What I CAN and CANNOT Live With as a Pastor by Mark Dever

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SolaGratia

Puritan Board Junior
Has anyone read or heard this from Pastor Dever (Baptist)

What I CAN and CANNOT Live With as a Pastor
By Mark Dever

What I CAN and CANNOT Live With as a Pastor - 9Marks

Excerpts:

1. Organs. I can live with an organ. I can live without an organ. I can even live with an organ that’s too loud. But I don’t want to! Organs are not in the Bible. Congregational singing is. Any accompaniment which smothers and thereby discourages congregational singing should be reformed or eliminated. Given the financial and emotional commitments that are represented in organs, movement for change here should be slow.

4. Altar calls. I can live with altar calls. This is a longer conversation, but you must first realize how your congregation views them. If they are lightly invested in them, you can probably remove them fairly soon and easily. If they are the emotional highpoint of the service, then you probably need to spend some time changing the language you use about them, and then, over time, educate the congregation that Jesus called people to repent of their sins and to trust in him. The physical motion to which he called them was not walking down an aisle but taking up the cross.

Lastly

11. Infant baptism. I cannot live with infant baptism. Having said that, if I were the pastor of the only church allowed in Mecca, maybe… But even then, I simply lack the authority to admit someone to the Lord’s Table who has not been baptized. It is, as one said not too long ago, “above my pay-grade.” I have many dear paedo-baptists friends from whom I have learned much. Yet I see their practice as a sinful (though sincere) error from which God protects them by allowing for inconsistency in their doctrinal system, just as he graciously protects me from consistency with my own errors.
 
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OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
He's living without the wrong thing!...he is missing some of the sacrament that is commanded and which is such a blessing!
 

ww

Puritan Board Senior
Hadn't seen it Gil but not surprised as I have heard that Mr Dever is staunchly opposed to paedobaptism. At least he's consistent. I couldn't live without infant baptism and consider those who refuse Baptism to their Children as being in sinful error as well. So although on opposite ends of the matter both of us are being consistent in the application of our doctrine.
 

asc

Puritan Board Sophomore
I've enjoyed lectures and sermons by Dever (but then again i'm also baptist).

I couldn't tell 100% from the intro, but it seems like the article is about what kinds of issues he's willing to work through when considering pastoring a new church and which are not negotiable. So I can understand, that he'd be willing to work through issues like the music: organs or drums, short sermons, altar calls, or humor; but there are other more central issues, which he wouldn't want to deal with: female elders, universal atonement, paedobaptism. I think it makes sense. Could you see a baptist pastor taking care of a congregation of paedobaptists? Credos attending a paedo church is probably awkward but probably not as much as the reverse, since paedo baptism includes credo baptism (adult baptism after a profession of faith). It doesn't work the other way around.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
I've enjoyed lectures and sermons by Dever (but then again i'm also baptist).

I couldn't tell 100% from the intro, but it seems like the article is about what kinds of issues he's willing to work through when considering pastoring a new church and which are not negotiable. So I can understand, that he'd be willing to work through issues like the music: organs or drums, short sermons, altar calls, or humor; but there are other more central issues, which he wouldn't want to deal with: female elders, universal atonement, paedobaptism. I think it makes sense. Could you see a baptist pastor taking care of a congregation of paedobaptists? Credos attending a paedo church is probably awkward but probably not as much as the reverse, since paedo baptism includes credo baptism (adult baptism after a profession of faith). It doesn't work the other way around.

Yes, I see his human dilemma, but I pray his spiritual dilemma of credo baptism is fixed by God. I say this with loving concerning. I used to be a credo also...so I know his dilemma.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I've enjoyed lectures and sermons by Dever (but then again i'm also baptist).

I couldn't tell 100% from the intro, but it seems like the article is about what kinds of issues he's willing to work through when considering pastoring a new church and which are not negotiable. So I can understand, that he'd be willing to work through issues like the music: organs or drums, short sermons, altar calls, or humor; but there are other more central issues, which he wouldn't want to deal with: female elders, universal atonement, paedobaptism. I think it makes sense. Could you see a baptist pastor taking care of a congregation of paedobaptists? Credos attending a paedo church is probably awkward but probably not as much as the reverse, since paedo baptism includes credo baptism (adult baptism after a profession of faith). It doesn't work the other way around.

