Response to NOBTS interview of Dr. Nelson Price, Part 3

[Continued from Part 2]

3. The issue of elder rule has been a controversial in many churches. What is your perspective on ruling elders as an expression of Baptist church polity and ecclesiology?

In the early church the terms “elders” (presbyteroi) and “bishops” or “overseers” (episkopoi) are used interchangeably as to functions not as titles or offices. The Bible gives clear insight regarding the roles of bishops and deacons but does not for elders leading many scholars to conclude it was not a separate office in the early church. There is no Scripture that teaches a church has to have a board of elders. The term “elder” has gone through an evolution since the Bible times. The present meaning and role is based on the role that evolved in subsequent years of the first century. Biblically the service of elders was to be performed by older individuals who related to the spiritual life within the church not the business affairs. Changing the of church governance can be traumatic for a congregation. If a church has a form of governance that works in place following a current trend is not advantageous.

SBF has previously responded to the above argument by Dr. Nelson Price HERE. Notice again that in the position articulated by Dr. Price, we must understand that Christ has left His church without clear instruction on how His church is to be governed. Notice also the inherent pragmatism of Dr. Price’s position: “If a church has a form of governance that works in place following a current trend is not advantageous.” I would assert that our focus as a church cannot be on what “works,” but must be on what is biblical. If there is a “current trend” that truly is reclaiming a biblical vision of church government, then following that “trend” is certainly “advantageous” in an eternal sense.

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3 Comments on “Response to NOBTS interview of Dr. Nelson Price, Part 3”

  1. genembridges Says:

    So, the question Dr. Price needs to actually answer is this:

    If you became the pastor of a church that was governed by a plurality of elders, like, let’s say Capitol Hill Baptist Church, would you seek to change it or not?

    In other words, his logic is reversible.

    I’d also point out that this entire interview could be summed up as “Don’t change the status quo” and that’s true of every answer he gives. That is, of course, just a rhetorical maneuver that really means, if you disagree with his POV, you’re wrong and shouldn’t question your betters. This is implicit high churchmanship too.

  2. Thomas Twitchell Says:

    Should’nt Price consider the Biblical model of Chuch governance to trump the traditional or status quo?


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