EIGHTY-SECOND ANNUAL CONFERENCE

ANNUAL CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS

1965


 The Eighty-Second Annual Conference of the Bible Fellowship Church convened in the Faith Church, York, Pennsylvania.


 The Conference opened at 10:00 a.m., October 11 with the singing of, "Like a River Glorious" directed by W. B. Hottel. Ronald C. Mahurin led in prayer and Carl C. Cassel sang, "When this Passing World is O'er."


 District Superintendent and Chairman T. D. Gehret delivered the opening address based on Revelation 3:14-22. His message dealt with the urgency of the hour appealing to us to do our best in the light of the Lord's soon return.


 The Chairman instructed the Secretary, N. H. Wolf, to appoint his assistants. He appointed Ernest B. Hartman Assistant Secretary and Robert W. Smock Recording Secretary.


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE

ON CONFERENCE PROGRAM

"Hear What the Spirit Saith to the Churches"

Monday, October 11 - 10:00 a.m.

 Song Leader W. B. Hottel

 Prayer R. C. Mahurin

 Solo C. C. Cassel

 Message T. D. Gehret "The Communion of the Individual" followed by the Lord's Supper


Tuesday, October 12 - 9:00 a.m.

 Song Leader D. E. Thomann

 Instrumental W. A. Heffner, D. J. Watkins, L. J. Bickel

 Prayer R. Paul

 Message A. L. Seifert "The Consecration of the Leaders"

 

Wednesday, October 13 - 9:00 a.m.

 Song Leader H. J. Fritz

 Prayer R. F. Johnson

 Solo L. S. Heller

 Message C. Richard Shumaker, Church of the Open Door of Shiloh

 "The Christian Growth of the Congregation"


Thursday, October 14 - 9:00 a.m.

 Song Leader J. E. Golla

 Prayer J. A. Beil

 Music A Pastors' Quartet

 Message C. Jack Orr, Harmony Grove Chapel, Dover, Pa.

"The Concern for the Community"

 

Evening Conference Service open to the public. 7:30 p.m.

 R. T. Allen, Host Pastor presiding

 Music The Pastors' Quartet

Message J. H. Riggall


Friday, October 15 - 9:00 a.m.

 Song Leader W. A. Heffner

 Prayer D. T. Kirkwood

 Solo B. N. Brosius

 Message E. M. Hosler "The Concord of the Brethren"

 

Note:Devotional period - 30 minutes except Monday

R. W. Gehret, organist


 A prayer room will be open for conference members at 8:30 each morning. We encourage everyone to make use of this facility.


 Committee, R. T. Allen

N. R. Weiss

R. C. Reichenbach

 

The Report was adopted.


 District Superintendents T. D. Gehret and A. L. Seifert led the members of the conference in the observance of the Lord's Supper.


 Resolved, That the section in front of the Chairman shall constitute the Conference Bar.

 

The following were enrolled as members of the conference:


Ministers

 Ordained - Russell T. Allen, Paul E. Baer, E. W. Bean, James A. Beil, Bert N. Brosius, Alva C. Cassel, Carl C. Cassel, Willard E. Cassel, John Dunn, Harvey J. Fritz, Jr., Reynold D. Gardner, Sr., T. D. Gehret, John E. Golla, Ernest B. Hartman, Jansen E. Hartman, W. W. Hartman, William A. Heffner, LeRoy S. Heller, Frank L. Herb, Jr., George E. Herb, F. B. Hertzog, Earl M. Hosler, W. B. Hottel, Robert F. Johnson, C. E. Kirkwood, Donald T. Kirkwood, Richard H. Kline, James G. Koch, Ronald C. Mahurin, Robert Paul, R. C. Reichenbach, John H. Riggall, Donald B. Schaeffer, A. L. Seifert, Robert W. Smock, David E. Thomann, Norman R. Weiss, N. H. Wolf, Daniel G. Ziegler, W. F. Heffner, E. E. Kublic, J. B. Layne, E. J. Rutman, P. T. Stengele.

 

Probationers - Glenn R. Huratiak, Leon K. Overpeck, David J. Watkins.


Delegates

Allentown District

Allentown (Bethel), Kermit K. Gehman, John Deily

Catasaqua, Arthur W. Deppe

Graterford, Edward A. Stortz

Hatfield, Daniel K. Ziegler

Harleysville, H. Phares Mumbauer

Harrisburg, Paul T. Rutman

Lancaster, Horace A. Kauffman

Lebanon, Jack S. Herb

Lehighton, Willard Blocker

Mount Carmel, Roy E. Williams

Nazareth, Norman W. Granda

Paradise, Arthur Refford

Reading, Robert Breitegam

Royersford, William R. Hunsberger

Shamokin, T. Lamarn Manney

Spring City, R. S. Weidner

Sunbury, Allan F. Smith

York, Sterling E. Baer


Bethlehem District

Allentown (Salem), Robert E. McIntyre

Bethlehem, Paul H. Cressman

Blandon, John I. Mengel

Coopersburg, Harold A. Mann

Denville, John Moran

Easton, Leonard F. Kessler

Emmaus, Clifford L. Kauffman

Fleetwood, Norman L. Reed

Philadelphia (Calvary), Harry Wilkinson

Philadelphia (Emmanuel), Edward J. Dietzman

Maple Glen, Byron C. Cassel

Quakertown, Harold Shelly, Sr.

Scranton, Carl H. Kellerman

Staten Island, Ralph D. Cole

Stroudsburg, George R. Fish

Terre Hill, Robert W. Gehret

Wallingford, Harold W. Griest

Zionsville, Charles G. Hersh


 Resolved, That Paul I. Wentz, Sr. be excused due to illness and that Clifford L. Kauffman, Alternate Delegate, be seated in the Conference Bar.


 Resolved, That Allan F. Smith be excused from attending the Conference today and be seated in the bar tomorrow.

 

Resolved, That we adopt the Agenda.

 

The Chair appointed the following committees:


 Committee on Finance: Byron C. Cassel, Roy E. Williams, Kermit K. Gehman, Robert W. Gehret, Harold W. Griest


 Committee on Communications: W. W. Hartman, Earl M. Hosler, W. B. Hottel, James A. Beil, Bert N. Brosius.


 Committee on Examination of Local Conference Records: F. B. Hertzog, E. W. Bean, Frank L. Herb, Jr., William R. Hunsberger, Leon K. Overpeck, Norman L. Reed, Allan F. Smith, Edward J. Dietzman, John Deily, Paul T. Rutman, Harold A. Mann, A. W. Deppe, John I. Mengel, Harold Shelly, Sr.


 Committee on Resolutions: C. E. Kirkwood, Carl C. Cassel, Jansen E. Hartman, David E. Thomann, Harvey J. Fritz, Jr.


 Committee on Auditing: James G. Koch, Daniel K. Ziegler, Horace A. Kauffman, R. S. Weidner, Ralph D. Cole, Norman W. Granda, Paul H. Cressman, Charles G. Hersh.


 Timekeeper: Robert F. Johnson


 Reporter: R. C. Reichenbach


 Tellers: E. W. Bean, David E. Thomann, R. C. Reichenbach, James G. Koch, John Dunn.


 Report of the Committee to Determine the Method and Printer by Which the Yearbook Shall be Reproduced

 The Committee met on July 20, 1965 and examined various samples of printed material and presents the following conclusion:

 Resolved: That the World Presbyterian Press of Wilmington, Delaware be authorized to produce and distribute the 1965 Year Book.


 The Committee recommends the following:

 1. That the minutes of the 1965 Annual Conference be mimeographed daily and distributed between sessions. The expense involved shall be met by the Committee on Publication and Printing.

 2. That 1200 copies of the Year Book be printed and sold at $1.00 per copy.


 The Committee calls the attention of the Conference Members to the standing rule on page 13 of the 1964 Year Book which states,

"The pastors shall pay for their Year Books within one week after they receive them."


 T. D. Gehret, Chairman

 Robert W. Smock, Secretary

 John Dunn

 N. H. Wolf

 John H. Riggall

 Committee

 

The Report was adopted.


 Resolved, That the minutes of the 1965 Annual Conference be mimeographed daily and distributed between sessions. The expense involved shall be met by the Committee on Publication and Printing.


 Resolved, That 1200 copies of the Year Book be printed and sold at $1.00 per copy.


 Resolved, That no one leave the Conference Bar without permission of the Chair except the pastor, Russell T. Allen and the delegate of the host church, Sterling E. Baer.


 Resolved, That we suspend the rules and adjourn to the call of the Chair no later than 3:00 p.m.

 

Adjourned, 11:30 a.m. with prayer by Donald T. Kirkwood.


Second Meeting

Monday Afternoon, October 11, 1965

 The meeting was opened at 3:00 p.m. with the singing of, "My Lord Knows the Way Thru the Wilderness." William R. Hunsberger led in prayer.


 The mimeographed minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

 

Report of Committee on Credentials:

 The Credentials Committee has met to transact its own business and also several times with the Ministerial Candidate Committee to formulate an article on ordination. This article will be presented to this Conference.

 The Faith and Order Questionnaire was sent to each of our ministers holding credentials with us. All of the Brethren signed and returned it having answered all the questions in the affirmative. We are grateful to God for this group of men who conform to the Word of God in doctrine and manner of life.

 The Committee recommends Raymond R. Dotts, Donald R. Knauer, Leon K. Overpeck and David J. Watkins for ordination. We believe these men to be called of God to the Christian ministry and in accord with the Faith and Order of the Bible Fellowship Church. We also recommend that they be ordained in the Thursday evening meeting of this Conference.


 Whereas: Glenn R. Huratiak was ordained to the Christian Ministry on March 14, 1949 after having prepared for the ministry, serving as assistant to the pastor and being examined by the Non-Sectarian Fellowship Church, Limerick, Pa.; therefore,

 We recommend that the Bible Fellowship Church recognize this ordination in the Thursday evening meeting of this Conference.

 C. E. Kirkwood, Chairman

 W. B. Hottel, Secretary

 T. D. Gehret

 A. L. Seifert

 John H. Riggall

 Committee on Credentials

 

The Report was adopted.


 Resolved, That Raymond R. Dotts, Donald R. Knauer, Leon K. Overpeck and David J. Watkins be ordained in the Thursday evening meeting.


 Resolved, That the ordination of Glenn R. Huratiak be recognized in the Thursday evening meeting.


 Report of the Youth Fellowship General Committee: (See Reports)

 The Report was adopted.


 Resolved, That each Youth Fellowship remit an offering for the work of the Youth Fellowship General Committee, and that this offering be forwarded to the treasurer of the Youth Fellowship General Committee by April 1, 1966.


 Resolved, That we accept the recommendation regarding the unexpired term of Carl Rishel and that it be referred to the Nominating Committee for action.

 

Report of the Committee on Publication and Printing: (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.

 

Report of the Conference Treasurer: (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.


 Report of the Sunday School Promotion Committee: (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.


 Resolved, That every Bible Fellowship Sunday School make a contribution for denominational Sunday School promotion. This contribution should be mailed to the Financial Secretary of the Committee (James R. Cressman, 1128 N. New St., Bethlehem, Pa.) before April 1, 1966.


 Resolved, That in the Pastor's Summary Statistical Report the listing "Sunday Schools Visited" be deleted.


 Resolved, That in the By-Laws, Section VI, Article H, be changed to read, "The pastor, by virtue of his office, shall be counted as an officer of the Sunday School." (First Reading)


 Resolved, That we discontinue the use of the term "scholars" and use the term "members" instead.


 Resolved, That the term "staff member" be used to include the categories formerly known as "teachers and officers."

 

Report of Ministerial Candidate Committee:

 The Ministerial Candidate Committee met eleven times during the year to continue the work of enlisting and screening candidates for the ministry of the Bible Fellowship Church who are born of the Spirit, called of God, equipped to serve and in harmony with our Faith and Order. Also several meetings were held with the Credentials Committee to study ordination. This Committee seeks to enlist the prayer of our people for God to call men to His work in our midst and for God's guidance in the serious responsibilities resting upon it.

 The following men were recommended for ordination examination by the Credentials Committee: David J. Watkins, Donald R. Knauer, Leon K. Overpeck, Raymond R. Dotts. Glenn R. Huratiak, having been ordained by another fellowship, was recommended to the Credentials Committee.

 The Committee recommends recognition of the following men in their respective stages of development:


Probationers:

 LeRoy J. Bickel, Wernersville, Pa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1962

 T. James Bigley, East Africa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1962

 Leonard Buck, Union of South Africa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1958

 M. Leslie Campbell, Walnutport, Pa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1961

 Raymond R. Dotts, Allentown, Pa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1960

 Bruce Ellingson, Finesville, N.J. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1963

 Richard J. Gehman, Allentown, Pa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1964

 John H. Herb, Belvidere, N. J. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1962

Roy Hertzog, France. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1959

Glenn R. Huratiak, Lebanon, Pa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1963

Donald R. Knauer, Macungie, Pa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1962

Robert E. McIntyre, Allentown, Pa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1958

Leon K. Overpeck, Paradise, Pa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1958

Austin B. Sullivan, Jr., Binghamton, N. Y. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1964

David J. Watkins, Graterford, Pa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1962

Harold C. Weaber, Miller Heights, Pa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1963


Candidates:

David Branning, Philadelphia, Pa.

