New Calvinism finds home in Durham, NC.

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New Calvinism finds home in Durham, NC.

Postby Gene Scarborough » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:45 am

From the other side of the coin in SBC changes and local church stuff:

http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/7011/53/

A North Carolina pastor shares his decade-old story of getting rid of women deacons and instituting elder rule at his Southern Baptist congregation in an on-line journal issue devoted to “revitalize” and “reform” of declining churches.

The lead article of the November-December eJournal of 9Marks Ministries begins with Andrew Davis’ recollection of the Sunday morning of Aug. 19, 2001, when he called on members of First Baptist Church in Durham, N.C., to “repent” for electing their first-ever woman deacon.


I'm mystified about the Elder thing and how a pastor can take a traditional church and make changes like this. He obviously got under the skin of long-time members. The church had lost many members by its age and location. I also note it is his story of the events and not any members of the church are quoted!
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Re: New Calvinism finds home in Durham, NC.

Postby John Sneed » Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:13 pm

I am always happy to see a church delve into a deeper doctrinal stance and give up the "strained peas" that passes for theology in most churches.

Good for this church reforming!
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Re: New Calvinism finds home in Durham, NC.

Postby Gene Scarborough » Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:15 pm

How about----demeaning women?????
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Re: New Calvinism finds home in Durham, NC.

Postby Sandy » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:43 pm

Reading Dr Davis' article in the 9Mark ejournal, it sounds like he did exactly what the scripture outlines for organization of the church's spiritual and servant leadership. Most Baptists look at elder rule as being a "Calvinist" influence, and perhaps that's so, but if you look at the role of "Deacons" as described and recorded in scripture, they were never intended to serve as a "board of directors" or on a level of spiritual authority accorded to the congregation as a whole and to the pastor as the "overseer". Paul and Peter both define the positions, indicating that the pastor is the "head elder" and the work of the elders extends to providing spiritual leadership in preaching, teaching and ministry of the word, while the deacons are the church's servants. Most Baptist critics of this way of doing things appeal to "traditional Baptist polity" rather than submitting to a "presbyterian" form of church government, but actually, in this particular case, as Davis describes it, the elders function under the authority of the congregation.

His description of the church leadership when he arrived, with a group of deacons who exercised power and control because of who they were, what they contributed, and how long they had been there, could have applied to thousands of Baptist churches anywhere. It is certainly similar to several churches in which I have served. Nine times out of ten, they are not interested in anything except maintaining the status quo of the church, control of the budget, and are committed to keeping the pastor "in his place." They are opposed to any kind of change or sense of direction that takes the church away from what they want, and from their comfort zone, even if it is Biblical. Groups of powerful deacons are probably the main reason most older Baptist churches plateau and then go into decline, because they are built around pleasing themselves rather than reaching the lost.

If a pastor does come along who steps up and faces them toe to toe, and insists on doing things scripturally, he usually doesn't last very long. However, if there are enough people in the congregation who stand with him, and he can get into a position where he can change the church and restructure it on a Biblical model, there are long term, old line members who leave. In most cases, that becomes an open door to real growth, as the church is usually in a position, related to its resources, location and visibility, to do things that are outwardly focused instead of inwardly focused. The baptisty goes back into regular use. Discipleship grows and develops. Looks like that is exactly what is happening at FBC Durham, as it also happened at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, where Mark Dever is pastor. There is a record of success in the revitalization of Baptist churches that follow this pattern.
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Re: New Calvinism finds home in Durham, NC.

Postby John Sneed » Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:08 pm

That was a well spoken reply Sandy.
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Re: New Calvinism finds home in Durham, NC.

Postby Gene Scarborough » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:02 am

I think you are saying the church can become a glorified social club rather that a fellowship of witnesses ministering together.

I wonder, though, if a strong-willed pastor establishes himelf as the King of the Church, that won't amount to the same thing after a while????

Not trying to argue because I have experienced the same Deacon "Board" approach---they were only interested in "business matters" rather than spiritual matters and helping their assigned families. I wanted to consider Deacons as assistants to the pastor.

In 2 cases we didn't have real problems to solve because the church was growing and changing so they came up with a problem = ME!!!!
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Re: New Calvinism finds home in Durham, NC.

Postby Sandy » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:18 am

Gene Scarborough wrote:I think you are saying the church can become a glorified social club rather that a fellowship of witnesses ministering together.

I wonder, though, if a strong-willed pastor establishes himelf as the King of the Church, that won't amount to the same thing after a while????

Not trying to argue because I have experienced the same Deacon "Board" approach---they were only interested in "business matters" rather than spiritual matters and helping their assigned families. I wanted to consider Deacons as assistants to the pastor.

In 2 cases we didn't have real problems to solve because the church was growing and changing so they came up with a problem = ME!!!!


The strong-willed pastor is also a problem. I've seen that as well. It can be "successful" in terms of attracting new people to the church, and motivating members to use their spiritual gifts. But there's a vacuum when he leaves, because the whole thing is based on attraction with the pastor's preaching and personality at the center of it. Once he's gone, there aren't any developed, trained leaders to take over, and the church dwindles until they can call another personality to the pulpit.

The elder model isn't the end of all similar problems, either. The selection of leadership is important, and a group of elders involved in ministry leadership can be every bit as focused on the use of their own influence and power in the church as a group of deacons can be. There's a balance that takes careful management to achieve. The key is keeping the focus off of personalities and individuals, influence and personal kingdom building, and keeping it Biblically sound and scripturally focused, with a strong sense of being guided by the Holy Spirit.
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Re: New Calvinism finds home in Durham, NC.

Postby Gene Scarborough » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:29 am

Is it possible the real secret to a growing church is that it be:

1) Genuinely spiritual
2) Truely loving and accepting
3) Be involved in forgiveness more than judgement
4) Expevience love and respect between pastor / leaders / average members = teamwork

That just my quick pick off the top of my head so feel free to add others. It's much wiser to put out jewels for growth and success than throw rocks at one another over "who is right and leading right."

To that I add: just growing numbers does not prove it is God-blessed. God could be rejoicing that a sick big church is helping weed problems away from smaller ones wanting to be loving and forgiving!!! Simon the Magician was drawing big crowds, but not to Jesus it seemed!
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