Yes, I see his human dilemma, but I pray his spiritual dilemma of credo baptism is fixed by God. I say this with loving concerning. I used to be a credo also...so I know his dilemma.

Just as I pray your error of paedo-baptism is corrected. Seriously, what else do you expect from a Baptist? I would have absolutely zero respect for a paedo-baptist that would not be wholly convinced that their baptismal position is correct. I'd feel the same way about a Baptist who lacked passion regarding the subject.

I agree with Pastor Dever. I consider paedos to be in sin, just as they consider me to be in sin. But I also agree that the Lord allows us certain doctrinal inconsistencies within the larger frame of theology.

and btw, Mark Dever does not struggle with his baptismal position. He is an avowed credo. Based on what he's written and what he's said, he'd fall on his sword over that issue.
 

asc

Puritan Board Sophomore
Just as I pray your error of paedo-baptism is corrected. Seriously, what else do you expect from a Baptist?

Conversion?

Ok... I think we can assume credos hope paedos change their ways and vice versa. But I think Dever's point is that it's too big an issue to remain united as a local church body, and that a young pastor should find a church that matches his stance on baptism...makes sense to me.
 

Ivan

Pastor
Just as I pray your error of paedo-baptism is corrected. Seriously, what else do you expect from a Baptist?

Conversion?

Ok... I think we can assume credos hope paedos change their ways and vice versa. But I think Dever's point is that it's too big an issue to remain united as a local church body, and that a young pastor should find a church that matches his stance on baptism...makes sense to me.

He's right.
 

Rich Koster

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
We are all wrong on some point of doctrine or practice (hopefully secondary) in God's eyes. We are not excluded for not scoring 100% on the test. Thankfully we are saved by GRACE alone through FAITH alone in Christ alone.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
Gil, I noticed you didn't comment on what Dever said about the KJV! ;)

Seriously, I have tremendous respect for Mark Dever and what he has done for the church. But I also find it very interesting that infant baptism is the sword he chooses to fall on. Not female eldership. Not altar calls. Not 10 minute sermons. Sure, he is in principle against these things, but I also noticed he doesn't call these "sinful" as he does infant baptism.

I also find it odd that he even mentions this in the article. I know he's a baptist, and I know he doesn't practice it. So why even mention it? Is it a particular problem in his denomination on the same level as these other things? I would much rather see his opinion on "baby dedications" and whether he even considers Reformed churches to be true churches since he believes them to be practicing a false ("sinful") sacrament/ordinance. It is highly insulting, In my humble opinion.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Gil, I noticed you didn't comment on what Dever said about the KJV! ;)

Seriously, I have tremendous respect for Mark Dever and what he has done for the church. But I also find it very interesting that infant baptism is the sword he chooses to fall on. Not female eldership. Not altar calls. Not 10 minute sermons. Sure, he is in principle against these things, but I also noticed he doesn't call these "sinful" as he does infant baptism.

I also find it odd that he even mentions this in the article. I know he's a baptist, and I know he doesn't practice it. So why even mention it? Is it a particular problem in his denomination on the same level as these other things? I would much rather see his opinion on "baby dedications" and whether he even considers Reformed churches to be true churches since he believes them to be practicing a false ("sinful") sacrament/ordinance. It is highly insulting, In my humble opinion.

Tim, he mentions it because it's the white elephant in the room for many Baptists who embrace the reformed faith. Calvinism is the first domino to fall. For those Baptists who become Calvinists, they are going to be exposed to differing arguments on the reformed faith. Some of those arguments are going to threaten their Baptist beliefs. We see that on the PB all the time. We've seen credos go paedo and paedos go credo. It's a wise and prudent pastor who deals with the issue up front.

As to your other questions, ask Mark Dever.

P.S. My screen name used to be "Baptist in Crisis." Why? Because I struggled with my Baptist beliefs after I became a Calvinist. I was close, so very close, to becoming a paedo baptist. Ultimately I was convinced by scripture of the credo position. I know what this internal conflict is like.
 

Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
Has anyone read or heard this from Pastor Dever (Baptist)

What I CAN and CANNOT Live With as a Pastor
By Mark Dever

What I CAN and CANNOT Live With as a Pastor - 9Marks

Excerpts:

1. Organs. I can live with an organ. I can live without an organ. I can even live with an organ that’s too loud. But I don’t want to! Organs are not in the Bible. Congregational singing is. Any accompaniment which smothers and thereby discourages congregational singing should be reformed or eliminated. Given the financial and emotional commitments that are represented in organs, movement for change here should be slow.

