PASTOR, PASTORS, POPES, AND DEACONS
Much that is made in history over strict orthodoxy in the church both in practice and in names seems to be falling by the wayside in the modern dumbing down of churches through what seems to be endless expansion of definition of terms. I reference primarily the term “pastor.” Are you ready to think with me? Please do!
An illustration of the subject matter at hand is the recent abandonment of the office of Pope by the head of the Catholic Church. According to them, he is the vicar of Christ, successor, of the apostle Peter. That title designates a single authoritative individual succeeding the previous one at death. . . . until now. So, the Pope decided for whatever reason, he did not want to be Pope any longer. A new one must be elected, but the former one is still alive and so designated as that successor. Now there are two living popes. Confusing? Rather! But this is an illustration. On the other hand, what is going on in the Lord’s churches?
A New Testament church has two divinely created offices: pastor and deacon. God calls men into the gospel ministry qualifying them to be the pastor of one of His churches. Churches select men (deacons) to serve them in various capacities as they have need. This has been the biblical and time honored status for the past two thousand years, but things appear to be changing in many churches.
Nowadays, some churches, large or small, have weakened the meaning and exclusiveness of “pastor” by designating others not having a life calling of God to that office as a youth pastor, a seniors’ pastor, a worship pastor (song leader), perhaps a nursery pastor, as well as a senior pastor who usually is the God-called minister and spiritual leader, but not always senior in age. The stripping or expanding of the strict definition of a church pastor to include most any and everything surely lends much deterioration to the meaning and respect of the office and office holder. This usually emanates from a desire to exceed Bible elevation of those who serve in various ministries of the church or else from a desire to lessen the exclusiveness of the God-called leader or both, and it is not good (strange as it seems, this practice makes some unseasoned pastors feel important). Soon every Sunday School Teacher will be known as a “Class Pastor” which leaves only the folks in the pews. Surely they will become known as “Pew Pastors.” If a title must be bestowed on those who serve the church who are not the God-called, spiritual leader, then what is wrong with “deacon?” It is a good, biblical word and it literally means “servant.” It would be so much more fitting and honorable to them who are not called of God into a separate life of spiritual leadership as is a God-called pastor, but are so selected by the church that they serve which may define the description and duration of their duties. But then, what is the real purpose in any action such as this multi-pastor title in the first place? Doubtless, every extra-scriptural action consistently yields increased, undesirable, and possibly unscriptural results. Chalk this writer up as a voice of old-school Baptists.
Tag Archives: pastor
America owes a great debt to these men
Elisha Rich was ordained to preach the gospel and take the pastoral care of the Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Baptist church on October 05, 1774. He used his skills as a blacksmith, gunsmith, farmer, and bookkeeper to sustain his family. Persecution was to be expected, and he suffered “no little rough opposition. His livestock was injured and the pulpit in the meetinghouse was set to fall when he ascended it, and he was otherwise harassed; but those hearty souls persevered, and the work of God expanded. By the nineteenth century the overt opposition had all but ended, but the same determination was revealed in the lives of Baptist pastors. The population had increased, and now many of the men of God found themselves responsible for overseeing the ministries of three or four scattered congregations. They continued to support their families, but now their ministerial responsibilities were multiplied. Such a man was Christopher Columbus Metcalf, born on March 10, 1855, and ministered the Word faithfully for 52 years. C.C. Metcalf served as a circuit-riding pastor in the hills of Kentucky and had the care of four churches. He farmed during the week and on Saturday at noon he mounted his horse and rode to his first church. Most of the churches had services Saturdaynight and Sunday as well, for they had services on only one Sunday. The pastor would prepare lessons for a deacon to teach the other three Sundays. The next Saturday he would go in a different direction until each church had been visited each month. America owes a great debt to these men who invested their lives in this manner.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 413-14.
A barren wilderness produces a fruitful preacher
John Peck’s youngest son Linus Peck died on October 04, 1847 having given himself to the care of an ailing brother in the faith, but contracting the disease, he joined his dear mother who had gone to be with the Lord shortly before. It was some of the many trials that Peck had to endure through a long and successful ministry. John Peck was born on Oct. 31, 1789, in Stanford, New York as the fifth son and eighth child of John and Sarah Peck. When he was 15 his father moved into a part of the state that was almost an unbroken wilderness. These primitive conditions demanded constant hard labor of John and his brothers and deprived him of an early education. His mother was a Baptist who taught him to pray and inspired him with a love of the Bible and an eager desire for knowledge. Upon attaining adulthood he purchased a small farm and continued to invest a portion of his time in labor and a systematic course of study. After making a profession of faith, Peck was baptizedAugust 25. 1798, and became a member of the newly found Baptist church at Norwich,N.Y. at 18 years of age. Shortly he began to preach as a licentiate and was married to Sarah Ferris, a daughter of Deacon Israel Ferris and sister to Elder Jonathan Ferris of the Baptist Church at Norwich. In 1804 John became pastor of the Baptist church at Cazenovia, N.Y., where he saw great revivals and in gatherings of large numbers of converts. From 1839 to 1847, he reported that he had traveled 26,840 miles, received support for the society (Baptist Home Missions Society), assisted pastors and preached revivals. He was truly conformed to the image of His Savior.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 411-12.
