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 Post subject: Church Authority
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:10 pm 
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I have a question for Protestants on the board (especially those with very little concept of Church Authority).

My question is this: why do you have pastors at your church? That pastor has no more authority than you to interpret the Scriptures (according to you). He/she has no authority to tell you what to believe. So why have a sermon at your services? Does your pastor allow for rebuttal from the congregation during the sermon, since the individual members have just as much authority as the pastor? If not, isn't that a little contradictory. I mean, what if some people in the congregation are just following the pastor blindly ... shouldn't the pastor offer time for rebuttals from the congregation so that people in the congregation may be able to enlighten others who might not be so well-versed in the truths of Scripture?

Okay, so that was more than one question...

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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:05 pm 
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When I was a Protestant, anybody who disagreed with the pastor either left for a community that they agreed with or went out and started a new "church". Sometimes the whole congregation didn't agree with the pastor and they went out and got a new pastor.

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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:47 am 
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RaginCajunJoe wrote:
I have a question for Protestants on the board (especially those with very little concept of Church Authority).

My question is this: why do you have pastors at your church? That pastor has no more authority than you to interpret the Scriptures (according to you). He/she has no authority to tell you what to believe. So why have a sermon at your services? Does your pastor allow for rebuttal from the congregation during the sermon, since the individual members have just as much authority as the pastor? If not, isn't that a little contradictory. I mean, what if some people in the congregation are just following the pastor blindly ... shouldn't the pastor offer time for rebuttals from the congregation so that people in the congregation may be able to enlighten others who might not be so well-versed in the truths of Scripture?

Okay, so that was more than one question...


Interesting point. How would a Protestant respond to this?


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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:35 am 
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I'm not entirely sure. I was a Protestant for 18 years and I found upon exploration that it was not reasonable ... that's why I'm Catholic. I, myself, was wondering what they thought. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:56 am 
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By our church’s definition a pastor is a shepherd. Instead of herding sheep, he’s guiding, growing, and protecting souls. As such he has lots of different duties. Preaching is one (guiding the sheep en masse), administering ordinances, counseling (trying to keep sheep in the fold or healthy), church leadership (training and leading sheep leaders), etc. Some of these duties are found in the Bible. Some are not.

Basically God has put them there for the benefit of the flock. God has also put other church positions in place for just such things: elders and deacons. Deacons are our primary servants, helpers, and teachers in the church. Elders (although not called that in our church) form a leadership body. The pastor is a member of the elders, and probably their unofficial leader, although not possessing sole, official authority.

In our church’s Baptist theology, the believer is “responsible to God alone is all matters of faith...” We do not sin by disobeying the pastor or leaving our church. However, the pastor (and elders) have every right to lead the chruch as they see fit. If a member is asked to leave, step down for duty, etc... then they must, under legal rules I am guessing.

I guess the reason we have them is out of wisdom. We know it is often wiser to have someone more knowledgable than we are teaching, counseling, organizing, and leading. We would be wise to listen to him. Also there is Biblical evidence for the positions of pastors, elders, and deacons.

That’s the short version. Now I’m not saying I don’t see any problems there, but... I’ll save that for another post. There are some major holes there that I am starting to notice... so if you want an able person to defend every point I made and stand firm and have a good argument with, I'm not your man. I see too many problems in my own position to do that. But if you just wanted an answer to what we are thinking (as opposed to what we are not thinking i.e. the problems) then maybe this will help.

* I use the lower-case ‘church’ to denote our own local branch of the Church. The views here only reflect our local congregation and not all Baptists. We are a very diverse group after all.
* I use the term ordinance instead of sacrament, and 'church' instead of Church... you're asking about our beliefs, I’ll give you our terms.

And just for the fun of it I have included some selections from our church constitution that reflect our belief in personal authority, church function and leadership, as well as pastoral leadership. This is not exhaustive, nor do I defend it all (Like I said I see some major loopholes right now). This is just FYI... I'm letting you peek at the Baptist playbook in case you've never seen it!

________________ Church Constituion wrote:
Articles of Faith

- We believe that the Bible...has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
- We believe the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ, and that He is an abiding helper, teacher, and guide.
- We believe in the universal church, a living spiritual body of which Christ is the head an all regenerated persons are members.
- We believe in the local church, consisting of a company of believers in Jesus Christ on a credible profession of faith, and associated for worship, work, and fellowship.
- We believe that God has laid upon the members of the local church the primary task of giving the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world.
- We believe that a Christian should live for the glory of God and the well being of his fellowmen...and that he should seek to realize for himself and others, the full stature of maturity in Christ.
- We believe that every human being has direct relations with God, and is responsible to God alone in all matters of faith.
- [We believe] that each church is independent and must be free from interference by an ecclesiastical or political authority...