David Manney, Shamokin, Pa.

Keith E. Plows, Allentown, Pa.

Theodore R. Shelling, New York, N. Y.

Ronald Zuck, Nazareth, Pa.


Applicants:

William Bartron, Stroudsburg, Pa.

Arthur Frable, Moscow, Pa.

Larry Gradwohl, Nazareth, Pa.

Gary Krick, Catawissa, Pa.

Paul Kuder, Allentown, Pa.

George F. Lee, Mt. Carmel, Pa.

Robert Minnig, Lancaster, Pa.

Donal Nilsson, Allentown, Pa.

Roger Reitz, Shamokin, Pa.

George Riggall, Wallingford, Pa.

Dean Stortz, Collegeville, Pa.

Richard Woelkers, Scranton, Pa.

Larry Yerger, Reading, Pa.

Leonard Yerger, Reading, Pa.

Paul Zimmerman, Brooklyn, N. Y.


 Committee:

Carl C. Cassel, Chairman

Jansen E. Hartman, Secretary

William A. Heffner

George E. Herb

John E. Golla

 

The Report was adopted.


 Resolved, That the above men be recognized in their respective stages of development.

 

Report of the Committee to Publish Fellowship News: (See Reports)

 The Report was adopted.


 Resolved, That the month of January be designated as subscription month.


 Resolved, That a donation of $50 each be given by the Board of Foreign Missions, Sunday School Promotion Committee, Board of Church Extension and Board of Directors of Berean Bible School.


 The oral reports of the Fellowship News Editor, David E. Thomann and Business Manager, R. C. Reichenbach were submitted.


 Report of the Committee to Study Annual Conference Housing:

 The Committee recommends that if lodging cannot be supplied by the local church holding Annual Conference, the Pastor and delegate shall be lodged in a local motel at the expense of their local church.

 John H. Riggall

 David E. Thomann

 Daniel K. Ziegler

 T. D. Gehret

 Norman L. Reed

 Committee

 

The Report was adopted.

 

Report of the Nominating Committee:

We recommend the following to Annual Conference:

 That a pastor or layman shall serve on no more than two boards or standing committees.

 C. E. Kirkwood, Chairman

 R. W. Gehret, Secretary

 F. L. Herb, Jr.

 H. A. Kauffman

 J. H. Riggall

 D. E. Thomann

 D. K. Ziegler

 Committee

 

The Report was rejected.

 

The following were elected:

 Committee on Ministerial Candidates: Russell T. Allen, William A. Heffner, Carl C. Cassel, George E. Herb, James A. Beil.


 Robert Gordon, J. Barclay Harley, Edward Moyer, returned missionaries, and Sterling Baker, a missionary under appointment were invited by the Chairman to extend greetings to the Conference.


 Resolved, That we suspend the rules and adjourn to meet this evening at 6:30.

 

Adjourned 5:00 p.m. with prayer by Donald B. Schaeffer.


Third Meeting

Monday Evening, October 11, 1965

 The meeting was opened at 6:30 p.m. by W. B. Hottel directing the singing of "Take the Name of Jesus With You" and Bert N. Brosius led in prayer.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

 

The following were elected:

 Committee on Credentials: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, W. B. Hottel, C. E. Kirkwood, John H. Riggall


 Report of the Allentown District Superintendent, T. D. Gehret: (See Reports)

The report was adopted.


 Report of the Bethlehem District Superintendent, A. L. Seifert: (See Reports)

The report was adopted.


 Report of the Church Extension Director, William A. Heffner: (See Reports)

The report was adopted.


 Report of the President of Berean Bible School, Jansen E. Hartman: (See Reports)

The report was adopted.


 Report of the Board of Directors of the Bible Fellowship Church: (See Reports)

The report was adopted.

 

The Recommendations of this Board were tabled.

 

Report of the Board of Foreign Missions: (See Reports)

The report was adopted.


 Resolved, That all foreign mission funds be forwarded quarterly to the general secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions.

 

Report of the Board of Church Extension: (See Reports)

The report was adopted.

 

Report of the Board of Directors of Berean Bible School: (See Reports)

The report was adopted.


 Resolved, That each church be encouraged to support Berean Bible School at a level equal to 4% of its annual offerings and that this support be remitted to the school in twelve monthly payments. The laymen on the Board of Directors of Berean Bible School shall maintain contact throughout the year with the pastors and official boards of each church keeping them informed of the work of the school and its needs.

 

Report of the Board of Directors of the Home: (See Reports)

The report was adopted.


 Resolved, That the section dealing with the By-laws be referred back to the Board for further study and a report be brought back at a later meeting of this Conference.

 

Report of the Board of Mizpah Grove: (See Reports)

The report was adopted.

 Resolved, That Section E (Camp Meetings), page 14 of the 1964 Year Book be removed from our by-laws.


 Resolved, The following shall be added to the duties of the Board of Mizpah Grove (pg.30, 1963 Year Book)

 

(Second Reading)

"15. To determine the time and place of Camp Meetings."

 

Report of the Board of Victory Valley: (See Reports)

The report was adopted.


 Resolved, That the dates of the camps in 1966 shall be as follows:

 July 2-9 Girls 8-14 years old, grades 2-8

 July 9-16 Girls 8-14 years old, grades 2-8

 July 16-23 Boys 8-14 years old, grades 2-8

 July 23-30 Boys 8-14 years old, grades 2-8

 July 30-August 6 Junior High boys and girls

 August 6-13 Junior High boys and girls

 August 13-20 Senior High boys and girls


 A choice will be given girls and boys in seventh and eighth grades to continue in Girls and Boys camps, respectively, or select Junior High Camp involving a co-ed situation, according to their preferences.


 Resolved, That each Church make a contribution to Victory Valley Camp. The anticipated budget of the Camp indicates need for contributions of at least $3,500.00 by the churches. Checks shall be made payable to Victory Valley Camp and be sent to the secretary of the Board (LeRoy

S. Heller) before March 1, 1966.


 Resolved, That the facilities of the Victory Valley Camp be made available for limited use by groups from Bible Fellowship Churches and other interested Christian organizations. Arrangements for such use shall be made through, and offerings sent to, the secretary of the Board.

 

Resolved, That we extend the time.

 

The following election took place:

Conference Treasurer: Paul I. Wentz, Sr.

 

Adjourned 9:10 p.m. with prayer by John H. Riggall.


Fourth Meeting

Tuesday, October 12, 1965

 The meeting was opened by David E. Thomann directing in the singing of "Calvary Covers it All." Robert Paul offered prayer and Daniel K. Ziegler sang a solo entitled, "In Tenderness He Sought Me."


 The speaker of the morning was District Superintendent A. L. Seifert who read from Exodus 28:40-43 and spoke on the assigned subject, "The Consecration of the Leader." His helpful message set forth the essential preparation for an effective Christian Ministry.


 The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

 

The following were elected:

 Board of Directors: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, Jansen E. Hartman, F. B. Hertzog, John H. Riggall, Frank L. Herb, Jr., Byron C. Cassel, Daniel K. Ziegler, Paul I. Wentz, Sr.


 General Secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions: Willard E. Cassel


 Resolved, That the report of the Committee to Study Redistricting of Churches be stricken from the Agenda.

 

Report of the Committee on Finance: (See Reports)

The report was adopted.


 Board of Foreign Missions: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, Willard E. Cassel, C. E. Kirkwood, Earl M. Hosler, James R. Cressman, Roy E. Williams, Kermit K. Gehman, Harold W. Griest.


 Resolved, That Kermit K. Gehman be excused from the meetings on Thursday.

 

Resolved, That we suspend the rules and adjourn to meet at 1:30 p.m.

 

Adjourned at 10:30 a.m.


Fifth Meeting

Tuesday Afternoon, October 12, 1965

 The meeting was opened by singing the hymn, "All the Way My Saviour Leads Me" at the direction of W. B. Hottel and R. C. Reichenbach led in prayer.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.


 Norman B. Jerome, a representative of the American Sunday School Union, gave a brief address in the interest of Christian literature.

 

Report of the Ministerial Conventions (See Reports)

The report was adopted.


 Report of the Committee to Examine Local Conference Records:

 We have examined the Local Conference Records and have found them correct except for a few omissions and minor errors which have been corrected by the Pastors concerned.


 The following petitions were found in the Fourth Local Conference Minutes of the Harrisburg Church:

 "In view of our unalterable opposition to the purchase of the Fogelsville property, therefore:

 Grace Bible Fellowship Church of Harrisburg petitions the Annual Conference of 1965 to be held at York, Pa. to:

 1. Reconsider the action taken at the 1964 Conference relative to the purchase of the Fogelsville property.

 2. Poll all of the Official Boards of our denomination relative to their interest and to their financial backing and ability to meet the obligation of such a venture before proceeding further."


 The following resolution was found in the Blandon Local Conference minutes at a meeting held on July 14, 1965:

 Resolved, That we petition the Annual Conference to make Trinity Bible Fellowship Church of Blandon a self-supporting church with all the rights and privileges thereof."


 The following petitions were found in the Fourth Local Conference Minutes of the Maple Glen Bible Fellowship Church:

 1. Whereas, Our pastors are at camp up to three weeks in which are included two Sundays, and

 Whereas, There is a growing need vigorously to continue the program of the home church, therefore be it

 Resolved, That consideration be given to releasing those pastors not on the Sunday program from all Sunday obligations to camp.


 2. Whereas, Rule 11 on page 20 of our "Faith and Order" provides that no pastor shall serve any Church longer than nine consecutive years, and

 Whereas, it is quite probable that this limitation would not have been enacted had the existing rules with respect to pulpit supply been in effect several years earlier, and,

 Whereas, this limit, particularly under existing circumstances, will work a hardship on Maple Glen Church, therefore be it

 Resolved, that Maple Glen Church petition Annual Conference 1965 to modify Rule 11 on page 20 of our "Faith and Order" by raising the limit to 12 consecutive years."

 F. B. Hertzog, Chairman E. W. Bean, Secretary

 Leon K. Overpeck E. J. Dietzman

 Frank L. Herb John L. Deily

 Norman L. Reed Harold A. Mann

 Paul T. Rutman A. W. Deppe

 William R. Hunsberger John I. Mangel

Harold Shelly, Sr.

 Committee

 

The Report was adopted.


 Resolved, That the petition from the Trinity Bible Fellowship Church of Blandon to become a self-supporting church with all the rights and privileges thereof be referred to the Stationing, Boundary and Appropriating Committee.

 

Report of the Committee on Credentials:

(Second Reading)

 Election — The Credentials Committee shall be composed of the District Superintendents and three ordained ministers elected annually by ballot by the Annual Conference.

Duties —

1. The Credentials Committee shall examine all candidates for ordination. This examination shall take place at least one month prior to Annual Conference.

 2. It shall recommend candidates for ordination to the Annual Conference. It shall recommend the place and time for the ordination service.

 3. It shall have the oversight of all men who hold credentials with the Annual Conference.

 4. It shall receive annually, a report from the District Superintendents relative to the pastors on their Districts.

 

***We recommend duty #5 be revised as following:

 5. It shall annually send a Faith and Order Questionnaire to all Pastors, Missionaries, Approved Teachers, Probationers whose names will be listed on the availability list and all others who desire to retain credentials with the Bible Fellowship Church. All those desiring to retain credentials with the Bible Fellowship Church must return the signed questionnaire by August 24.


 The Faith and Order Questionnaire shall contain the following:

 a. Are you willing to subscribe to the Articles of Faith of the Bible Fellowship Church? Yes or No.

 b. If you are unwilling to subscribe to the Articles of Faith of the Bible Fellowship Church, state specifically your reason(s).

 c. Will you endeavor to follow the rules of Order of the Bible Fellowship Church? Yes or No.

 d. Are you willing to serve a church as stationed by the Annual Conference through Pulpit Supply? Yes or No.

 e. This questionnaire is to be signed and returned to the Credentials Committee by August 24.


 6. No minister shall have his name placed on the Availability list who does not subscribe to our Faith and Order in its entirety.

 The Availability list shall be sent to all Conference Delegates and those whose names appear on the list.


 7. It shall deal with charges brought against any minister or cases for suspension presented by the District Superintendents.

 Charges brought against any minister of the Bible Fellowship Church must be in writing and presented to the Credentials Committee. It shall request the accused individual to be present during the hearing of the case.

 If these charges involve departure from any doctrine or practice of the Bible Fellowship Church, or any improper conduct, a thorough investigation shall be made.

 If the charge is of sufficient magnitude in the judgment of the Credential Committee, the accused minister may be temporarily suspended by the Committee and his name withheld from the Availability list for Pulpit Supply.

 A report of this action, with appropriate recommendations for disposition of the case shall be made to the Annual Conference.

 The accused party shall have the right of appeal to the Annual Conference. If appeal is made to the Annual Conference by the accused individual, his name shall remain on the Availability list until the Annual Conference has passed judgment in the case.


