Baptists and Elders, Again

September 9, 2006

None of us will agree with Spurgeon on everything, but many of us will on much of what he says.  Consider this passage from one of Spurgeon’s early sermons.  In it, he touches on a topic that is dynamite in some circles today–elders!

"The "Church of Christ" according to the Scripture, is an assembly of faithful men.  Ecclesia according to the Scripture, is an assembly of faithful men.  Ecclesia originally signified assembly; not a mob, but an assembly of persons who were called together on account of their special right to meet for the discussion of certain subjects.  They were a called-out assembly.  The "Church of God" itself, in its full sense, is a company of persons called out by the Holy Spirit from among the rest of mankind, banded together for the holy purpose of the defense and the propagation of the truth.  If there be but three or four, yet if theybe so banded together in the fear of God,they are to all intents and purposes a Church and if they should happen to number thousands, they are no more a Church on account of their numbers–a Church being a company of faithful men.  To our minds, the Scripture seems very explicit as to how this Church should be ordered.  We believe that every Church member should have equal rights and privileges; that there is no power in Church officers to execute anything unless they have the full authorization of the members of the Church.  We believe, however, that the Church should choose its pastor, and having chosen him, that they should love him and respect him for his work’s sake; that with him should be associated the deacons of the Church to take the oversight of pecuniary matters; and the elders of the Church to assist in all the works of the pastorate in the fear of God, being overseers of the flock.  Such a Church we believe to be scripturally ordered; and if it abide in the faith, rooted, and grounded, and settled, such a Church may expect the benediction of heaven, and so it shall become the pillar and ground of the truth."  From the sermon of C. H. Spurgeon, "The Church Conservative and Aggressive," Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 7, pp. 658-659.