From other articles...

- We covenant together, God helping us, to walk together in Christian love, to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God for Christ’s sake hat forgiven us.
- We will remember them which have the rule over us who speak unto us the Word of God, and will submit to the loving oversight and discipline of the members and officers of the Church of Christ.
- We further covenant to sustain the worship, ordinances, disciplines and doctrines of this Church...
- We moreover engage that when we move from this place, we will as soon as possible unite with some local church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of the Word of God.

Other Articles

DUTIES OF LEADERS
SENIOR PASTOR

The Senior Pastor shall:
a) Be the spiritual and executive leader of ____________ Church
b) Preach and teach the Word, lead public worship services, administer the ordinances, and lead the congregation in a practical Christian life
c) Be a member of the Church Board and an ex officio member of all ministry teams and committees and in such capacity shall strive to establish and accomplish objectives in conjunction with the strategies of ____________ Church
d) Direct the church staff, providing counsel, encouragement, and Christian discipline so as to assist in the accomplishment of objectives for each staff member.
e) All staff are responsible to the Senior Pastor either directly or through another staff member as he directs.
f) Represent the staff to the Church Board.




*the Church Board is basically our Elders
*the Staff are seperate from than and would include youth pastors, associate pastors, outreach minister, music ministers, secretaries, janitors, etc, etc. Except we don’t have all of those... but we could if we were big enough!


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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:50 pm 
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So what happens when someone in your church starts believing (and teaching others) heresy?

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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:21 pm 
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MyDogma8MyKarma wrote:
So what happens when someone in your church starts believing (and teaching others) heresy?

____________ Church Constitution wrote:
Anyone, either member or staff, holding or teaching views contradictory to the Articles of Faith, shall be promptly placed before a firing squad and mercilessly shot until dead to ensure the matter does not get tangled up in red tape.


Okay... so that's not in there. I'm a little lazy... I'll just scan and post a page from our constituion...

Image

IM SORRY!!! I don't know how to make this picture any narrower to fit in the window! I spent almost 45 minutes trying to scan, load, and fit this better... I should have just typed it!

Bascially... as a staff member, if after repeated attempts to reconcile the situation I persist in teaching heresy, I would be fired and would no longer be a member unless reconciliation was made (in which case I could become a member again, but prob not staff). If I was a volunteer teacher or board member, I would be asked to step down, probably removed of membership unless restitution was made.

As far as the views go for private beliefs... no remark is really made. We would encourage others not to hold those views, but if they are not publicly admitted or taught, then we have no way or knowing and no discipline is carried out.

On whether or not holding views contrary to those in the Articles of Faith are a "sin" or not... I would guess we say they are sin. Article 544 c, seems to indicate that it is so. I guess someone who was living in that type of "sin" would be doing so privately and would be privately sinning and violating the covenant thus set forth.

However our Articles of Faith is fairly brief, and rather general ( I can scan and post that sometime too if you want). So I'm not sure what exactly constitutes false doctrine.

Again... I'm just stating our church's "official views"


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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:24 pm 
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In our church’s Baptist theology, the believer is “responsible to God alone is all matters of faith...” We do not sin by disobeying the pastor or leaving our church.
I had a rather long post which address several points but found, upon proof reading it, that it all boils down to one question.

By what authority are the Articles of Faith binding on the believer if the Men who wrote them do not need to be obeyed?

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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:35 pm 
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metal1633 wrote:
I had a rather long post which address several points but found, upon proof reading it, that it all boils down to one question.

By what authority are the Articles of Faith binding on the believer if the Men who wrote them do not need to be obeyed?


Hey! That's not included in the Articles of Faith!!! What are you trying to pull here? ::):

I can give you their answer, I think: It is not the men that must be obeyed. It is the Truth that must be obeyed, and the Articles of Faith accurately represent that Truth. It just happens to be written down by these men.

I've thought about it a lot today and I really think it probably boils down to that.

