Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Baptist church polity

Yesterday I read A Few Polity Questions, an interesting blog piece on Baptist church polity. By the time I found it, comments were closed. So I offer the following comment here. 

In comparing Article XXXVI of the 1644 and 1646 London Confessions it is interesting to see that the wording was pared down from "Pastors, Teachers, Elders, Deacons" to "elders and deacons" -- suggesting that they may have thought "elders" comprehended the whole of "Pastors, Teachers, Elders". Also in chaapter 26.11 of the 1689 London Confession, "bishops or pastors" seem to be used as the same office (as "bishops or elders" is in 26.8 and 26.9). If so, bishops, elders and pastors would all be one word for the same office. To me it seems that the 1689 statements are not as confusing on the surface, but made more confusing by our own practice and our use of terminology.

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