Of the Church.
Chapter 26, Paragraph 8.
“A particular Church gathered, and completely Organized, according to the mind of Christ, consists of Officers, and Members; And the Officers appointed by Christ to be chosen and set apart by the Church (so called and gathered) for the peculiar administration of Ordinances, and Execution of Power, or Duty, which he intrusts them with, or calls them to, to be continued to the end of the World, are Bishops or Elders and Deacons.”
Acts 20:17, 28
When it comes to the local church, everything ought to be done in decency and in order. Worship is to be conducted, and discipline is to be administered. Who decides the order of worship? Can anyone call the congregation together to act upon a matter of discipline? Imagine some churches where there is not a clearly defined leadership. Conflict, discussions revolving around trivial matters, long and tedious meetings. How long would such a church last?
Christ has appointed officers within the church to carry out the ordinances and powers of the church: elders and deacons. These officers are chosen by the local church; they are not thrust upon them by an outside entity. Elders and deacons equip the church to walk in obedience to Christ, as they enable the church to worship Him corporately and publicly.
These offices sometimes get confused in Baptist churches. Rather than elders and deacons, there is the pastor, and then there may be a deacon board or a board of trustees. Deacons tend to take on the role of elders, and general committees take up the role of deacons. Some members may cling to these structures because it’s all they’ve ever known. However, tradition is not what we rely on for our church government. We must get our instructions in organizing the church from the head of the church Himself. Jesus has told us in His word that the church offices consist of elders and deacons.
Questions to Consider
- What offices does your church have? Why is it structured that way?