But don't ask me what I think... I'm not sure what I think anymore, ::):


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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:45 pm 
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but the "Articles of Faith" are merely some men's interpretation of what they understand to be true. Since their interpretation is not binding on anyone else, what is the point of "Articles of Faith"? It seems to create something which is completely meaningless. The Articles of Faith are not binding on the flock ... so why have them in the first place?

You're getting awfully close to the Catholic heresy by stating that men have the right to interpret divine Truth and cause it to be binding on other people.

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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:50 pm 
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I can give you their answer, I think: It is not the men that must be obeyed. It is the Truth that must be obeyed, and the Articles of Faith accurately represent that Truth.
So NOW the question becomes...Truth According to Whom? If it is the Pastors and Teachers who voted on them in council then wrote them down then THEY are your Magesterium and the Chairman/President/Head Pastor/whateveryoucalltheguy with the gavel and veto at the head of the table is your POPE and according to Hebrews 13:17 they MUST be obeyed.

Ohh Boy. Baptist Council, Lutheran Synod, Catholic Ecumenical Council....Just Who is guided by the Spirit and who is the pretender. Who is to be obeyed and who are the false teachers and evil shepherds leading the sheep astray. Because MAKE NO MISTAKE, Paul told the Ephesians that the offices God established in the Church are there to Preserve you from Error, to prevent you from being tossed about by every wind of Doctrine and bring about Unity of Faith.

Put three baptists in the same room and you get five opinions.

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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:53 pm 
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Quote:
The Articles of Faith are not binding on the flock ... so why have them in the first place?
Interesting that you should point that out. It is for that reason that the Anglican Church puts the Articles in an appendix called 'Historical Documents'.

Nice avatar. I had no idea Rodents could be so cute.

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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:57 pm 
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metal1633 wrote:
Quote:
I had no idea Rodents could be so cute.


she is a DOG

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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:07 pm 
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RaginCajunJoe wrote:
metal1633 wrote:
Quote:
I had no idea Rodents could be so cute.


she is a DOG
If you say so. :laughhard

Just messing around. Friends of mine have a Ginormous Rottweiler named 'Mr Worf'. He stands 6 and a half feet and weighs in at almost 300 lbs. His best friend is one of those little dogs.

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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:25 pm 
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metal1633 wrote:
Put three baptists in the same room and you get five opinions.


This is the best laugh I've had all day. :laughhard

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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:10 am 
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baptist bumble wrote:
Bascially... as a staff member, if after repeated attempts to reconcile the situation I persist in teaching heresy,


Why would you persist in teaching heresy? Obviously you would not teach something you considered heresy so we have the situation of you saying it is not heresy and someone else saying it is. Two fallible humans each with a different opinion. How do you determine who is right? Is Truth dependent upon majority rule?

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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:01 pm 
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RaginCajunJoe wrote:
but the "Articles of Faith" are merely some men's interpretation of what they understand to be true. Since their interpretation is not binding on anyone else, what is the point of "Articles of Faith"? It seems to create something which is completely meaningless. The Articles of Faith are not binding on the flock ... so why have them in the first place?

You're getting awfully close to the Catholic heresy by stating that men have the right to interpret divine Truth and cause it to be binding on other people.


Well we like living on the edge here at the Baptist church! Why have them in the first place... because men and women wiser than us have studied, prayed, and taught these things as true. They may or may not be binding, but they are a good idea to have.

Also, they are not binding on the whole flock of God, just the local flock, for we have voluntarily stated that we believe these things. These are binding in the sense that we lose our local membership, not binding in the sense that we are going straight to Hell for not believing them.

Yeah, it may be getting close the Catholic belief, but we just believe that the Truth is what it is, it is binding because it is true, not because men interpreted it that way, and that the Truth is clear enough to be understood without much interpretation.

metal1633 wrote:
So NOW the question becomes...Truth According to Whom? If it is the Pastors and Teachers who voted on them in council then wrote them down then THEY are your Magesterium and the Chairman/President/Head Pastor/whateveryoucalltheguy with the gavel and veto at the head of the table is your POPE and according to Hebrews 13:17 they MUST be obeyed.

Ohh Boy. Baptist Council, Lutheran Synod, Catholic Ecumenical Council....Just Who is guided by the Spirit and who is the pretender. Who is to be obeyed and who are the false teachers and evil shepherds leading the sheep astray. Because MAKE NO MISTAKE, Paul told the Ephesians that the offices God established in the Church are there to Preserve you from Error, to prevent you from being tossed about by every wind of Doctrine and bring about Unity of Faith.

