The Teaching Office

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James K's picture

TylerR wrote:

  • 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

Your first point is not clear at all Tyler.  If you read verse 23, it lays out who the authors of the letter are.  It isn't the church at all.  It is exclusively the apostles and elders.  That is Ted's point.  The greek verifies this.

Verse 23: "From the apostles and the elders"

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

I am about done with this thread because it has devolved so far from the original matters.

For all those who want to throw the condemnation back at Ted for his view, can any of you support from scripture that there should be many churches within the same city?  I haven't really looked into Ted's view except some brief comments on SI, so I am not defending him.

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

TylerR wrote:

Your position on ecclesiology is novel. I hope you would admit that.

Tyler, I can assure you that the position of plural elders actually leading the church is not novel.  Perhaps you were talking about something else.  I disagree with many close friends on this, my seminary training, and some well known professors who I keep in contact.  It wasn't an easy transition to my view, but it is one I felt compelled to in order to align my beliefs with the scripture.

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.

Rob Fall's picture

The novel position of Ted's is not his position on the plurality of elders.  His novel position is (the condensed version) there can be only one proper non-schismatic church in any particular geographic area.

James K wrote:

 

TylerR wrote:

 

Your position on ecclesiology is novel. I hope you would admit that.

 

 

Tyler, I can assure you that the position of plural elders actually leading the church is not novel.  Perhaps you were talking about something else.  I disagree with many close friends on this, my seminary training, and some well known professors who I keep in contact.  It wasn't an easy transition to my view, but it is one I felt compelled to in order to align my beliefs with the scripture.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Ted Bigelow's picture

Jay wrote:

 

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.

 

Jay, #2. Clearly state my false teaching.

Ted Bigelow's picture

TylerR wrote:

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. 

Hi Tyler,

You don't get answers to your questions until you answer mine first.

You wrote, "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."

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

When you've answered the question and we've examined your answer then we'll move on to your questions. But if you continue to refuse to be held accountable on such a simple thing, then it will be obvious your intentions are not to submit your teaching to Holy Scripture.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Ted,

I know you've been busy getting questions from a lot of directions.I also realize that my last question got trapped on the other side of the page change making it easy to forget. I did what you asked and went back to the article on your blog, Location, Location, Location. You indicated I didn't chose the right quotes to apply to this discussion, and you wanted me to read the comments to the article, particularly the first 2. I will summarize the questions that remain.

1. You never indicated why the quotes I chose from your article didn't apply to you or your situation indicating you are, at best, a hypocrite or, at worst, a false teacher.

2. You haven't identified which quotes from your rather lengthy article you think apply more accurately to this situation to explain why you shouldn't be considered a hypocrite or false teacher.

3. I read the comments after the article. Nowhere in the article or the comments have I seen the explanation you repeatedly claim is there. I will ask again what others have asked repeatedly. Stop playing games and just answer the question. Why should we not consider you a schismatic hypocrite or a false teacher, based on your own paradigm, for pastoring a church in a region with many other churches? You indicate in the comments to your own blog that there are other churches you esteem as faithful because you were trying at that point to join with them. Are you three the only ones in your region? Why did you feel justified starting your church in the first place? If you were going to be obedient to the understanding of scripture you have been espousing here, wouldn't you have been required to join an existing church rather than contribute to the division of the flock in your region by opening the doors to another schismatic and fragmented branch of the local assembly? 

 

Please Ted, no more diatribes or misdirection. Simply give us an answer. You must have one. Stop playing coy games and just let your yea be yea and your nay be nay.

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

Ted Bigelow's picture

Chip Van Emmerik 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? 

Hi Chip,

You're kicking the can down the road. The question was, "what is your church doing about merging churches?" The answer about us personally was in comment 1.2. Now your questions move to me personally and thereby misses the forest for the trees. Nothing here or in my article, Location, Location, Location discusses schismatic individuals, but rather schismatic churches. The article is a public teaching on the local body of Christ, whose contents I am obligated to defend. 

Chip, before we can discuss your questions two things have to occur. If you don't answer my questions previously given you, I won't answer your subsequent questions. It's Mat. 7:12. 

