The “What Issues Do You Want the Blog To Tackle?” Thread

Dear Building Old School Churches Readers,

I wanted to create a thread that would allow you, via comments, to post the issues you would like to see addressed on the blog, so that the issues you are most concerned with might be addressed and materials made available for coping with them. Questions should be related to Old School Presbyterianism rather than simply current events or unrelated issues. As an example, here would be a good question:

“What resources would you recommend on the subject of Church discipline?”

and here would be a bad one:

“Do you think that Pastor Jones should be disciplined for his teaching of…”


“What does a distinctively Old School Seminary education look like and why is it important?”

rather than

“Why is our denominational seminary so opposed to Old School Presbyterianism?”

I recognize that the “bad” questions would generate more controversy and gain more readers, but this blog is intended to be dealing with timeless principles for building strong churches, not the contemporary cause celebres of the Reformed world. Think in terms of an interactive book on Pastoral Theology rather than an Ecclesiastical Tabloid.

Anyway, the comments field is yours, feel free to ask away and perhaps we’ll post an answer (no guarantees!)

About Andrew Webb

I was converted out of paganism and the occult in 1993 and while I was initially Charismatic/Arminian in my theology, I became Reformed and Presbyterian through bible study and the influence of ministries like RC Sproul's. After teaching in local bible studies, and taking seminary courses part time, I began to feel called to the ministry in 1997. I was Ordained as an RE at Christ Covenant PCA in Hatboro, PA in 2000 and as a TE by Central Carolina Presbytery in 2001 when I was called to be the Organizing Pastor/Church Planter for Providence PCA Mission, Cross Creek PCA's church plant in Fayetteville, NC (home to Ft. Bragg and Pope Airforce Base). In 2005 when the Providence PCA Particularized I was blessed to be called by the congregation to be their Pastor
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6 Responses to The “What Issues Do You Want the Blog To Tackle?” Thread

  1. Mark Koller says:

    I think a good issue to address is church incorporation for new Old School Church plants. The question could be, Would an Old School church ever incorporate? This is something that church plants have to deal with as soon as they start because of issues surrounding getting a bank account, dealing with tithes, etc. If we want to promote good church plants, perhaps we could better enable church planters to navigate the waters with this issue.

  2. Andrew Webb says:

    Hi Mark,

    That is an excellent question and a subject (church incorporation) I’ve pondered on several occasions myself. I’ve asked another blog contributor if he wouldn’t mind tackling the subject and he has agreed to do so. Hopefully we’ll feature his article sometime in the next few weeks.

    Keep the suggestions coming!

  3. Tim Bailey says:

    Perhaps this blog could address any “myths” or false stereotypes concerning OSP churches. When some think of OSP, issues of race come to mind. Others may think there is an one-size-fits-all view of ministry (you must have a weekly prayer meeting instead of small groups, etc).

  4. James Helbert says:

    How about addressing biblical ways to “advertise” (i.e. spread the word about) an OSP work? Is it purely through evangelism? Do we “head hunt”? Etc.

  5. Tim Bailey says:

    At our church we have traditionally used inactive elders extensively in worship leadership, administration of the sacraments, all-elders meetings for advice for future planning purposes, etc. There are a few in the congregation who believe such use may have created a situation of ‘stature and authority without responsibility’ before the congregation.

    My question: What use, if any, should be made of inactive officers in the ministry of the church?

  6. Andrew Webb says:

    Hi Tim,

    I’m sorry I missed this question before, I’m trying to catch up on the comments and it may take a little while before I manage to respond to all of them. Anyway, to tell the truth Tim, I’m not a fan of term eldership I tend to agree with men like John Murray that biblically the office is for life, so I wouldn’t have any problem with the idea of continuing to use ruling elders in worship even after they had “rotated off the session.” I am very glad that you brought this up because Term Eldership was one of the church planting issues I wanted to address in a posting and it had completely gone off my radar…

    Anyway, here is a summary of Murray’s arguments against Term Eldership which was originally printed in the Presbyterian Guardian and is included as chapter 29 of volume 2 of his collected works:

    1) We find no warrant from the New Testament for Term Eldership
    2) There is evidence in the NT that falls into the “good and necessary inference” catagory that militates against the propriety of this practice, to whit:

    a) The gifts for eldership are not of a temporary nature, where they exist, they permanently qualify the candidate for the discharge of the functions of his office.

    b) In electing an elder, the congregation is recognizing the gifts given him by Christ, and acting ministerially in doing the will of Christ.

    c) The weight of the consideration of points a and b plus the fact that these gifts increase in fruitfulness and effectiveness with exercise strongly indicate that only a “conclusive warrant for ordination to temporary office would have to be provided in order to justify this kind of ordination”

    3) No cogent argument can be put forward for Term Eldership for Ruling Elders that would not necessitate Term Eldership for Teaching Elders; “One cannot but feel that the practice of term eldership for ruling elders is but a hangover of an unwholesome clericalism which has failed to recognize the basic unity of the office of elder and, particularly, the complete parity of all elders in the matter of government”

    a) He then presents three arguments against any sort of argument based on the idea that one office is “full-time” (TE) and the other “part-time” (RE).

    Murray then lists 7 practical arguments against Term Eldership, which I’ll list verbatim:

    “1) It tends to create in the minds of the people the notion of trial periods. That should have no place whatsoever in the election of elders.
    2) It tends to develop such a notion in the minds of elders themselves, and therefore a decreased sense of responsibility and office.
    3) It interferes with the continuity, and therefore with the sense of responsibility, as also with the stability of the office.
    4) It may occasion the removal of good elders as well as bad ones
    5) It may minister to party division and strife
    6) It is rather liable to give the impression of representative government and of democracy. Presbyterianism is not democratic.
    7) It tends to promote the idea that the eldership should be passed around.”
    [All Quotes are from John Murray, _Arguments against Term Eldership_, in Collected Works, Vol. 2, pp. 351-356]

    Eyres, in his excellent little book _The Elders of the Church_ (P&R), also argues against term eldership (p.2).

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