It is so clear to me that leadership in the local church is vital to it’s health and witness to the outside world. When I say leadership, I do not mean dynamic “styles” of communication, or “people skills.” I am not referring to politicking or “working a room.” I am referring to the biblical model of a plurality of elders that is rooted deeply in the New Testament.
One example of the fruits of this “leadership model” is found in a recent incident involving the elders at Bethlehem Baptist Church (John Piper’s church) and those at Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville KY (Tom Schreiner, teaching elder). Many of you were aware of the proposal of the elders at BBC to allow membership to those who had been baptized as infants. This letter from the elders at Clifton is a response to that proposal that grew out of a conversation at ETS this year. I encourage you to to read it, if nothing else to be reminded of the importance of baptism and the effects of “waffling” (as the letter describes) on this issue.
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I want to observe that in this situation, the letter from the elders at Clifton has no binding authority on the course of action for the leadership at BBC. However, what an example of New Testament polity in action. To observe one body of believers, so caring for another body to lovingly disagree and seek to persuade them for the glorification of God is encouraging and inspiring. Perhaps you have not seen a practical implication of the fruit of this form of leadership until now. This type of thing is beneficial for Baptists to see who might be unfamiliar with this type of leadership.
May God make us biblical in all that we do, so that he receives glory and the church receives power!