Tuesday, June 12, 2018

History of the plurality of pastors, this third time I am coming to you

History of the plurality of pastors; this third time I am coming to you. “A Beginning” is found HERE, and “A Second Dose” is HERE. The majority of these new discoveries come from J. Davis’s History of the Welsh Baptists and Materials Towards a History of the American Baptists by Morgan Edwards. I mentioned the Didache again, including a translation from Missionary Baptist educator Jeremiah Louis Guthrie.

1984, Elmdorf, Texas, “This series details my experiences as co-pastor of Community Baptist Church in Elmendorf Texas. In March 1994, I left a pastorate of eleven years and moved to Texas so I could co-pastor a thriving, growing Sovereign Grace Baptist church. The church was founded by Pat Horner.” “I am a Publican and a Heathen Part Four” by Bruce Gerencser

1969 (circa) South Carolina, “Twenty years ago the members of Hallmark Baptist Church made an extensive, detailed, and protracted study of Scripture pertaining to the doctrines of the church. A significant part of this study, naturally, was given to the analysis of the pastoral office. One of the conclusions which unequivocally stood out in these studies was the normative leadership of the New Testament churches was provided by a plurality of pastors (bishops, elders)...Our strong persuasion that the Scriptures teach and exemplify the very wisdom of God in all things led us to believe that these pastoral principles too were an expression of His high and holy wisdom; and for twenty years now, having had no one but the Lord to show us the way, we have pioneered in re-implementing this great biblical principle.” “Pastoral Plurality: the Biblical Norm,” Willard A. Ramsey, The Pillar, Spring 1989, Volume 6, No. 2, pp. 10-11

1774, Llanwenarth, Wales “Morgan Harris and John Price, were called by this church to exercise their gifts in the work of the ministry, on probation, in 1774. The former went to Bristol college in 1776.” History of the Welsh Baptists, from the Year Sixty-three to the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy,[i] p. 100

1769, Cilfowyr Church, county of Pembroke, Wales, “In 1769, this church built another meeting-house, called Ferwig, within two miles of the town of Cardigan. Preaching is held there every Sabbath, and the ordinance of the Lord's supper is administered every two months, by David Evans and Lewis Thomas, co-pastors...Lewis Thomas—began to preach 1742—ordained 1761—became co-pastor with D. Evans.” History of the Welsh Baptists, from the Year Sixty-three to the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy, p. 124

1765, Scotland, “The first Baptist Church in Scotland is said to have been formed by Mr. M’Lean, in 1765. But this must be a mistake, as there is mention of a church formed there, out of the soldiers of Cromwell’s army, and in 1653, letters passed between the Irish and English Churches, in which there are references to the churches in ‘England, Scotland, and Wales.’ Mr. M’Lean, however, is the acknowledged founder of ‘the Scotch Baptists’ – a designation which is understood to specify a distinct and peculiar section of the Baptist denomination. The first of these churches was formed by Mr. M’Lean, in the year before mentioned, at Edinburgh; others were formed in different parts of Scotland, and a few in England. Their leading Peculiarities, in the earlier part of their existence, were a plurality of Elders or pastors in each church, and weekly communion; to which numerous other forms of worship and articles of faith have since been added. A considerable number of Baptist Churches exist in Scotland, some of which are large and respectable, that are constituted on the same principles as the English Baptist Churches. The Churches in Ireland are also constructed on the same general form.”[ii] Historical Sketch of the Baptist Denomination by Charles Thompson

1750 (circa) Montgomery Church, Pennsylvania, “The families belonging to the place are about 90, whereof 99 persons were in communion with the church.” Their officers were: “John Thomas mlnis. Ephraim Thomas and Isaac James elders, Joseph Thomas and Joseph Lunn deac...” Materials Towards a History of the American Baptists[iii], p. 32-33

1707, Philadelphia Association, “The persons who form this association (as hinted before) are delegates or messengers from the churches. The choice falls generally on the Ministers and elders or deacons. With them each church fends a letter addressed to the association containing the names of their messengers and an exact account of their church state, with a specification of what advice or help they want...” Materials Towards a History of the American Baptists, p. 124

1735 (circa) Hugh Davis (1665—1753) at Greatvalley Church, Pennsylvania, “Mr. Hugh Davis...some years before his death he had a severe pain in his arm which gradually wasted the limb, and made life a burden. After trying many remedies he sent for the elders of the church to anoint him with oil, according to James v. 14–17. The effect was perfect cure so far, that the pain never returned. One of the elders concerned (from whom I had this relation) is yet alive, and succeeds Mr. Hugh Davis in the ministry...” Materials Towards a History of the American Baptists, p. 28