In my prior reply to you I quoted you asserting "one true church" and asked you, "Chip, if you had been the pastor of Sardis or Laodicea, would you have been the pastor of a true church?" You did not answer. Instead, you replied to me with more questions and allegations. If you do not answer my question (which is simple), then you won't get your questions (which are front loaded) answered.

Two, assuming you do answer, we have to have an agreed upon definition of schism in order to assess if I, or you, is schismatic.

I propose the following - the NT  defines schism for us (not Roman Catholicism), and it is a definition applied first and foremost to churches. I propose the following: any church that refuses to obey Scripture's clear teachings for churches in doctrine and practice, and which are clearly revealed to all men in both Precept and Example, is schismatic.

From that let's give a working definition of a a schismatic teacher. He is one who refuses to amend his doctrine and duty by the same hermeneutic of Precept and Example in Holy Scripture.

Until I know that you at least understand P&E (even if you refuse it as a binding principle) then I can answer your questions, for at least you will understand the authority of Scripture that I teach under.

 

Ted Bigelow's picture

GregH 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." 

Greg, I have, but you haven't understood as is plain from your question, " Is it because you are scared to admit that you believe all the other churches in your town are apostate?" Even Chip, who is quoting your questions and who read my article and comments, knows that isn't true. As well, I do not think I am an apostle. 

I asked you two days ago in this thread what books of the NT you were teaching. You did not answer me even though it was a simple question. Now you want me to answer more of your questions without answering mine? (Mat. 7:12)

So #2, "Greg, what books of the NT are you teaching?" If you do not answer me I will not answer you.

TylerR's picture

Editor

You wrote:

But if you continue to refuse to be held accountable on such a simple thing, then it will be obvious your intentions are not to submit your teaching to Holy Scripture.

You know very well what the larger issue we have is with your position. You refuse to engage, dance coyly around, and issue silly statements like this. I am disappointed you do not have the honesty to address the very issue you know is at the heart of our conflict with you. If you were honestly seeking to interact, you would attempt to answer these larger issues rather than sticking with congregationalism. You appear to have no other goal other than to be schismatic. You intentionally lurk on SI and pop at up at relevant points to propagate your peculiar doctrine, but are seemingly unwilling to create your own thread. If you are honestly trying to get us to see your point of view, you are failing. 

If you begin to answer the larger issues you know full well are behind this impasse, then I'll re-engage. Your reluctance to engage on the larger issue is clear for all to see. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ted Bigelow's picture

TylerR wrote:

You wrote:

But if you continue to refuse to be held accountable on such a simple thing, then it will be obvious your intentions are not to submit your teaching to Holy Scripture.

You know very well what the larger issue we have is with your position. You refuse to engage, dance coyly around, and issue silly statements like this. I am disappointed you do not have the honesty to address the very issue you know is at the heart of our conflict with you. If you were honestly seeking to interact, you would attempt to answer these larger issues rather than sticking with congregationalism. You appear to have no other goal other than to be schismatic. You intentionally lurk on SI and pop at up at relevant points to propagate your peculiar doctrine, but are seemingly unwilling to create your own thread. If you are honestly trying to get us to see your point of view, you are failing. 

If you begin to answer the larger issues you know full well are behind this impasse, then I'll re-engage. Your reluctance to engage on the larger issue is clear for all to see. 

Tyler, honesty begins with being submitted to Scripture, otherwise you have made yourself your own judge. Just as i have called Kevin to respond to his claims on Acts 15 and lack of accountability to Acts 16;4, so now twice you have refused to answer an exceedingly simple question: "Hi Tyler, the verb "chose" in Acts 15:22 - is it feminine singular or masculine plural?"

Instead you assert your own authority, such as "I ask the following: Where is your historical theology? Show me anybody from church history who has ever supported your position..."

For some reason you believe your questions ought to be answered and mine ignored. But the Lord Jesus taught His followers, "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Mat 7:12).

Jay's picture

Hi Chip,

You're kicking the can down the road. The question was, "what is your church doing about merging churches?" The answer about us personally was in comment 1.2. Now your questions move to me personally and thereby misses the forest for the trees. Nothing here or in my article, Location, Location, Location discusses schismatic individuals, but rather schismatic churches. The article is a public teaching on the local body of Christ, whose contents I am obligated to defend. 

