The Teaching Office

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The Teaching Office

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Phil Siefkes's picture
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Well said

Well said, Dr. Bauder. 

Discipling God's image-bearers to the glory of God.

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Programs with doctrinal components

Many churches have "bolt-on" programs with doctrinal components. Examples. AWANA and Growing Kids God's Way. 

  • Todd Mitchell has written a helpful review of the rewards culture of AWANA. I have concerns that they truly do not understand "believe". I wrote to AWANA HQ about this when I was a pastor and pointed out that there is a "commit" component to "believe" (seen in the translation of πιστεύω as "commit" in John 2:24). This was in response to AWANA material that specifically stated that "believe" does not mean "commit to"
  • Much has been written about Growing Kids God's Way (sample ... Google for more)
  • Same could be said for the financial improvement programs (Dave Ramsey
  • 20-40 years ago Gothard was the go to bolt on youth program! 

There should be pastoral oversight over all of these bolt-on programs. Just because they work and are popular doesn't mean they are doctrinally and methodologically sound. 

 

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AWANA a "third rail" ... touch it and you are toast

AWANA a "third rail" ... touch it and you are toast

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Our church uses Kids for

Our church uses Kids for Truth. My kids have grown out of it now but I found it to be an excellent program. Doctrinally excellent.

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AWANA

I have always had a big problem with the award culture in AWANA. If oversight is not controlled, the entire program quickly becomes about saying the most verses vice actual comprehension. In AWANA a while back, I had a young child perfectly recite Jn 3:16 to me. He'd already had a teacher sign his book. I asked him what it meant. He shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know!" 

This is not necessarily a fault of AWANA; but a Pastor must emphasize the goals of the program up front. It's not about AWANA bucks or trips to the AWANA Store, or about the prize at the end of year ceremony. It's about comprehension of the material and the Gospel. This goes back to Bauder's remark about responsibility for overseeing programs in the church. 

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Illinois. 

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josh p

I thought heavily about using Kids4Truth this coming Fall for Bible Club. In the end, I decided against it. We bought their VBS for this Summer, and while I found the content fine, the layout and organization of the program is haphazard and amateurish. The program was very hard to understand. I wasn't impressed. I feared their Kids Club material would be the same. Tell me what you've experienced with it, if you would!

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Illinois. 

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K4T- quick response

We've used K4T for about 5 years here, as well as some of the time we were in Maine. I am very happy with the content, and the program itself is very customizable to your situation. The HQ staff is very easy to work with, and would be something I would consider a strength of using the materials.

The potential downsides:

  • The content strikes some as being very intensive, initially- in my experience, more the parents and workers than kids.
  • They provide a lot of content- probably more than you'll be able to squeeze in if you run Sept-May.
  • The lessons that teachers give to the kids again, strikes many as being pretty intensive. Some get overwhelmed, and struggle to relate it to children.

That being said, in my experience, kids adjust well to it, and the principles they retain provide an excellent doctrinal foundation upon which to build as they get older. 
If you want anything more than this, feel free to contact me!

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Ted Bigelow's picture
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Since When is Autonomy a Good Thing?

"Ultimately, the congregation must define the church’s doctrinal parameters."

Yes, that is true... in the congregational system.

But in Christianity, the apostles of Jesus Christ define the church's doctrinal parameters.

Kevin - you forgot Acts 16:4. If the congregational provided the ultimate approval at the business meeting, then why did Luke approve the apostles lying to all the brethren in Derbe and Lystra?

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Who do you

recognize as Apostles in 2014.

Ted Bigelow wrote:

SNIP

But in Christianity, the apostles of Jesus Christ define the church's doctrinal parameters.

SNIP

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

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Who do you recognize?

Rob - the apostles in 2014 are the same apostles in the first century.

Jesus Christ made a promise to them by which they are the foundation of all Christian doctrine. Referring to the teaching ministry of His Holy Spirit to His own personally chosen apostles, Christ said, "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth" (John 16:13) . The "you' of this verse is not Kevin's church, but the apostles.

So those who believe Christ to be the Son of God incarnate believe the writings of His apostles to be all the truth, which are collected in the 27 books of the NT. These men's writings, and nothing else, are the ultimate parameters of doctrine, not the people of each church, as Kevin teaches (congregationalism).

If you accept what Kevin teaches you accept defection from Christ. His teaching not-so-subtly shifts submission to the apostles and the ministry they received directly from Christ to the people of one's church. Principally, it is no different than Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, or the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Hence, the authority in his religion defects from Jesus Christ's apostles to his own church, from God, to man.

 

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That is exactly right Ted.

That is exactly right Ted.  Kevin glossed right over Acts 16:4, which alone renders his entire article unhelpful.

Acts 15:6 - "Then the apostles and the elders assembled to consider this matter."

Acts 16:4 - "As they traveled through the towns, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem for them to observe."

Who met to decide?  Who made the decision?  The apostles and elders.  Kevin apparently saw that the church welcomed them and therefore had a say in the matter.  No, as you see from the text, the church AGREED with the decision of the apostles and elders.

Kevin's series has reminded me the words of William Tyndale: “If God spare my life, ere many years pass, I will cause a boy that driveth the plow shall know more of the Scripture than thou dost."  The simple who know the text demonstrate more knowledge of the Scriptures than many "doctors" today.

Paul addressed the situation where the church sets doctrine and allows the preacher to preach within those parameters in 2 Tim 4:3.  I wonder how much error Kevin thinks the new pastor must operate within to maintain integrity.  Teaching the truth by permission of the church is the mantra now I guess.

I do understand that the situation Kevin has described in his series is necessary to perpetuate his employment, but it is worldly thinking rather than Christian thinking on these topics.  If Jesus is Lord of the church, then his words stand as the final word.  Kevin's wisdom runs contrary to the scriptures and has perpetuated a false method, which will only lead to more ruin.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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TylerR wrote:

TylerR wrote:

I thought heavily about using Kids4Truth this coming Fall for Bible Club. In the end, I decided against it. We bought their VBS for this Summer, and while I found the content fine, the layout and organization of the program is haphazard and amateurish. The program was very hard to understand. I wasn't impressed. I feared their Kids Club material would be the same. Tell me what you've experienced with it, if you would!

Tyler,

I've never used the VBS program - didn't even know there was one, but I introduced K4T to the church I was pastoring almost 10 years ago. Even though I have been out of the pulpit for some time now, my wife and I decided to continue using it as our base homeschool Bible material for our elementary aged children. I love the program for both the kids and the adults involved. As Greg mentioned, the younger children cannot use the program without parental involvement, but the same thing is true in Awana and with school homework. The most important difference I found between Awana and K4T was the focus. Awana is more of an evangelistic program, while K4T is most emphatically designed to be a discipleship program. That is a philosophical approach that agrees with my understanding of the purpose of the church. It is primarily for the saved, not for the lost. Of course, there are many other issues with Awana that started me looking for an alternative in the first place. Frankly, the program is a lot simpler to run than Awana, and it is very malleable as Greg noted.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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James K

This:

I do understand that the situation Kevin has described in his series is necessary to perpetuate his employment, but it is worldly thinking rather than Christian thinking on these topics.  If Jesus is Lord of the church, then his words stand as the final word.  Kevin's wisdom runs contrary to the scriptures and has perpetuated a false method, which will only lead to more ruin.

was a really cheap shot. 

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Illinois. 

James K's picture
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Tyler, I have addressed

Tyler, I have addressed multiple times how seminaries as currently run are hindering the local church.  When pastors are trained for years and are somehow still unable to train their own people as the NT says, then something is fundamentally wrong with the system.  There is nothing wrong with perpetuating employment.  It is only wrong if the system is wrong.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Don't Blame the Seminaries

I've been around long enough to see the result of churches that think they don't need seminaries. While most are in their second generation, a few are in their third. The first pastor passed the role to a second generation who was usually the youth pastor (a title that is another subject) that he trained. Many times that heir was also his son. Like copies of copies on an old Xerox machine, the next generation was slightly less brilliant than the original. I've yet to see any whose theology and methods were sound but they were "safe" because that's what the patriarch believed. Are seminaries perfect? Of course not. Is practical training in a local church setting a necessity? Certainly. Seminary training should be coupled with a meaningful internship.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

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Priesthood of the believer anyone?

I agree that the lead pastor of the local church should have oversight of teaching within the church.   However, let's not forget the priesthood of the believer.   Every saint is a minister of the gospel.  As such every saint has a teaching role within the body of Christ.  

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Tyler, with respect to K4T I

Tyler, with respect to K4T I agree with Greg and Chip's assessments. My kids learned the material well and I was really impressed with the approach. To me AWANA seems like something closer to proof texts while K4T is exegetical and theological. IMHO it seems like kids need to learn theology just to deal with all the false things they will hear without the proper discernment and Bible knowledge to reject it. If however they know some basic theology then they have a stronger foundation. I believe K4T provides that. One thing that I found impressive is that it really emphasizes God's sovereignty in salvation and in all things. If you want to hear the creator explain his methodology check this out:

http://ccggrockford.org/childrens-ministry-as-biblical-discipleship-bob-...

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@Ted and James

So who are the pillar and ground of the truth?  Or does that verse refer to the institution, in your opinion?

I read Dr. Bauder's article and and understand it to mean that congregation holds today's pastor accountable to preach the doctrine they, the congregation, received from the last generation of teachers among them.  Presumably, this chain of doctrinal integrity would go all the way back to the apostles.  Although I'm not advocating any trail of this or that here. 

Of course, if there were a point of doctrine in the church confession that was erroneous, the elder(s), having met together and agreed on a correction, would be free to teach the congregation into the proper understanding, to the point that they would likely then vote to change the statement.  

I actually see Ted's articulation as closer to the Catholic mode than what Dr. Bauder espouses.  If the church doctrinal statement is, in practice, the personal theology of the pastor, then every time they get a new pastor, he will, like a little pope, issue new doctrinal edicts in his sermons.  

A confession jealously guarded by generation of members of the church who call pastors who conscientiously subscribe to said confession (which, of course, should be faithful to the doctrines of the apostles), guards better against an ad hoc popery.  

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a particular

One of the doctrines of the Apostles congregations really should hold their elders to is

The Lord's slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness.

Ted Bigelow's picture
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who *are* the pillar and ground of the truth

Hey David - in 1 Tim. 3:15, "is" is singular not plural - leading me to prefer the institution of the church over the people of the church. This is confirmed for me by the context as 1 Tim. 3 defines the two offices in the institutional church, elders, and deacons. Also, do a gut check - when do the people of church prevent the institution from slipping into a denial of 3:16? I'm sure there are some rare cases, but by far, the typical case is the institutional leaders who do that. Look at the NT - who keeps the churches protected from the false teachers, but the leaders writings the letters telling the people what to do.

A confession jealously guarded by generation of members of the church who call pastors who conscientiously subscribe to said confession (which, of course, should be faithful to the doctrines of the apostles), guards better against an ad hoc popery. 

Agreed, brother, but not very real. Sheep follow shepherds, not vice versa. Churches will follow a man they love, even to hell.

One of the doctrines of the Apostles congregations really should hold their elders to is

The Lord's slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness.

Probably better to see that more as a practice than a doctrine. But frequently congregations rebel against good and faithful shepherds who confront them for sin. Look at Corinth, and Paul and Timothy. Look around you today.

If eldership leaves you feeling vulnerable and congregationalism feeling protected, you might want to brush up on 1 Tim. 5:19-20, and weave into your meditation on that verse two things - how does this pattern of accusation/protection fit within congregationalism (it doesn't, imo), and how does it fit within eldership (it does, imo).

Blessings - T

 

 

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Not buying it

Ted Bigelow wrote:

If you accept what Kevin teaches you accept defection from Christ. His teaching not-so-subtly shifts submission to the apostles and the ministry they received directly from Christ to the people of one's church. Principally, it is no different than Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, or the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Hence, the authority in his religion defects from Jesus Christ's apostles to his own church, from God, to man.

If you honestly believe this is what Dr. Bauder is saying, you are ignorant and misunderstanding him.  Shame on you for misrepresenting him so.

"Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers" - I Timothy 5:1

 

 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Maybe, but...

James K wrote:

Tyler, I have addressed multiple times how seminaries as currently run are hindering the local church.  When pastors are trained for years and are somehow still unable to train their own people as the NT says, then something is fundamentally wrong with the system.  There is nothing wrong with perpetuating employment.  It is only wrong if the system is wrong.

