Baptist Distinctives Part 7 “Two Offices: Pastor and Deacon”

Southern Baptists Great Commission Baptists detail have the Baptist Faith & Message to summarize our beliefs, but what makes us distinctive can be summarized in a 7-point acrostic:

Biblical authority, Autonomy of the local church, Priesthood of all believers, Two ordinances (believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper), Individual soul liberty, Separation of Church and State, and Two offices of the church (pastor and deacon)

Every Baptist ought to know why he is a Baptist, and to know it from the specific commands of God’s Word. Not to have such knowledge is for our churches to be harmed in every way.

George W. Truett, Former Pastor: First Baptist Church of Dallas

#7 Two Offices of the Church: Pastor and Deacon

The New Testament lines out two office that are a loose authority structure within local churches. Jesus is the head of the church, and should lead each local church, but the buck has to stop with someone. We have the Pastor, who looks over the congregation as a shepherd protecting his flock (“pastor” is the verb “to shepherd”). Some use the term “elder” however, in terms of the NT, the terms translated “Pastor” “Elder” “Bishop” are interchangeable and refer to the same office (cf.Acts 20:17,28-30, Titus 1:5-9, & 1Pet 5:1-3).

Qualifications for Overseers

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

-1Tim 3:1-7

Qualifications for Deacons

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

1Tim 3:8-13

See also Titus 1-2

About John Harris

I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
This entry was posted in Biblical Studies. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Brian

    I could start a good debate on “the husband of one wife” thing! Why don’t all Southern Baptist Churches have the same interpretation of this when qualifying a person to be a deacon? Why do so many theologians have different interpretations of this scripture?