Chip, before we can discuss your questions two things have to occur. If you don't answer my questions previously given you, I won't answer your subsequent questions. It's Mat. 7:12. 

In my prior reply to you I quoted you asserting "one true church" and asked you, "Chip, if you had been the pastor of Sardis or Laodicea, would you have been the pastor of a true church?" You did not answer. Instead, you replied to me with more questions and allegations. If you do not answer my question (which is simple), then you won't get your questions (which are front loaded) answered.

Two, assuming you do answer, we have to have an agreed upon definition of schism in order to assess if I, or you, is schismatic.

I propose the following - the NT defines schism for us (not Roman Catholicism), and it is a definition applied first and foremost to churches. I propose the following: any church that refuses to obey Scripture's clear teachings for churches in doctrine and practice, and which are clearly revealed to all men in both Precept and Example, is schismatic.

Ted, 

Now you're just embarrassing yourself.  You can talk about Sardis and Laodicea all you want - even though the letters are written to the angel of the church (and what is meant by that is a different discussion) - but the charge of schism is not applied anywhere in the NT to churches corporately.  It is, however, continually applied to those who individuals who bring false doctrine into the church:

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. - Acts 20:28-31

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. - Romans 16:17

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. - 2 Thessalonians 3:6

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine... - I Tim. 1:3

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. - 1 Timothy 6:3-5

"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

Jay's picture

I am disappointed you do not have the honesty to address the very issue you know is at the heart of our conflict with you. If you were honestly seeking to interact, you would attempt to answer these larger issues rather than sticking with congregationalism. You appear to have no other goal other than to be schismatic. You intentionally lurk on SI and pop at up at relevant points to propagate your peculiar doctrine, but are seemingly unwilling to create your own thread. If you are honestly trying to get us to see your point of view, you are failing. 

Which is exactly why, Ted, I think that the charge of false teacher applies to you (to answer your post from 6:45 AM).  You're a textbook example of Acts 20:28-31 and 1 Timothy 6:3-5.  I think that the moderators would do all of us a service by locking this thread and banning you from this website for continued violations of C.4, E.1, and someone who 'is not a good fit with the site's purposes or community' in the Comment Policy.

We've all wasted enough time trying to reason with you.  Be gone.

"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

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Ted Bigelow wrote:

 

Chip Van Emmerik 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? 

 

 

Hi Chip,

You're kicking the can down the road. The question was, "what is your church doing about merging churches?" The answer about us personally was in comment 1.2. Now your questions move to me personally and thereby misses the forest for the trees. Nothing here or in my article, Location, Location, Location discusses schismatic individuals, but rather schismatic churches. The article is a public teaching on the local body of Christ, whose contents I am obligated to defend. 

Chip, before we can discuss your questions two things have to occur. If you don't answer my questions previously given you, I won't answer your subsequent questions. It's Mat. 7:12. 

In my prior reply to you I quoted you asserting "one true church" and asked you, "Chip, if you had been the pastor of Sardis or Laodicea, would you have been the pastor of a true church?" You did not answer. Instead, you replied to me with more questions and allegations. If you do not answer my question (which is simple), then you won't get your questions (which are front loaded) answered.

Two, assuming you do answer, we have to have an agreed upon definition of schism in order to assess if I, or you, is schismatic.

I propose the following - the NT  defines schism for us (not Roman Catholicism), and it is a definition applied first and foremost to churches. I propose the following: any church that refuses to obey Scripture's clear teachings for churches in doctrine and practice, and which are clearly revealed to all men in both Precept and Example, is schismatic.

From that let's give a working definition of a a schismatic teacher. He is one who refuses to amend his doctrine and duty by the same hermeneutic of Precept and Example in Holy Scripture.

Until I know that you at least understand P&E (even if you refuse it as a binding principle) then I can answer your questions, for at least you will understand the authority of Scripture that I teach under.