Put three baptists in the same room and you get five opinions.


Hey that's very insulting... you don't get five opinions you get five true and self-evident doctrines! Let's see there's a lot to unpack here...

Truth according to whom? The standard Baptist answer would be according to the Bible and ultimately God Himself. And in Baptist eyes the Bible is so clear that it is hard to misinterpret in important matters... I'm just giving you their answer.

As far as obeying leaders goes: Baptist believe we obey God first. If someone requires us to do something that violates the laws of God we must disobey (e.g. if we are required to renounce the name of Christ by the government). Its like civil disobedience, except on an ecclesial level... we are allowed to disobey that which is contrary to the laws of God. So therefore we have no Popes as we do not have an authority which ever claims infallibility, and we have no authority which MUST be obeyed as if we were being obedient to God Himself. I understand things are different in the Catholic Church.

At some point now, someone has to get disobedient. If I, for example, were to ever become a Catholic, I would have to disobey my pastor and these articles of faith (and indeed I am probably already doing so by talking with yall for 3 months now). Bad Baptist...

Learner wrote:
Why would you persist in teaching heresy? Obviously you would not teach something you considered heresy so we have the situation of you saying it is not heresy and someone else saying it is. Two fallible humans each with a different opinion. How do you determine who is right? Is Truth dependent upon majority rule?


Is Truth dependent on majority rule? I'll deal with that in a minute because I will probably get off subject.

How do you determine who is right? That's where this whole thing gets really fun. The Bible. You argue about the real meaning of Greek words and tenses, which commentary says what, the context, the dispensation, the systematic theology, the themes of Scripture, etc. When you still disagree, if you say it is not that important, you say it is a secondary doctrine and you are free to disagree.

If you say it is important, then things start getting really ugly. Someone must be blinded by sin, or not listening to the Holy Spirit, or God is testing them, or they are possessed by evil spirits, or ignorant, etc, etc. Then it gets really ugly, because that person is violating the clear meaning of Scripture. :?

That's how we sort stuff out... ::):

Is it dependent on majority rule? That is an interesting question for most business items are decided by majority rule. But the Truth, as even Baptists know, cannot be decided upon in such a way. However majority rule can be used to determine certain things, apparantly, not limited to the following in our church...

- Whether a pastor is "called" to be the pastor of our church
- Whether a firing or dissolving of membership is of God
- Whether a Baptized member can be accepted a member
- What direction the church is heading in

An example of the last one would be our church's plans to build a new building. Make no mistake this is the church's, pastor's, and elder's big objective in the near future. It is our high calling. We need the bigger building to be able to 'reach more people.' And the pastor and board are convinced the Holy Spirit is telling them to build. The church voted and the overwhelming majority believe this is what we are to do. The phrase being used a lot is "God told us to build a new church building."

And then there's me. I will be honest I have received no such calling, I think it is a stupid and dangerous business plan, and I think we are just trying to put band-aids over major spiritual problems and commitment issues in our church. There is a small minority who agree with me. Apparantley either a) we are in sin, are heretics, or are not listening to the Holy Spirit or b) The Holy Spirit is telling us to vote for different things. No one however has made any such accusation about me (at least publicly and I dare them to) or the Holy Sprit. So far...

The phrase "God is telling us to build a new building" really bothers me and some of you know this is what drove me to start looking for answers in the first place and finally got me to DCF. To put it in theological terms, I think they are full of crap. But, apparantly a big dream and a majority vote are enough to know when God is or is not saying something... yet Articles of Faith may not be tampered with or voted on... go figure.

And like I said I have no idea what I believe on this topic anymore!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:40 pm 
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Four men were stranded on an island in the south Pacific. There was one Catholic, one Methodist and two Baptists.

After a few weeks they realized they were not likely to be rescued and that they would probably be living there for a long time.

Discussion eventually got around to religion and they decided they needed to start a church...but they couldn't agree on what kind of church to start...so

The Catholic started St. Anne's Catholic Church;


The Methodist started Trinity Methodist Church,


And the two Baptists fellows started ------












First Baptist Church



and



Second Baptist Church

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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:12 pm 
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I've seen a First Second Baptist church. :fyi:

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 Post subject: Re: Church Authority
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 3:44 pm 
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Signum Crucis wrote:
I've seen a First Second Baptist church. :fyi:


That's what the first Baptist started after he left the First Baptist Church.

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