The pastor had, perhaps, plunged a thousand in the creek
Elder Devin, the Pastor of the Grassy Creek Baptist Church of Granville County, N.C. baptized fifty ‘happy’ converts on Sept. 22, 1850 in that noble stream, by the same name, that flows by the church. The church historian claimed that the pastor had, perhaps, plunged a thousand in the creek in the same manner. Grassy Creek church had spawned many other churches and itself had existed in its purity for more than a century since its inception by Shubael Stearns and Daniel Marshall in 1757 shortly after they arrived from New England. Grassy Creek planted small groups for Bible study throughout a forty-mile area that ultimately grew into churches. They also believed in “protracted” or lengthy meetings. One such meeting in 1775 garnered eighteen souls by membership through baptism. Large crowds would gather to see these baptismal services which were great testimonies to the grace of God in themselves. Grassy Creek church also maintained a great interest in missions at home and abroad. And the congregation was never lured away by entertainment more than involvement, having “itching ears.” [Robert I. Devin, A History of Grassy Creek Baptist Church (Raleigh, N. C.: Edwards, Broughton & Co., 1880), p, 70.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, pp. 519-21.
The first Baptist missions society in America
Dr. Thomas Baldwin on August 29, 1802, co-authored the call for the establishment of the Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Society. In 1803 he became editor of the “Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Magazine” and served until his death. Dr. Baldwin received a letter from Adoniram Judson in February, 1813 in which he wrote, “Should there be formed a Baptist Society for the support of missions in these parts, I shall be ready to consider myself their missionary!” Baldwin immediately invited several leading pastors from Mass. to meet and confer on the matter. The result was the organization of a temporary society to assist the Judson’s until such time the Baptists nationally could rally forces for the undertaking. Ultimately, with the formation of “The General Missionary Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the U.S. for Foreign Missions,” Dr. Baldwin served as secretary. Thomas Baldwin was born on Dec. 23, 1753, in Bozrah, CT. When he was 17, he received the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and soon declared in favor of Baptist doctrine. He severed ties with his denomination in which he had been raised and therefore many of his friends severed ties with him. Upon moving to Canaan, NH, Baldwin, though young was chosen to represent his village as a legislator in the General Court of the State. However in due time he surrendered for the ministry and on June 11, 1783, Baldwin was ordained and for seven years pastored the Baptist church in Canaan, CT. In 1790 he was installed as pastor of the 2nd Baptist Church of Boston, Mass. A great revival broke out under his leadership with 212 added in 1803.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 356-57.
The post 241 – August 29 – This Day in Baptist History Past appeared first on The Trumpet Online.
He served over seventy years in the ministry
Anderson Moffett was born in Fauquier County, Virginia on August 28, 1746. David Thomas who had come to Virginia originally from the old Philadelphia Baptist Association had planted the Broad Run Church in that County when Moffett was but a youth. Many of the Regular Baptists of Northern Virginia had caught their fire from Thomas who they often referred to as Old Father Thomas.” He fired their souls while establishing them in sound doctrine without quenching their evangelistic zeal. Moffett was converted at an early age and began to preach when he was 17. His age is not known when he was imprisoned in Culpeper. There is only verbal evidence that this happened because all of Anderson’s records were destroyed by fire when he was an aged man, and too weak to rewrite them. His nephew Judge W.W. Moffett gave testimony that his father told him personally of the account of his uncle Anderson Moffett’s jailing for not taking a license to preach, and gave the date as the latter half of 1885 or the first part of 1886. He gave this testimony on Dec. 21, 1923. His father showed him where the Culpeper jail stood. The Culpeper Baptist Church moved to a new location and still stood as of 1993. Moffett was imprisoned along with many other young preachers in that jail. He was there when someone attempted to suffocate them by burning an Indian pepper plant under the jail floor. This incident evidently did not affect his health. God gave Moffett over seventy years of ministry, ending in his 89th year after he had served Smith’s Creek Regular Baptist Church for over fifty years.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 355-56.
The post 240 – August 28 – This Day in Baptist History Past appeared first on The Trumpet Online.
The First Swedish Baptist Church in America
Rev. Gustaf Palmquist became the first pastor at the founding of the first Swedish Baptist church in America at Rock Island, Illinois on August 13, 1852. It consisted of only three members, two men and one woman. It had been commissioned by the Baptist church at Galesburg, IL where Palmquist, formerly a Lutheran, had been baptized in 1852 and ordained. The true honor however must go to Palmquist’s dear mother. Gustaf was born on May 26, 1812, into a family of seven children during a time of great spiritual dearth in Sweden. His mother came under deep conviction and turned to the parish priest who told her that her piety was sufficient. Having no peace she turned to an old widow who was considered spiritually odd who pointed her to Christ. Mrs. Palmquist began earnestly praying for the salvation of her children, though Gustaf and his brother Per did not come to full assurance until eight years after their mothers death. By now, at 32, Gustaf was a professor in a teachers’ college in Stockholm, and his vocal witness brought him into contact with F.G. Hedberg of Finland and Rev. F.O. Nilsson, the exiled Baptist preacher. In Helsingland in northern Sweden, there was a group of believers who, in an attempt to escape persecution, determined to imigrate to America. They asked Gustaf to go with them as their pastor which he did and they landed in N.Y. in August of 1851. He was soon disheartened to learn that his flock was scattered over three states so he went westward and settled in Rock Island, Illinois. He heard of a wonderful moving of the Spirit of God in the Baptist church in Galesburg and went to examine it for himself. This is where he was baptized and ordained into the ministry.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 332-34.
