Location, Location, Locations

Ted Bigelow posted this on the other thread.  I didn't want this post to be buried there.


If any of you are still around poking in, I hope to engage your questions and claims in a new blog piece - Location, Location, Location.

Sorry, I could make the quote function work properly.



2183 reads
pvawter's picture


I am going to try to summarize your solution to this whole schismatic mess in a brief paragraph. I tried to read the whole article, but my attention span was insufficient, so please correct me if I get it wrong.

Your solution is to go to all of the other churches in your city and propose a merger. If they refuse, then they are obviously heretical and they should no longer be considered churches (by you). Thus only the "true" churches would unite, ignoring whatever doctrinal differences prompted their separation in the first place, and form larger churches which would be identified by the city in which they reside. The result then would be one true church per city, alongside many churches falsely-so-called, which would then fulfilled the NT ideal?

Rob Fall's picture


So, how far apart from each other should churches be today?

A few miles east of Corinth was “the church of Cenchrea,” and a few miles west and north of Colossae were the churches of Laodicea and Hierapolis (Rom. 16:1, Col. 4:15, Rev. 3:14). Although close by to one another, these cities were yet too far apart for the Christians in them to meet with one another on an every-Sunday basis. This same measure, convenient Sunday travel rather than arbitrary city borders, recommends itself as the likely geographic demarcation of the churches planted by apostles and practical in our day as well.

I assume by convenient Sunday travel you mean convenient walking distance.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

GregH's picture

Ted admits at the end that "convenient Sunday travel" is the standard. So who is supposed to define that and enforce it? The fact is that you have to have some kind of super elder like say a pope to define what convenient Sunday travel looks like in 2014. 

At least we now know why Ted is breaking his own mandate. All of those churches in his city? They are not real churches at all. They are all apostate. The real churches are the ones that are willing to merge with his.

I suppose you could label me a bit skeptical. Wink

Rob Fall's picture

I live (according to Google Maps) 13.4 miles from HSBC.  At 11:17 pm (local), Google says it's a 21 minute drive.    My last address before my family moved to the suburbs is 2.7 miles and 7 minutes.  Mind you these times are for late Friday night.  On Sunday, the 21 minutes holds, though tending more towards 25 minutes.  The 7 minutes however, would stretch out due to traffic if we went by car.  It would also be closer to 30 minutes by public transportation (Bus).


Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Ron Bean's picture

What is needed are scribes to define a (Christian) Sabbath Day's Journey and an historical logistics expert to determine how long it took to walk to church before the advent of transportation, taking into account 2 trips on Sunday and Wednesday prayer meeting.

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

TylerR's picture


Our theology is built upon the work of those who have come before us, insofar as they faithfully represent Scripture's teachings. It took a while until a decisive definition of the deity of Christ was formulated in response to the Arian heresies. Likewise for the nature of the hypostatic union at Chalcedon. This doesn't mean Christology was "created," but it does mean that we learn from history

Therefore, I ask:

  • Where in church history has anybody held your position?
  • Where in church history do we see any patristic sources that support your contention that this is the New Testament model?
  • Please point us to any kind of ecclesiology, from any period in church history, where your view has support. 

Your entire argument is built on the assumption that, because the apostles planted a church in a single city and then moved on, we are likewise tied to that same single church standard. 

  • Paul traveled by horse on land. Are we tied to this? Biblically, prove we are not using your own standards.
  • New Testament scripture was originally written on scrolls. Prove we are not being disobedient by having bound books today which contain our Scriptures, using the same standards of argumentation.
  • Paul disputed in the synagogues before starting churches. Prove every church planter should not seek out the local synagogue before planting a church in a locale, using your own standards of argumentation.
  • Early churches met in houses. Prove we are not being disobedient by having church buildings, using your own standards

Further, there are two churches in my town

  • One is Presbyterian (not sure which stripe of Presbyterian)
  • The other is Methodist, with a woman pastor

Our doctrine is very different. Should we merge? How do we overcome the serious doctrinal issues. Just saying:

The ultimate question is not, “how can it work today?” but, “what is obedience to God?” As long as we keep focused on obedience all of our logistics questions can be satisfactorily answered.

is cute, but worthless advice. I want to know what you would do if you were me. I believe your position is silly, and I am not trying to be rude. 

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?

Jay's picture

It's hard for me to want to engage with Ted any further on this subject, especially on 'friendly turf' at his blog, given that he's had such a difficult time defending his view here at SI and has not engaged the pointed questions he's received.  It makes me wonder if he's actually here to engage and discuss, or just to spread his particular ecclesiastical polity.

Tyler, that was well said.

"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

Rob Fall's picture


Jay wrote:
SNIP given ... he's had such a difficult time defending his view here at SI and has not engaged the pointed questions he's received.

It makes me wonder if he's actually here to engage and discuss, or just to spread his particular ecclesiastical polity.

Tyler, that was well said.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..