4. Altar calls. I can live with altar calls. This is a longer conversation, but you must first realize how your congregation views them. If they are lightly invested in them, you can probably remove them fairly soon and easily. If they are the emotional highpoint of the service, then you probably need to spend some time changing the language you use about them, and then, over time, educate the congregation that Jesus called people to repent of their sins and to trust in him. The physical motion to which he called them was not walking down an aisle but taking up the cross.

Lastly

11. Infant baptism. I cannot live with infant baptism. Having said that, if I were the pastor of the only church allowed in Mecca, maybe… But even then, I simply lack the authority to admit someone to the Lord’s Table who has not been baptized. It is, as one said not too long ago, “above my pay-grade.” I have many dear paedo-baptists friends from whom I have learned much. Yet I see their practice as a sinful (though sincere) error from which God protects them by allowing for inconsistency in their doctrinal system, just as he graciously protects me from consistency with my own errors.

One of the reasons I left the Baptists after 23 years was this kind of stuff. in my opinion, to deny a christian the Lord's spupper because of a difference on baptism is stupid and wicked.

-----Added 3/20/2009 at 12:08:26 EST-----

Gil, I noticed you didn't comment on what Dever said about the KJV! ;)

Seriously, I have tremendous respect for Mark Dever and what he has done for the church. But I also find it very interesting that infant baptism is the sword he chooses to fall on. Not female eldership. Not altar calls. Not 10 minute sermons. Sure, he is in principle against these things, but I also noticed he doesn't call these "sinful" as he does infant baptism.

I also find it odd that he even mentions this in the article. I know he's a baptist, and I know he doesn't practice it. So why even mention it? Is it a particular problem in his denomination on the same level as these other things? I would much rather see his opinion on "baby dedications" and whether he even considers Reformed churches to be true churches since he believes them to be practicing a false ("sinful") sacrament/ordinance. It is highly insulting, In my humble opinion.

What did mr. Dever say about the KJV?
 
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Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
Tim, he mentions it because it's the white elephant in the room for many Baptists who embrace the reformed faith. Calvinism is the first domino to fall. For those Baptists who become Calvinists, they are going to be exposed to differing arguments on the reformed faith. Some of those arguments are going to threaten their Baptist beliefs. We see that on the PB all the time. We've seen credos go paedo and paedos go credo. It's a wise and prudent pastor who deals with the issue up front.

As to your other questions, ask Mark Dever.

P.S. My screen name used to be "Baptist in Crisis." Why? Because I struggled with my Baptist beliefs after I became a Calvinist. I was close, so very close, to becoming a paedo baptist. Ultimately I was convinced by scripture of the credo position. I know what this internal conflict is like.

Bill I truly appreciate your candid comments. But I do not believe this was a "Calvinism" issue that Dever posted. Aside from universalism and possibly altar calls, that list was distinctly non-Calvinistic in nature. And he specifically called one and only one item (unless I'm overlooking something) as sinful. That's just not helpful. That causes division in the Reformed community; it doesn't promote unity among Reformed brothers and sisters.

Dever speaks regularly at Reformed conferences with paedobaptists. He has no problem appearing at a Ligonier Conference or a Together for the Gospel Conference, even though he knows that other speaks there (in his eyes) are engaging in open sin in their worship services. And he says he CANNOT live with this. The pastor doth protest too much methinks.

What did mr. Dever say about the KJV?
Nothing inflammatory, In my humble opinion. Just this:

The King James Version of the Bible. I can live with the KJV. It is beautifully done. But there’s no need to use it. As people have done throughout the history of translating the Bible, churches should be okay with using a version which translates the languages that were contemporary for Moses and John into language that is contemporary for us today.
 

ww

Puritan Board Senior
Like I said above he is consistent. His denomination is named after the very Sacrament in question here "Baptism". Mark Dever has ALWAYS been staunchly opposed to paedobaptism and I believe has seen folks from his congregation and others convert to paedobaptism. He doesn't see it as a small matter. When I was a BAPTIST at BJU I wrote Dr Bob III criticizing the schools non denominational stance by permitting Free Presbyterians and Methodist to attend the School. I understand the man's passion, concern, and clarity.

I just think he's WRONG and Sinfully so but I respect his consistency.