I don't think that is the fault of the seminaries - it's the fault of the pastors who are not training their own people.  It seems to me that you are misdiagnosing the problem.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Ted Bigelow wrote:Agreed,

Ted Bigelow wrote:
Agreed, brother, but not very real. Sheep follow shepherds, not vice versa. Churches will follow a man they love, even to hell.

Real enough that I've seen it happen.  And you make my point for me about which party is more likely to perpetrate ad hoc popery.  

Probably better to see that more as a practice than a doctrine. But frequently congregations rebel against good and faithful shepherds who confront them for sin. Look at Corinth, and Paul and Timothy. Look around you today.

You missed my point there, but that's OK, it wasn't primarily directed at you.  

If eldership leaves you feeling vulnerable and congregationalism feeling protected, you might want to brush up on 1 Tim. 5:19-20, and weave into your meditation on that verse two things - how does this pattern of accusation/protection fit within congregationalism (it doesn't, imo), and how does it fit within eldership (it does, imo).

My feelings.  Well.  

I'm very comfortable with a biblical, plural eldership.  I am not comfortable with stripping the congregation of its responsibility and authority.  I Tim 5:19-20 is completely compatible with a proper eldership that is held accountable by its congregation.  

 

 

[/quote]

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David, I am glad to see you

David, I am glad to see you agree with plural eldership.  Can you tell me which area of responsibility and authority Ted is stripping away from the church?

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Jay wrote:

Jay wrote:

 

James K wrote:

 

Tyler, I have addressed multiple times how seminaries as currently run are hindering the local church.  When pastors are trained for years and are somehow still unable to train their own people as the NT says, then something is fundamentally wrong with the system.  There is nothing wrong with perpetuating employment.  It is only wrong if the system is wrong.

 

 

I don't think that is the fault of the seminaries - it's the fault of the pastors who are not training their own people.  It seems to me that you are misdiagnosing the problem.

Pastors are also to train faithful men.  This is part of their job.  If they are not doing this, then they are failing.  Many seminaries and their profs will argue that pastors are not equipped to train men.  The pastors need to send the men off to seminary.  So off goes Johnny to seminary.  He spends years and thousands learning how to be a pastor from a text book.  Johnny becomes pastor in a church.  After all the time and money spent, Johnny is unequipped to train men and must also send them to seminary for the real training.

Of course not every seminary is like that, but if you think that is too harsh of an assessment, I have interacted with several profs from the big fundy seminaries to verify that reality.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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James K wrote:

James K wrote:

David, I am glad to see you agree with plural eldership.  Can you tell me which area of responsibility and authority Ted is stripping away from the church?

Holding elders accountable to preach proper doctrine.

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Jay wrote:

Jay wrote:

 

Ted Bigelow wrote:

 

If you accept what Kevin teaches you accept defection from Christ. His teaching not-so-subtly shifts submission to the apostles and the ministry they received directly from Christ to the people of one's church. Principally, it is no different than Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, or the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Hence, the authority in his religion defects from Jesus Christ's apostles to his own church, from God, to man.

 

 

If you honestly believe this is what Dr. Bauder is saying, you are ignorant and misunderstanding him.  Shame on you for misrepresenting him so.

"Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers" - I Timothy 5:1

 

 

Kevin's entire series has argued for a system that runs counter to NT theology.  The Lord of the church has spoken.  Kevin has offered an alternative.  How is it anything but a defection?

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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DavidO wrote:

DavidO wrote:

 

James K wrote:

 

David, I am glad to see you agree with plural eldership.  Can you tell me which area of responsibility and authority Ted is stripping away from the church?

 

 

Holding elders accountable to preach proper doctrine.

I was hoping you could provide some scripture that would support the idea that the church has doctrinal oversight of the elders.  This isn't the president and congress.  Which passage were you thinking of?

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Disagree

James K wrote:
Kevin's entire series has argued for a system that runs counter to NT theology.  The Lord of the church has spoken.  Kevin has offered an alternative.  How is it anything but a defection?

First off, if the entire series is wrong, how come only two people on this site (you and Ted) see it?  Ted, in particular, repeatedly argued for his own system with little acceptance and buy-in from the rest of us, and who also repeatedly ducks the hard questions he's unable to answer?  Furthermore, I don't see Dr. Bauder advocating division or false doctrine.  I don't know the man, but from reading his stuff for over six years, I'd be very surprised if he did.

Secondly, if you're going to call Bauder a heretic - which is what you're doing when you say he is 'running counter to NT theology' - then I'm going to need to see your proof.  Basing your arguments from one passage in Acts that Bauder hasn't addressed isn't sufficient.  Even if Bauder ~IS~ wrong, you're still responsible to entreat him as a father and try to gently convince him of his error, which is why I posted the verse I did.  You don't do it by accusing him of heresy on a discussion board.  Have you tried to contact him directly?

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother". -Matthew 18:15

"As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned". -Titus 3:10-11

"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere."  
- James 3:17

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Who Ducks the Hard Questions?

Jay, I've answered the questions; but being an SI guy you just don't read them even after being entreated to do so time and again.

As for Kevin, his ecclesiology is staggeringly deficient. One single verse upends his posts on congregationalism. Don't condemn us. If you must condemn anyone, take it out on Luke, the author of Acts 16:4.

Kevin is a dear and beloved brother in the Lord. But his teaching on this matter ensures defection from Christ, though he would vehemently disagree. Yet, as I pointed out above, being a congregationalist, he has no precept in Scripture that teaches his system. Not a one. Not only is that a defection from the most basic Bible study principles - especially for how we determine church practices - he is teaching others both his same shallow methodology and then commanding others to practice the fruit of it in their churches.

Who ever taught a doctrine as biblical without a clear precept, except someone with an unbiblical agenda? And when it comes to ducking questions, who gets their articles posted on a blog and then doesn't reply to questions and criticisms?

Are we to be despised for calling attention to what Scripture does say?

So yes, defection, for Christ is the Lord of the Church. He clearly defines what a church is and how it functions in both precept and example in Holy Scripture.

 

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James K wrote:I was hoping

James K wrote:
I was hoping you could provide some scripture that would support the idea that the church has doctrinal oversight of the elders.  This isn't the president and congress.  Which passage were you thinking of?

Well let's back up.  Dr. Bauder has made a case for congregational election of officers.  I need not remake it.  Furthermore, I Cor 5/2 Cor 2 give example of congregations being (partly) responsible for discipline.  I'm being simple here for lack of time, but it follows that an elder teaching heterodoxy would be disciplined by the church.  Ted's excission of the congregational participation in the process referred to in I Tim 5:19,20 is unwarranted, given the implication of the above and other passages (Matt 18, for instance).

And frankly, his tone towards the sheep approaches condescension.

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Ted Bigelow wrote:As for

Ted Bigelow wrote:
As for Kevin, his ecclesiology is staggeringly deficient. One single verse upends his posts on congregationalism. Don't condemn us. If you must condemn anyone, take it out on Luke, the author of Acts 16:4.

To redirect, Dr. Bauder spent much of one article demonstrating that the congregation participated (Acts 15) along with the elders in determining doctrine.  Yes, they were led by the elders, but they gave approval as well.  That Acts 16:4 refers to that in a sort of partial way upends nothing.

Of course Jesus is Lord and King of the Church.  We are discussing a proper interpretation of the doctrine of the Apostles, not inventing new doctrine to supplant it.  If that's how we looked at it we'd turn your words around and call you the defector.  Note who has been reduced to name calling.

You post here.  But you're not a Sharper Iron guy because why?  So you can paste those here with whom you disagree with a handy epithet.  How becoming.

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Ted's excission of the

Ted's excission of the congregational participation in the process referred to in I Tim 5:19,20 is unwarranted, given the implication of the above and other passages

David - show where I taught excission. Otherwise it's just standard practice for SI - when you don't like what someone says, just accuse the person and deflect from the real issue, which is there is no precept for Bauder's congregationalism in Scripture, and his examples of it are refuted most easily. All the rest is noise.

And you are welcome to visit Grace Church and talk to "the sheep." We're real people.

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Ted Bigelow wrote:David -

Ted Bigelow wrote:
David - show where I taught excission.

Ted Bigelow wrote:
. . . brush up on 1 Tim. 5:19-20, and weave into your meditation on that verse two things - how does this pattern of accusation/protection fit within congregationalism (it doesn't, imo), and how does it fit within eldership (it does, imo). 

I made no slash and dash attack.  I made a brief but coherent argument.

I did charactarize your tone in referring to the capabilities of sheep, and your comments remain on display in the posts above as exhibits.  None need visit CT to investigate.

 

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Speaking for myself, I will

Speaking for myself, I will give Ted Bigelow an ounce of credibility on the day he credibly explains how he does not break his own rules (one church/one town) with his church in CT. This is a question he has ducked probably 20 times. Until then, I am not really inclined to pay much attention.

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but they gave approval as well

David - it's an important point critical to Bauder's thesis, that "they [the congregation] gave approval as well." Now you need to show why Acts 15:22 establishes governmental "approval" as opposed to just "going in along with." Remember, you are establishing church practice here, and the church belongs to Christ, so mere inference won't do.

You also need to show why Acts 16:4 refers to only "partial" authority (other than that it fits your view of Acts 15:22). What in the words of Acts 16:4 teaches partial authority? Think about it, friend. If the ultimate authority for establishing doctrine in the church were the congregation (as Bauder claims), and yet Acts 16:4 has Paul and Silas telling the churches of Derbe and Lystra that the decisions were made by the apostles and elders, then Paul and Silas were not telling the truth in who ultimately gave human authority to the council. Morever, they were being being unsubmissive to the ultimate authority of the churches of Derbe and Lystra​ as well since they did not reinforce the beliefs of those congregations that the ultimate human authority by which doctrine is established is by the congregation, not it's leaders.

Further, Paul and Silas delivered (gk: paradosis) to the churches the Council's decisions (gk: dogmata). If those decisions rested on the authority of the church in Jerusalem, why then were they binding on two other autonomous churches: "for them to observe"? Does your church receive decisions from other churches as binding?

Yet, the Galatian churches weren't free to vote on whether or not to accept those decisions for they came with an authority higher than those churches. To accept congregationalism one must believe the churches of Galatia, and all other churches, were free to accept or reject the "burdens" of Acts 15:29 based on congregational vote. Yet this directly violates the mandated obedience to the contents of the letter, a subjugating of Paul and Silas' authority under their own, and a rejection of Luke's words which required compliance at the end of Acts 16:4.

And if you are still getting caught up in the phrase "the whole church" in Acts 15:22, then consider this. Do you think that the people of the church in Jerusalem who believed in salvation-by-circumcision went along with the apostles and elders? If not, were they still a part of "the whole church" in Acts 15:22?

Or, we could believe Acts 16:4 as it is written.

 

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GregH wrote:

GregH wrote:

Speaking for myself, I will give Ted Bigelow an ounce of credibility on the day he credibly explains how he does not break his own rules (one church/one town) with his church in CT. This is a question he has ducked probably 20 times. Until then, I am not really inclined to pay much attention.

Greg, really? Kindly read Location, Location, Location, and the comments too. Just don't expect me to try to gain your credibility when I explain my self fully somewhere else and you don't read and interact with it.

 

BTW, what book(s) are you teaching at church?

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Ted Bigelow wrote:And if you

Ted Bigelow wrote:
And if you are still getting caught up in the phrase "the whole church" in Acts 15:22, then consider this. Do you think that the people of the church in Jerusalem who believed in salvation-by-circumcision went along with the apostles and elders? If not, were they still a part of "the whole church" in Acts 15:22?

Or, we could believe Acts 16:4 as it is written.

Ted, 

Do we still have apostles to consult with?  Is it possible (or even reasonable) for someone in Italy (much less America) to consult with a now-defunct church in Jerusalem in regards to local church polity?  Is it even desirable?  Does God give us any kind of hierarchy other than the one outlined in the Pastorals?

You're basing an awful lot of eccleisology on one verse.  And it's also one verse out of a book of transition that is not normative for NT believers.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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We are discussing a proper interpretation...

I tried to reason Scripture with you, David. I tried. When you are ready to discuss the actual passages in Scripture, and not simply make general assertions, I'll rejoin you. Otherwise I'm out.

[quote=DavidO]

 

You post here.  But you're not a Sharper Iron guy because why?  So you can paste those here with whom you disagree with a handy epithet.  How becoming.

 

Again, David, the point is not to slander and run (I am almost convinced you won't do otherwise), but to examine the argument and be a good Berean.