 8. It shall submit a report to the Annual Conference.

 W. B. Hottel, Chairman A. L. Seifert

 C. E. Kirkwood, Secretary Frank L. Herb

T. D. Gehret

 Committee


 The Report was adopted.


 Report of Committee to Study an Alternate Form of Church Government:

I. WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT CHURCH GOVERNMENT

 A. CHRIST IS THE HEAD

"And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church," Eph. 1:22

 

"And he is the head of the body, the church:" Col. 1:18


 B. AS HEAD, CHRIST GIVES GIFTS TO THE CHURCH

"But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. . . . And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;" Eph. 4:7, 8, 11

 

"Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of hearings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." I Cor. 12:27-28

 

"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth on teaching: Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity: he that ruleth, with diligence: he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness." Rom. 12:3-8


 C. SOME OF THESE GIFTS HAVE TO DO WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE CHURCH

 1. APOSTLES

"And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these;" Matt. 10:1-2a (cf. also Mark 3:14; Luke 6:13; 9:1-6)

 

"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles." Acts 2:42-43 (cf. also Acts 1:2-8; 2:37; 5:12; etc.)

 

"And laid them down at the apostles' feet; and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need" Acts 5:35

 

"Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the word. Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them." Acts 6:3,4,7

 

"Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:" Acts 8:14

 

"But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles. Acts 9:27a

 

"When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.

And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch. . .

And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia;" Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23

 

"And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem." Acts 16:4

 

"For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office;" Rom. 11:13 (cf. Gal.12:8)

 

"Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord." I Cor. 9:1-2 (cf.11 Cor.12:12)

 

"and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone." Eph. 2:20

 

"And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." Rev. 21:14


 "which, when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul. . . " Acts 14:14

 

"Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles... Rom. 16:7


 "After that he was seen of James: then of all the apostles." I Cor. 15:7

 

"Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellow helper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers (apostles) of the churches, and the glory of Christ." II Cor. 8:23


 "But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother" Gal. 1:19


 2. APOSTOLIC DELEGATES

"Now if Timotheus come, see that he maybe with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do." I Cor. 16:10

 

"I charge thee. . . . Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." 11 Tim. 4:1-2

 

"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:" Titus 1:5


 3. ELDERS/BISHOPS

". . . . To send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul" Acts 11:29b-30

 

"And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed." Acts 14:23

 

"And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter" Acts 15:6 (cf. Acts 15:2, 4, 22, 23; 16:4)

 

“. . . . and called the elders of the church.... and when they were come to him, he said unto them, . . . . Take heed therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood." Acts 20:17, 18, 28 (cf. I Peter 5:2-3)

 

"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine." I Tim. 5:17

 

"A bishop then must be... apt to teach... one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) I Tim. 3:2a, 4, 5, (cf. Titus 1:7-9)

 

. . . . the laying on of the hands of the presbytery" I Tim. 4:14b

 

"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing with oil in the name of the Lord;" James 5:14

 

4. DEACONS

"Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree...... I Tim. 3:12-13a

 

"I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant (deaconess) of the church which is at Cenchrea:" Rom. 16:1


 D. THE LOCAL CHURCH

"But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another." I Cor. 12:18, 25

 

"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another etc. . . . But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will" I Cor. 12:7-11

 

"Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles. . . . etc. I Cor. 12:27-28

 

"Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose. Acts 6:3, 5a

 

“. . . . . the brother. . . . who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord and declaration of your ready mind." II Cor. 8:18, 19


 

"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou has gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matt. 18:15-18 (cf. I Cor. 5)


 E. THE CHURCHES IN FELLOWSHIP

"When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And being brought on their way by the church.


“And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church. . . ." Acts 15:2, 3, 4

 

"Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch. . . " Acts 15:22

 

"For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things." Acts 15:28

 

"And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily." Acts 16:4, 5

 

"And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea." Col. 4:16


II. GENERAL APPLICATION OF THESE FACTS

 A. CHRIST IS THE HEAD

The headship of Christ over the Church is not a question in dispute, but rather the dispute is as to how His government is exercised in the visible church.


 B. AS HEAD, CHRIST GIVES GIFTS TO THE CHURCH

Christ as the Head of the Church calls, enables and commissions His ministers through the administration of the Holy Spirit. It is the responsibility of the local church to select those whom Christ has ordained to the various ministries of the church.

 

C. SOME OF THESE GIFTS HAVE TO DO WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE CHURCH

In the first days after Pentecost, the disciples of Christ had no thought of separating themselves from the religious life of Israel. The temple worship was still adhered to (Acts 2:46; 3:1) though it was supplemented by Apostolic teaching, by prayer and fellowship, and by the breaking of Bread (Acts 2:42, 46). Organization was a thing of gradual growth suggested by emerging needs. The differentiation of functions among those who were drawn into the service of the church was due to the difference in the gifts bestowed by God upon the church members. (I Cor. 12:28)

 

1. APOSTLES

At first the twelve themselves, as those personally called by Christ and as witnesses of the resurrection, were the natural leaders and teachers of the Church. While they exercised leadership in the early church, their main function was the preaching of the gospel to every creature. In the time of the church's infancy, they held a unique position for the purpose of establishing new groups of believers and building them up in the faith.

 

In addition to the original twelve and Matthias, Paul was directly called to the apostolate by the exalted Saviour. In this role he fulfilled the apostolic commission of reaching the gospel to the Gentiles. The term "apostles" was applied to Barnabas (Acts 14:14), James (Gal. 1:19), Andronicus and Junius, (Rom. 16:7) and, in the Didache, to a whole class of nameless missionaries.

 

The missionary function of the apostles has never ceased. (Eph. 4:9- 11). This office is exercised today by missionaries at home and abroad when they are bringing men to Christ, establishing them in local churches and giving the initial aid required in these early stages. This initial aid includes appointment of officers; providing of moral, ethical and spiritual counsel; and teaching so as to establish indigenous churches.

 

2. APOSTOLIC DELEGATES

In the early stages, the apostle Paul supervised the various churches established under his ministry. With the wider spread of the gospel it became necessary to have help in this function. At this stage we find him delegating some trustworthy disciple to take up residence in a given city for a time, especially at critical seasons, to direct the affairs of the church there, He appointed elders, corrected error, preached the gospel and taught the Word. Most of these functions are carried out by the present day itinerant ministers.


 3. ELDERS/BISHOPS

The origin of the office of elder in the Christian church is not recorded in the New Testament, but it existed very early since elders were present at Jerusalem in Acts 11:30. The office was evidently suggested by the eldership among the Jews. They would supervise the affairs of the local church in the same way as Jewish elders looked after the synagogue. Until the 2nd century, the terms "elder" and "bishop" were interchangeable designations. Some believe the first has reference to the dignity of the office while the latter to its duties. Paul in his first missionary journey appointed elders in every church. (Acts 14:23). He also instructed Titus to do the same in churches under his care. (Tit. 1:5) They also held offices in the churches not founded by Paul. (James 5:14; I Peter 5:1).


 

In the New Testament, we see them functioning in the following capacities:

 a. Represent the local church at church council. (Acts 15)

b. Oversee the flock in spiritual matters through the ministry of teaching, exhortation and correction. (Acts 20:28)

 c. Ordain men called of God to the ministry. (I Tim. 4:14)

 d. Anoint the sick. (James 5:14)

 e. Receive and administer funds. (Acts 11:29-30)

 It appears that there were several elders in each local church. (Acts 11:30)

 

Lightfoot says, "Though government was probably the first conception of the office, yet the work of teaching must have fallen to the presbyters from the very first and have assumed greater prominence as time went on.”1 Schaff says, "The distinctions of ‘teaching presbyters’ or ministers proper, and ‘ruling presbyters’ or lay elders, is a convenient arrangement of Reformed churches, but can hardly claim apostolic sanction, since the one passage on which it rests only speaks of two functions in the same office. Whatever may have been the distribution and rotation of duties, Paul expressly mentions ability to teach among the regular requisites for the episcopal or presbyterial office.”2

 

Suffice it to say that in the New Testament Church, the elders formed the principle local ministry. There appears to have been a number of elders who formed a kind of board or committee which was in charge of local church affairs.


 1 Lightfoot, J. B. Saint Paul's Epistle to the Philippians, pg. 194, Zondervan

 Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1953

 2 Schaff, Philip; History of the Christian Church, Volume I, pg. 496, Charles

 Scribner's Sons, New York, 1893

 

4. DEACONS/DEACONESSES

In Acts 6, seven men were chosen by the congregation and approved by the apostles. Their purpose was to relieve the heavy burden that rested upon the apostles so that they could devote themselves exclusively to prayer and the ministry of the Word. While the seven are not specifically called deacons, their function was like that known to have been discharged by the deacons in the earliest times.

 

The early church cared for the widows and ministered to the needs of the poor. In caring for such ministries, the deacons, of necessity became involved in human problems which demanded sound character and spiritual maturity.

 

"Helps" in I Cor. 12:28 may refer to the varied ministries discharged by the diaconate. This would assist the elders to discharge their specific functions.

 

While the eldership was restricted to men, the diaconate was open to both sexes.


 D. THE LOCAL CHURCH

There are certain matters that are spoken of with respect to the whole body as a priesthood of believers.

 1. Recognition of Spiritual gifts

Every member has some gift of grace and, this being the case, each member is duty bound to exercise that gift for the benefit of the whole body. It is the congregation's responsibility to recognize these spiritual gifts and to profit by them.

 

2. Selection of Officers

The church does not create the local ministry; the commission is Christ's. Her responsibility is to recognize the commission and, by the same token, to submit to the administration of those who bear it. (I Cor. 12)

 

3. Rejection of false teachers and teachings

Even as the church is responsible to recognize true ministers and to submit to their guidance, so they are responsible to discern false teachers and teaching and to reject the same. (Gal. 1:9)

 

4. Excommunication

Our Lord speaks of the church as a court which has authority to decide disputes and to exercise discipline. (Matt. 18:15-17) In I Cor. 5, the apostle Paul chides the church for not dealing with the case of adultery and incest implying that it was their duty to exercise discipline. He ordered them to discharge this function.


 E. CHURCHES IN FELLOWSHIP

The council at Jerusalem consisted of apostles, elders and brethren. The apostles framed and passed the decree not without, but with the elders and "with the whole church" and sent the circular letter not in their own name only but also in the name of all assembled as having been guided by the Spirit. The local churches recognized that the council was under the direction of the Holy Spirit and submitted to its judgment. (Acts 15:22-23; 16:4)

 

F. SUMMARY

As we look at the church today with its fine sanctuaries, choir directors, paid professional ministers, educational buildings, Sunday Schools, etc., it must be obvious that this is not what existed in the Book of Acts. We believe that the evidence leads to the conclusion that present church order cannot, in detail, be read back into the New Testament.

 

Leon Morris, in the conclusion of his book, MINISTERS OF GOD states, "From all this it appears that none of the modern systems of church government can claim to have sole scriptural justification. There are elements in the New Testament which were later to give rise to each of the three. But none of the three is to be found exclusively within the pages of Scripture. Some feel this to be a great loss. They think that in the matter of the ministry we ought to have full scriptural justification for our whole system. Nothing ought to be enjoined but that which can be proved from the New Testament. Unfortunately, for this position, the New Testament evidence, as we have seen in earlier chapters, is not full enough for us to know exactly the position in the early Church. It is full enough for us to say that there were certain officers, such as presbyter-bishops and deacons. But it does not enable us to define their status or functions with precision, nor to understand their relation to other figures in the early Church. The New Testament simply does not give us the answers to all our questions."3

 

In the same vein, Philip Schaff wrote, "Nearly all denominations appeal for their church polity to the New Testament, with about equal right and equal wrong; the Romanists to the primacy of Peter; the Irvingites to the apostles and prophets and evangelists, and the miraculous gifts; the Episcopalians to the bishops, the angels and James of Jerusalem; the Presbyterians to the presbyters and their identity with the bishops; the Congregationalists to the independence of the local congregations and the absence of centralization. The most that can be said is that the apostolic age contains fruitful germs for various ecclesiastical organizations subsequently developed but none of them can claim divine authority except for the gospel ministry, which is common to all.”4


 3 Morris, Leon; Ministers of God, pg. 11 1, Inter-Varsity Fellowship, London. 1964

 4 Ibid. Volume 1, pg. 487

 

We do know that a group of office bearers from among the local assembly did have vested in them the responsibility, under God, to administer the affairs of and to teach the local assembly. We do know that the rule of these elders had some limitation. For example, they did not select the officers of the Church nor have the final word in excommunication. (Acts 6:3; Matt. 18:15-18)

 

We do know that the congregation did share in the administration of the local church in some areas. For example, they chose officers and were the final voice in the act of excommunication. (Acts 6:5; Matt. 18:15-18)

 

We do know that ministers from without the local church exercised strong influence over the congregation by way of instruction and rebuke. (I Cor. 5-9-13)

 

We do know that the churches in fellowship did function in works of charity and settlement of doctrinal disputes. We know that the conclusion reached in Acts 15 carried authoritative direction to the local church. (Acts 15:22; 16:4)

 

Having observed that authority rested in some cases with the elders, in others with the congregation and in still other cases, with the churches in fellowship, we can only conclude that the nature of the point in question determines who is to make final decision.