 

Ted, 

If you want to play the chronology game, I asked you questions which have remained unanswered before you asked me anything. The question you continue to dodge is still the first one on the list. Why should you/your church not be considered hypocritical/false teachers according to your own paradigm for opening your doors in a city where numerous other churches already were in existence? Why shouldn't you individually or collectively be considered disobedient to the claims of scripture that you are promoting for failing to unite with the already existing church in your region instead of further fragmenting the flock by organizing another assembly?

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

James K's picture

It probably got lost in everything, but are there any references to plural churches in a city?

If yes, then would that disprove Ted's point?

If not, then would that reinforce Ted's point?

Can we not let the scripture decide rather than peripheral matters?  In other words, let us reason together from the scripture what is actually true, then proceed to how to work it out.

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

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

Ted, 

 

If you want to play the chronology game, I asked you questions which have remained unanswered before you asked me anything. The question you continue to dodge is still the first one on the list. Why should you/your church not be considered hypocritical/false teachers according to your own paradigm for opening your doors in a city where numerous other churches already were in existence? Why shouldn't you individually or collectively be considered disobedient to the claims of scripture that you are promoting for failing to unite with the already existing church in your region instead of further fragmenting the flock by organizing another assembly?

Chip - you first entered the thread quoting Greg H's own entry into this thread. I am referring to that original entry by Greg. And remember, Greg came in on a post that was all about the exegesis of Acts 16:4 and Bauder's congregationalism and redirected it in his own direction:

"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.​"

Then you jumped in Greg's car and redirected things again. But your questions presuppose certain things that are opposed to Scripture, and until you answer the one very simple question I gave to you, your questions, which are many, presumptive, and front-loaded, will not be answered.

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

 

James K's picture

I have this question for those of you who think that the congregation had a role in determining truth or still has such oversight authority of pastors today.

1 Tim 2:12 states: I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent.

Presumably none of you attend all male churches.  Women then make up part of the congregation.  For women to have doctrinal authority (even shared) of pastors would violate this passage in a pastoral epistle.  If you attempt to solve that problem by having only men serve as oversight of the pastor, then you have fractured something without Christ's approval.

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.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Ted Bigelow wrote:

 

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

 

Ted, 

 

If you want to play the chronology game, I asked you questions which have remained unanswered before you asked me anything. The question you continue to dodge is still the first one on the list. Why should you/your church not be considered hypocritical/false teachers according to your own paradigm for opening your doors in a city where numerous other churches already were in existence? Why shouldn't you individually or collectively be considered disobedient to the claims of scripture that you are promoting for failing to unite with the already existing church in your region instead of further fragmenting the flock by organizing another assembly?

 

 

Chip - you first entered the thread quoting Greg H's own entry into this thread. I am referring to that original entry by Greg. And remember, Greg came in on a post that was all about the exegesis of Acts 16:4 and Bauder's congregationalism and redirected it in his own direction:

"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.​"

Then you jumped in Greg's car and redirected things again. But your questions presuppose certain things that are opposed to Scripture, and until you answer the one very simple question I gave to you, your questions, which are many, presumptive, and front-loaded, will not be answered.

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

 

Ted,

You should have been a carney, because you play more games than anyone I have ever known. I teach middle school students, and I have never seen anyone work so hard to deflect the conversation and avoid answering a simple question. You referred to your blog which doesn't answer the question. You have avoided this question from the beginning. I guess you are acknowledging in a round-about way that you are a hypocrite with no excuse for breaking the rules you are trying to impose on everyone else.

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

Larry's picture

Moderator

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

It's masculine plural.

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

The Holy Spirit calls it a church, so we assume it was a church. Unless of course, you want to deny the authority of Scripture.

Now that your questions have been answered, you answer the questions put to you.

GregH's picture

This is a trainwreck. Ted, admittedly, I am not in charge of who answers what and in what order. But on the other hand, neither are you. I am not required to answer your questions. You don't have to answer mine either. I will just say that until you do, you are going to continue to beat your head against the wall here. For a guy that works so hard at trying to convince people of things, you are remarkably bad at it with your condescending tone and apparent hypocrisy. I have to step back and wonder what  your purpose is in being here. Every time you post, you dig deeper.

