The Teaching Office

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DavidO's picture

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.

DavidO's picture

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.

Ted Bigelow's picture

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.

DavidO's picture

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.

 

GregH's picture

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.

Ted Bigelow's picture

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.

 

Ted Bigelow's picture

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?

Jay's picture

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

Ted Bigelow's picture

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.

Jay's picture

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

DavidO's picture

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?

James K's picture

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.

James K's picture

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.

James K's picture

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.

pvawter's picture

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.

Jay's picture

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

James K's picture

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.

Ted Bigelow's picture

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?

Ted Bigelow's picture

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.

Ted Bigelow's picture

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 Bigelow's picture

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.

pvawter's picture

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.

DavidO's picture

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.

James K's picture

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.

pvawter's picture

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.

James K's picture

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.

Larry's picture

Moderator

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.

pvawter's picture

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.

DavidO's picture

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.

Ted Bigelow's picture

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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