III. SPECIFIC APPLICATIONS TO THE BIBLE FELLOWSHIP CHURCH

1. The affairs of the local church shall be administered by a group of men (Official Board) elected to this work by the congregation in recognition of their spiritual qualifications. The Pastor shall serve as chairman of the Official Board. This administration includes:

 a. The church's program of worship, teaching and evangelism.

b. The discipline of members. In cases of excommunication, this discipline shall be subject to the decision of the local church.

 c. The responsibility for the financial structure of the church.

 

2. Deacons/deaconesses shall, within the scope of their spiritual qualifications, administer to the physical needs of the church under the direction of the Official Board.


 3. The Local Church shall be responsible for:

 a. Recognition of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

 b. Election of officers of the local church.

 c. Rejection of false teachers and teachings.

 d. Decisions related to excommunication.

 

4. The Churches in Fellowship shall be responsible for:

 a. The formulation of a Faith and Order on the basis of the Holy Scriptures.

b. Maintaining adherence to the Faith and Order on the part of both pastors and churches.

 c. Joint efforts of the churches such as missions, education, evangelism, etc.

 d. The selection of denominational officers. These officers shall include:

 1. A chairman to preside at Annual Conference Sessions.

2. A man/men gifted of God to direct the ministries of Church Extension, education, and evangelism.

 3. A man/men gifted of God to counsel both churches and pastors.

4. Any other officers or personnel needed for the efficient operation of denominational business.


 WHEREAS, the 1964 Annual Conference referred the Petition of the Maple Glen Church to this Committee, (see pages 27 and 50)


 THEREFORE, this Committee deems that the answer to this Petition is embodied in the above Report.

John H. Riggall, Chairman

Richard H. Kline, Secretary

James A. Beil

 Frank L. Herb, Jr.

 Earl M. Hosler

 Robert C. Reichenbach

 Robert W. Smock

 Committee

 

The report was adopted.


 Resolved, That the Chairman appoint a committee of six ordained men; three from this committee and three who are advocates of the first committee's viewpoint. This committee of six shall prepare a paper for annual conference 1966 in which will be set forth the areas of agreement. As to any areas of disagreement, both viewpoints shall be set forth in parallel with the Biblical basis for each.

 The Chair appointed John H. Riggall, Carl C. Cassel, Frank L. Herb, Jr., Donald T. Kirkwood, Richard H. Kline, Willard E. Cassel.

 

The following were elected:

 Board of Church Extension: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, William A. Heffner, Jansen E. Hartman, Frank L. Herb, Jr., John Deily, Clayton E. Weber.


 Board of Directors of Berean Bible School: (3 Years) C. E. Kirkwood, Byron C. Cassel, Dr. R. Wallace Journey, Robert W. Gehret.


 Resolved, That we suspend the rules and adjourn to meet at 6:30 p.m.


 Adjourned 4:50 p.m. with prayer by Reynold D. Gardner.


Sixth Meeting

Tuesday Evening, October 12, 1965

 The meeting was opened with the singing of "O Zion Haste" led by Roy E. Williams and Glenn R. Huratiak led in prayer.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.


Report of the Committee to Study the Problem of Divorce

***NOTE: Footnotes have been entered into the text where the small numbers are located.

 True marriage is instituted by God. It is spoken of as "the covenant of God," according to Proverbs 2:17.1 Originally it did not need any religious or civil ceremony for its validity, but took place whenever a man and a woman, in the sight of God, voluntarily, mutually, and publicly took each other as husband and wife for life to the exclusion of all others. In marriage a bond is established that is represented as being stronger than even the moral relation between parents and children so highly esteemed in the Scripture. It is a life-long relation, not merely of two bodies of flesh and blood, but a union of two beings together constituting "one flesh, that is to say, one complex of life or personality, thus becoming an illustration of the great mystery of the spiritual union between Christ and His church.


 The original and ideal form of marriage is monogamous. The wife is to be the "only one," and each spouse, forsaking all others is to cleave to the other one alone. The description of a wife in Proverbs 12:4; 19:14; 31:10,2 and in particular the representation of the covenant between Jehovah and Israel as marriage shows how highly the position of the wife is regarded. It is the symbol of the communion into which God has entered with His people. The original declaration still holds good: "What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder." "They are no more twain but one flesh" (Gen. 2:24), and the bond in the divine intent, is to be lifelong. In God's institution of marriage no provision was made for divorce. The Lord when questioned on this subject, appealed at once to God's original intention, so must we. Death alone, in His intent, could dissolve the tie.


 Recourse cannot be taken by making a distinction between marriage and divorce prior to regeneration, and marriage and divorce subsequent to regeneration. Some on the basis of the alleged distinction assert that individuals married and divorced before regeneration may marry after being regenerated. The basis for this assertion is the fact that the first marriage and divorce were entered into when each party was an unbeliever. Hence the first marriage is not of the Lord; furthermore, the sin of divorce is said to be part of one's past life which is no longer remembered by God.


 When one bears in mind that marriage is a creation ordinance, ordained of the Lord and given to man as man, and this prior to the fall, it becomes evident that being regenerate or unregenerate does not alter the divine provisions pertaining to marriage. To introduce this distinction here brings in a host of problems, denies much of God's revelation to men, and denies responsibility of creature to Creator. Much of God's revelation applies to His creatures whether or not they admit His sovereignty and their responsibility to their Creator. God's revelation concerning marriage is part of the revelation given to men as men, hence being unregenerate does not make a man free from God's law.


 Jewish law seems never to have contemplated a wife divorcing her husband, but the standard for both spouses in the New Testament is now the same (Mark 10:11, 12),3 and the subject place of the woman does not deprive her of this equality in moral standing. In true marriage each spouse is the other's possession and form one complete personality, and the marital satisfaction of each is to be according to the rights of the other. (I Corinthians 7:4).4


 Believers need to seek God's grace to maintain God's ideal in marriage.


 Having stated what marriage is, let us notice what divorce is. Divorce is the dissolution of the divinely instituted bond and the breaking of the relationship established by marriage. We shall notice in the study of scripture that this definition is substantiated by the Word of God.


 The key passage of the Old Testament relevant to the subject of divorce is Deuteronomy 24:1-4.5 It is necessary to have a proper understanding of this passage because many of the other Old Testament and New Testament passages quote from this passage.


 One of the key considerations in interpreting this passage is the textual problems. Most of the English versions translate this passage with the conclusion that the apodosis (conclusion in a conditional sentence) of the protasis (clause stating the condition in a conditional sentence) begins in the middle of verse 1, at the words, "then let him write her a bill of divorcement." The conclusion of many is that divorce is commanded in the event of the uncleanness mentioned in the beginning of the verse. It is plain that the reader could be justified in regarding the law of Moses as not only permitting divorce, in the case of the uncleanness mentioned, but as also to require it.


 It is important to recognize that many commentators do not agree with this syntax of the passage. Note the following quotes regarding this passage:


 Andrew Harper. Expositor's Bible, Commentary on Deuteronomy, pg. 403

"All the passage provides for, therefore, is that a divorced woman shall not be married to the divorcing man after she has been married again, even though she be separated from her second husband by divorce or death."


 John Peter Lange. Lange's Commentary on Deuteronomy, pg. 176

"The pointing in the original makes it clear that Moses does not institute or command divorce. He is merely prescribing limitations or regulations to a prevailing custom, which was not in accordance with the institution of marriage, and was only permitted. . .


 John Calvin. Commentaries on the Four Books of Moses, Vol. 111, pg. 94

"Some interpreters do not read these four verses continuously, but suppose the sense to be complete at the end of the first verse."


 Keil & Delitzsch. Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament ,Vol. 111, pg. 416

“. . . divorce is not established as a right; all that is done is that in the case of divorce a reunion with the divorced wife is forbidden, if in the meantime she had married another man, even though the second husband had also put her away, or had died. The four verses form a period, in which verses 1-3 are the clauses of the protasis, which describe the matter treated about; and verse 4 contains the apodosis with the law concerning the point in question."


 It also should be noted that the Septuagint version adopts the construction in its translation which makes verse 4 alone the apodosis. Thus we can state that this passage simply provides that if a man puts away his wife and she marries another man, the former husband cannot under any conditions take her to be his wife. There is nothing, therefore, in this passage itself to warrant the conclusion that divorce is here given divine approval and is morally legitimate under the conditions specified. Many passages however in the Old Testament prove that divorce was practiced. This freedom of divorce which was conceded or suffered under Mosaic Law is removed under the gospel dispensation.


 The other key consideration in this passage outside of the textual problem is the interpretation of the phrase found in verse 1, "because he hath found some uncleanness in her." The Jews were divided into two schools concerning this very problem. The school of Shammai regarded it as unchastity of behaviour or adultery, while the school of Hillel regarded it as any indecency or anything displeasing to the husband, making it purely subjective.


 Murray makes the following observations to prove that the uncleanness could not refer to adultery:

"Lev. 20:10 prescribes death for adultery.

Nums. 5:11-31 deals with cases of adultery where proofs are not on good grounds.

Deut. 22:13-21 deals with a man charging a newly-wedded wife with uncleanness.

Deut. 22:23, 24 provides for uncleanness on part of a virgin betrothed to husband.

Deut. 22:25-27 provides for a betrothed virgin who was forced.

Deut. 22:28, 29 provides that a man must marry a virgin not betrothed if he lies with her." 6.

 (John Murray. Divorce, pgs. 10,11)


 While falling short of illicit sexual intercourse, it may be that the indecency consisted in some kind of shameful conduct connected with the sex life. Or it may have been some other kind of impropriety worthy of censure on the part of the husband.


 Thus we may conclude that divorce was tolerated under law, but there is no real justification for the supposition that the law sanctioned or approved divorce. We thus see that the law is in harmony with the original institution of marriage established by God in Genesis 2:23, 24.7 It also helps in trying to reconcile the problem of divorce as Christ deals with it in the New Testament. In other words, Christ is not prohibiting that which was sanctioned in the Old Testament.


 The first passage in which Christ deals with the subject of divorce is Matthew 5:31,32.8 It must be noted that the background of this passage is stated in verse 17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." Verses 18-20 go on to

illustrate that Christ in effect brings to completion and fulfillment the law which was given in the Old Testament. Thus as we look to the question of divorce in this context, we cannot conclude that Jesus is relaxing the commandment and the demands given in the law concerning divorce. What Jesus is really doing is giving His own authoritative interpretation of the true meaning and intent of the Old Testament law and contrasting this with the perversions and distortions to which the law had been subjected.


 There can be no doubt that Christ is here alluding to the Deuteronomy 24:1-4 passage. It must be noted that verse 31 is not a verbatim quote of Deuteronomy 24:1, thus we may imply that the Lord speaks of the distorted view held by the Jews. Strictly speaking, Christ says nothing more than that if a man did put away his wife, it was necessary for him to give her a bill of divorcement.


 Verse 32 makes it plain that Christ is dealing with the right of divorce only as it relates to the man. Nothing is said of the rights which a woman may have. Christ says that fornication is the only legitimate grounds for divorce, but He does not say that the husband in such a case is obliged to put away his wife. Christ says nothing here in respect to the remarriage of the man who puts away his wife for the cause of fornication. Some seek to make distinction between fornication, illicit sexual relations on the part of the unmarried; and adultery, illicit sexual relations on the part of the married. They would restrict divorce to cases in which the wife was discovered to have been unchaste before she entered into marriage. She is said to have been guilty of fornication (Matt. 5:32; 19:9), hence the husband can put her away. This distinction rests on the assumption that the Bible always uses "fornication" and "adultery" with strict technical precision. Such is not the case.


 Commenting on Matthew 5-.32, A. T. Robertson says, “ . . . it is plain that Matthew represents Jesus in both places as allowing divorce for fornication as a general term which is technically adultery."9 (A. T. Robertson. Word Pictures in the New Testament, pg. 155) Speaking of this alleged distinction between fornication and adultery, Meyer says, "How can one seriously suppose that Jesus could have laid down so slippery an exception... a welcome opening to all kinds of chicanery. And the exception would have to hold good also in the case of marriages with widows."10 (H. A. W. Meyer. Commentary of the New Testament, Vol. I, pg. 132) See also Broadus and Plummer on Matthew 5:32 and 19:9.



 Without resorting to commentaries for help, who when reading the ten commandments restricts the words "thou shalt not commit adultery" to the married only? Who does not take it to prohibit all forms of illicit sexual relations?


 It is worthy to note that Christ in this text mentions the sin of the woman divorced for the reason other than fornication. The husband who divorces his wife thus is said to be guilty of placing her in a position either of being tempted to be joined to another man or of being offered opportunities for union with another man. When this new marriage is undertaken, adultery is committed on the part of that woman and also of the man whom she marries. The only reason that this new marriage could be called adultery on the part of both the woman and the man is that the first marriage is still in God's sight regarded as inviolate.


