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City: Bronte, TX
As a BMA pastor, I am seeking your feedback on some issues. Please let me explain some background. Once after a young man was led to the Lord, I was unable to perform the church approved baptism due to an injury. I asked our youth and music minister, a licensed preacher, to stand in for me. Secondly, when one of our older gentleman members, a minister, Gideon speaker, but not ordained, was instrumental in leading a couple of boys to Christ, the two boys requested that he perform the church authorized baptism. I, the pastor, consented to this. I have been in churches where the dads were permitted to baptize their children after they were saved and the baptisms were approved by the church. Thirdly, before we performed a deacon ordination, I suggested that our ordain men only be allowed to vote to elect officers and the speaker of the service, and then invite the visiting ordained men to join the presbytery. To me, the issues are this: 1. Baptism is not an ordinance of the ordained. It is an ordinance given to the church, and once the church approves and authorizes the baptism, it is only necessary that the baptizer be a faithful member in good standing. 2. Ordination of deacons and pastors is under the authority of the local church, and having visiting presbyters electing officers and the speaker at a service smells of viewing the ordination of men as under the authority of the ordained. Inviting other ordained men to participate is simply a courtesy. To me, as I said, these are important because they are undermining the authority of the local church. They are also exalting the position of the ordained above that of servanthood and service to that of administration, authority and Presbyterianism. Baptists have always emphasized local church autonomy under the headship of Christ, and anything that erodes this should be challenged. A church member of mine has referred to Cobb Church Manual, which is no longer in print. It was presented to be the BMA way and that we were bound by it. Now, for your part, I am asking for your practices and opinions.

Dear Brother in Christ:

First let me make a few comments about J. E. Cobb