Kevin's ecclesiology is defective, easily disproven, and leads away from Christ. Ought I not show why, and where?

As to SI, join the 25,000 plus and read. Not enuf bona-fides? I think I have several other articles here as well.

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Just for kicks

Here are some of the hard questions Ted ducks, from the previous thread:

I think I would argue that the reiteration / command to raise up elders in the NT church is actually foreshadowed in the OT - in Deuteronomy, to be exact.  So if Moses had to divest himself of leadership responsibilities to ensure that the civil society of Israel functioned, even down to groups of fifties and tens (Deuteronomy 1:15), then I'm not sure why you seem to think that we only need one set of elders per city for our religious institutions.  Can you expand a little more? 

To which Ted said that it's taught in Titus 1:5.  So I pushed for more detail:

Follow-up question for you, since you want to talk Titus - Titus 1:5 refers to the elders in Crete, which is both an island of approx. 3,220 square miles, according to Wikipedia, and it's own distinct country.  If you are arguing (as you seem to) that there should only be one set of elders for the Roman province of Crete, then should there be only one set of elders for the United States?  If not, where do you draw the line that a new set of elders becomes necessary for the nation?  Also, if there are elders in Crete, then why did Paul and others appoint elders in Jerusalem, Ephesus, Philippi, and Antioch?

To which Ted never answered.  We did, however, begin a discussion on the novelty of his position, which others commented on as well:

If this is true, then why are you the only person on SI that sees it?  

The Bible doesn't give us ideas and patterns that are new to the interpreter over 2000 years later - it's clear and understandable, so long as someone is a Believer and has the HS dwelling within.  Yet I've never heard of this position outside of your teaching.  Why is that?

Rob Fall - interesting.  I think Jay's question is more like who has supported your view since the NT times.  From my reading of Baptist history, no one. 

TylerR - I believe Ted's problem is even worse than that. From my reading in ecclesiology, and a perusal of historical theology texts, I am not aware of anybody in history who has supported Ted's position. If somebody has, I honestly want to know. 

and at this point, I brought other passages into play:

Yes, that is exactly my point.  I've been through both Bible college and Seminary, and I've never heard of this position.  Furthermore, the NT authors repeatedly refer "to the churches":

Galatians 1:2 - and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:

1 Corinthians 16:1 - Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are todo.

1 Corinthians 7:17 - Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.

1 Thessalonians 2:14 - For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews,

Galatians 1:22 - And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.

2 Corinthians 8:1 - We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia,

1 Corinthians 11:16 - If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

2 Corinthians 8:24 - So give proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you to these men.

1 Corinthians 14:34 - the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.

For me, there are two issues with this.  First is that this is a new(er) position in the development of theology in over 2000 years.  It's so new, actually, that more than a few of us - all of which have theological training - have never heard of it, with the exception of Watchman Nee.  Which is it's own kettle of fish :).

Ted then tried this argument out on Mark Snoeberger of DBTS, who wasn't impressed either.

Ted did pop back on, and someone noted this unspoken assumption of his (comment is excerpted):

Any additional body of believers in close proximity is a threat to the unity of the original body. 

Which then merited another follow-up question to Ted that is still unanswered:

I don't see this espoused anywhere in Scripture.  

Jesus clearly desires that all of our believers be and act as one (John 17).  Paul argues against unnecessary schisms in I Corinthians 1-3. Yet the presence of believers in close to proximity to another church is somehow a threat?  Doesn't that violate the teaching ofEphesians 4:1-5?

That makes no sense whatsoever.

So now we're doing the dance again.  And I stand by my original questions to Ted...but I'm not buying into it, and frankly am beginning to consider him a schismatic.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Ted Bigelow wrote:Again,

Ted Bigelow wrote:
Again, David, the point is not to slander and run (I am almost convinced you won't do otherwise)

And please kindly show where I slander?

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Jay wrote:

Jay wrote:

 

James K wrote:

Kevin's entire series has argued for a system that runs counter to NT theology.  The Lord of the church has spoken.  Kevin has offered an alternative.  How is it anything but a defection?

 

First off, if the entire series is wrong, how come only two people on this site (you and Ted) see it?  Ted, in particular, repeatedly argued for his own system with little acceptance and buy-in from the rest of us, and who also repeatedly ducks the hard questions he's unable to answer?  Furthermore, I don't see Dr. Bauder advocating division or false doctrine.  I don't know the man, but from reading his stuff for over six years, I'd be very surprised if he did.

Secondly, if you're going to call Bauder a heretic - which is what you're doing when you say he is 'running counter to NT theology' - then I'm going to need to see your proof.  Basing your arguments from one passage in Acts that Bauder hasn't addressed isn't sufficient.  Even if Bauder ~IS~ wrong, you're still responsible to entreat him as a father and try to gently convince him of his error, which is why I posted the verse I did.  You don't do it by accusing him of heresy on a discussion board.  Have you tried to contact him directly?

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother". -Matthew 18:15

"As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned". -Titus 3:10-11

"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere."  
- James 3:17

Jay, friend, we both know that truth is not determined by consensus.  I posted 2 verses that disprove Kevin's point.  His point is a major pillar in his system.  I don't think Kevin is maliciously trying to undermine the church.  I give him the benefit of the doubt in his intentions, but his doctrine is still full of error.  Since it is contrary to the NT, it is divisive.  Someone really is wrong about this.

I am not basing my arguments on something Bauder hasn't addressed.  Go back and read his articles where he engages Acts 15.  His latest article is just a rewording of previous posts.  Acts 15 ALONE disproves his point, but in case there was any doubt, Luke was explicit in Acts 16:4.

I fail to see how Matt 18 applies to internet discussions of those not in the same church.  I don't think Bauder is self-condemned, just ignorant on this matter.  Maybe be more clear with your James reference.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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DavidO wrote:

DavidO wrote:

 

James K wrote:

I was hoping you could provide some scripture that would support the idea that the church has doctrinal oversight of the elders.  This isn't the president and congress.  Which passage were you thinking of?

 

Well let's back up.  Dr. Bauder has made a case for congregational election of officers.  I need not remake it.  Furthermore, I Cor 5/2 Cor 2 give example of congregations being (partly) responsible for discipline.  I'm being simple here for lack of time, but it follows that an elder teaching heterodoxy would be disciplined by the church.  Ted's excission of the congregational participation in the process referred to in I Tim 5:19,20 is unwarranted, given the implication of the above and other passages (Matt 18, for instance).

And frankly, his tone towards the sheep approaches condescension.

The closest thing one could argue is that deacons are nominated by the assembly.  Even in Acts 6, the apostles had to confirm them.  NEVER is an elder chosen by the congregation in the NT by example or precept.  Kevin managed to turn Acts 6 upside down and then beat up some poor passages until they cried out for mercy regarding the choosing of elders.  If you agree with that case, then you have a lower threshold for what constitutes good exegesis on this point than I do.

Regarding tone, I won't bother playing that game.  The sensibilities of one are not those of others.  Truth isn't beholden to the ability of the hearers to hear.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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DavidO wrote:

DavidO wrote:

 

Ted Bigelow wrote:

As for Kevin, his ecclesiology is staggeringly deficient. One single verse upends his posts on congregationalism. Don't condemn us. If you must condemn anyone, take it out on Luke, the author of Acts 16:4.

 

To redirect, Dr. Bauder spent much of one article demonstrating that the congregation participated (Acts 15) along with the elders in determining doctrine.  Yes, they were led by the elders, but they gave approval as well.  That Acts 16:4 refers to that in a sort of partial way upends nothing.

Of course Jesus is Lord and King of the Church.  We are discussing a proper interpretation of the doctrine of the Apostles, not inventing new doctrine to supplant it.  If that's how we looked at it we'd turn your words around and call you the defector.  Note who has been reduced to name calling.

You post here.  But you're not a Sharper Iron guy because why?  So you can paste those here with whom you disagree with a handy epithet.  How becoming.

David, sadly this is the whole point.  Show me where in Acts 15 that the church participated in any kind of decision making or gave their approval.  This is like talking to presbos about infant baptism.  You believe it is there because you want it to be there because you have a system that is perpetuated on it being there.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Ted has another issue

I don't have time to find the exact quote, and I suppose Ted can correct me if I am mistaken, but when he was asked how he came to be recognized as a legitimate elder at Grace Church he could offer no other support than that he deemed himself worthy of that mantle. He cannot allow for the congregation to exercise such authority, for he denies that they have any right to do so, but in the method which he derives from his own unique interpretation of TItus 1, the only Biblical means by which a man may become an elder in a church is that he is appointed by one who has authority to do so. It would seem that Ted's view of elder-appointment would require either a landmark type of church succession or an unbroken episcopacy from the time of the apostles.

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Let's back up a second.

pvawter wrote:

I don't have time to find the exact quote, and I suppose Ted can correct me if I am mistaken, but when he was asked how he came to be recognized as a legitimate elder at Grace Church he could offer no other support than that he deemed himself worthy of that mantle. He cannot allow for the congregation to exercise such authority, for he denies that they have any right to do so, but in the method which he derives from his own unique interpretation of TItus 1, the only Biblical means by which a man may become an elder in a church is that he is appointed by one who has authority to do so. It would seem that Ted's view of elder-appointment would require either a landmark type of church succession or an unbroken episcopacy from the time of the apostles.

Yes, this is absolutely correct.  Here is the exchange that pvawter is thinking of:

Thanks, Jim.

In my case, it was sort of myself who "appointed" me. Then I, along with congregational testing and approval, appointed the other elders within several weeks. They have as much authority as I; I have no more than they. 

As for my appointment, not a good way to do it, but a horribly sin-filled group of men and women caused it. We had about 100 people who left a church and no one was questioning me as to whether I was qualified. We had about 20 men who had been extensively trained to evaluate church leadership by 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1. That in small part caused the split.

Here's my position, though. If I had been less-than qualified my actions would have been high-handed sin against Jesus Christ. As for the other men who became elders, they were appointed by the qualification of Scripture. That process - how we did what we did - is probably what you want to evaluate/test for its merits. Good for you. May your tribe increase, Jim.

So too, when a congregation votes a man into pastorate/eldership/diaconate who is not qualified, it is the same high handed sin against Jesus Christ. The vote doesn't qualify a man to serve Jesus Christ any more than watching a Superman movie qualifies a man to fly. 

Now, JamesK said:

Jay, friend, we both know that truth is not determined by consensus.  I posted 2 verses that disprove Kevin's point.  His point is a major pillar in his system.  I don't think Kevin is maliciously trying to undermine the church.  I give him the benefit of the doubt in his intentions, but his doctrine is still full of error.  Since it is contrary to the NT, it is divisive.  Someone really is wrong about this.

James, I'm not saying that truth is determined by consensus.  Maybe I missed your verses earlier, so can you re-post them or give me a link and I'll re-examine them?

My issue is that you and Ted are both crediting Dr. Bauder with teaching theological error.  That's a serious charge, and if he is teaching error, then he becomes both divisive and a false teacher.  While I have no doubts about the sincerity of anyone on this board, I do think that if you're going to charge him with theological error, then at least call it what it is.  It's error, and the person bringing it is a heretic (at least as Merriam-Webster defines it).  So let's not play this game of 'he's a nice guy, but it's error and that's OK'.  Either it's heresy and should be shot down as such, or there's just differences of opinion that don't jeopardize doctrine.  Of course, you and Ted are the ones accusing him of teaching error.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Jay, this is from my first

Jay, this is from my first post on here:

Acts 15:6 - "Then the apostles and the elders assembled to consider this matter."

Acts 16:4 - "As they traveled through the towns, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem for them to observe."

Who met to decide?  Who made the decision?  The apostles and elders.  Kevin apparently saw that the church welcomed them and therefore had a say in the matter.  No, as you see from the text, the church AGREED with the decision of the apostles and elders.

I do believe it is heresy in the sense that it is divisive.  I would say the same thing about paedobaptism and amillennialism.  The apostles set up one correct doctrine on these matters.  I have responded to each of these articles for the precise purpose of explaining why I reject it and find it unbiblical.  This belief does has consequences that I believe harm the church and perpetuate manmade solutions.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Jay wrote:

Jay wrote:

Here are some of the hard questions Ted ducks, from the previous thread:

I think I would argue that the reiteration / command to raise up elders in the NT church is actually foreshadowed in the OT - in Deuteronomy, to be exact.  So if Moses had to divest himself of leadership responsibilities to ensure that the civil society of Israel functioned, even down to groups of fifties and tens (Deuteronomy 1:15), then I'm not sure why you seem to think that we only need one set of elders per city for our religious institutions.  Can you expand a little more? 