 The answer Christ gave to the Pharisees when they questioned Him concerning the Deut. 24:1-4 passage on divorce is given in Matthew 19:3-9.11 It is certain that they had a misunderstanding of the passage either by error or intention, and that their design was to refute and ensnare Christ. They assumed that Moses commanded divorce, and thus they asked how Christ could reconcile this with the original institution of marriage which God said was indissoluble. In verse 8 we see that Christ says that Moses "suffered" or permitted divorce only because of the hardness of their hearts. Murray makes the following statements:

 

"hardness of heart - Where no law is there is no transgression. The fact that they were condemned for hardness of heart proves that they had broken the only law or standard relevant to this particular case as expressed in Gen. 1:27; 2:24. The bill of divorcement was directed to this perverse situation and not to the abrogation of the divine institution.

permission given by Moses - The word that Jesus uses is one that implies sufferance or tolerance but in no way implies approval or sanction of the practice, far less authorization or commandment of it.

from the beginning not so - It is not simply that the practice was not commanded, not simply that it was not authorized, not simply that it was not approved, but rather that it was not even permitted."12 (Ibid, pgs. 31,32)


 In verse 9 we have the second exceptive clause relative to divorce in this gospel. This verse is of more importance because this is the only passage in scripture where we have combined the exceptive clause and the remarriage clause. Some try to make a textual problem here as well as in Matthew 5:31, saying that the exceptive clause was not the teaching of Jesus because it is omitted in the Luke and Mark passages. The following quote from Robertson's Word Pictures is of importance:

"Here, as in Matt. 5:31, a group of scholars deny the genuineness of the exception given by Matthew alone. McNeile holds that the addition of the saving clause is, in fact, opposed to the spirit of the whole context, and must have been made at a time when the practice of divorce for adultery had already grown up. That in my opinion is gratuitous criticism which is unwilling to accept Matthew's report because it disagrees with one's views on the subject of divorce. McNeile adds, 'It cannot be supposed that Matthew wishes to represent Jesus as siding with the school of Shammai.' Why not, if Shammai on this point agreed with Jesus? Those who deny Matthew's report are those who are opposed to remarriage at all.13 (Vol. I, pg. 155)


 We must conclude that the exceptive clause is certainly the teaching of Christ. The question now is: does the exceptive clause which surely applies to the right of putting away or divorce, extend to the right of remarriage? This is the point of great controversy in the church. Many scholars do not deal with the problem. Murray makes the following concluding statement after discussing the problem at length: "In the syntax of the sentence as it actually is, the meaning and relevance of the exceptive clause cannot be maintained apart from its application to the remarriage as well as the putting away."14 (Ibid. pg. 41)


 There can be little doubt about the fact that Christ does teach that fornication is a legitimate grounds for both divorce and remarriage. The question now is; what about illegitimate divorce and remarriage? Again the answer is very evident that in such cases the new marriage consists of adultery on the part of both the husband and wife in the new marriage. However, the crux of the whole divorce problem seems to hinge on the question; does illegitimate divorce and remarriage constitute perpetual adultery? The following quote from a master's thesis written by Richard Mitchel seems to clearly give the answer. "Another possible consequence of unfaithfulness automatically breaking the marital tie is that a second marriage which began in adultery due to an unlawful divorce might therefore continue as a legitimate marriage. That is, for example, if a husband unlawfully puts away his wife who soon remarried while he remain unwed, would her first relations with her new husband sever the original tie, thus allowing a marriage which began in adultery to continue as a lawful marriage in the eyes of God or must the marriage continue to be adulterous as long as it lasts? Such an idea at first glance may appear to be 'doing evil that good may come.’ Nevertheless there are two factors which make its interpretation reasonable. First, adultery had taken place as soon as sexual relations are begun during the new marriage. Secondly, a divorce is in effect between the original pair. These are the two ingredients which else where provide for the complete separation of the original marriage tie. Why then should not these elements provide for the same here. Such conclusions may give some people incentives to 'do evil that good may come.' There are such situations in life. Those who are born of God and love His word are obligated not to 'do evil that good may come.' “15 (Richard Mitchel. The Exegesis of the Synoptic Divorce Passages, pg. 60)


 The problem in the Mark 10:2-12 passage is the apparent discrepancy between it and the Matthew 19 passage. In Matthew the Pharisees say that Moses commanded divorce and Christ says that Moses only "suffered" it. In Mark it is reversed and Christ asks, "What did Moses command you?", and the Pharisees replied, "Moses suffered to write a bill of divorce."


 The problem is answered by the fact that Christ in Mark refers to the command of Moses relative to marriage in Genesis 2:24. If he does refer to the Deuteronomy 24 passage, He is simply reminding them that although He does admit that Moses did suffer divorce as they had stated, Moses even with this "suffering" did make strict and distinct commands to be followed.


 The second problem in the comparison of the Matthew account with the Luke and Mark is the fact that Luke and Mark omit the exceptive clause. As we mentioned before, there is a textual problem in the minds of some relative to the Matthew account. It is in fact, however, not a textual problem, for all will admit that the exceptive clause is really a part of the Matthew text. There are those who attempt however to deny that this exceptive clause is part of the teaching of Christ. The main argument that is given is the omission of the exceptive clause in the Mark and Luke accounts. It is incompatible with the inspiration of scripture to reject Matthew in favor of Mark and Luke.


 It must be noted that Christ is really dealing with divorce as it relates to the Mosaic Law. In Mark and Luke He states the fact that the law made no provision for divorce because of adultery. Death was the prescribed penalty in the case of adultery. Christ in these passages is reminding and stating emphatically that from the beginning and also under law, divorce was not allowed and if practiced it resulted in adultery. He however does state in Matthew the one change from the law. Instead of death by stoning for adultery, the innocent party in the adultery was free not only to divorce but also to remarry. There is thus no real contradiction between Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It is quite evident that Mark and Luke would not have a remarriage clause, since they do not deal with the subject of legitimate divorce.


 Mark also introduces us to a new consideration. Christ now tells us of the rights of the woman. Under Old Testament law the woman had no rights at all relative to divorce. This passage makes it clear that the woman has the same rights afforded to the man in the case of marital unfaithfulness.


 An appeal is made to I Corinthians 7:10,1116 by those who wish to destroy the right of divorce and remarriage for the cause of adultery. Paul here distinctly forbid remarriage on the part of either husband or wife. It is also apparent that Paul in this context is not dealing with the case of adultery, but is writing to Christians and is seeking to establish the claims of honor, purity, and piety in the marriage relationship. The fact of the omission of the exceptive clause on the part of Paul does not presuppose ignorance on his part of the provisions of Matthew. Verses 10 & 11 are referring to Christian couples. Paul says, if there does come a breach, then both must remain unmarried until the breach is healed.


 Beginning with verse 12, Paul deals with the problem of the continuance of the marriage bond in an already existing marriage when one of the parties become a believer. Paul is now dealing with a problem in marriage of which Christ did not speak. The believer has no right to leave an unbeliever, for the difference between belief and unbelief constitutes no grounds for separation or divorce. Although the believer has no choice but to remain with the unbeliever, it is possible that the unbeliever may want to leave. This passage is not a command to the unbeliever to depart. It is not a concession to the unbeliever of the right to depart, but rather it tells of the liberty that is granted to, and the attitude that is to be assumed by the believer in this event.


 Romans 7:1-317 is the other text which some feel deals with Paul's teaching on divorce. It must be observed that this passage does not really deal with the subject of marriage and divorce, but rather uses the biblical fact of the indissolubility of marriage as an illustration of a spiritual relationship which the believer has to Christ and the law. This passage does state a way by which the marriage bond can be broken, namely, death. Some would appeal to this text to disprove the exceptive clause of Christ in Matthew. It however must be remembered that the law did in effect hold that the marriage bond could not be broken. This does not prove that the exception before stated is not valid. Moses did "suffer" divorce "because of the hardness of their hearts." Christ taught that adultery was grounds for divorce and remarriage. Finally, it must again be noted that this is not a proper text on which to base teaching relative to divorce, because Paul merely uses the teaching relating to the bond of marriage, to represent the spiritual relationship between Christ and believers.


 The teaching of the word of God concerning divorce must be applied to real life situations. In so doing the church must steer a course between two shoals. On the one hand, it must avoid the temptation to go beyond the warrant of scripture; on the other hand, it must not fail to include all that scripture teaches. Believing that the Word of God teaches that one may divorce and remarry in the case of adultery, it is not the prerogative or desire of the church to exclude such from membership. Believing that those divorced on grounds other than adultery or those who marry one divorced for grounds other than adultery violate the teaching of the Word of God, it is not the desire of the church to encourage such or to treat lightly the effects of such actions.


 In some cases it is not difficult to apply the teachings of scripture to real life situations. At other times it is not easy; the wisdom of Solomon would scarcely be sufficient. Furthermore, each case of divorce is a personal situation, quite different from all others. Thus it is not easy nor possible to have a set of rules which can be arbitrarily and objectively applied to every situation. In the Word of God there are principles which can be used to guide the church in dealing with the problem of divorce.


 As a church we must recognize that what ought not be often is. What then should we do about it?


 Divorce is one of the "ought nots" that often is. On the one hand, the church cannot countenance illegitimate divorce, Jesus did not. On the other hand, can the church close its doors on the truly repentant one in an illegitimate divorce? Can the church shun the problem of illegitimate divorce by calling it unscriptural when at the same time it tolerates other unscriptural acts that ought not be but are? In other words, is the problem of divorce in a category all by itself? Is divorce the unpardonable sin? We have no biblical basis for calling divorce the unpardonable sin, neither can we place it in a category all by itself.


 On the other hand, can the church by ignoring the problem of the illegitimately divorced person give a tacit approval of something the Bible clearly teaches is contrary to the will of God? Can the church by silence and disregard of discipline encourage the unmarried to treat lightly an

institution as ancient and sacred as matrimony? Can the church by taking a weak position on the binding nature of marriage be a partner in the tearing down of the very society it seeks to save from sin?


 The application of the church's standard on divorce applies to the pastor in several ways, primarily to his role in solemnizing marriages.


 Believing as we do in the legitimacy of divorce and remarriage in the case of adultery, there is no biblical basis for denying a pastor the right to solemnize such marriages if he chooses. This does not mean a pastor must officiate in such marriages if he is requested to do so. After all, the primary task of the pastor is not the solemnizing of marriages; he may, for reasons sufficient to himself, decline to marry some who request it.


 Believing as we do in the illegitimacy of divorce and remarriage subsequent to divorce for any ground other than adultery, there is no biblical basis for sanctioning such marriages and clear instructions from our Lord are against it. In light of this, no Bible Fellowship pastor should be part of a marriage ceremony in which an illegitimately divorced person is involved.


 The application of the church's teaching concerning divorce and remarriage involves office bearers in several ways: eligibility to hold office, the matter of receiving new members and the exercise of discipline.


 The question which immediately confronts us is this: Can a divorced person be an office bearer? To answer this question involves far more than the question of divorce per se . Some, overlooking or neglecting the biblical teaching concerning office bearers, make no distinction between church members and church officers. Finding no prohibition against office bearers in the context of the divorce passages, some would apply no standards to church officers that are not applied to church members. Others, having a different concept of church officers, would subscribe to what we might call the double standard, namely, that the Bible teaches one standard for members and another for officers. If this latter is not accepted, it seems impossible to exclude from office those whom we accept for membership. What then is the basis for excluding some from bearing office if we do not

have the double standard?


 The basis for the double standard is primarily the teaching of the Apostle Paul in I Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9. The question before us does not require a detailed interpretation of these passages. We are interested in one thing, namely, the biblical basis for a double standard. Perhaps one concrete illustration of the double standard in these passages will be sufficient.


 In Titus and Timothy we read that the church officers must be the husband of one wife. This seems clearly to mean that one could not he a bigamist and be a church officer. The Old Testament contains many references to polygamy. Abraham, Jacob, and David, to name only a few, were polygamists. Yet note that nowhere in the Old Testament is there specific condemnation of the practice, in fact, Moses' legislation provided for it. cf. Exodus 21:10; Deuteronomy 21:15-17. In Timothy and Titus, polygamy disqualifies one from church office (elder or deacon). Polygamy was prevalent among first century converts, yet the New Testament requires monogamy for church officers. It would seem safe to conclude that polygamy did not disqualify one from being a church member. If it disqualified one from being a church member there was no need to list it as disqualifying from office. In other words, when one reads qualifications such as "given to hospitality, apt to teach" he would conclude that some members were disqualified from office due to unwillingness to show hospitality or inability to teach. Yet these same people were members. It is the same with bigamy.


 Going a step further we might ask if there is not an analogy between polygamy in the first century milieu and divorce in the twentieth century? In any case, the illustration of the double standard stands.



 In the matter of accepting for membership and in the matter of discipline of members, the office bearers play a significant role. It is here that we get into specific cases and hard and fast rules with easy application are impossible. Truth is personal as well as propositional. Discipline is according to rules, yet not impersonal. Care must be exercised, love must be manifest; yet the Word of God must be upheld. Divorce ought not exclude from membership in the church nor bar from useful involvement in the life of the church. The assumption, of course, is that true repentance has been manifest in the case of illegitimate divorce and remarriage. Sometimes church discipline is an aid in bringing a child of God to a place of repentance. It is here that the office bearer plays an important role.


