Book Suggestions About Presbyterian Church Government

Discussion in 'Church Office' started by pslagle2012, Nov 29, 2016.

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  1. pslagle2012

    pslagle2012 Puritan Board Freshman

    I hope this is the right thread for a question of this nature.

    I am a Reformed Baptist in a theololgical journey toward Presbyterianism. I am strongly questioning my Reformed Baptist views of Church Government and Baptism. I've read the book Who Runs the Church? Four Views on Church Government, but I would like to read a book arguing for Presbyterian church government rather than something from the Perspectives series (i.e. that presents several viewpoints in one book). Can anyone recommend a good book about church government from a Reformed Presbyterian viewpoint?
  2. zsmcd

    zsmcd Puritan Board Freshman

    Are you wanting a 'laity' level introduction to the topic or a more comprehensive work?
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
  3. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    If I were reading on the topic, I think I might start with The Divine Right of Church Government (Jus Divinum), it's free on Project Gutenberg and Naphtali Press republished it a while back. Bannerman's "Church of Christ" might also be a good work to look at.
  4. Beezer

    Beezer Puritan Board Freshman


    I traveled the same road as you.

    I would recommend Charles Hodge's book titled "Church Polity" available here.
  5. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

  6. Branson

    Branson Puritan Board Freshman

    "The Apostolic Church Which Is It?" by Thomas Witherow

    I found it to be highly beneficial.
  7. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Just curious , what particular Baptist Branch are you part of now?

    Does you Church practice Elder rule then or congregational?
  8. pslagle2012

    pslagle2012 Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm particularly interested in a work that, as comprehensively as possible, submit's the argument for Presbyterianism's aspects that a Congregationalist might object to (like the hierarchal structure of the presbyteries and general assembly, or the stronger emphasis on elder rule than a plural elder Congregationalist might be comfortable with).
  9. pslagle2012

    pslagle2012 Puritan Board Freshman

    They practice plural elder congregationalism. The main things I'm interested in considering are the arguments for the hierarchal structure of church government in Prebyterianism, i.e. I already agree with the plural elder system, but have always been taught that congregationalism and independence was a big part of the government of the church and I am rethinking that.
  10. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    See then also Gillespie's Assertion of the Government, one part on structure, another on ruling elders.
  11. Gforce9

    Gforce9 Puritan Board Junior

    A point of clarity: Presbyterian government is not heirarchical. Heirarchical would be like Rome (Pope above Bishop; Bishop above Cardinal). We are rather, broad. Ministers and elders of a local congregation= Session. Multiple sessions in a geographical area= presbytery. The presbytery's gather once a year (ordinarily) at the General Assembly. Each officer has an equal voice. The beauty of presbyterianism over against heirarchical forms is this: the farther along an issue goes (ie. can't be settled by the Session, so it goes to presbytery), the more men hear and ajudicate a case, not less. In Rome, the farther a matter goes, the less people hear a case. This protects the minister as well as the elders and laity.......
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
  12. pslagle2012

    pslagle2012 Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you for the clarification. I've been taught very little about forms of government other than congregationalism. My intent by heirarchal is non-independent church government, in which churches are dependent on one another (not just by association).
  13. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Then I think a more appropriate term would be connectional as opposed to independent. Presbytery=hierarchy is is a common misconception that many Baptists have of Presbyterianism. But then again, the Presbyterianism the older brethren generally know of is that found in the PCUSA, where the congregation does not own its property, etc. Newer conservative Presbyterian denominations such as the OPC and PCA have some features that look like congregationalism to our Scottish Presbyterian friends.

    Have you also read the most thorough defenses of independency and elder-led congregationalism? As someone who has changed views several times through the years, I can tell you from experience that you want to read the best to be had for the various positions and not just assume that a particular church or ministry you are familiar with is the last word on the subject. Had I done that from the beginning, I would have saved myself a lot of trouble.
  14. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Just a quick question. Did Gillespie agree with RE's sitting in on a Presbytery or a GA?
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