To which Ted said that it's taught in Titus 1:5.  So I pushed for more detail:

Follow-up question for you, since you want to talk Titus - Titus 1:5 refers to the elders in Crete, which is both an island of approx. 3,220 square miles, according to Wikipedia, and it's own distinct country.  If you are arguing (as you seem to) that there should only be one set of elders for the Roman province of Crete, then should there be only one set of elders for the United States?  If not, where do you draw the line that a new set of elders becomes necessary for the nation?  Also, if there are elders in Crete, then why did Paul and others appoint elders in Jerusalem, Ephesus, Philippi, and Antioch?

To which Ted never answered.  We did, however, begin a discussion on the novelty of his position, which others commented on as well:

If this is true, then why are you the only person on SI that sees it?  

The Bible doesn't give us ideas and patterns that are new to the interpreter over 2000 years later - it's clear and understandable, so long as someone is a Believer and has the HS dwelling within.  Yet I've never heard of this position outside of your teaching.  Why is that?

Rob Fall - interesting.  I think Jay's question is more like who has supported your view since the NT times.  From my reading of Baptist history, no one. 

TylerR - I believe Ted's problem is even worse than that. From my reading in ecclesiology, and a perusal of historical theology texts, I am not aware of anybody in history who has supported Ted's position. If somebody has, I honestly want to know. 

and at this point, I brought other passages into play:

Yes, that is exactly my point.  I've been through both Bible college and Seminary, and I've never heard of this position.  Furthermore, the NT authors repeatedly refer "to the churches":

Galatians 1:2 - and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:

1 Corinthians 16:1 - Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are todo.

1 Corinthians 7:17 - Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.

1 Thessalonians 2:14 - For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews,

Galatians 1:22 - And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.

2 Corinthians 8:1 - We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia,

1 Corinthians 11:16 - If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

2 Corinthians 8:24 - So give proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you to these men.

1 Corinthians 14:34 - the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.

For me, there are two issues with this.  First is that this is a new(er) position in the development of theology in over 2000 years.  It's so new, actually, that more than a few of us - all of which have theological training - have never heard of it, with the exception of Watchman Nee.  Which is it's own kettle of fish :).

Ted then tried this argument out on Mark Snoeberger of DBTS, who wasn't impressed either.

Ted did pop back on, and someone noted this unspoken assumption of his (comment is excerpted):

Any additional body of believers in close proximity is a threat to the unity of the original body. 

Which then merited another follow-up question to Ted that is still unanswered:

I don't see this espoused anywhere in Scripture.  

Jesus clearly desires that all of our believers be and act as one (John 17).  Paul argues against unnecessary schisms in I Corinthians 1-3. Yet the presence of believers in close to proximity to another church is somehow a threat?  Doesn't that violate the teaching ofEphesians 4:1-5?

That makes no sense whatsoever.

So now we're doing the dance again.  And I stand by my original questions to Ted...but I'm not buying into it, and frankly am beginning to consider him a schismatic.

Jay - you had the hardest time following the simple things I was explaining in small comm boxes so I pointed you to articles on my web site. Yet you refused to read them. The world is bigger than SI. Do you even know what a schism is, and why I have devoted so much of my life to ending it?

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DavidO wrote:

And please kindly show where I slander?

 

"Ted's excission of the congregational participation in the process referred to in I Tim 5:19,20 is unwarranted" - I asked you to show me where I teach excission - never got that one answered.

"his tone towards the sheep approaches condescension." to which i invited you to visit the church and speak to the sheep I help shepherd. Instead of apologizing you simply referred to people on this web site, none of whom I shepherd.

"We are discussing a proper interpretation of the doctrine of the Apostles, not inventing new doctrine to supplant it.  If that's how we looked at it we'd turn your words around and call you the defector." I'm Inventing new doctrine?

"you can paste those here with whom you disagree with a handy epithet" - that I'm argumentative.

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pvawter wrote:

pvawter wrote:

I don't have time to find the exact quote, and I suppose Ted can correct me if I am mistaken, but when he was asked how he came to be recognized as a legitimate elder at Grace Church he could offer no other support than that he deemed himself worthy of that mantle. He cannot allow for the congregation to exercise such authority, for he denies that they have any right to do so, but in the method which he derives from his own unique interpretation of TItus 1, the only Biblical means by which a man may become an elder in a church is that he is appointed by one who has authority to do so. It would seem that Ted's view of elder-appointment would require either a landmark type of church succession or an unbroken episcopacy from the time of the apostles.

Dude, that's just plain sinful. You really don't know what you are talking about, are erroneous in virtually everything you assert, and utterly misrepresent me and my teaching. It is not to me to defend myself, but the same invitation to David is extended to you. Visit us. Talk to the church.

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My issue is that you and Ted

My issue is that you and Ted are both crediting Dr. Bauder with teaching theological error.  That's a serious charge, and if he is teaching error, then he becomes both divisive and a false teacher.  While I have no doubts about the sincerity of anyone on this board, I do think that if you're going to charge him with theological error, then at least call it what it is.  It's error, and the person bringing it is a heretic (at least as Merriam-Webster defines it).  So let's not play this game of 'he's a nice guy, but it's error and that's OK'.  Either it's heresy and should be shot down as such, or there's just differences of opinion that don't jeopardize doctrine.  Of course, you and Ted are the ones accusing him of teaching error.

Jay - that's right, and we've explained precisely why from Scripture. Not one person yet has answered James or myself on the level of exegesis. But that's always been my experience at SI.

When it comes to ecclesiology Kevin teaches some schismatic, but not heretical, error. His bibliology is excellent and his soteriology is strongly penal-substitionary, yet with an unfortunate Amyraldian twist. His commitment to dispensationalism (i.e., a literal, grammatical hermeneutic) is unquestioned. But the problem with schismatic error in ecclesiology is that it leads to heresy unless corrected. Both schism and heresy are defection from Christ, but while one is damning, the other is not.

As to the matter of my qualifications for eldership, I was ordained to gospel ministry by unanimous vote by the elders of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California in 1997, and have been serving in eldership ever since. The transition at the sinful split 9 years ago put us all in an awkward situation, but it would have been unloving and hireling-like to step away from shepherding the people who refused to be "bound together with unbelievers" at that time (2 Cor. 6:14). The fact that we implemented a shared eldership as soon as possible (within several weeks), all of whom shared equal authority with myself - the main teaching elder -demonstrates my unhappiness with a single elder situation and solo-authority. To use that against me is to grasp at straws.

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Ted Bigelow wrote:

Ted Bigelow wrote:

 

pvawter wrote:

 

I don't have time to find the exact quote, and I suppose Ted can correct me if I am mistaken, but when he was asked how he came to be recognized as a legitimate elder at Grace Church he could offer no other support than that he deemed himself worthy of that mantle. He cannot allow for the congregation to exercise such authority, for he denies that they have any right to do so, but in the method which he derives from his own unique interpretation of TItus 1, the only Biblical means by which a man may become an elder in a church is that he is appointed by one who has authority to do so. It would seem that Ted's view of elder-appointment would require either a landmark type of church succession or an unbroken episcopacy from the time of the apostles.

 

 

Dude, that's just plain sinful. You really don't know what you are talking about, are erroneous in virtually everything you assert, and utterly misrepresent me and my teaching. It is not to me to defend myself, but the same invitation to David is extended to you. Visit us. Talk to the church.

Ted,

What I am talking about is nothing more than what you have actually said. Yet you react as if you don't remember the very things you have written. I have read several of the articles you pointed to on your own site, and I am simply applying your own standard onto your situation. If the Biblical precept derived from Titus 1 is that elders must be appointed by qualified elders, then what qualified elder appointed you? And did the congregation have any part in the decision? If they chose you as their pastor, then it was the congregation which exercised authority, an authority you deny is Biblical. Therefore, by your own standard and teaching, wouldn't that cast doubt as to the credibility of your own position?
Please don't misunderstand me, Ted. I believe that the congregation has the responsibility to call a pastor as they operate under Christ's headship and the Spirit's guidance, so I don't question your qualification to pastoral leadership. I just question your apparently arbitrary application of your own standard.

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Ted, do you know what the

Ted, do you know what the easiest (and rock solid, as well) defense against slander charges is?  The statements/characteriztions have to be false.  The only one that might be false is that you don't excise the congregation from participating in an authoritative way in receiving a charge against an elder.  If you think congregations ought to have that kind of participation, then I have misread you.  Misreading is not slander.  

I don't need to talk to your sheep.  I see how you've treated the sheep here, and how you have charactarized sheep in general.  I made a judgement call.  Approaching condescension.  That's fairly mild.  Don't sweat it. 

And yes, if you are wrong and we are right, as I believe we are on 1)congregationalism and 2) your novel ideas about 1 church per region, then you are indeed inventing new doctrine and maybe even, as you relish putting it, defecting from Christ.  That sword must cut both ways.  For my part, it's not a sword to pull in good faith debates with brothers over the meaning of texts.

As for your use of "since you are SI guys . . ." your words stand above.  If moderators want to call me on such so-called slander, well, I'm sure they're reading this.  

If the footmen tire you . . .

 

Ted Bigelow wrote:

And please kindly show where I slander?

 

"Ted's excission of the congregational participation in the process referred to in I Tim 5:19,20 is unwarranted" - I asked you to show me where I teach excission - never got that one answered.

"his tone towards the sheep approaches condescension." to which i invited you to visit the church and speak to the sheep I help shepherd. Instead of apologizing you simply referred to people on this web site, none of whom I shepherd.

"We are discussing a proper interpretation of the doctrine of the Apostles, not inventing new doctrine to supplant it.  If that's how we looked at it we'd turn your words around and call you the defector." I'm Inventing new doctrine?

"you can paste those here with whom you disagree with a handy epithet" - that I'm argumentative.

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This has been taken entirely

This has been taken entirely off course.  The issue is whether or not the congregation has doctrinal oversight over the pastors.  Kevin said yes and bases it upon Acts 15.  It is unfortunate because Acts 15 allows no such interpretation.  The opposite is actually true.  The apostles and elder met to make the doctrinal decision and the church agreed with the decision made.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Acts 15

JamesK,

you repeatedly state that the congregation was in no way involved with the council of Acts 15, yet v.12 speaks of "all the multitude" who listened to Barnabas and Paul recount their experience with the Gentiles. It hardly seems like a slam-dunk case of elders-only in the meeting. Then v.22 states very plainly that the entire congregation chose, along with the elders and apostles, to send a delegation to Antioch, and v.23 indicates that the congregation in Jerusalem was equally responsible for the decision concerning Gentile circumcision. That 16:4 does not mention the congregation is no trump card over the congregation's role in the process, because it must be understood in light of the details of Acts 15. To ignore the clear indications of the congregation's role in this process and emphasize the silence with regard to the congregation in other verses is careless and unconvincing.

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I don't deny that the church

I don't deny that the church was present.

15:4 - When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, the apostles, and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them.

So the church had a role in welcoming.

15:6 - Then the apostles and the elders assembled to consider this matter.

Who assembled to consider this matter?  Why didn't he say the church did?  Why did he specifically only name the apostles and elders?

15:12 - Then the whole assembly fell silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul describing all the signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.

Two things: a) the whole assembly refers to the church, who sat quietly, or b) the whole assembly of apostles and elders (we hardly know the headcount).  Either way, this is further support for my contention against congregational participation in the decision making.

15:22 - Then the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, decided to select men from among them and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: Judas, called Barsabbas, and Silas, both leading men among the brothers.

The church had no role in the doctrinal discussion, but they did join the apostles and elders in sending out the news.

15:23 - They wrote this letter to be delivered by them: From the apostles and the elders, your brothers, To the brothers from among the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings.

The letter from the apostles and elders states that the doctrinal decision is from the apostles and elders.  No mention is made of the church.

16:4 - As they traveled through the towns, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem for them to observe.

This is explicit that the doctrinal debate was decided by apostles and elders.

Nowhere in Acts 15 is anything said about the church making any doctrinal decision.  To "see" otherwise is to see words in the white portions of your Bible.