 Applying the problem of divorce to the members, one must take great care lest, on the one hand, the church give tacit approval to what is contrary to scripture, or, on the other hand the church give offense to those within and without by failing to show love and consideration to one who is truly repentant for a sin which may have originated in ignorance or unbelief.


 Taking as our example the teaching and practice of the early church on bigamy, we believe that divorce per se should not bar one from membership in the church or involvement in the life of the church. In the case of one who is a member and flagrantly violated the teaching of scripture and the church in pursuing a self chosen course of action by getting an illegitimate divorce or by marrying one illegitimately divorced, the church cannot stand by and approve. Some measure of discipline is demanded. But it should be born in mind that in such cases divorce is more the occasion than the cause for discipline.


 The teaching of the church concerning divorce and divorced office bearers should be made clear to any who indicate a desire to unite with us. The prospective member should be made to understand that true repentance does not bar anyone from membership and participation in the life of the church, but that divorce does bar one from being an elder.


 On the basis of our study and written report, we submit the following as an answer to the Lehighton petition. The petition has four main parts as it appears in the 1963 yearbook, pages 25, 26.


 The only biblical basis for divorce is adultery. (Matt. 19:3-9), and marriage is not broken for any other reason. According to Matt. 19:9 the exception is made for the innocent party, thus he is free to remarry. In the event of any question relevant to divorce in the local church, the Membership and Discipline Committee shall deal with the problem.


 We regretfully admit that in the past there have been deviations from our Discipline ( Faith and Order) , however, Annual Conference recently established the Credentials Committee which has as part of its responsibility to assure compliance by our pastors to the Faith and Order. It is also the responsibility of every member of each local church to uphold the Faith and Order.


 The request here is a good one. In essence, the petitioning church is asking for a "thus saith the Lord" for the article on divorce. The inference seems to be that Annual Conference has prohibited more than the Bible does. If so, then it has erred and must modify its position; if not, the petitioning church must modify its position. The question is: does the Bible really prohibit a divorced person, or one married to a divorced person, from holding office in the church. After prayer and study, we must conclude that the scriptural position is that no person who has been divorced or who has married a divorced person for any reason, may be a member of the Official Board. It is not the severity of divorce, but the dignity of the office as detailed in scripture (I Peter 5:1-4; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9) that prevents divorced persons or persons married to divorced persons from holding office in the church.


 Due to the grace of God, those who have been divorced and those who have married divorced persons and have truly repented may be admitted to church membership, and they do not forfeit the right to be used in Christian service within the church.

 J. E. Hartman, chairman D. T. Kirkwood

 B. N. Brosius, secretary T. D. Gehret

 A. L. Seifert


 The report was adopted.


 Resolved, That the findings of the Committee to Study the Problem of Divorce be the answer to the petition from the Lehighton Church.


 Whereas, The article on Divorce in the Moral Standards which passed first reading at the 1962 Annual Conference is not in accord with the present study on divorce, therefore,

 Resolved, That the Divorce Study Committee be asked to write an article on Divorce, based on the study submitted to this Conference.

 

Adjourned, 8:45 p.m. with prayer by W. W. Hartman.


Seventh Meeting

Wednesday Morning, October 13, 1965

 The devotional period began with singing "Praise Ye the Lord the Almighty" led by Harvey J. Fritz, Jr. and Robert F. Johnson led in prayer. LeRoy S. Heller sang, "Jesus Revealed in Me." Rev. C. Richard Schumaker, pastor of the Church of the Open Door of Shiloh, York, Pa. spoke on "The Christian Growth of the Congregation." His inspiring message was based on I Corinthians 9 as illustrated by the example of the apostle Paul.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.


 Rev. David H. Holl, Director of Development at Bridgewater College addressed the Conference on the subject, "Christian Stewardship and Fund Raising."

A question period followed.


 Resolved, That Ronald C. Mahurin be excused from this evening's meeting and tomorrow to conduct a funeral.


 Resolved, That in appreciation to Rev. Holl for his helpful address and the information given during the question period, we give him a rising vote of thanks.


 Resolved, That we suspend the rules and adjourn to the call of the Chair.

 

Adjourned, 11:50 a.m. with prayer by James G. Koch.


Eighth Meeting

Wednesday Evening, October 13, 1965

 The meeting began 7:05 p.m. with "Blessed Assurance" as the opening hymn, followed by John Deily leading in prayer.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.


 Resolved, That we excuse Jansen E. Hartman from attending Conference on Wednesday due to a death in the family.


 Whereas, There are legal involvements and time required in rewriting the By-Laws of the Bible Fellowship Church Home for the Aging, therefore,

 Resolved, That we grant them the privilege of presenting revised By Laws to the 1966 Annual Conference.


 Report of the Stationing, Boundary and Appropriating Committee (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.

 

Resolved, That Donald R. Knauer be admitted to the Conference Bar.


 Resolved, That the Bible Fellowship Church be constituted in two districts — East and West.

 The East District shall include all the churches in the States of New Jersey and New York and those churches in the State of Pennsylvania in the counties of Philadelphia, Delaware and Montgomery, and in other counties of Pennsylvania when the churches are east of U. S. Highway 309, except such churches as are located in the City of Allentown and in the borough of Emmaus.

 The churches in the City of Allentown and in the borough of Emmaus and all other churches west of the above-mentioned areas shall form the West District.

The districts will then consist of the following churches:

 WESTERN EASTERN

 Allentown (Bethel) Bethlehem

 Allentown (Salem) Catasauqua

 Blandon Denville

 Coopersburg Easton

 Emmaus Graterford

 Fleetwood Harleysville

 Harrisburg Hatfield

 Lancaster Lehighton

 Lebanon Maple Glen

 Mt. Carmel Nazareth

 Paradise Philadelphia (Calvary)

 Reading Philadelphia (Emmanuel)

 Shamokin Quakertown

 Spring City Royersford

 Sunbury Scranton

 Terre Hill Staten Island

 York Stroudsburg

 Zionsville Wallingford


 We recommend that the redistricting be made effective at the adjournment of Annual Conference 1966.


 The following were elected:


 Board of Directors of the Home: (2 years) A. L. Seifert, Ernest B. Hartman, Paul I. Wentz, Sr.


 Board of Mizpah Grove: (2 years) Robert W. Smock, James A. Beil, George Krigor.

 

Adjourned 8:15 p.m. with prayer by Sterling E. Baer.


Ninth Meeting

Thursday Morning October 14, 1965

 The meeting was opened with Russell T. Allen leading in the singing of, "I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord" and James A. Beil offered prayer. A Pastors' Quartet sang, "Alone With God."


 C. Jack Orr, Pastor of Harmony Grove Chapel, Dover, Pa. spoke on the subject, "The Concern for the Community." His message, based on Matthew 9:36, 37, was heart warming as he pled for far greater efforts to reach the lost now in the spirit of compassion.


 The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.


Report of the Combined Committee to Make a Study on Ordination


Introduction

 The Bible Fellowship Church has never carefully defined what we understand by ordination. The 1964 Annual Conference passed the following resolution Yearbook, 1964, p. 29):

"Resolved, that the Committee on Credentials and the Ministerial Candidate Committee study together ordination and submit a report of their understanding to the next Annual Conference."


 There are wide differences of opinion about the meaning of ordination among various churches. They may be summarized as follows:

1 . Roman Catholic View - The Sacramental view - that in the laying on of hands by the duly qualified bishop power and grace are conferred. Apostolic succession is included.

The orders of the Roman Catholic church are: Bishop - priest, deacon, sub-deacon. Admittance to holy orders is by ordination.

 

2. The Anglican and Episcopal view - Ordination is not a sacramental act but authority is conferred upon the minister for the performance of sacred duties. The orders are: bishops, priests and deacons. Apostolic succession included.

 

3. The Reformed and Baptist view - ordination is basically a recognition of powers previously conferred by God and a consequential formal authorization, on the part of a church or ecclesiastical body to exercise the gifts bestowed.

 

4. There are others who do not recognize any ordination procedure.


 There are several factors that make difficult the defining of ordination. One of them is the great emphasis on the difference between clergy and laity in most churches; this causes some to react to such a degree that they see no place for ordination as such. Another problem is that the New Testament does not provide explicit instructions for the qualifications, procedures and meaning of ordination. In attempting to gather the material from Scripture differences of opinion arise. The following is a summary of our understanding of the Biblical material that relates to ordination.


A STUDY OF THE BIBLICAL MATERIALS


 In seeking to gather the material from the Scripture that pertains to ordination two types of texts were examined. First those which speak of "laying on of hands" and second those which speak of the gifts of the Spirit. Let us examine these first and then attempt to relate them to each other.


 1. The texts that speak of the "laying on of hands" — In the Old and New Testaments the practice of laying on of hands was used in several different ways. It was used to signify blessing, of identification with sacrifices, with healing, with receiving of the Holy Spirit and baptism and in connection with appointment to office or responsibility. We are here only concerned with last use of the term. The most clear illustrations of this in the New Testament are in Acts 6:1-6, Acts 13:1-3, 1 Tim. 4:14 and II Tim. 1:6.


 In Acts 6:1-6, seven men were chosen by the congregation on the basis of their meeting certain qualifications to do certain things (6:3). The entrance of the seven to their responsibilities was preceded by prayer and the laying on of hands (6:6). It seems that this ceremony did not qualify or empower these men for this service, but simply recognized before the church that these men met the qualifications and were charged with responsibility.


 In Acts 13:2, 3, we see Barnabas and Paul "separated" unto a work. This separation was the action of men on the basis of the call of God. Hands were laid on those two only after deep spiritual exercise. It is interesting to note that that which the Spirit said to the brethren at Antioch to do to Barnabas and Paul was the same thing which Paul says God did in him before his birth (Gal. 1:15). This recognition came to Paul only after a period of faithful service (Acts 11:25, 26).


 I Tim. 4:14 and II Tim. 1:6 speak most directly about ordination as we find it in the church today. Apparently Timothy was set apart in an assembly of believers for the work of the ministry. Most interpreters feel that these two texts speak of the same experience in the life of Timothy. Paul emphasizes the relationship of Timothy to himself in the one account and his relationship to the whole church in the other.


 2. Texts that speak of the gifts of the Spirit — Let us return to the idea of the origin of the gifts of ministering. Romans 12, I Cor. 12, and Eph. 4 all unite to indicate that the spirit gives to each man as He will the gifts (charismata) to equip him to serve. This corresponds with the evidence that the laying on of hands is only a recognition of what God has given. While all believers are given a gift of the Spirit of God to equip them to serve in the body of Christ, not all were publicly installed into a place of service. Only those gifted in such a way as to enable them to be ministers of the Word and leaders were given this kind of recognition. This raises the problem of the relationship of the gifts of the Spirit to the public ceremony.


 3. The relationship between "laying on of the hands" and the gift of the Spirit — The texts that speak of the gifts of the Spirit are clear that these gifts are given of God and not of men. "He giveth to every man severally as He will." The very fact that they are called Spiritual — gifts (pneumatikos, charismata) also indicates this. The ability and authority to minister the Word of God in the church comes from the Lord only. Men cannot bestow this.


 This is also supported by the fact that the texts that speak of the "laying on of hands" indicate that the church is thereby recognizing a previous gift of the Spirit of God. (Acts 6:1-6, Acts 13:1-3 and I Tim. 4:14.)


 In I Tim. 4:14 Paul says this gift (charisma) was given to Timothy by prophecy. Prophecy is never of human origin although it comes through a human channel; this channel is also recognized by Paul when he says next that Timothy's gift was accompanied by the laying on of hands of a group of elders (presbuterion).


 II Tim. 1:6 may at first appear to mean something else. Does Paul mean to say in II Tim. 1:6 that he imparted a gift to Timothy? Although Paul does say that this gift is Timothy's by "the laying on of hands," we must ask what he means by this. The expression used indicates that this was an outward ceremony but that the gift came from someone other than Paul. The grammar here is similar to Matthew's saying (1: 22) that the man Isaiah predicted that a virgin would conceive and bear a son. Isaiah said it, but God said it through Isaiah. Without God speaking here, it would have been impossible for a man to predict this 700 years before it happened. The grammar is similar in II Timothy; in both cases intermediate, not direct agency, is implied. Also it appears that Paul's expression in II Tim. 1:6 is like Peter's in Acts 2:38. Few evangelicals would seek to defend a view that equated baptism with remission of sins; however Peter here says: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins." We note that Peter in Acts 2:38 and Paul in II Tim. 1:6 use an expression that appears to identify the outward act with the inner reality of which it is a symbol.


 The experience of Paul himself seems to confirm and illustrate the tenor of this study. In Galatians Paul states categorically that he was set apart, taught and empowered for his work by God and him alone — not men. However he also says (Gal. 2) that he did confer with the brethren in Jerusalem to secure their confirmation as a fellow-laborer.