The post 225 – August, 13 – This Day in Baptist History Past appeared first on The Trumpet Online.
Four generations pastor the same church
Edward Wightman was the last Englishman to be martyred on April 11, 1612 for heresy. He was
considered a radical Anabaptist. Five Wightman brothers came to America, all Baptists – two
were preachers; two were deacons; one a private member of the church. Valentine Wightman
was the son of one of the five and was born in Kingston, Rhode Island, in 1681. In 1705 his
church licensed him to preach and he moved to Groton, Connecticut, and planted the First
Baptist church in the colony of CT. His fame spread after a seven hour debate with Rev. John
Bulkey in 1727 on the subject of Baptism. In 1714 he planted the First Baptist church in the
state of N.Y. Valentine died on June 9, 1747, after ministering 42 years in Groton. The church
at Groton continued under the ministry of Valentine’s son Timothy Wightman who saw great
revivals from time to time from 1764 to 1787. A second Baptist church was established in
Groton in 1765. Timothy served during the Revolutionary War and stood for the defense of
liberty. He died on Nov. 14, 1796 after having also served for 42 years in the same church that
his father had founded. His son, John Gano Wightman accepted the call to the church on Aug.
13, 1800. His first wife died in 1816 and on July 7, 1817, he married Bridget Allyn who served
faithfully by his side. The church experienced at least ten seasons of refreshing revival during
this time. Another church was established in Groton in 1831. John died on July 13, 1841 and thus
concluded 125 years of ministry by grandfather, father, and son who led the work in Groton, CT.
Interestingly, on June 12, 1864 the Rev. Palmer G. Wightman, grandson of the Rev. John Gano
Wightman, was ordained pastor of the Groton church, and a great revival broke out.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon: from This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp.278-79.
Beheaded for Christ
On June 13th 1560, Hans Mandemaker, Pastor: together with, Deacon: and Eustachius Kuter. were condemned to death. At the passing of the sentence, a great number of people were present as they addressed the judges of the court and the jury, proving to them that the sentence, in the presence of God, passed upon innocent men, would rise up in judgment against them to their condemnation for having condemned innocent blood. When they replied that they were obliged to judge according to the emperor’s command and proclamation, Hans Mandemaker said, “O ye blind judges! You are to judge according to your own heart and conscience, as you will have to answer for it in the presence of God. If then you judge and pass sentence, according to the emperor’s proclamation, how will you answer before God?”
They all spake with boldness and exhorted the people to repent, to forsake their sins, and to tread the path of truth; it was the truth for which this day they would suffer. Their crime: they did not believe that the holy body of Jesus Christ was in the sacrament but they observed the Lord’s Supper in the same manner that Christ kept it with His disciples, and that they did not approve of infant baptism.
Kuter was first beheaded, after which Juriaen Raek stepped cheerfully forward to the executioner and said, “Here I leave wife and child, house and goods, body and life, for the sake and truth of God.”
Dr. Dale R. Hart: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins) p. 243.
The post 164 – June 13 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST appeared first on The Trumpet Online.
Still exists today.
Upstairs above building
Baptists under fire
1670 – This was the day that Thomas Ewins, pastor of the Broadmead Church, the “Baptized Congregation”, according to Edward Terrill, clerk of the church, “having layen a greate while weake, Departed this life…” Terrill went on to say that he preached clearly “of Free grace by Faith in Christ Jesus. “ He was full of good works, showing patience and meekness toward all men, carefully searching into the state of their souls. He was buried in James’s Yard accompanied by many hundreds to his grave. Even his chief persecutor, Sr. Jo Knight, said, “he did believe he was gone to heaven.” The Broadmead church was founded in Bristol, England in 1640, and Thomas Ewins, formerly an Episcopalian became pastor in 1651. In 1661 the pastor was seized on July 27, while he was preaching and jailed for refusing a license by the Anglican State authorities. After two months in prison he was released only to be arrested again on Oct. 4, 1663 with several others, and this time languished in prison for a year. While there he would preach to the people from an open window from his fourth-floor cell. The church continued to be faithful and met some times out doors, and from house to house, or wherever they could escape their tormentors. The ladies would sit on the stairs at one meeting place and sing when the authorities came to warn the men to stop preaching. Sometimes they would hide in a cellar. Their firmness was shown by a resolution that those who absented themselves because of fear should be dealt with as disorderly members. We should be proud of our Baptist forbears who were so strong.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, p. 169.
The post 116 — April 26 – This Day in Baptist History Past appeared first on The Trumpet Online.