 

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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It seems to me that with all

It seems to me that with all the talk about Scripture (which, with all its mention, isn't actually getting much discussion), very little exegesis of Kevin is actually going on here. In fact, it seems that some here didn't even read him, and on top of that, haven't considered what happens when a church today is formed. When a church is formed, the congregation assents to a doctrinal statement in its founding documents. That doctrinal statement may be a recognized statement (NHBC, Westminster, London, etc), or it may be one assembled by a church. It might be Baptist, Presbyterian, Anglican, Methodist, etc. It might be pre-trib, pre-mill, amill, apathetic mill, Calvinist, Arminian, Pelagian, etc. It can be anything. But the church body, at its forming (usually led by a church planter) decides the doctrine around which they are gathered. When a pastor comes to pastor that church, he assents to the doctrinal statement already held by the congregation. He does not have the authority to change it. It would, as Kevin says, be unethical to preach or teach in contradiction to the doctrinal statement. If he thinks it should be different, he can either lead the church to change it or he can just leave the church.

Ted, you say that no one has answered you on the level of exegesis. First, that's simply not true. In virtually all your interactions here, people have interacted with you exegetically. IMO, you have not done a good job in response. And you still haven't answered what it, IMO, the most significant question of why you have a church at all. Why have you not repented and joined the other churches in your area to form your one church? It seems that you don't actually believe what you say. Or do you have a different explanation of why you continue in a schismatic church?

Second, when it comes to Acts 15, like it or not, the congregation is involved in the affirmation. But there are questions that aren't even being asked here. The first it whether it was doctrine at all. It probably wasn't. And therefore, it doesn't have anything to do with doctrinal affirmation, or the church setting doctrine. It was more likely a practical matter about which the church needed guidance from wise and mature believers about diversity in the church and the claims of the gospel. In essence, it was a question of how much do the Gentiles have to become like Jews in order to be a part of the church. The answer was, in effect, "not much." That was simply the application of OT teaching and apostolic revelation in the gospel to the NT church. James quotes the OT as doctrine, and then makes an application of it to the church. If it was doctrine, you some are arguing, then you have to wonder why the elders were involved at all since NT church doctrine doesn't come from elders. It comes from the apostles and prophets.

Overall, this discussion continues to illustrate the fact that, with all the words spilled, no one here has yet to lay on hand on congregationalism as defined in the NT. It's a rehash of stuff that wasn't convincing the first twenty or so thousand times it was said. The most that has been done is show a disagreement with an application or understanding with a particular aspect or argument of Kevin's here or there.

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try again

JamesK,
Sorry, you will have to try harder than that. You cannot prove your assertion (that Acts 15 excludes the possibility of congregational authority) by showing that it may only have been the work of the elders and apostles. V.22 does not exclude the church from any role in the doctrinal discussion, and neither does their silence in v.12 (presumably the elders were silent then, too). And 16:4 does not say that the elders and the apostles reached their decision apart from the congregation.
Unfortunately for you, Luke did not explicitly state that the congregation was excluded from the doctrinal debate, so it is you, not I who are reading between the lines.

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the letter itself includes the congregation

They wrote this letter by them:

The apostles, the elders, and the brethren,

To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law” —to whom we gave no such commandment— 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.[g] If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.

Farewell.

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Larry wrote:

Larry wrote:

It seems to me that with all the talk about Scripture (which, with all its mention, isn't actually getting much discussion), very little exegesis of Kevin is actually going on here. In fact, it seems that some here didn't even read him, and on top of that, haven't considered what happens when a church today is formed. When a church is formed, the congregation assents to a doctrinal statement in its founding documents. That doctrinal statement may be a recognized statement (NHBC, Westminster, London, etc), or it may be one assembled by a church. It might be Baptist, Presbyterian, Anglican, Methodist, etc. It might be pre-trib, pre-mill, amill, apathetic mill, Calvinist, Arminian, Pelagian, etc. It can be anything. But the church body, at its forming (usually led by a church planter) decides the doctrine around which they are gathered. When a pastor comes to pastor that church, he assents to the doctrinal statement already held by the congregation. He does not have the authority to change it. It would, as Kevin says, be unethical to preach or teach in contradiction to the doctrinal statement. If he thinks it should be different, he can either lead the church to change it or he can just leave the church.

Ted, you say that no one has answered you on the level of exegesis. First, that's simply not true. In virtually all your interactions here, people have interacted with you exegetically. IMO, you have not done a good job in response. And you still haven't answered what it, IMO, the most significant question of why you have a church at all. Why have you not repented and joined the other churches in your area to form your one church? It seems that you don't actually believe what you say. Or do you have a different explanation of why you continue in a schismatic church?

Second, when it comes to Acts 15, like it or not, the congregation is involved in the affirmation. But there are questions that aren't even being asked here. The first it whether it was doctrine at all. It probably wasn't. And therefore, it doesn't have anything to do with doctrinal affirmation, or the church setting doctrine. It was more likely a practical matter about which the church needed guidance from wise and mature believers about diversity in the church and the claims of the gospel. In essence, it was a question of how much do the Gentiles have to become like Jews in order to be a part of the church. The answer was, in effect, "not much." That was simply the application of OT teaching and apostolic revelation in the gospel to the NT church. James quotes the OT as doctrine, and then makes an application of it to the church. If it was doctrine, you some are arguing, then you have to wonder why the elders were involved at all since NT church doctrine doesn't come from elders. It comes from the apostles and prophets.

Overall, this discussion continues to illustrate the fact that, with all the words spilled, no one here has yet to lay on hand on congregationalism as defined in the NT. It's a rehash of stuff that wasn't convincing the first twenty or so thousand times it was said. The most that has been done is show a disagreement with an application or understanding with a particular aspect or argument of Kevin's here or there.

Larry,

Please show me one instance where I or James have been interacted with here exegetically. We are the only ones making claims about the texts in Acts 15 and 16, and using the words of the texts themselves to defend our claims. One brother has made assertions, like, "Acts 16:4 makes a claim of partial authority," but without any explanation from the text itself. And when our interlocuters are challenged over and over and over again to respond to the text itself, all have gone stone silent on this central matter of the text of Scripture and have only replied with personal criticisms, or have made comments that go off topic. Perhaps the reason no one has laid on hand on congregationalism is because every time it gets held up to Scripture it vaporizes.

Having refused to interact with the text itself, we are now at the place in this thread where people are just retreating to their dearly loved beliefs. This is the fruit of Bauder's congregationalism: "Ultimately, the congregation must define the church’s doctrinal parameters." Such autonomy, being both dangerous and unbiblical, produces Christians who practice that autonomy in their own beliefs. James and I are arguing that the writings of the NT alone deserve that ultimate place, and that while congregationalism does indeed claim such ultimacy for itself, it usurps Scripture and for that reason to be rejected as filthy rags and a blinding influence on men's power to come under the sole authority of Scripture.

A few posts above I wrote: 

If the ultimate authority for establishing doctrine in the church were the congregation (as Bauder claims), yet Acts 16:4 has Paul and Silas telling the churches of Derbe and Lystra that the decisions were made by the apostles and elders.

 

That's all that's being debated here from a textual perspective. Short and to the point. If you are willing, go back to this post for several reasons, all based on the words from Acts 16:4, that show why congregationalism must be wrong.

Brother, I'm going to hazard a guess that you are new to Acts 15 in that you claim it wasn't "doctrine at all." The very reason for the meeting was that the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ alone was under assault (Acts 15:1-2), and the decisions of the conference confirmed that doctrine decisively as seen in their four practice mandates such as "abstaining from blood, fornication, etc."

Are you not confusing doctrine and practice?

 

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misread

Ted,

You've misread me.  I said that, assuming Acts 15 includes authoritative participation by the congregation, then Acts 16:4 refers to that process in a partial way.  Or, put another way, refers to the (whole-church) council by the officers who led it.

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It's not what Ted and James say it is.

DavidO wrote:

They wrote this letter by them:

The apostles, the elders, and the brethren,

To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law” —to whom we gave no such commandment— 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.[g] If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.

Farewell.

I re-read Acts 15 and 16 this morning, and was struck by the same parts that David emphasized.  Nice work!

Not only that, but the whole point of the letter was that Christians needed to know that they were not supposed to add the Jewish rites to their beliefs in Christ as Messiah (15:1-4).  To add those things to non-Jews, as Peter said:

“Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.  And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them,by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?  But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

James (is this the half-brother of the Lord?) added:

“Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,

“‘After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins,
     and I will restore it,
that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord,
    and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
     says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.’

Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”

So of course it makes sense that the one church in Jerusalem would meet with the apostles and others to discuss this - the apostles had the best understanding and recollection of what Jesus actually taught.  Then, after then did that, they deemed the Jewish position as heresy.  Finally, they sent word of the doctrinal aberration to all other churches so that they knew how to handle this, which is where 16:4-5 are applicable:

As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

Why were they being 'strengthened in the faith and gr[owing] daily'?  It was because the practice of observing Jewish rites had been discredited by the people that knew the most about what Jesus actually taught.  It is not a blanket endorsement of the ecclesiastical system that Ted teaches.

Basically, we're seeing the process of Deuteronomy 1 playing out here:

“At that time I said to you, ‘I am not able to bear you by myself. The Lord your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as numerous as the stars of heaven. May the Lord, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times as many as you are and bless you, as he has promised you! How can I bear by myself the weight and burden of you and your strife? Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.’ And you answered me, ‘The thing that you have spoken is good for us to do.’  So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and set them as heads over you, commanders of thousands, commanders of hundreds, commanders of fifties, commanders of tens, and officers, throughout your tribes. And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him. You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God's. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’ And I commanded you at that time all the things that you should do.

My point, in short, is this - this is not a convocation of churches that are just trying to figure out something and is certainly not normative behavior for practice in our time.  This was a clear and serious doctrinal threat that merited the involvement of as many believers as possible, including the apostles AND Saul, so that the will of the Lord could be made known because they did not have the written Word yet and because there were well-meaning Jewish believers that practiced it.  Once that threat was analyzed and they came to agreement, the meeting ended.

There are no other NT examples of this kind of meeting.  There are no other NT examples of the kind of heretical position that Ted is teaching.  At this point, there is nothing else to say without giving the slightest agreement to Ted, which is why he can complain that we're not exegeting properly...he just doesn't like that clear and plain reading of the passage says, as others on this thread have pointed out.

Ted and James, you need to seriously reconsider this passage again, and Ted, you need to stop reading your system into the Bible.  It's not there, and you mishandle the Word of God when you teach this.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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DavidO wrote:

DavidO wrote:

Ted,

You've misread me.  I said that, assuming Acts 15 includes authoritative participation by the congregation, then Acts 16:4 refers to that process in a partial way.  Or, put another way, refers to the (whole-church) council by the officers who led it.

Here's your quote - i don't see the "assuming" part:

To redirect, Dr. Bauder spent much of one article demonstrating that the congregation participated (Acts 15) along with the elders in determining doctrine.  Yes, they were led by the elders, but they gave approval as well.  That Acts 16:4 refers to that in a sort of partial way upends nothing.

Your last sentence says nothing about assuming, and instead makes an explicit assertion about Acts 16:4 based on you accepting Bauder's congregational claims on Acts 15:22.

As well, when you made these assertions you were immediately challenged to back them up on not just one, but two points:

Now you need to show why Acts 15:22 establishes governmental "approval" as opposed to just "going in along with." Remember, you are establishing church practice here, and the church belongs to Christ, so mere inference won't do. You also need to show why Acts 16:4 refers to only "partial" authority (other than that it fits your view of Acts 15:22). 

But you didn't respond at all to these points but instead responded with more criticisms. And now you are claiming I misread you because you were only assuming. 

 

You have also yet to rebut my assertion (yesterday, 1:32 pm) that Acts 16:4 makes congregationalism impossible. The very reason why the churches of nascent Christianity were required to obey the decrees of the JC is because they were decided upon "upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem" (Act 16:4). That's the text itself. The churches were not treated as the the ultimate authority on doctrinal matters (as per Bauder's claim).

Indeed, had they believed in congregational polity theology they would have sinned by accepting the authority of Paul and Silas and the apostles and elders in the JC. See, if those churches were the ultimate authority, as Bauder's ecclesiology claims, then they were responsible to approve or disapprove of it's adoption for their church. But they were not given that authority by Paul and Silas.

The end result, David, is that you simply can't believe Bauder's ecclesiology and Acts 16:4. One or the other has to go. Congregationalism presupposes sin in the text as Luke reports it. Either Paul and Silas sinned by forcing autonomous churches to obey the decisions of another church, or the churches of Derbe and Lystra sinned by obeying the authority of men outside their church. Or both happened, and therefore both Paul and Silas, and the churches, sinned.

Or, we can just believe Acts 16:4 as Luke wrote it.