 Therefore the "laying on of hands" is an external sign; the prayer of the saints are the means whereby the enablement is obtained to perform the ministry of which the outward sign speaks. The sign is not the means of grace, nor is it meaningless. It is the recognition by the church of power previously conferred by God.


 4. Summary of Biblical Evidence — Definition of Ordination: Ordination is the laying on of the hands of the elders of the church accompanied by prayer and is the public recognition by the church of gifts previously given by God to one called to the ministry of the Word of God.


THE PROCEDURE FOR ORDINATION


 1. Ordination should be preceded by a period of training and probation for the individual in order that he may be properly equipped and demonstrate his call.

 2. Ordination should involve the church in deep self-examination and prayer in order that outward conformity to standards may not be substituted for the presence of the Spirit.

 3. Ordination should proceed from a group of brethren from more than one local church.

 4. Ordination should be limited to those who are gifted and trained in the ministry of the Word of God although Scripture allows recognition of other gifts.


APPLICATION


 1 . Who shall be candidates for ordination?

All those who meet the qualifications of our church for the ministry (1962 Yearbook pp. 41-42) and give evidence of a call to the ministry which is acknowledged by the church. This includes any men who meet these requirements including those who are pastors, administrative officers, teachers and missionaries. (See 1963 Yearbook p.27)


 2. What shall our procedure for ordination be?

All men who seek to hold ordination credentials with the Bible Fellowship Church shall make initial application to the Ministerial Candidate Committee. They shall follow the procedures approved by Annual Conference for the Ministerial Candidates Committee and the Credentials Committee. All men who seek to serve our church in another capacity shall apply to the Board under which they desire to labor.


 3. What shall our form for the ordination service be?

We recommend that a form for the service of ordination be devised which shall be in harmony with this study.


 Combined Committee:

 Carl C. Cassel, Chairman

W. B. Hottel, Secretary


 Ministerial Candidate Committee

Carl C. Cassel, Chairman

Jansen E. Hartman, Secretary

William A. Heffner

 John E. Golla

 George Herb

 Credentials Committee:

 C. E. Kirkwood, Chairman

 W. B. Hottel, Secretary

 T. D. Gehret

 A. L. Seifert

 John H. Riggall

 

The report was adopted.


 Resolved, That this report be referred back to the Combined Committee for revision suitable for legislation.

 

Resolved, That we recess to the call of the Chair.

 

Recessed at 10:15 a.m.

 

Business was resumed at 11:50 a.m.

 

Resolved, That we suspend the Rules and adjourn.

 

Adjourned 11:51 a.m. with prayer by George R. Fish.


Tenth Meeting

Thursday Afternoon, October 14, 1965

 The meeting was opened at 1:40 p.m. with the singing of, "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder."

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

 

Report of the Committee on Statistics: (See Reports)

The Report was adopted.


 Resolved, That we consider the Petitions to Annual Conference from Grace Bible Fellowship Church of Harrisburg and Maple Glen Bible Fellowship Church.


 Resolved, That the petition from Grace Bible Fellowship Church of Harrisburg regarding the creation of a Conference Center be referred to the Committee to Plan for the Development of the Fogelsville Tract for preparation of a proposed answer.



 Resolved, That we express our general approval of the petition from Maple Glen Church regarding attendance of the Pastors at Camp Meeting and refer the petition to the Board of Mizpah Grove for working out of required details.


 Resolved, That the petition from the Maple Glen Church regarding the extension of the time limit for pastors be denied.

 

Report of the Board of Church Extension:

The Board made the following assignments:

 Belvidere, N. J. - John H. Herb Miller Heights - Austin B. Sullivan, Jr.

 Binghamton, N.Y. - (To be supplied) Millersville, Pa. - Harold C. Weaber

 Finesville, N.J. - Bruce A. Ellingson Sinking Spring, -Pa. - Robert Paul

 Macungie, Pa. - John E. Golla Walnutport, Pa. - M. Leslie Campbell

 Frank L. Herb, Jr., Secretary


 The Report was adopted.


 Resolved, That H. Phares Mumbauer be excused from attending the meetings on Friday.

 

Report of the Board of Directors of the Bible Fellowship Church:

 Resolved, That we recommend to the Annual Conference that during the illness of Paul I. Wentz, Sr., the Secretary of the Board of Directors, Jansen E. Hartman, serve as Acting Treasurer until such time as Paul I. Wentz, Sr. is able to resume his responsibilities.

 Jansen E. Hartman, Secretary

 

The report was adopted.


 Resolved, That during the illness of Paul I. Wentz, Sr., the Secretary of the Board of Directors, Jansen E. Hartman, serve as Acting Treasurer until such time as Paul I. Wentz, Sr. is able to resume his responsibilities.


 Whereas, In informal conversations with Pastors and Delegates there have been expressed desires to restudy our system of pulpit supply, therefore, be it,

 Resolved, That a committee of 4 Ministers and 3 Laymen be elected to study the matter of Pulpit Supply and report at the next Annual Conference.

 

The following were elected:

 Sunday School Promotion Committee: (3 Years) David J. Watkins, William R. Hunsberger and Norman L. Reed.

 

Adjourned 4:30 p.m. with prayer by James A. Beil.


Eleventh Meeting

Friday Morning, October 15, 1965

 William A. Heffner opened the devotional period with the singing of, "Hiding in Thee" and Donald T. Kirkwood led in prayer. A vocal solo, "Nearer Still Nearer" was rendered by Bert N. Brosius.


 Earl M. Hosler delivered a helpful meditation on, "The Concord of the Brethren" based on I Corinthians 12 and Romans 14, showing the need for the continued demonstration of the love of Christ in our lives.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.


 Resolved, That the report of the Committee to Study Church Forms be the first order of business after the elections at the Adjourned Session of Annual Conference.


 Resolved, That Jansen E. Hartman be excused from attending this afternoon's meeting to attend a funeral.

 

Report of the Committee on Auditing:

The Committee on Auditing has examined the following accounts:

 Fellowship News, Beneficiary Society, Secretary (First Division Camp), Treasurer (First Division Camp), Publication & Printing and Board of Directors.


 The other accounts were examined by individuals prior to Annual Conference in compliance with the resolution of the 1963 Annual Conference.

 

All accounts examined were found to be satisfactory.

 James G. Koch Daniel K. Ziegler

 Horace A. Kauffman R. S. Weidner

 Ralph D. Cole N. W. Granda

 Paul H. Cressman Charles G. Hersh

Committee


 The Report was adopted.

 

Report of Committee to Examine Annual Conference Minutes:

 We hereby certify that we have examined the Annual Conference Minutes of the 1964 session, and have found them to be correct with the exception of the following:

 1. On page 24, under Candidates, Keith E. Plows, Philadelphia, Pa. should not appear

 2. On page 44, under Report of the Board of Church Extension, Herald C. Weaber" should read "Harold C. Weaber."

 3. On page 48, VIII #9, insert the word "should" to read "should the 4th Local Conference" etc.

 

We hereby submit two copies duly certified

 George E. Herb, Chairman

 Donald B. Schaeffer, Secretary

 

The Report was adopted.

 

Report of the Committee on Communications:

 Communications were received from the following: Paul E. Baer, Olive I. Rawn, Walter Frank and Charles W. Weaber, former delegate from Lebanon.

 Appreciation is expressed for their interest and intercession for this Annual Conference.

 We sincerely desire these servants of Christ may experience God's continued blessings.

W. W. Hartman

James A. Beil

W. B. Hottel

Bert N. Brosius

 Earl M. Hosler, Secretary

 Committee

 

The Report was adopted.

 

Report of the Historical Committee:

 The Historical Committee has little that is new to report. It does have a problem with how to meet some needs that seem before us if the work of preserving our records is to proceed. This involves some binding into books of records so they will be preserved and still be available for reference.


 At present valuable pieces of reference material are being stored in fire resistant files that are the property of Berean Bible School. Some alternate equipment should be provided soon, as the space now used is required by the school.


 The Committee will also give some consideration as to the desirability for and a means of marking in 1967 the 50th Anniversary of publication of the Rose of Sharon hymnal.

 Daniel G. Ziegler

 Paul Cressman

 Byron C. Cassel

 Committee

 

The Report was adopted.

 

Report of the Archivist:

 The work of the Archivist this past year consisted mainly of the organization of the collected materials. Most of the materials have been placed in a fireproof file in heavy file folders.


 In last year's report it was stated that certain yearbooks from the early years were missing. Thanks to the kindness of Mr. Timothy Gehman and Mr. E. H. Musselman, the set is now complete up to 1960 with the exception of the year 1897. Several pastors also contributed general conference journals from their own collections to make this area of our collection more complete.


 It might be of interest to know what other materials have found their way to the Archives. There is a complete set of the Fellowship News: a set of the "M.B.C. - B.F.C. Supplement" to the Gospel Herald (19531958), which, however, is quite incomplete. Disciplines of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ found in the Archives include the years 1905, 1910, 1924, 1928, and 1936. To these ought to be added those from earlier and later years as well as any other editions between the years 1905 and 1936 not found in the Archives. The Archivist also appreciates the contribution of 21 copies of the Menno Youth Spotlight by Pastor Robert Smock which should make our collection of these complete.


 An interesting addition to our Archives would be a complete set of the main hymnals used by our congregations and camp meetings. Our present collection contains the following hymnals and Gospel songbooks: Glorious Gospel Hymns, Rose of Sharon Rose of Sharon Campmeeting and Convention Specials, Jesus Only Songs, Ebenezer Hymns; English and German Songs, and Spiritual Hymns for Evangelical United Mennonites (English and German).


 Please continue to keep the Archives in mind and forward all materials of importance in our history that we may have a good collection of source materials from which to compile a history of the Bible Fellowship Church.

 Harold P. Shelly, Archivist

 

The Report was adopted.

 

The Berean Bible School Budget was presented.

The budget was ratified.


 The Budget of the Board of Directors of the Bible Fellowship Church was presented.

The budget was ratified.

 

Resolved, That we recess.

 

Business was resumed at 11:00 a.m.

 

The following were elected:

 Board of Victory Valley Camp: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, Carl C. Cassel, LeRoy S. Heller, Kermit K. Gehman, Clayton, E. Weber, Paul I. Wentz, Jr.


 Resolved, That the resolution regarding the payment of Year Books shall read, "The church shall be responsible to pay for Year Books within one week after receipt of same."

 

Adjourned at 12:00 (noon) with prayer by Richard H. Kline.


Twelfth Meeting

Friday Afternoon, October 15, 1965

 The meeting began with the reading of the minutes of the morning meeting. They were approved.

 

The following were elected:

 Youth Fellowship General Committee: (3 years) Robert F. Johnson, Michael L. Fiorelli, LeRoy O. Herb, (2 years) James Sunday.


 Report of the Committee to Plan the Development of the Fogelsville Property in Answer to the Petition from Harrisburg:

 Whereas, the Grace Bible Fellowship Church of Harrisburg has petitioned the 82nd Annual Conference to reconsider its action of October 16, 1964, in which it voted to purchase the tract of land at Fogelsville for development as a denominational center, therefore,

 

We would present the following as the answer to their petition.

 1. Various officers of our church have, over a period of years, realized the need of such a site, and, after much searching, recommended the purchase of the Fogelsville tract.


 2. Three of our major Conference Boards, namely, Board of Directors of Berean Bible School, Board of Directors of Annual Conference and Board of Mizpah Grove -- met, went over the ground at Fogelsville, and after much discussion, voted to recommend to Annual Conference that the Fogelsville tract be purchased.


 3. Through the work of these Boards, five sites were selected as having the potential that would meet our need. Thus the services and counsel was obtained of Mr. Willard Hahn of the Allentown firm of architects, Wolf and Hahn. Mr. Hahn evaluated each of these tracts and in a written report listed the advantages and disadvantages of each of these tracts and concluded that the Fogelsville tract would best meet our need.


 4. The 81st Annual Conference voted overwhelmingly to purchase the Fogelsville tract; therefore,


 We recommend that this Conference reaffirm the action of the 81st Annual Conference directing that the Fogelsville tract be purchased.


 The Planning Committee is aware that some of the reasons for the purchase and development of this property and its future use, and the time required to develop it are not fully known. We, therefore, will attempt to supply to our churches facts and materials that will produce better communications to accomplish this.

 C. E. Kirkwood, Chairman Robert W. Gehret

 Daniel K. Ziegler, Secretary Robert W. Smock

Jansen E. HartmanBert N. Brosius

 Harvey J. Fritz James A. Beil

 A. L. Seifert T. D. Gehret

 (Albert L. Wentz)

 

The answer was approved.



 Committee to Study Pulpit Supply: John H. Riggall, Donald T. Kirkwood, Carl C. Cassel, Russell T. Allen, Byron C. Cassel, Harold W. Griest, Daniel K. Ziegler

 

Historical Committee: (3 years) Daniel G. Ziegler

 

Editor of Fellowship News: David E. Thomann

 

Business Manager: R. C. Reichenbach

 Committee to Publish Fellowship News: Robert W. Smock, Robert W. Gehret, Paul T. Rutman


 Resolved, That the Nominating Committee function for the elections at the Adjourned Session of Annual Conference.