Jay's picture

GregH wrote:

This is a trainwreck. Ted, admittedly, I am not in charge of who answers what and in what order. But on the other hand, neither are you. I am not required to answer your questions. You don't have to answer mine either. I will just say that until you do, you are going to continue to beat your head against the wall here. For a guy that works so hard at trying to convince people of things, you are remarkably bad at it with your condescending tone and apparent hypocrisy. I have to step back and wonder what  your purpose is in being here. Every time you post, you dig deeper.

GregH, it's a lot easier to convince people that you're right when you can:

  • dictate the flow of conversation,
  • ignore the questions you don't like, and
  • personally attack the people involved with impunity.  

The steps to spreading false doctrine are very similar - separate (from the truth), isolate (from other believers and to the heretic's writings or teaching), and dominate (through constant exposure to false teaching).  That's the MO of people who are here to draw people away from the truth, whether it's the doctrine of eternal punishment, King James Inspiration, or (in this case) aberrant ecclesiology.  

I've been a member here for almost 10 years, and it's always the same pattern with heretics and schismatics.  They come to SharperIron and sow confusion and discord, not peace.  The wisdom that comes from God is first "pure, then peaceable" (James 3:17), and our God is a "God of Peace" (1 Cor. 14:33).  Christians are commanded to live at peace with everyone, as much as is possible (Romans 12:18). Anyone who comes to a place where Christians gather for edification and encouragement but brings strife and discord is not from God (Galatians 5:19-21) and should be treated as such. If anyone doubts me, go through and read some of the archived threads some time, particularly the ones with the most posts.  Some of you with the unfortunate experience of going through this personally will see the pattern as well.

Ted - this is my last post aimed at you.  I specifically charged you with slander, false teaching, and spreading division earlier today.  If that isn't good enough for you to understand why I am calling you a schismatic, then I can't help you.  In any case, I'm done interacting with your posts until you answer some hard questions or repent.

"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

Dan Miller's picture

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.

Exactly. That is the reading of the letter taken to the churches.

The congregation approved the decision of the elders. TB seems to think of that as some kind of usurping or "sheep-leading-the-shepherd." I think that's where the problem starts. Congregationalists don't see this as usurping at all. Rather, it is a formal act of following the shepherds.

TB wrote:
Now you need to show why Acts 15:22 establishes governmental "approval" as opposed to just "going in along with."
Congregationalists don't see a meaningful difference between these. What happened in Acts 15 (which was carried out in 16) was that the congregation formally agreed with its leadership. That's all we see congregational doctrinal statements to be. 

Elders (pastors) lead. Congregations follow. But they really follow; you can tell because they act on it by stating doctrine and holding to it.

 

Ted Bigelow's picture

I specifically charged you with slander, false teaching, and spreading division earlier today.  

Not just today, but yesterday as well.

Yet, when I asked you over and again to clearly state my false teaching, you have not. But that's because (as I said to you yesterday) you only want my feedback to your posts so you can write another post that gives vent to whatever it is that enters your heart.

My criticism's of Kevin have been specific - related to his aberrant ecclesiology, and specifically his shallow method of handling Scripture (example without precept). I have shown how his counsel to churches directly goes against Scripture in Acts 16:4 in multiple posts.

Any religious person can throw around accusations, Jay, and think to themselves, "my hands are clean." Solomon warns us, "All the ways of a man are right in his own eyes, but the Lord weights the heart." It's as easy for you (and me) as being in Adam.

But when you make an accusation of another person, and especially an elder, you are required to back it up or else be recognized as a slanderer. So far all you have done is accuse but never substantiate, though asked several times to do so by the very one you are accusing.

Repentance will either mean apologizing before all for making accusation but without substantiation, and supplying all with proof of your accusation(s), or apologizing to all and admitting your accusations are not true because you do not have evidence that I am a false teacher.

A lack of repentance will just mean that you type out and post whatever accusations seems good to you to make.

 

Ted Bigelow's picture

I teach middle school students, and I have never seen anyone work so hard to deflect the conversation and avoid answering a simple question.

Well there you go, I think we found our problem.