 

 

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Ted Bigelow wrote:

Ted Bigelow wrote:

Here's your quote - i don't see the "assuming" part:

To redirect, Dr. Bauder spent much of one article demonstrating that the congregation participated (Acts 15) along with the elders in determining doctrine.  Yes, they were led by the elders, but they gave approval as well.  That Acts 16:4 refers to that in a sort of partial way upends nothing.

Your last sentence says nothing about assuming, and instead makes an explicit assertion about Acts 16:4 based on you accepting Bauder's congregational congregational claims on Acts 15:22.

Bolding mine.

Be well, Ted.

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This is truly a marvel before

This is truly a marvel before us.  Jay, you may have reread the passage, but you are not following what I am saying.  Scroll up to where I quoted each of the verses.  NONE OF THEM SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE CHURCH DECIDING ANYTHING.  This is the entire point.  It is a complete argument from silence in the exact same method paedobaptizers argue their position.  It isn't there because you want it to be there.

The church was present to hear the official word from the apostles and elders, which is what Luke says happened multiple times.

Even in your most recent post, you didn't provide a single verse that says anything about the church making a decision.

Jay said:

So of course it makes sense that the one church in Jerusalem would meet with the apostles and others to discuss this - the apostles had the best understanding and recollection of what Jesus actually taught.

Show me the verse that says that anyone other than an apostle or elder made any theological contribution to the discussion.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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pvawter wrote:

pvawter wrote:

JamesK,
Sorry, you will have to try harder than that. You cannot prove your assertion (that Acts 15 excludes the possibility of congregational authority) by showing that it may only have been the work of the elders and apostles. V.22 does not exclude the church from any role in the doctrinal discussion, and neither does their silence in v.12 (presumably the elders were silent then, too). And 16:4 does not say that the elders and the apostles reached their decision apart from the congregation.
Unfortunately for you, Luke did not explicitly state that the congregation was excluded from the doctrinal debate, so it is you, not I who are reading between the lines.

Just so that we are clear on this: you are arguing for the possibility of congregational authority then.  It doesn't exist in this chapter, but since there isn't a verse that says the congregation has no authority, you seem to think they might have had some.  Sounds like paedoism tactics.

My assertion is that it is only the apostles and elders who made the decision.  That is explicitly what Luke says multiple times.  I gave you the references.  The issue is whether or not you will recognize the Word as final.

The church's involvement in verse 22 is simply in selected messengers.  Read it again.

Only Barnabas and Paul were speaking during verse 12.  Everyone else was silent.  Luke only records the sayings of apostles and elders.

Luke had the opportunity on multiple occasions to say who made the doctrinal decisions and every time he said the apostles and elders.  He NEVER included the church as having a voice in DECIDING doctrine.

Recap: not only does Luke only record that the apostles and elders made the doctrinal decision on a very serious doctrinal matter, but Luke also leaves out any mention of the church participating in decision making.  Those who believe that the church was in on the doctrinal decision in any way other than agreement to the decision are simply reading tradition into the text.  The argument from silence might be convincing to those who want that system, but it doesn't make it true.  Jesus is the Lord of the church, and He has spoken with finality.  His apostles and elders are held accountable for doctrinal matters over the assembly.  That is what leadership looks like.  The emasculated pastor that Kevin has been promoting is a shameful failure of the task given by the Lord.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Not quite

James - you said:

That is exactly right Ted.  Kevin glossed right over Acts 16:4, which alone renders his entire article unhelpful.

Acts 15:6 - "Then the apostles and the elders assembled to consider this matter."

Acts 16:4 - "As they traveled through the towns, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem for them to observe."

Who met to decide?  Who made the decision?  The apostles and elders.  Kevin apparently saw that the church welcomed them and therefore had a say in the matter.  No, as you see from the text, the church AGREED with the decision of the apostles and elders.

I've read what you wrote.  You insist that the apostles and elders alone met to discuss the matter.  As DavidO said, there are numerous references to the entirety of the church in Jerusalem within Acts 15.

If you want to argue that the apostles and elders made the decision without input from the rest of the church, then what do you do with these verses:

15:4 - When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.

15:12 - And all the assembly (note the difference from the elders and deacons in v. 6) fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.

15:22 - Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers...

15:24-29 - Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” 

16:4 says that the decision was made by the Apostles and Elders, yes.  But a significant portion of chapter 15 indicates congregational involvement and assent to what they said with their endorsement.  If the position of the Apostles and Elders were enough, then why bother get the congregation involved at all? Elders and Deacons are responsible to lead the church - and in this matter, they had involved the congregation (as they should).

Furthermore, the end of chapter 15 and the beginning of Acts 16 indicate that we have shifted from the 'universal' to the 'specific' - Luke is moving the narrative away from Jerusalem and back to just Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36, 39; 16:1).  So you can't argue that Luke is still referring back to just the Apostles and Elders as the sole leaders of the church when that's not the point that he is making.  Luke isn't giving a handbook on church structure and polity in Acts 16 - and it's eisegesis to argue that he is.  You can not and should not take one verse out of context to support an idea that you're pulling from somewhere else.

This is why Dr. Bauder says:

A right decision began with the apostles and elders, then included the congregation after the church had received teaching both from the apostle Peter (Acts 15:7-11) and the elder James (Acts 15:13-21). James, who was one of the pastors of the church, did more than to reflect upon abstruse biblical principles. He also applied those principles to the doctrinal problem in very direct ways, going so far as to state a solution for the church. All that was left was for the congregation to accept his solution.

In other words, James spoke to the issue in a way that ordinary church members did not and could not. He spoke with authority. He was not merely another voice within the church, but a teacher of the church. The congregation had a decision to make, but James had the right and duty to lead the congregation in reaching the correct decision. That is what pastoral authority looks like.

When a man becomes the pastor of a church today, the church will already have defined certain doctrinal parameters.

Just as an aside, if a church congregation called a pastor who decided to change the doctrinal parameters of that church, they would be well within their right (although they may be spiritually wrong) to terminate the pastor.  Because the church itself, not the elders and deacons, is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:14-16).

Even if I were to cede to you and Ted the entirety of the passage - which I'm tempted to do in order to try and move the conversation forward - the problem is that you still don't have another passage to base this idea off of, and it's still a new idea in over 1970 years of established church history.  It's still something that no one on SharperIron has heard of and very, very few agree with.  So you'll pardon me of the skepticism that it merits.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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JamesK,

JamesK,

you misunderstand what I am saying. The burden of proof is on you to show that Acts 15 cannot possibly be explained by congregational authority, which you cannot do without arguing for something other than what Luke explicitly states. For those of us who affirm the NT teaching of congregational rule, this passage is not critical other than that it does not preclude the involvement of the congregation in decision-making. Congregational polity does not rise or fall on one passage describing a historical event during the transitional time of the early church, but on the entire teaching of the NT, especially the epistles. But for one to argue that congregational decision-making is out of bounds, as you and Ted have both stated, he must be able to show that in every instance in the entire NT the congregation was excluded from any part of this process. You simply cannot support the claim that you are making.

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Quoth Calvin

I was curious if I was the only one who read this, so I checked CCEL.  Here's Calvin's take on Acts 15:22-29:

22. It pleased the apostles. That tempest was made calm not without the singular grace of God, so that after the matter was thoroughly discussed, they did all agree together in sound doctrine. Also the modesty of the common people is gathered by this, because, after that they had referred the matter to the judgment of the apostles and the rest of teachers, they do now also subscribe to their decree; and, on the other side, the apostles did show some token of their equity, in that they set down nothing concerning the common cause of all the godly without admitting the people. For assuredly, this tyranny did spring from the pride of the pastors, that those things which appertain unto the common state of the whole Church are subject (the people being excluded) to the will, will not say lust, of a few. 143 We know what a hard matter it is to suppress the slanders of the wicked, to satisfy most men who are churlish and forward, to keep under the light and unskillful, to wipe away errors conceived, to heal up hatred, to appease contentions, [and] to abolish false reports. Peradventure, the enemies of Paul and Barnabas might have said that they had gotten letters by fair and flattering speeches; they might have invented some new cavil; the rude and weak might, by and by, have been troubled; but when chief men come with the letters, that they may gravely dispute the whole matter in presence, all sinister suspicion is taken away.

And I'm not even a Calvinist - but it's good to have him on my side for once... Biggrin

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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pvawter wrote:

pvawter wrote:

JamesK,

you misunderstand what I am saying. The burden of proof is on you to show that Acts 15 cannot possibly be explained by congregational authority, which you cannot do without arguing for something other than what Luke explicitly states. For those of us who affirm the NT teaching of congregational rule, this passage is not critical other than that it does not preclude the involvement of the congregation in decision-making. Congregational polity does not rise or fall on one passage describing a historical event during the transitional time of the early church, but on the entire teaching of the NT, especially the epistles. But for one to argue that congregational decision-making is out of bounds, as you and Ted have both stated, he must be able to show that in every instance in the entire NT the congregation was excluded from any part of this process. You simply cannot support the claim that you are making.

Here is an example in the NT of how doctrinal decisions are made.  Luke is explicit that only the apostles and elders made the decision.  That isn't enough for you.  You believe congregationalism, therefore it is right apparently.  There is no other text in the entire NT where a similar example could be compared to that would argue for congregationalism.  So we are at an impass.  There is one passage.  I am content to not say more than the text says.  You are content to reiterate traditions of men, and yes, that is exactly what it is.  You will answer to the Lord of the church on your own and not to me.  I wish you well and may Jesus be glorified in your ministry friend.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Jay, I will quote then

Jay, I will quote then respond.

I've read what you wrote.  You insist that the apostles and elders alone met to discuss the matter.  As DavidO said, there are numerous references to the entirety of the church in Jerusalem within Acts 15.

Not true.  I have said multiple times that the church was in fact there.  No one has denied that the church gathered together.  I think it is entirely possible some church folk even asked questions about this matter.  That is not the issue that I am getting at.

If you want to argue that the apostles and elders made the decision without input from the rest of the church, then what do you do with these verses:

15:4 - When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.

15:12 - And all the assembly (note the difference from the elders and deacons in v. 6) fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.

15:22 - Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers...

15:24-29 - Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” 

I have already given a verse commentary on most of these, but I will do so again.

15:4 - the church welcomed the messengers.  Nothing is said about the church deciding doctrine.

15:12 - note that ALL of the assembly, including the other apostles and elders.  Only two people were speaking at this point.  Even if the nonapostles and elders had spoken or asked questions, nothing is said about the church deciding doctrine.

15:22 - this is about choosing the messengers to rely the decision of the apostles and elders.  Nothing is said about the church deciding doctrine.

15:24-29 - who is the "us"?  Verse 23 tells us that the apostles and elders are the authors of the letters.  Here is the verse: They wrote this letter to be delivered by them: From the apostles and the elders, your brothers, To the brothers from among the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings.  Once again, nothing is said about the church deciding doctrine.

So what do I do with those verses?  Believe them I hope and then order church accordingly.

16:4 says that the decision was made by the Apostles and Elders, yes.  But a significant portion of chapter 15 indicates congregational involvement and assent to what they said with their endorsement.

The congregation was involved in the sense that they were present to hear the decision of the apostles and elders.  I have said as much.  The church did not have veto power over that decision though.  That is the rub isn't it?  Congregationalism allows the church not only oversight, but grants power where Christ did not.

Furthermore, the end of chapter 15 and the beginning of Acts 16 indicate that we have shifted from the 'universal' to the 'specific' - Luke is moving the narrative away from Jerusalem and back to just Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36, 39; 16:1).  So you can't argue that Luke is still referring back to just the Apostles and Elders as the sole leaders of the church when that's not the point that he is making.  Luke isn't giving a handbook on church structure and polity in Acts 16 - and it's eisegesis to argue that he is.  You can not and should not take one verse out of context to support an idea that you're pulling from somewhere else.

The authoritative message that Paul and Barnabas would carry to the churches was that the apostles and elders made a doctrinal determination.  That is the basis of 16:4.  Had it not been a decision of the apostles and elders, it would not have any authority over the church (see Acts 2:42).  I don't think it is a handbook in just this one chapter.  I think the entire NT is the handbook and this chapter is consistent with apostle and elder responsibility on correct doctrine not the church in general.  So this is not one verse out of context, this is yet another example consistent with all the NT.

Just as an aside, if a church congregation called a pastor who decided to change the doctrinal parameters of that church, they would be well within their right (although they may be spiritually wrong) to terminate the pastor.  Because the church itself, not the elders and deacons, is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:14-16).

