations, too, are often conducted with other ordained deacons from other churches invited to participate but they, too, are conducted only under the authority of the local church. The list of ordained ministers in an associational or state convention annual is compiled from the names submitted by the local churches where those pastors and staff members are members. Those lists are divided up by the kind of pastoral position the individuals hold, i.e. pastor, youth pastor, worship leader, discipleship minister, etc., and there is a list that is simply labeled "other" for retired, supply and interim ministers. An ordination council can't convene, and ordain a pastor without a confirming vote of his local church. And while most SBC churches will accept ordination from other churches "of like faith and order," usually meaning other Baptist churches, I've encountered some who don't recognize another congregation's ordination, and which convene a council every time they call a new pastor.

And since there is no ecclesiastical authority attached to ordination itself, without a local church involved, there's no "clerical" function outside of a local church. So a church that ordains elders would list them in the associational annual according to their ministry role. There are a lot of people listed in those annuals who are not "vocational" pastors. I'm not saying their roles are the same, but there's no ecclesiastical authority of pastors over deacons. Now, I've been in a few Baptist churches where the deacons definitely had a level of authority beyond servanthood, but there's no clerical order.


Ed: Sandy you stared well. In Baptist Polity ordination is a function of the local church, however in practice in each of the 9 SBC affiliated associations in which I participated for over 48 years every male ordained to The Gospel Ministry by a church in good standing with the SBC was recognized as an ordained minister. In fact for many years there was carte blanch reciprocity between SBC and ABC-USA, on this matter until (I have not looked up the year) sometime after the so caller SBC reformation was started the ABC-USA initiated a certification process for pastors coming from other entities including the SBC. But not all ordination councils where made up of ordained clergy I served on four as a layperson while in the SBC. And in none of those associations where there any churches with elder rule. In truth perhaps one could say the Deacons filled both roles. there where I belive a few associations in Kentucky that had elder rule when I was there But even in 90-92 I believe High View was the only one in the Long run association I am sure with Al's influence there are now more.
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Re: 9Marks Churches

Postby Timothy Bonney » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:34 pm

William Thornton wrote:
Haruo wrote:"Elder ruled" makes me think of the polity where the Elders are a self-perpetuating board, i.e. when a vacancy occurs, the Elders elect a new Elder to fill it. No power resides in the congregation in such a polity. Very biblical, look at how Judas Iscariot was replaced in the case of the Twelve. However, I doubt if many present-day churches of this stripe draw straws to let the Spirit lead.


Right. Elders own and control the church.


I guess I don't know of a church with this polity.
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