Elder Qualifications - Agreement with Doctrinal Statement

Discussion in 'Church Office' started by PewPotato, Sep 10, 2015.

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  1. PewPotato

    PewPotato Puritan Board Freshman

    A bit of background:

    • Credobaptist church with no current elders other than Senior Pastor.
    • The church teaches that baptism is defined as immersion subsequent to conversion.
    • Elder candidate believes it is proper to baptize infants, but has agreed not to promote his view of infant baptism nor incite division over the issue.
    • Elder candidate has been baptized by immersion.
    • Elder candidate affirms he will encourage every believer who enters our church to be immersed.

    Since he still holds beliefs that conflict with the doctrinal statement, would you disqualify him from eldership? Or is it acceptable that he will submit to the doctrinal statement even though he disagrees with it?
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2015
  2. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    Who is providing oversight when there are no elders? Is another session providing oversight?

    I would say that it is important for the officers of the church, especially the elders, to be of one accord in doctrine. It is important to hold to a common confession. It sounds like he is not able to hold to the church's confession.
  3. PewPotato

    PewPotato Puritan Board Freshman

    Being an independent church, there is no other oversight.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2015
  4. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Please fix your signature. You can see instructions below my signature.

    In answer to your question, I do not think that such a man should be ordained as an Elder if he believes in infant baptism. This is not an issue about who gets wet. There are many other issues than simply who receives the sacrament that he disagrees with if he believes in infant baptism.
  5. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    I think he should disqualify himself because of his beliefs. Down the line a single sermon heard, or a chapter in a book he reads, could easily convince him that he made a mistake and it could potentially cause division in the church.

    I can tell you that for me, it was one chapter in one book coupled with the birth of my first child that convinced me. Things have never been the same. Although I was immersed, I could not in good conscience remain in Baptist church. What would or could I do about my children?

    1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
  6. rickclayfan

    rickclayfan Puritan Board Freshman

    What book was that, if you don't mind me asking?
  7. Reformed Roman

    Reformed Roman Puritan Board Freshman

    I think this is a bit strange. It sounds like he is saying he believes in both infant baptism and credobaptism. If that is true I find his situation very unique and don't have any suggestion.

    If he is full paedo trying to pastor a credo church.... That would definitely be a long term issue for the church. If he's preaching expositionally through a book he would have to ignore passages or disrupt the congregation..
  8. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    This was almost 40 years ago when I was still in the Assemblies of God. I remember the place. I was on the bottom step that leads from our first floor to the attic reading a book by Andrew Murray. The title escapes me, but it might have been “Absolute Surender.” For Murray on infant baptism see “The Children for Christ.”

    As tears filled my eyes, the veil was lifted and I saw in my spirit the covenant blessings that are for us and for our children. I looked up at my wife and said, “In view of all this why can’t we baptize out son?”

    This was the beginning of big changes in our life.
  9. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    You would have to consider which is the more important issue to your church, having a plurality of elders, or holding onto this particular doctrinal statement. If it is more important to you to have a plurality of elders, then change the doctrinal statement to include both. (Good luck) Or, stick with the doctrinal statement and continue looking elsewhere for more elders.
  10. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    As a former Baptist deacon, I would recommend that this man not take an elder's role in this church. Being at variance on a minor point of doctrine is hard enough to live with as a layman: being at variance with the doctrine that separates Baptists from paedobaptists as an elder will prove at least a severe if not an intolerable strain. Not to mention the potential for church division if his position becomes known within the congregation.
  11. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    He shouldn't be an elder any more than your Baptist pastor should be a Presbyterian elder.
  12. Clark-Tillian

    Clark-Tillian Puritan Board Freshman

    He should recuse himself. Actually, he shouldn't even consider it, nor should the congregation. Imagine the roles were reversed--could you picture a man that believed in credo-only baptism via immersion, being put forward as an elder candidate in an paedo-baptistic church.
  13. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    If your nondenominational church has believed baptism is an important enough issue to include it in its statement of faith, then that should settle the matter: one of the duties of an elder is to guard the doctrinal fidelity of the church. If at the very outset he finds himself in disagreement with the church's doctrine, then that spells trouble.

    I do know that many evangelical nondenominational churches include a statement on baptism, but that functionally baptism is viewed as optional. This situation may help you see how importantly your church views its doctrinal statements...
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