The hiring and firing of pastors is another matter for another day.  This kind of idea though is why we have the chaos in the church that we do.  In those days when the church's King was ignored, every man believes what is right in his own eyes.

Even if I were to cede to you and Ted the entirety of the passage - which I'm tempted to do in order to try and move the conversation forward - the problem is that you still don't have another passage to base this idea off of, and it's still a new idea in over 1970 years of established church history.  It's still something that no one on SharperIron has heard of and very, very few agree with.  So you'll pardon me of the skepticism that it merits.

I know that on this particular point, Ted and I are in agreement.  I don't know that I would agree with every point he makes on other matters.  If I were to ask you how old congregationalism is, what would you say?  Would you say it is NT theology and it had fallen out of favor due to corrupt doctrine and church practice?  I will assure you, that what I am saying is quite a bit older than what you think it is.  Read more books about the history church order.  I fully understand the skepticism, but I will tell you now that I used to believe as you do now.  Keep wrestling with these matters and think through the implications.  May you be greatly blessed in your ministry friend.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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This system of Presbyterian

This system of Presbyterian governance is based on the NT model seen particularly in the decisions of the Jerusalem presbytery or council in Acts 15. In that inspired incident we see modelled the principles to guide us in church governance. We observe the deliberations and decrees of the Council of Jerusalem, which consisted of the leaders of a group of churches, setting forth the authoritative standards for all the congregations within its jurisdiction. The Council of Jerusalem issued binding “decrees for to keep” (Acts 16:4) to all the local churches. The word translated “decrees” is the Greek word dogmata, which is used to refer to a mandated law. Interestingly, the same Greek word is translated “decree” in Luke 2:1 with reference to the law issued by Caesar Augustus mandating all the Roman Empire to be taxed (cf. Acts 17:7; Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:14 for same point that dogmata is translated as authoritative law).

So the scope of the Council of Jerusalem’s authority was far wider than merely an advisory role, as they exercised a power of order by commanding other local churches in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia to desist from certain practices. The decree they issued was authoritative, decisive, and binding. The language has to be strained by prejudice to interpret “to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things” (Acts 15:28) as merely advisory. These local congregations were clearly bound by the decisions of a higher court. This is the principle that can be undeniably deduced. 

If the apostles were really trying to teach the doctrine of the independence of local churches, they adopted a very strange model to resolve this dispute. For if there was ever a local church that had the ability to resolve theological disputes, surely Antioch was the place as it had as one of its Board of Elders the inspired Apostle Paul, who is widely regarded as the greatest theologian of his generation. Although Paul was an apostle with inspired authority (fully equal to the power of the others as he forcefully argued in Galatians 1:11-2:14), it is notable that he agreed to submit the question from the powerful church at Antioch to the deliberations and decisions of the Jerusalem council, which included the leaders of the church at Antioch and non-apostolic elders. This set a precedent that underlined the unity and interdependence of all local congregations within the NT apostolic jurisdiction. Indeed, it is hard to think of an example that is more contrary to the notion of self-governing, autonomous local churches than this one!

http://oldfaith.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/presbyterianchurch.pdf

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PSFerguson, what do you mean

PSFerguson, what do you mean when you say Paul was inspired? The words he wrote in the autograph were inspired not he himself. Am I understanding you correctly? That Paul the man was walking around inspired by God?

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Hi PS,

Hi PS,

We observe the deliberations and decrees of the Council of Jerusalem, which consisted of the leaders of a group of churches, setting forth the authoritative standards for all the congregations within its jurisdiction.

Unfortunately my friend in Christ, your viewpoint (which is elegantly and expertly expressed) called "connectionalism" suffers from the same man-centered speculation as Bauder's thesis. Here's four reasons why:

 

1) There is only one local church at the JC:

The phrase “the whole church” of Acts 15:22 is exactly what it sounds like — the one church in Jerusalem (cf. Acts 5:11). At the beginning of the chapter Luke states that when Paul and Barnabas and their companions “came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church” (Acts 15:4). His words make it clear that neither Paul nor Barnabas nor their traveling companions were a part of that church. Instead, they were welcomed by that church, and the church was in Jerusalem.

This same church is later mentioned in Acts 15:22 as “the whole church.” There is no hint in the intervening verses that there might be more than one church being represented for no other church is mentioned. Had Luke intended us to understand that multiple churches were represented at the Jerusalem Conference, he simply could have used the plural “churches” as he did a few verses later in Acts 15:41. Moreover, the verb “choose” in Acts 15:22 is both masculine and plural and therefore refers only to the “apostles and elders” choosing the delegates, not “the whole church.” And thus ends the connectionalist’s claim from Scripture.

To claim, as connectionalists do, that "the whole church" refers to the representatives from various churches is only assuming what one wishes to prove, for Luke has already shown the reader that "the whole church" means the vast majority of the people of the church, not its' representatives - see Acts 5:11, cf. Rom. 16:23, 1 Cor. 14:23.

 

2) The Churches of Christendom Were Not Involved in the Decrees, Yet All Were Required to Submit

Luke further undercuts the connectional claim when he explains that Paul (and Silas) went to the churches of his first missionary journey and “delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been decided by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem” (Acts 16:4). Yet none of those churches were represented at the Conference. Had they been, their own representative(s) who voted in favor of the letter would have brought back to their own church its' decrees for immedaite obedience. They wouldn't have waited for Paul to make his way to them for the implementation (Acts 16:4).

Advocates for connectionalism further fail to explain why, if the Jerusalem Conference were attended by representatives of other churches, such representatives are not explicitly mentioned in the text. Nor are their churches. These omissions are incomprehensible if the Holy Spirit intended to positively teach connectionalism from Acts 15.

 

3) Like Congregationalism, Connectionalism Replaces the Unique Role of the Apostles as the Foundation of the Church with It's own Leaders

Luke's account of the Jerusalem Conference bears witness to the presence and importance of apostles inasmuch as every recorded speaker was an apostle, including Barnabas, Paul, Peter, and James (Acts 14:14, Galatians 1:19). Because an apostle’s authority extended over multiple churches the Conference’s decrees present themselves to “the brethren in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia” as fully inspired by the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:22–23, 28; 16:4) and authoritative over all churches, everywhere, and for all time.

Yet, connectional advocates claim that the Jerusalem Conference gives them a pattern that they fulfill today in their Synods and General Assemblies while appearing to ignore the fact that the vast majority (99%) of churches in Christendom could care less about their Synods and General Assemblies. In distinction the one-time decrees of the Jerusalem Conference ought to be the keen absorption of all Christians everywhere since they are given to us where Christ Himself is given to us - in Spirit-breathed Scripture.

People in connectional churches submit to Synod votes as binding on their ecclesial practices but yet are without apostolic authorization to be thus bound. This of necessity leads to authoritative church practices devoid of apostolic witness, and eventual apostasy. One need only observe the historical practices of connectional Presbyterians to both schism and then apostatize to affirm this sad reality.

Better, I believe, to apply the words of a Reformed theologian to the matter:

“…things happened in the history of redemption, in the formulation of the canon, that were extraordinary, illustrative of the history of redemption, typological, but not normative for us.” (R. Scott Clark, Recovering the Reformed Confession, 248).

Such is the Jerusalem Conference, for how can something attested but once in the book of Acts but never taught in the epistles (ie., connectionalism), be normative for your church? 

 

4) Conectionalism, Like Congregationalism, Rests It's Entire Practice on Examples without Precept

Here, brother, we finally take note of the ultimate fail of Kevin's congregationalism, and your own beloved connectionalism. It rests only on an example in Scripture, but has no precept. In this regard it has all the scriptural validity of snake-handling, head-coverings, paedo-communion, foot-washing, and speaking in tongues. Worse, it binds men's consciences to that which Scripture does not affirm, thus teaching genuine Christians to regard the business of the church with a presumptuous faith. This always leads to ecclesiastical disobedience. In the things of church, we reap what we sow.

 

Only the system of church governance called eldership possesses both precept and example in the sacred Scripture.

 

 

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Ted, let me begin by pointing

Ted, let me begin by pointing out that, once again, you avoid questions. A very plain and clear question was put to you, and you ignore it.

And you also seem to ignore the fact that Kevin is addressing a situation where a man comes to pastor a church that already exists with a doctrinal statement.

Quote:
Please show me one instance where I or James have been interacted with here exegetically. We are the only ones making claims about the texts in Acts 15 and 16, and using the words of the texts themselves to defend our claims.
Many posts in this thread have pointed to the words in discussion, and in their context. In fact, if you took all your posts out, there would still be plenty of discussion of Acts 15 and 16. The fact that you disagree with them doesn’t mean you are the only one interacting with the text. You seem to be under the assumption that if people don’t agree with you, they are doing exegesis. That’s a faulty assumption. But in any case, just go back and read it. You will see plenty.

Quote:
Perhaps the reason no one has laid on hand on congregationalism is because every time it gets held up to Scripture it vaporizes.
Well, no. You have yet to answer the key texts, either here at SI or at your blog. The fact is, like it or not, that the congregation was involved in Acts 15. It says that in multiple places, as has been shown. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the congregation had no role in affirming the decrees. They clearly had a role in sending out messengers, and the decree appeals to the church as the one sending it. Why? There was apparently some force behind that that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. What, in your mind, was the point of noting that the church was involved?

Quote:
James and I are arguing that the writings of the NT alone deserve that ultimate place, and that while congregationalism does indeed claim such ultimacy for itself, it usurps Scripture and for that reason to be rejected as filthy rags and a blinding influence on men's power to come under the sole authority of Scripture.
Hyperbole and bombast aside, you aren’t arguing much of anything, much less that the NT alone has ultimate place since you ignore some of the NT. You are making assertions, but not bringing arguments from it. An argument involves giving reasons to support the assertion. (And I have read your website. It wasn’t convincing either.) Congregationalism is the only way to obey the authority of Scripture in some instances.

Quote:
That's all that's being debated here from a textual perspective. Short and to the point. If you are willing, go back to this post for several reasons, all based on the words from Acts 16:4, that show why congregationalism must be wrong.
But it didn’t show that.

Quote:
Brother, I'm going to hazard a guess that you are new to Acts 15 in that you claim it wasn't "doctrine at all."
Ah. You got me. I have never read Acts 15.

Quote:
Are you not confusing doctrine and practice?
No, not at all. The issue in Acts 15 was whether or not the Gentiles had to become like Jews (i.e., circumcision) to be part of the church. That salvation by faith was not being disputed is clear from Acts 15:7-11 which clearly says salvation is by faith. The question sent to the Jerusalem was the act of placing gentiles under the Law of Moses (Acts 15:10). To that question, the apostles, elders, and the congregation send word that Gentiles are not to be placed under the Law of Moses. As you can tell from the solution, the issue was the application of doctrine to the lives of Gentiles.

An issue you have yet to address (to my knowledge) is why, if this is strictly doctrine, the elders were involved at all. NT doctrine is on the authority of the apostles and prophets, not elders. That seems to me to have some relevance here.

In short, I think Acts 15 is an issue that a young church needed the advice of more spiritually mature Christians to handle a disturbing problem. The question was, as I said, How much do Gentiles need to become like Jews to be part of the church? The answer is, “Not much.” That’s why they didn’t need to be put under the Law, as those of the sect of the Pharisees (who I imagine were probably converted, v. 5) wanted to do. There were minimal requirements laid on them.

 

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variant reading

JamesK,
I am not able to give greater detail at this time, but compare the textual variants of v.23. I guess it depends on which text h you use, whether the church delivered the decree or not.

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For Ted

Jay wrote:

Just as an aside, if a church congregation called a pastor who decided to change the doctrinal parameters of that church, they would be well within their right (although they may be spiritually wrong) to terminate the pastor.  Because the church itself, not the elders and deacons, is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:14-16).

At the risk of promoting myself, I wanted to circle back to this text for Ted.  How would you interpret the 1 Timothy 3:14-16 passage?

I'd also be interested in why you haven't merged with all the other local assemblies in your area or apologized for your own hypocrisy.  Seems to me that the preacher ought to practice what he believes...especially if he's blogging about it and trying to get others to agree with it here.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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[quote=Jay]

[quote=Jay]

 

At the risk of promoting myself, I wanted to circle back to this text for Ted.  How would you interpret the 1 Timothy 3:14-16 passage?

I'd also be interested in why you haven't merged with all the other local assemblies in your area or apologized for your own hypocrisy.  Seems to me that the preacher ought to practice what he believes...especially if he's blogging about it and trying to get others to agree with it here.