Your students are obligated to answer you, and you are right to pursue them for answers. But the authority you have been granted over them you do not have over me. Therefore, when you ask questions of me and get answers, though unsatisfactory to you, you are not free to then dismiss my questions to you and simply go back asking more questions along with their associated slanders. My questions to you have a purpose to help you gain a more biblical ecclesiology, not to tear you down. The same could not be said for your questions to me.

From the beginning your questions have been of the "Yes or no, do you still beat your wife" variety, and among the children of this age would have deserved no response whatsoever. But Chip, you claim to be a child of the kingdom, and yet relate to one who by grace is in the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ in very non-kingdom ways. 

I hope you are blessed serving the students.

 

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Ted Bigelow wrote:

I teach middle school students, and I have never seen anyone work so hard to deflect the conversation and avoid answering a simple question.

Well there you go, I think we found our problem.

Your students are obligated to answer you, and you are right to pursue them for answers. But the authority you have been granted over them you do not have over me. Therefore, when you ask questions of me and get answers, though unsatisfactory to you, you are not free to then dismiss my questions to you and simply go back asking more questions along with their associated slanders. My questions to you have a purpose to help you gain a more biblical ecclesiology, not to tear you down. The same could not be said for your questions to me.

Totally a side note, but how in the world can you claim to be God and read my mind and heart? James 4:11-12 are particularly applicable,  but I don't want to distract from the primary discussion.

Ted Bigelow also wrote:

From the beginning your questions have been of the "Yes or no, do you still beat your wife" variety, and among the children of this age would have deserved no response whatsoever. But Chip, you claim to be a child of the kingdom, and yet relate to one who by grace is in the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ in very non-kingdom ways. 

I hope you are blessed serving the students.

 

Ted,

I can't figure out if you are playing dodge ball or hide and go seek. There you go again trying to redirect the conversation. No one has restricted you to yes or no, now you are simply lying. Everyone has invited you to explain in any way you choose. Unfortunately, you refuse to answer at all. From the beginning my question has been the same one asked by almost everyone interacting with you on this thread, the one you have consistently dodged and refused to answer. My question is simple and legitimate. From all appearances, you have violated your own teaching in starting a church. This question was asked originally in good faith. After you spent so much time and spilled so much electronic ink offering non-answers and then avoiding any answer at all, the only conclusion any reasonable person can draw is that you have no answer. You preach one thing to everyone here on SI but practice something else in your own life and ministry. You are a hypocrite and/or a false teacher. If this is not accurate, then simply answer the question. How are you able to justify starting a new assembly when there were already churches in your region with whom you could have joined? Why are you doing what you have told us not to do? Why do you have to be in leadership in order to join with another church? Why couldn't you simply join the existing body under submission to the leader God had already placed there? Explain yourself. Show us how your actions are consistent with your message.

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

Jay's picture

James K wrote:

Tyler, I can assure you that the position of plural elders actually leading the church is not novel.  Perhaps you were talking about something else.  I disagree with many close friends on this, my seminary training, and some well known professors who I keep in contact.  It wasn't an easy transition to my view, but it is one I felt compelled to in order to align my beliefs with the scripture.

JamesK is correct on this - I remember hearing about and seeing defenses of a plurality of elders leading vs. congregational led churches in undergrad back in the '90s.  I may disagree with James on this, but his position has been around for a very long time.  I should also note that JamesK is to be commended for making shifts in his ecclesiology if that is what he believes Scripture teaches even though it goes against his training.

"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

Hi Dan -

The congregation approved the decision of the elders. TB seems to think of that as some kind of usurping or "sheep-leading-the-shepherd." I think that's where the problem starts. Congregationalists don't see this as usurping at all. Rather, it is a formal act of following the shepherds.

TB wrote:

Now you need to show why Acts 15:22 establishes governmental "approval" as opposed to just "going in along with."

Congregationalists don't see a meaningful difference between these. What happened in Acts 15 (which was carried out in 16) was that the congregation formally agreed with its leadership. That's all we see congregational doctrinal statements to be. 