-----Added 3/20/2009 at 12:40:42 EST-----

Tim, he mentions it because it's the white elephant in the room for many Baptists who embrace the reformed faith. Calvinism is the first domino to fall. For those Baptists who become Calvinists, they are going to be exposed to differing arguments on the reformed faith. Some of those arguments are going to threaten their Baptist beliefs. We see that on the PB all the time. We've seen credos go paedo and paedos go credo. It's a wise and prudent pastor who deals with the issue up front.

As to your other questions, ask Mark Dever.

P.S. My screen name used to be "Baptist in Crisis." Why? Because I struggled with my Baptist beliefs after I became a Calvinist. I was close, so very close, to becoming a paedo baptist. Ultimately I was convinced by scripture of the credo position. I know what this internal conflict is like.

Bill I truly appreciate your candid comments. But I do not believe this was a "Calvinism" issue that Dever posted. Aside from universalism and possibly altar calls, that list was distinctly non-Calvinistic in nature. And he specifically called one and only one item (unless I'm overlooking something) as sinful. That's just not helpful. That causes division in the Reformed community; it doesn't promote unity among Reformed brothers and sisters.

Dever speaks regularly at Reformed conferences with paedobaptists. He has no problem appearing at a Ligonier Conference or a Together for the Gospel Conference, even though he knows that other speaks there (in his eyes) are engaging in open sin in their worship services. And he says he CANNOT live with this. The pastor doth protest too much methinks.

What did mr. Dever say about the KJV?
Nothing inflammatory, In my humble opinion. Just this:

The King James Version of the Bible. I can live with the KJV. It is beautifully done. But there’s no need to use it. As people have done throughout the history of translating the Bible, churches should be okay with using a version which translates the languages that were contemporary for Moses and John into language that is contemporary for us today.

I can see your point now as well Tim and understand where you are coming from but I guess I'm giving Dever more slack than most because of how passionate of a Baptist I once was before converting to the Covenantal Reformed Presbyterian Faith. I'm now just as passionate about Paedobaptism as I was of Credo Only Baptism. :think:
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
Wayne, trust me, I don't expect the gentleman to be anything but a Baptist. But that comment of his was completely out of place and unhelpful. You might walk into various Baptist churches in this land and find things like organs, stained glassed windows, altar calls, etc., and a pastor needs to pick his battles and what hills he is willing to die on. I respect that. But someone please tell me what in the world this has to do with paedobaptism?!? Is there some rising group of Baptist churches in this country that have suddenly adopted this practice that I don't know about? If so, someone please enlighten me.
 
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JonathanHunt

Puritan Board Senior
I can see your point now as well Tim and understand where you are coming from but I guess I'm giving Dever more slack than most because of how passionate of a Baptist I once was before converting to the Covenantal Reformed Presbyterian Faith. I'm now just as passionate about Paedobaptism as I was of Credo Only Baptism. :think:

As you should be!
 

asc

Puritan Board Sophomore
Gil, I noticed you didn't comment on what Dever said about the KJV! ;)

Seriously, I have tremendous respect for Mark Dever and what he has done for the church. But I also find it very interesting that infant baptism is the sword he chooses to fall on. Not female eldership. Not altar calls. Not 10 minute sermons. Sure, he is in principle against these things, but I also noticed he doesn't call these "sinful" as he does infant baptism.

I also find it odd that he even mentions this in the article. I know he's a baptist, and I know he doesn't practice it. So why even mention it? Is it a particular problem in his denomination on the same level as these other things? I would much rather see his opinion on "baby dedications" and whether he even considers Reformed churches to be true churches since he believes them to be practicing a false ("sinful") sacrament/ordinance. It is highly insulting, In my humble opinion.

Again, I wasn't 100% sure about the intent of the article but it seemed to me that he was using himself as an example of what kinds of issues other pastors need to think about before leading a congregation. For him personally, baptism is a huge issue (for me personally, not so big an issue). The article was clearly not meant to be a comprehensive list; just examples.

Are there credo believers in your church? How is the situation handled? Do you think they're sinning by not baptizing their children?
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
Again, I wasn't 100% sure about the intent of the article but it seemed to me that he was using himself as an example of what kinds of issues other pastors need to think about before leading a congregation. For him personally, baptism is a huge issue (for me personally, not so big an issue). The article was clearly not meant to be a comprehensive list; just examples.

Are there credo believers in your church? How is the situation handled? Do you think they're sinning by not baptizing their children?