 

Jay - I know now that when you ask a question its to find something to disagree with so you can make another posting. If my reply to David above at comment # 68273 didn't help you, then sorry, I'm not giving you more. You need to go submit to Jesus Christ in John 13:34-35.

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For Ted

Ted, put everything else aside and answer the question that Jay, myself and others ask you:

How is what you are doing/did in CT consistent with your teaching about one church/per town, appointing elders, etc? 

From all appearances, you have a bit of credibility problem. I don't expect you to answer this question because you have been ducking it for months.

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Meh

Ted Bigelow wrote:

Hey David - in 1 Tim. 3:15, "is" is singular not plural - leading me to prefer the institution of the church over the people of the church. This is confirmed for me by the context as 1 Tim. 3 defines the two offices in the institutional church, elders, and deacons. Also, do a gut check - when do the people of church prevent the institution from slipping into a denial of 3:16? I'm sure there are some rare cases, but by far, the typical case is the institutional leaders who do that. 

Ted, 

I missed the earlier post.  My apologies.

That being said, you're practicing bad exegesis again here.  You are taking your position, twisting 3:1-13 into it to make vv.14-16 say something that it does not, and then using that passage to prove your doctrine.  Paul is clearly differentiating between the leader (Timothy) from the church in vv.14-16, and there is no exegetical reason to interpret the passage the way you do.  Unless, of course, you don't want to take the obvious interpretation.

Again, Calvin will suffice:

How thou oughtest to conduct thyself - By this mode of expression he commends the weight and dignity of the office; because pastors may be regarded as stewards, to whom God has committed the charge of governing his house. If any person has the superintendence of a large house, he labors night and day with earnest solicitude, that nothing may go wrong through his neglect, or ignorance, or carelessness. If only for men this is done, how much more should it be done for God?

In the house of God - There are good reasons why God bestows this name on his Church; for not only has he received us to be his children by the grace of adoption, but he also dwelleth in the midst of us.

The pillar and foundation of truth - No ordinary enhancement is derived from this appellation. Could it have been described in loftier language? Is anything more venerable, or more holy, than that everlasting truth which embraces both the glory of God and the salvation of men? Were all the praises of heathen philosophy, with which it has been adorned by its followers, collected into one heap, what is this in comparison of the dignity of this wisdom, which alone deserves to be called light and truth, and the instruction of life, and the way, and the kingdom of God? Now it is preserved on earth by the ministry of the Church alone. What a weight, therefore, rests on the pastors, who have been entrusted with the charge of so inestimable a treasure! With what impudent trifling do Papists argue from the words of Paul that all their absurdities ought to be held as oracles of God, because they are “the pillar of truth,” and therefore cannot err!

First, we ought to see why Paul adorns the Church with so magnificent a title. By holding out to pastors the greatness of the office, he undoubtedly intended to remind them with what fidelity, and industry, and reverence they ought to discharge it. How dreadful is the vengeance that awaits them, if, through their fault, that truth which is the image of the Divine glory, the light of the world, and the salvation of men, shall be allowed to fall! This consideration ought undoubtedly to lead pastors to tremble continually, not to deprive them of all energy, but to excite them to greater vigilance.

Hence we may easily conclude in what sense Paul uses these words. The reason why the Church is called the “pillar of truth” is, that she defends and spreads it by her agency. God does not himself come down from heaven to us, nor does he daily send angels to make known his truth; but he employs pastors, whom he has appointed for that purpose. To express it in a more homely manner, is not the Church the mother of all believers? Does she not regenerate them by the word of God, educate and nourish them through their whole life, strengthen, and bring them at length to absolute perfection? For the same reason, also, she is called “the pillar of truth;” because the office of administering doctrine, which God hath placed in her hands, is the only instrument of preserving the truth, that it may not perish from the remembrance of men. 

Reiterating the problems with your position - either exegetical or practical - isn't 'finding something else to disagree with so I can make another posting'.  It's restating so that someone in this discussion can get an clear answer from you. Telling me I need to go 'submit to Jesus' (which, btw, would really mean that I should submit to you, not Christ) on this matter is also rude and sinful, and a violation of James 4:11 - "Do not speak evil against one another, brothers."

Yes, I'm going after you on this website, and I'm doing it deliberately because I think you are here to spread confusion and dissention on what should be a very clear passage of Scripture.  You continue to take multiple passages out of context and force them to support a position that is novel and schismatic. If you are offended because I have called you out on your false teaching, then either reply with Scripture, clarify where I'm wrong, or apologize.  If you can't do that, then follow Galatians 6:1.  Don't resort to name calling and slander.  You aren't the only person on this website with theological, pastoral, and seminary experience.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Spot on . . .

Bauder wrote:

Ultimately, the congregation must define the church’s doctrinal parameters. This is exactly what happened in the local church business meeting at Jerusalem in Acts 15. In the face of a doctrinal and practical challenge, the entire congregation participated in drawing a doctrinal line (Acts 15:22-23). Nevertheless, the solution to the problem did not come from an uninstructed congregation, nor did the church’s leaders permit a simple pooling of uninformed prejudices. A right decision began with the apostles and elders, then included the congregation after the church had received teaching both from the apostle Peter (Acts 15:7-11) and the elder James (Acts 15:13-21). James, who was one of the pastors of the church, did more than to reflect upon abstruse biblical principles. He also applied those principles to the doctrinal problem in very direct ways, going so far as to state a solution for the church. All that was left was for the congregation to accept his solution.

  • It is very clear from Acts 15:22-23 that the entire congregation, including the leaders, were involved in the drafting and dispatching of the letter.
  • It is also very clear that the congregation was steered and shepherded by the elders

He continues:

In other words, James spoke to the issue in a way that ordinary church members did not and could not. He spoke with authority. He was not merely another voice within the church, but a teacher of the church. The congregation had a decision to make, but James had the right and duty to lead the congregation in reaching the correct decision. That is what pastoral authority looks like

  • Very well said. I have seen nothing from James and Ted to dispute these rather basic observations. 

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Illinois. 

Ted Bigelow's picture
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GregH wrote:

GregH wrote:

Ted, put everything else aside and answer the question that Jay, myself and others ask you:

How is what you are doing/did in CT consistent with your teaching about one church/per town, appointing elders, etc? 

From all appearances, you have a bit of credibility problem. I don't expect you to answer this question because you have been ducking it for months.

Greg, already answered in my last reply to you.

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Go ahead

If you are offended because I have called you out on your false teaching, then either reply with Scripture, clarify where I'm wrong, or apologize. 

Bring it on Jay. Clearly state my false teaching.

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Tyler R

It is very clear from Acts 15:22-23 that the entire congregation, including the leaders, were involved in the drafting and dispatching of the letter.

Hi Tyler, the verb "chose" in Acts 15:22 - is it feminine singular or masculine plural?

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Ted Bigelow wrote:

Ted Bigelow wrote:

 

GregH wrote:

 

Ted, put everything else aside and answer the question that Jay, myself and others ask you:

How is what you are doing/did in CT consistent with your teaching about one church/per town, appointing elders, etc? 

From all appearances, you have a bit of credibility problem. I don't expect you to answer this question because you have been ducking it for months.

 

 

Greg, already answered in my last reply to you.

Actually Ted, you didn't. I went back and looked, and then I went back and read again the link you provided to your blog article. It doesn't answer the question. It never explains why you are not to be considered a hypocrite at best or a false teacher at worst, by the definition of your own blog, for helping to open another church in a city that already had churches in it within a convenient Sunday travel distance of yourself. The most precise quote I could find in the article was this one:

If you are thinking “that was then and now is now,” consider this. It’s not as if there weren’t “competing” churches in the cities of these NT churches. Such schismatic and heretical churches did form, thus earning Paul’s “ignore” commands, such as “have nothing to do with” (1 Tim. 4:7), and “turn away from” (Rom. 16:17). Such commands could not refer to ignoring and turning from people in one’s own church, for that would then disobey Christ’s command of love in John 13:34-35 and many other wonderful texts. 

Rather, Paul commanded all the Christians in a particular locale to ignore and repudiate all those in the churches of these false teachers that didn’t submit to his apostolic deposit of faith (1 Cor. 14:37-38, 1 Tim. 6:21, 2 Tim. 2:16, 2:23-25, 4:3-4, Titus 1:14, 3:9). His “ignore” commands show that these dangerous teachers were not off teaching themselves in their own homes, but led rival churches, for they were publically teaching error, and their teaching was a very real near-by threat to the one church of that region. 

So tell us all, finally Ted, should we identify you as a hypocrite or a false teacher? Because those appear to be only options you leave available in your article to describe yourself. Why shouldn't we "ignore and repudiate" you for being schismatic to the one true church, whichever one that was, that was already operating in your region?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Ted Bigelow's picture
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Chip jumps in

The most precise quote I could find in the article was this one

Chip - that's the quote you chose, but you missed the more apropos quotes. However, read the comments, especially 1.2.

"One true church?" Chip, if you had been the pastor of Sardis or Laodicea, would you have been the pastor of a true church?

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Ted Bigelow wrote:

Ted Bigelow wrote:

The most precise quote I could find in the article was this one

Chip - that's the quote you chose, but you missed the more apropos quotes. However, read the comments, especially 1.2.

"One true church?" Chip, if you had been the pastor of Sardis or Laodicea, would you have been the pastor of a true church?

Fine Ted, you say I missed the better quotes. Of course, you don't indicate why the quote I did point out shouldn't be applied to you. But if there are better quotes, bring them here and answer the question. I went back and read the comments, as you requested. You still didn't answer the question why we shouldn't consider you schismatic, by your own definition, for opening your church when others already existed in your city. You mention in your responses to your own blog that you had tried near the time of that writing to join with two other churches in your area, so we know there are other faithful churches by your standards. Why shouldn't we consider you at best a hypocrite and at worst a false teacher for not following the very advice you are promoting here? What gave you the biblical right to start your church instead of simply joining with the flock that was already present in your region? Why did you further divide the one true church of Christ in your region? 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Bring it on?

Ted Bigelow wrote:

If you are offended because I have called you out on your false teaching, then either reply with Scripture, clarify where I'm wrong, or apologize. 

Bring it on Jay. Clearly state my false teaching.

Bring it on...says the man who can't or won't (at this point I'm leaning more towards won't) answer the multiple questions about why he divided the one true church in his town, and who won't apologize for slandering Dr. Bauder and charging him with false teaching.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Ted Bigelow wrote:

Ted Bigelow wrote:

 

GregH wrote:

 

Ted, put everything else aside and answer the question that Jay, myself and others ask you:

How is what you are doing/did in CT consistent with your teaching about one church/per town, appointing elders, etc? 

From all appearances, you have a bit of credibility problem. I don't expect you to answer this question because you have been ducking it for months.

 

 

Greg, already answered in my last reply to you.

Um no, you have not answered the question. Not to me or anyone else. I am wondering why. Is it because you are scared to admit that you believe all the other churches in your town are apostate? I would remind everyone that not only does Ted probably think this but he also considers himself an apostle based on this post where he admits "it was sort of myself who "appointed" me." 

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Ted

You asked:

Hi Tyler, the verb "chose" in Acts 15:22 - is it feminine singular or masculine plural?

Please just ask your question and stop being coy. What is your point?

Your position on ecclesiology is novel. I hope you would admit that. That, in and of itself, doesn't make it wrong. Dispensationalists have endured similar charges from our Covenant brethren. We have done a whole lot of leg-work in historical theology and proven that ours is indeed not a very novel position; there is historical precedent for premillennial, dispensational distinctives.  We have also done a whole lot of work in Biblical Theology to prove our point. Ryrie's Basis of the Premillennial Faith, Walvoord's Millennial Kingdom and McClain's Greatness of the Kingdom come to mind. That being said, I ask the following:

  • Where is your historical theology? Show me anybody from church history who has ever supported your position. Surely you're not the only one, are you?
  • Where is your Biblical Theology? March me through your NT ecclesiology and prove your point from somewhere other than Titus - prove it from the various epistle and Gospels throughout the whole NT.
  • Where is your Systematic Theology? Prove to me that your peculiar ecclesiology is supported by the entirety of the NT revelation, based on the sure foundation of BT.

Where is the heavy spade work to justify your position? Surely you suffered through hermeneutics class just like the rest of us did. Systematic Theology follows upon the heels of Biblical Theology. Where is yours? Moreover, where is historical precedent to support your claims? Let's really dig into this issue. 

TylerR is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Divernon, Illinois. 

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