• W. Austin Gardner

Baptist Distinctives 6




  1. Bible is the only rule of faith and practice

  2. Autonomy of the local church

  3. Priesthood of the believer

  4. Two Ordinances

  5. Individual Soul Liberty

  6. Saved, Baptized Church Membership

  7. Two Offices

  8. Separation of Church and State

I Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. I Timothy 3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

  1. Historically Baptists have believed that there are two scriptural officers of a New Testament church, pastors and deacons I Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. 11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: 6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

  2. There are three words used to describe the office we call pastor today. Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. 18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, 19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: 20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, 21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. 26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. 28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. I Peter 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

  3. In these two passage we have elders, overseers or bishops, and pastors who feed the flock

  4. These terms are used interchangeably as you can see

  5. The term bishop means overseer. I Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

  6. In his role as bishop, the pastor oversees or administrates the ministries of the church.

  7. There is nothing in the life of that body that does not come under his purview.

  8. It is his responsibility to oversee the doctrine, the music, the outreach, the finances, and the teaching materials.

  9. Anything and everything that happens in that church is under the oversight of that pastor in his role as bishop.

  10. He is to be a servant leader I Peter 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

  11. The term pastor describes his role as shepherd of the flock.

  12. The shepherd's role is to lead, feed, find and protect the sheep.

  13. The term pastor means shepherd.

  14. A shepherd (pastor) leads his sheep.

  15. The shepherd lovingly guides his flock.

  16. A Shepherd feeds his sheep. I Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

  17. The shepherd finds the sheep.

  18. The shepherd protects the sheep. Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. Philippians 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. Galatians 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

  19. Paul assessed the situation.

  20. He identified the unscriptural (and being unscriptural, harmful) practice in the church at Galatia.

  21. He challenged Peter, face-to-face, for his unscriptural behavior.

  22. He addressed a public situation publicly.

  23. He then wrote the situation down and distributed it to the churches so they would be warned and protected. The shepherd must protect his sheep.

  24. The word pastor is only used one time in the New Testament, elder is the more common word Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

  25. The term elder denotes spiritual oversight. Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

  26. In order for a pastor to faithfully execute his charge, he must know God.

  27. Worldly pastors are blind guides.

  28. The New Testament pastor has several functions

  29. He has the responsibility of oversight and direction of the church I Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

  30. To take the oversight would demand that the pastor seek the Lord and His direction from the Holy Spirit and the Word of God

  31. He must be apt to teach Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: I Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Titus 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

  32. The pastor should lead and provide instruction on how to maintain healthy relationships in the church I Thessalonians 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. II Thessalonians 3:14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

  33. We see they had a general oversight of the finances of the church Acts 11:29–30

  34. They led in the appointing of deacons Acts 6:1–6

  35. They lead by example Hebrews 13:7; 1 Peter 5:2–3

  36. The pastor would lead in church discipline Galatians 6:1, but not to the exclusion of the entire body when warranted Matthew 18; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2

  37. Deacons Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. 3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: 6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. 7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

  38. Where instituted to allow the pastors to dedicate themselves to the ministry of the Word and prayer Acts 6:4

  39. There is really not a great deal of teaching about deacons in the Bible

  40. Notice the biblical formula in the book of Acts 6

  41. Spirit-filled pastors, studying, praying and ministering the Word.

  42. Spirit-filled deacons, serving the congregation by helping the Apostles.

  43. Spirit-filled church members, submitting to and agreeing with God's plan for the church.

  44. The word deacon is found five times in the Bible Philippians 1:1, I Timothy 3:8, 10, 12-13

  45. Not really a great deal of information about what they are to do

  46. Only see the character that they are to have

  47. Questions to be considered

  48. Can women serve as deacons or in a leadership role over men I Timothy 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

  49. What about deaconesses Romans 16:1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:

  50. She is a servant of the church

  51. It is different to be doing the function and to have the office

  52. What about a plurality of elders

  53. Why do we pay a salary to our pastors I Corinthians 9:7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? 8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. I Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

  54. Problem pastors I Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

  55. Those who do not take care of or worry about the flock, they are only a preacher for hire

  56. Those that abuse the people, authoritarians, dictators

  57. Those that are weak and will not stand for truth and lead the church as God has called them to do

  58. Problem deacons


  1. The first is the authoritarian deacon, and the second is the do-nothing deacon.

  2. A board of deacons is not a board of ruling elders having official charge of all church affairs.

  3. Baptists are not Presbyterians in church polity. It is not the name, but the thing, that is objectionable.

  4. There is not even a remote hint in the New Testament that the deacon's office was a ruling office.

  5. The second abuse is the do-nothing deacon.

  6. This deacon believes his only responsibilities are to set the church budget and fill communion cups.

  7. A deacon is supposed to be an example to the flock and a help to the pastor.

  8. He will rule his own home well, his wife will be faithful and in control of her tongue, and his children will be in subjection.

  9. He and his family will be an example of godliness to the rest of the church as well as the lost world

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