1730 (circa) Cilfowyr Church, county of Pembroke, Wales, “They had three ministers, James Williams, John Richards, and David Thomas. Part of the church wanted James Williams to be their pastor, and the other part wanted David Thomas. This dispute ended in a separation. Their case being before the association, and every means employed for their reconciliation to no purpose, it was therein unanimously resolved, that if either of the parties would not adhere to the advice of the association, they should have no fellowship with them; and if any minister, or any church, should countenance that party, they should have no fellowship with the association. It was also resolved, that a special prayer-meeting should be held in every church belonging to the connection, throughout Wales, on the same day, to pray for their reconciliation. These resolutions had the desired effect. The church considered the advice of the association. They met for prayer, on the day appointed, as well as other churches. They humbled themselves before God, confessed their sins, and were reconciled to one another, and agreed that the two ministers should be co-pastors of the church.” History of the Welsh Baptists, from the Year Sixty-three to the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy, p. 123

1722, Montgomery Church, Pennsylvania, “In 1722 they called to the ministry one Benjamin Griffiths and Joseph Eaton, who were soon after ordained.—From that time to the present they have sent forth many ministers, such as Rev. messieurs John Thomas, John Marks, John Davis, Abel Griffiths &c.” Materials Towards a History of the American Baptists, p. 33

1711, Greatvalley Church, Pennsylvania, “...increased their number to sixteen, and made them think of forming themselves into a church. Accordingly, Ap. 22, 1711, they were incorporated, and did choose Rev. Hugh Davis to be their minister; and Alexander Owen, and William Rees to be elders, and the same year they joined the association...” Materials Towards a History of the American Baptists, p. 27

1696 (circa) Landwr/Rehoboth, Wales, “James James was baptized at Rhydwilim, in the year 1667. He belonged to that branch of the church which then met for divine worship at Landwr—the same that now meets at Rehoboth—under the pastoral care of Griffith Jones. He became co-pastor with T. D. Rees of that church, after it was regularly formed; and labored among them all the days of his life, until he died in 1734.” History of the Welsh Baptists, from the Year Sixty-three to the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy, p. 65

1689, Rhydwilim, Wales, “In 1689, there were one hundred and thirteen members: all of them coming out of that great tribulation—of that dreadful persecution, under Charles the second. Fifteen of them were the first constituents, who lived to see a glorious harvest after a most severe winter. They had no less than eleven ministers, most of them popular men, and all eminent for piety and usefulness. They broke bread every month, at Rushacre and Glandwr, and held their church meetings at Ynsfach, in the parish of Llandisilio, on the last day of the week, (as they called Saturday,) in every month.” History of the Welsh Baptists, from the Year Sixty-three to the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy, p. 108

1668, Rhydwilim, Wales, “On the 12th day of the fifth month, they were regularly formed into a church, by William Prichard, of Llanwenarth, and Thomas Watkins, of Olchon. On the 13th day of the same month, William Jones and Griffith Howell were chosen elders, and Morgan Ryttrerch, or Prittroe, and Llewellyn John, deacons.” (p. 108) “The church was formed in the year 1668, twenty persons more were baptized, and two received by letter previous to the formation of the church; so that they were thirty-three in number, when the church was formed. On the same day, William Jones and Griffith Howell became the pastors of the church.” (p. 58) “Griffith Howell was baptized at Rhydwilim, on the 4th day of the 6th month, 1667. He was ordained co-pastor with W. Jones over that church, on the 13th day of the 5th month, 1668. It is not certain whether he was a preacher before he joined the Baptist church or not. If not, our Welsh brethren, in this case, have deviated from their usual custom; for they laid their hands on him rather suddenly.” (p. 62) History of the Welsh Baptists, from the Year Sixty-three to the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy

1639 Llantrisaint/ Llanfaches, Wales, “William Thomas began to preach at Llanfaches, Glamorganshire, in the year 1638, about twelve months before the church was formed there; which was the second church formed in Wales since the reformation. Mr. Wroth being old, William Thomas was ordained his co-pastor, and labored with acceptance and success, until the year 1641, when by reason of persecution in that part of the world, he fled to another, and arrived in Bristol, England; where he preached and baptized a great many. (p. 31) “Llantrisaint Church was first formed at Llanfaches, on the principle of mixed communion, by Mr. Wroth, assisted by Mr. Jesse of London, in the year 1639. William Thomas was co-pastor with Mr. Wroth in this church, until the time of the persecution under Charles the first, when he went to Bristol.” (p. 85) History of the Welsh Baptists, from the Year Sixty-three to the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy

Early church history “III. The Rise of Monoarchical Episcopacy. There is no trace in the New Testament of government by a single bishop; the position of James at Jerusalem (Acts xv. 13, xxi. 18; Gal. ii. 9, 12) was quite exceptional and the result of his personal relationship to Christ; but influence is a different thing from office. Among the Apostolic Fathers, Ignatius is the only one who insists on monoarchical episcopacy, and even he never states that this is of divine institution—an argument which would have been decisive, if it had been available for him to use. Jerome, commenting on Tit. i. 5, remarks that the supremacy of a single bishop arose ‘by custom rather than by the Lord’s actual appointment’, as a means of preventing schisms in the church...We do not know how bishops were at first instituted to their office; but the emphasis on popular election in Clement of Rome and the Didache suggests that this was an early practice; and it was doubtless followed by prayer and imposition of hands.” “Bishop,” G. S. M. Walker, The New Bible Dictionary, J. D. Douglas, editor, Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdman’s, 1975, p. 158

400 (circa)  “And again Jerome says: ‘Hearken to another testimony in which it is very clearly established that a bishop is the same as a presbyter—(Paul says to Titus)—I have left thee in Crete that you may correct the things that are deficient, appointing presbyters through the cities, as I commanded you. If there is any one without crime, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, free from the charge of luxury, or not hypocrites; for a bishop ought to be without crime, as a steward of God.’ Jerome’s own opinion, and the apostle’s testimony, are decisive evidence of the oneness of the office of a bishop and presbyter.” The Papal System: From Its Origin to the Present Time; a Historical Sketch of Every Doctrine, Claim and Practice of the Church of Rome, pp. 56-57

400 (circa) “And again, commenting on Titus, Jerome says: ‘For a bishop must be without crime, as it were a steward of God; a presbyter is the same as a bishop, and until by the instigation of the devil there arose divisions in religion, and it was said among the people: I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, churches were governed by a common council of the presbyters. Afterwards truly, every one reckoned those to be his whom he baptized, not Christ’s. Then it was decreed over the world, that one of the presbyters should be placed over the rest, to whom the whole care of the Church should belong, and that the seeds of schisms might be taken away.’” The Papal System: From Its Origin to the Present Time; a Historical Sketch of Every Doctrine, Claim and Practice of the Church of Rome, p. 57; For Jerome, see also Letter 146, To Evangelus

400 (circa) “The titles of the 270 letters in the works of St. Augustine show that no one in the Christian world was more honored than himself. From those in his collection addressed to the Roman popes, it is abundantly manifest that they were not the rulers of the churches, the masters of the spiritual affairs of Christendom; and it is just as clear that in the discharge of their episcopal duties all bishops were equal.” The Papal System: From Its Origin to the Present Time; a Historical Sketch of Every Doctrine, Claim and Practice of the Church of Rome, William Cathcart, Philadelphia, PA: Cathcart and Turner, 1872, p. 66

100 (circa) Didache, “Choose for yourselves pastors and deacons by raising the hands, men worthy of the Lord, gentle and not lovers of money, and true and well taught; for they give service, and the same are to you as to service of prophets and teachers.” (Excerpt from the Didache, translated J. Louis Guthrie, 1938)

100 (circa) “[A. H.] Newman defined apostolic Christianity on another occasion as well. In ‘the apostolical and immediately post-apostolical times the churches were composed of those who had been baptized upon a personal profession of faith; that in them the Supper was restricted to church members; that churches were organized on a congregational basis with a plurality of elders or bishops; and that each church of Christ embracing usually the baptized believers of the entire community, was independent in respect to every other.’” Albert Henry Newman, “Traces of Baptist Teaching and Practice During the First Sixteen Christian Centuries,” The Baptist Standard, October 17, 1901, p 1, as quoted in “Spiritul Kinship View of Baptist Origins,” W. Glenn Jonas Jr., The Journal of Baptist Studies 3 (2009): 16-23.

[ii] Historical Sketch of the Baptist Denomination by Charles Thompson, Midland Baptist Association, England, Circular Letter, 1832; For Scotch Baptists, see also “Baptists or AntipaedoBaptists” in Watson’s Biblical & Theological Dictionary (“They think that the order of public worship, which uniformly obtained in the Apostolic churches, is clearly set forth in Acts 2:42-47; and therefore they endeavour to follow it out to the utmost of their power. They require a plurality of elders in every church, administer the Lord’s Supper, and make contributions for the poor every first day of the week.”). Though Thompson describes “a plurality of Elders or pastors in each church” as one of the “leading Peculiarities” of the Scotch Baptists, perhaps it only seemed peculiar to an English Baptist who was not practicing it at the time. As the historical record shows, plurality of pastors is certainly not peculiar in certain times and places.
[iii] Materials Towards a History of the American Baptists, Morgan Edwards, Morgan, 1722-1795, Philadelphia, PA: Printed by Joseph Crukshank and Isaac Collins, 1770

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