The issue is not mine but Dever's. Once again, are there Baptist churches out there somewhere that are baptizing infants that I don't know about? And why single this one thing out as "sinful" but not say that about altar calls, universal atonement, or female elders?

I don't believe there are currently any credo believers in our church. Our standards allow for Sessions to admit members into membership who have a scruple on that issue. However, they must agree that the doctrines taught by our denomination are founded on Scripture, even if they personally don't agree with that one. They can be members in good standing, but they are barred from holding a church office (elder or deacon). And the duty of the Session is to encourage them (and exhort them) to have their children presented for baptism. And obviously, we do not exclude those from membership who were baptized as adults, even if they were immersed. For example, I was immersed in a Baptist church many years ago. That seems far more unifying than Dever's position.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Tim,

The reason I mentioned Calvinism is because it is the entre into reformed theology for most Baptists. I thought I made myself clear on that. Once a new Calvinistic Baptist starts examining reformed theology, he is going to encounter the baptism issue. It can't be avoided. While Dever may not have had Calvinism in mind, he is right to address the baptism issue. Baptists need to know what they believe regarding baptism or they will be easily swayed by compelling (but not necessarily accurate) arguments.

James, if the reason you abandoned being a Baptist is solely because of the denial of the Lord's Supper to the unbaptized, then I think you short changed yourself. Please tell me you changed because you now agree with paedo baptism. I can buy that reason. For what it's worth, don't paedos deny the Lord's Supper to the unbaptized? The credo distinctive is that we do not consider paedo baptism a valid baptism...period. Therefore, a person who has been baptized as an infant has not been baptized. You may hate and despise it, but that's how the cookie crumbles.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
Tim,

The reason I mentioned Calvinism is because it is the entre into reformed theology for most Baptists. I thought I made myself clear on that. Once a new Calvinistic Baptist starts examining reformed theology, he is going to encounter the baptism issue. It can't be avoided. While Dever may not have had Calvinism in mind, he is right to address the baptism issue. Baptists need to know what they believe regarding baptism or they will be easily swayed by compelling (but not necessarily accurate) arguments.

You made yourself clear, and I understand your point. But Dever is not simply talking about Calvinism. The article is entitled "What I CAN and CANNOT Live With as a Pastor." If he is pastoring a Baptist church, then I fail to see how this is an issue ecclesiastically for him. You are correct in that a Baptist pastor may run into folks who move to a paedo position. If that is what he means, then it is completely out of parallel with everything else he talks about in the article. Unless I am forgetting or overlooking something, everything else he points to are church-wide practices that determine whether taking a pastorate is advisable or not. By tossing that one in, it makes it seem as if this is a personal axe for him to grind, it is offensive to other Reformed brethren, and it hurts an otherwise helpful article.

Now, if there are church-wide practices among Baptists that involve paedobaptism taking place, I will stand corrected. I have asked that several times and no one has corrected/enlightened me. I really don't know if this is the case. If it is, please tell me so I can know.

I generally like Mark Dever. He seems like a nice guy. He signed a book for me at a Ligonier conference once, and carried on a friendly conversation with me while he did so. But this posting is just a bit too much.

Oh, For what it's worth, and in defense of Baptists with regard to the Table of the Lord, not all prohibit paedobaptists from coming to the Lord's Supper. My wife and I worshiped on a Sunday evening a few weeks ago at a local Reformed Baptist church. We were invited to the table. It was expected that we were to be professing Christians and members in good standing of a Christian church. The pastor knew I was a Presbyterian minister. I was freely invited to the Table.

Now, having said that, there may be some Baptists that this would rub the wrong way. But there was a clear invitation to the Table, and a distinction between credo and paedo was never made.
 
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Jen

Puritan Board Freshman
Dever speaks regularly at Reformed conferences with paedobaptists. He has no problem appearing at a Ligonier Conference or a Together for the Gospel Conference, even though he knows that other speaks there (in his eyes) are engaging in open sin in their worship services. And he says he CANNOT live with this. The pastor doth protest too much methinks.

Some two years ago or thereabouts, there was yet another kerfluffle on this issue on the Reformed blogs when Dever denied the Lord's Supper to Ligon Duncan... after the latter preached at his (that is, Dever's) church. That seems to be more inconsistent to me -- why allow someone into your pulpit to whom you wouldn't administer the Supper? I understand (and appreciate!) T4G, but the pulpit thing seems a bit odd...