On the one hand there is the granting of approval by the congregation, an act of ratification, an expression of ultimate authority. Congregationalism, as a form of governance, would believe that the apostles and elders in Jerusalem were governmentally submitted to the congregation in Jerusalem. As Kevin Bauder says, it was a congregational business meeting. I for one do not see antagonism between the congregation and the leaders in Acts 15, or as being necessary to the congregational polity. It will happen though, if the leaders want to shepherd sinning people to repentance and some in the congregation don't like that.

On the other hand there are the details in Luke's account that go against such an observation. The phrase "with the whole church" is a prepositional phrase unrelated syntactically to the main verbs of Acts 15:22-23. Therefore, the "whole church" did not chose the men, nor send the letter. Thus they had no governmental role whatsoever. They are merely mentioned in passing.

This is reflected in Acts 16:4, where Paul's deliverance of the letter comes with the obligation of these churches to keep the contents (dogmata, "decrees")of the letter for the reason that they were "judged (kekprimina) by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem."

If congregationalism were true, and those decrees rested on the authority of the church in Jerusalem, why then were they binding on two other autonomous churches: "for them to observe"? 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 and perhaps an existing doctrinal statement. Yet this directly violates the mandated obedience to the contents of the letter and requires that Paul and Silas' authority was not from the apostles and elders in Jerusalem but was in reality under each church's own authority.

But the congregational position has to be wrong, for it 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, and all others, sinned by obeying the authority of men outside their church. Or both.

One last difficulty for the congregational position is this - what happened to the men in the church of Jerusalem who still believed in salvation by circumcision? Did they repent, and now believe in justification by faith, and so when "the whole church" gave governmental approval, they went along? If so, we are left not only scratching our heads to identify who were the false teachers and apostles who dogged Paul all his ministry with false accusations, upsetting whole churches, but as to why Luke wouldn't report such a wonderful turn of heart in the agitators.

Well, there's a couple things to meditate on.

 

 

 

DavidO's picture

One last difficulty for the congregational position is this - what happened to the men in the church of Jerusalem who still believed in salvation by circumcision? Did they repent, and now believe in justification by faith, and so when "the whole church" gave governmental approval, they went along? If so, we are left not only scratching our heads to identify who were the false teachers and apostles who dogged Paul all his ministry with false accusations, upsetting whole churches, but as to why Luke wouldn't report such a wonderful turn of heart in the agitators.

I don't see why this must be a difficulty.  Perhaps they did repent, perhaps not.  Perhaps some repented and others did not.  One might as well ask why Luke did not record their expulsion from the church (that all may fear) as why he did not record repentance.

And backing up to your answer regarding the church being the pillar and ground of truth.  You favor that meaning the institution.  But then you intimate that the only part of the institution meant there is the eldership which hands doctrine to the congregation and succeeding elders.  But the congregations, the members, are part of that institution.  They must be included as part of the pillar and ground function of the institution.  One may refer to the whole of Microsoft by the name of Bill Gates, but one can hardly refer to Microsoft  by its actual name and not include, at least implicitly, the stockholders.

And by that I'm not making an analogy between the church and a business.  I'm talking about how language works.  

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Ted Bigelow wrote:

If congregationalism were true, and those decrees rested on the authority of the church in Jerusalem, why then were they binding on two other autonomous churches: "for them to observe"? 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 and perhaps an existing doctrinal statement. Yet this directly violates the mandated obedience to the contents of the letter and requires that Paul and Silas' authority was not from the apostles and elders in Jerusalem but was in reality under each church's own authority.

But the congregational position has to be wrong, for it 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, and all others, sinned by obeying the authority of men outside their church. Or both.

 

One of the problems evident in Ted's reasoning here is the absence of any recognition of apostolic authority. This was still a unique, transitional situation as is found throughout the book of Acts.

 

Sadly, Ted, still waiting for your simple answer on the first question posed to you. Why don't your rules appear to apply to you? Why shouldn't we number you among the disobedient hypocrites or false teachers for leading in opening the doors to your assembly when other churches already existed in your region? Why was it justifiable for you further divide the flock in your region, at least according to the paradigm you have been promoting here, instead of submitting to your own understanding of scripture and placing yourself within an existing assembly in your region and under the leadership of the man or men God had already established as undershpeherds of His flock 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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