Baptizoblogodebate Roundup

ETA: I would guess that he likely had this debate in mind when he made his comments.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
You made yourself clear, and I understand your point. But Dever is not simply talking about Calvinism. The article is entitled "What I CAN and CANNOT Live With as a Pastor." If he is pastoring a Baptist church, then I fail to see how this is an issue ecclesiastically for him. You are correct in that a Baptist pastor may run into folks who move to a paedo position. If that is what he means, then it is completely out of parallel with everything else he talks about in the article. Unless I am forgetting or overlooking something, everything else he points to are church-wide practices that determine whether taking a pastorate is advisable or not. By tossing that one in, it makes it seem as if this is a personal axe for him to grind, it is offensive to other Reformed brethren, and it hurts an otherwise helpful article.

You are missing my point. I'm not saying Calvinism or the threat of paedo baptism was on Dever's mind when he wrote this article. I am saying that I believe Dever understands the gravity of the baptism issue in Baptist pastorates. The baptism issue effects eligibility for the Lord's Supper in most Baptist churches; so the two are vitally important. Is that offensive to the larger reformed community? If so, than the only advice I can give is not to be a Baptist.

Oh, For what it's worth, and in defense of Baptists with regard to the Table of the Lord, not all prohibit paedobaptists from coming to the Lord's Supper. My wife and I worshiped on a Sunday evening a few weeks ago at a local Reformed Baptist church. We were invited to the table. It was expected that we were to be professing Christians and members in good standing of a Christian church. The pastor knew I was a Presbyterian minister. I was freely invited to the Table.

Not all Baptist churches are the same. Baptists know this all too well. I would not expect every Baptist church to be in lock step agreement.

I'm going to close making the same point I made when I opened. I am not attributing Dever's motivation as protecting Calvinistic Baptists from going paedo. I added that as a valid reason for appealing to Baptist pastors to take an active role in properly teaching baptism. No. I don't want Baptists becoming paedos. Why would I? Accept them as brothers if they do? Of course. Fellowship with them and remain friends? Absolutely. I suppose I'm taking the ball from Dever and running with it. I want Baptist pastors to be unashamedly Baptist, in the reformed tradition. I have little tolerance for apologetic Baptists in the pastorate. Fish or cut bait.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
If all Dever meant is that committed credobaptists shouldn't pastor in paedobaptist churches, more power to him. I even agree with him; I just don't see how this is a problem in Baptist churches. It is obvious that he is whole-heartedly committed to the issue. I hope he becomes just as committed in his stand against female elders and altar calls.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I just don't see how this is a problem in Baptist churches.

Tim, spend some time in Baptist churches who have almost no conception of the ordinances/sacraments and then you'll understand the importance of this issue.

Maybe one day he'll be just as committed in his stand against female elders and altar calls.

One thing at a time. And if you read that article he did not defend altar calls.

If they are the emotional highpoint of the service, then you probably need to spend some time changing the language you use about them, and then, over time, educate the congregation that Jesus called people to repent of their sins and to trust in him. The physical motion to which he called them was not walking down an aisle but taking up the cross.

If you're an ecclesiastically sound Baptist pastor, and you are assigned to a church that has had the tradition of altar calls for a long time, you first educate in order to change. If you don't, you'll probably be tossed out on your ear in short order. I believe he is committed in his stand against altar calls.

As far as female elders, you tell me where he agrees with the idea?


I might be able to live with female elders, but not for long, and probably not at all, so I probably just shouldn’t try. I want to allow for those situations in which you’ve had an ill-taught church that’s willing to follow your leadership, where even the female elders themselves are happy to step down. But normally, if a church accepts female elders, has been clearly instructed to the contrary, and will not change, that seems like a battle you won’t win. So I probably wouldn’t even begin with such a church.

"I might be able to live with female elders, but not for long..." It's hyperbole, another way of saying, "Not in my church." Dever is clearly addressing churches that have this practice in place already. He calls a spade a spade too. "If a church accepts female elders, has been clearly instructed to the contrary, and will not change, that seems like a battle you won't win. So I probably wouldn't even begin with such a church." I have no problem with his level of conviction.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I would think a lot of Reformed Baptists might be a little fiercer against female elders than against paedobaptism. After all, no Reformed person can get away without feeling a certain debt to several paedobaptists, but I've never felt indebted to a female elder or her male supporters.
 
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