 Resolved, That the Chairman write an obituary of Rev. A. G. Woodring for the Year Book.

 

Report of Committee to Study the Procedure for Ordination:


(First Reading)

Definition of Ordination

 Ordination of men to the Christian Ministry is the laying on of the hands of the elders of the church accompanied by prayer and is the public recognition by the church of gifts previously given by God to one called to the ministry of the Word of God.


Candidates for Ordination:

 The candidates for ordination shall be those men who meet the qualifications of our church for the Christian Ministry (See 1962 Yearbook, PP. 41-42 or Faith and Order, p. ) and give evidence of a call to the ministry which is acknowledged by the church. This shall include any men who meet these requirements including those who are pastors, administrative officers, teachers and missionaries. (See 1963 Yearbook, p. 27 or Faith and Order p. )


Procedure for Ordination:

 Ordination should be preceded by a period of training and probation for the individual in order that be may be properly equipped and demonstrate his call. It should involve the church in deep self-examination and prayer in order that outward conformity to standards may not be substituted for the presence of the Spirit. This ordination should proceed from a group of brethren from more than one local church and should be limited to those who are gifted and trained in the ministry of the Word of God.


 All men who seek to hold ordination credentials with the Bible Fellowship Church shall make initial application to the Ministerial Candidate Committee. They shall follow the procedures approved by Annual Conference for the Ministerial Candidate Committee and the Credentials Committee. All men who seek to serve our church in any other capacity shall apply to the Board under which they desire to labor.


Form of Service of Ordination:

 (This material is not now ready, but is to be devised and approved by the Annual Conference by order of the 1965 session.)

 Combined Committee:

 Carl C. Cassel, Chairman

W. B. Hottel, Secretary

 Ministerial Candidate Committee:

 Carl C. Cassel, Chairman

Jansen E. Hartman, Secretary

William A. Heffner

 John E. Golla

 George Herb

 Credentials Committee:

 C. E. Kirkwood, Chairman

 W. B. Hottel, Secretary

 T. D. Gehret

A. L. Seifert

John H. Riggall

 

The report was adopted.


 Resolved, That the Board of Directors of the Bible Fellowship Church, prepare a comprehensive review of the Ministers' Retirement Fund including the need for the 3% assessment rate which it recommended to the 82nd Annual Conference. It shall also confer with the officers of the Beneficiary Society and include in its report, proposals for incorporating the work and benefits, of the Beneficiary Society into the Ministers' Retirement Fund. A report on this assignment shall be presented to the 83rd Annual Conference.

 

Report of Committee on Resolutions:

PART I

We recommend the adoption of the following:

 1. Whereas, We the members of the 82nd Annual Conference of the Bible Fellowship Church have recognized the blessing of the Lord upon her ministry under the able leadership of Rev. T. D. Gehret and Rev. A. L. Seifert, therefore,

 Resolved, That we praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy which has followed us this past year and further,

Resolved, That we uphold these brethren in prayer and give them our loyal support.


 2. Whereas, Jansen E. Hartman, President of Berean Bible School, has served so faithfully in the demanding field of Christian Education, therefore,

 Resolved, That we assure him of our prayer support and encourage him in his pursuit to provide a sound Christian Education for this generation.


 3. Whereas, William A. Heffner, Church Extension Director, has faithfully performed his responsibilities in this vital field of the Bible Fellowship Church, therefore,

 Resolved, That we continue to pray for him and his efforts in strengthening this department.


 4. Whereas, The ministering brethren have served the Bible Fellowship Church with dedication and devotion as unto the Lord, therefore,

 Resolved, That we give thanks unto our God who has called these brethren to "hold forth the Word of Life."


 5. Whereas, Pastor Russell T. Allen and the members and friends of the Faith Bible Fellowship Church of York, Pennsylvania have so graciously and adequately entertained the 82nd Annual Conference, therefore,

 Resolved, That we express our sincere appreciation for their generous provision and continue to pray God's blessing upon both Church and Pastor, and further,

 Resolved, That the Secretary provide Pastor Allen with a copy of this resolution to be read to the Congregation.


 6. Whereas, Pastor N. H. Wolf has again edited the Year Book and Mr. Paul I. Wentz served as Conference Treasurer, therefore,

 Resolved, That a gift of $75.00 each be given Pastor Wolf and Mr. Wentz, to be paid from the Committee on Publication and Printing.


 7. Whereas, David E. Thomann and R. C. Reichenbach have served as Editor and Business Manager of the Fellowship News and have performed their tasks in a most acceptable manner, therefore,

 Resolved, That we express our gratitude to these men for the service given.


 8. Whereas, The brethren, E. J. Rutman, J. B. Layne, W. F. Heffner, three of our retired Pastors, have been able to attend the Conference, and

 Whereas, Communications have been received from E. E. Kublic, P.T. Stengele and Paul E. Baer, who, though retired, have expressed their interest, therefore,

 Resolved, That we praise God for the faithfulness of these men and pray for their continued good health.


 9. Whereas, Missionaries Rev. J. Barclay Harley, Rev. Edward Moyer, Rev. and Mrs. Robert Gordon and Missionary Candidate, Sterling F. Baker, were able to attend parts of this Conference and express their gratitude for the support and prayer interest of the Bible Fellowship Churches, therefore,

 Resolved, That we praise God for their faithful work and uphold them in intercessory prayer.


 10. Whereas, During the past year we have lost by death, one of our retired pastors, Rev. A. G. Woodring, therefore,

 Resolved, That we praise the Lord for his many years of ministry among us and pray God's comfort and blessing on Mrs. A. G. Woodring.


 11. Whereas, Paul I. Wentz, Sr., treasurer of Annual Conference was unable to be present during this Conference due to physical illness, therefore,

Resolved, That we pray the Lord's anointing and healing power to be upon him.


 12. Whereas, Rev. David H. Holl, Director of Development at Bridgewater College, addressed the Annual Conference on the subject of raising funds for our new development program, therefore,

 Resolved, That we thank the Lord for his address and pray that the Lord will bless him in this type of Christian ministry.


 13. Whereas, Rev. C. Jack Orr and Rev. C. Richard Shumaker presented heartwarming messages to the members of the Annual Conference, therefore,

 Resolved, That we pray the Lord would use these two brethren in their ministry in the winning of the lost for Christ.


 14. Whereas, N. H. Wolf, Secretary, and Ernest B. Hartman, Robert W. Smock, Assistant Secretaries have served most acceptably recording the deliberations and actions of the 82nd Annual Conference and

 Whereas, Donald B. Schaeffer gave of his time and effort to reproduce the minutes of each session, various committee reports and other pertinent materials, therefore,

Resolved, that we express appreciation to these brethren for their faithful service given.


PART II

 1. Resolved, That each church make a contribution to the Moving Fund of 75c per member reported to this Annual Conference.


 2. Resolved, That each church make a contribution to the Publication and Printing Fund of 40c per member reported to this Annual Conference.


 3. Resolved, That resolution #9 on pg. 48 of '64 Yearbook be made item V in the Miscellaneous By-Laws.


 4. Resolved, That each board and committee shall have its records audited by an auditor(s) chosen by the board or committee prior to preparing its report for the Annual Conference and that the name of the auditor(s) be included in the report to Annual Conference, and further,

Resolved, That this become item W in our Miscellaneous By-Laws.


 5. Resolved, That each board and committee that receives funds establish a cut off date for the receipt of such funds in order that records can be properly prepared for presentation to Annual Conference.


 6. Resolved, That at the Adjourned Session of the 82nd Annual Conference, a Nominating Committee of four ordained ministers and three laymen be elected to present nominees for the elections at the 83rd Annual Conference.


 7. Resolved, That the 83rd Annual Conference of the Bible Fellowship Church convene at Grace Bible Fellowship Church, Hampton Blvd. and Marian Street, Reading, Pa., on October 10, 1966 at 10:00 a.m.

 Committee:

C. E. Kirkwood

Harvey J. Fritz, Jr.

David E. Thomann

Carl C. Cassel

 Jansen E. Hartman

 

The Report was adopted.

 

The Chairman made the following appointments:

Committee to Examine Annual Conference Minutes: Robert F. Johnson, W. B. Hottel

 

Committee on Agenda: Willard E. Cassel, LeRoy S. Heller, Bert N. Brosius


 Committee on Publication and Printing: David E. Thomann, Robert W. Smock, John Dunn


 Committee on Program for Next Annual Conference: James G. Koch, E. W. Bean, George Herb.

 

Resolved, That the above appointments be approved.


Report of the Committee on Church Forms


APPLICATION FOR CHURCH MEMBERSHIP


 Bible Fellowship Church

 Name Date Phone


Address Zip Code


The applicant shall be responsible to read the FAITH & ORDER OF THE BIBLE FELLOWSHIP CHURCH or, in the case of younger applicants, shall have knowledge of the basic truths contained therein.

 

1. Have you been born again? When? Where?

 

How do you know that you are saved?



2. After you were born again, were you baptized by immersion?


 If not, are you willing to be immersed at your first opportunity?

 

3. Are you in agreement with the FAITH & ORDER OF THE BIBLE FELLOWSHIP CHURCH?


 4. Will you endeavor by God's help to be responsible for faithful attendance in the:

 

Sunday School Yes No

 Morning Worship Yes No

 Evening Service Yes No

 Prayer Meeting Yes No

 

If you cannot attend any of the above services, please state the reason:


 5. Will you faithfully support this church financially as God prospers you?


 6. Do you belong to any Secret Oath-Bound Societies ?


 7. Do you use or deal in tobacco?


 8. Do you use or deal in intoxicating beverages?


 9. Are you using narcotics?


 10. Have you ever been divorced?

 

11. Do you abstain from that worldly relationship as described in the FAITH AND ORDER? (Theater going, indiscriminate use of television, indecent literature, dancing and such games of chance as are frequently associated with gambling?

 

12. Will you by personal devotion and public example seek to live a Christian life that will bring honor to our Lord?

 

13. Will you submit to the authority of the Bible Fellowship Church as stated in the FAITH & ORDER

 

GENERALINFORMATION

 Name Telephone

 

Address Zip Code


 Date of Birth Place of birth

 

Date of dedication at by

 

Date of baptism at by

 

Married: Date at by

 

To of

 

Signed

REMARKS:



 John Dunn, Chairman

 Robert W. Smock, Secretary

 Donald B. Schaeffer

James A. Beil

George Herb

Harvey J. Fritz

Earl M. Hosler


 Resolved, That the matter on church membership as well as the matter of ordination be referred to the Committee on Forms for additional work.


 Resolved, That the categories in the Roll and Directory of Ministers in the Yearbook be changed to the following:

 1. Ordained Ministers Working Under the Direction of the Bible Fellowship Church.

 2. Ordained Ministers Working With Other Organizations

 3. Ordained Ministers Retired and on Leave of Absence.

 4. Probationers

 5. Missionaries


 Adjourned 4:00 p.m. with prayer by the Chairman, T. D. Gehret and benediction by Vice-Chairman, A. L. Seifert.


Signed:


 T. D. Gehret, District Superintendent, Chairman.

A. L. Seifert, District Superintendent, Vice Chairman.

John H. Riggall, Vice District Superintendent.

 C. E. Kirkwood, Vice District Superintendent.

 N. H. Wolf, Secretary.

Paul I. Wentz, Treasurer.

William A. Heffner, Director of Church Extension.

Jansen E. Hartman, President of Berean Bible School.

Ernest B. Hartman, Assistant Secretary.

Robert W. Smock, Recording Secretary.

Russell T. Allen, E. W. Bean, James A. Beil, Bert N. Brosius, Alva C. Cassel, Carl C. Cassel,

Willard E. Cassel, John Dunn, Harvey J. Fritz, Jr., Reynold D. Gardner, Sr., John E. Golla, W. W. Hartman, LeRoy S. Heller, Frank L. Herb, Jr., George E. Herb, F. B. Hertzog, Earl M. Hosler, W. B. Hottel, Robert F. Johnson, Donald T. Kirkwood, Richard H. Kline, James G. Koch, Ronald C. Mahurin, Robert Paul, R. C. Reichenbach, Donald B. Schaeffer, David E. Thomann, Norman R. Weiss, J. B. Layne, David J. Watkins, Donald R. Knauer, John Deily, Edward A. Stortz, H. Phares Mumbauer, Horace A. Kauffman, Willard Blocker, Roy E. Williams, Norman W. Granda, Arthur Refford, Robert Breitegam, William R. Hunsberger, T. Lamarn Manney, R. S. Weidner, Allan F. Smith, Sterling E. Baer, Robert E. McIntyre, Paul H. Cressman, John I. Mengel, Harold A. Mann, John Moran, Leonard F. Kessler, Clifford L. Kauffman, Norman L. Reed, Harry Wilkinson, Edward J. Dietzman, Byron C. Cassel, Harold Shelly, Sr., Carl H. Kellerman, Ralph D. Cole, George R. Fish,

Robert W. Gehret, Harold W. Griest, Charles G. Hersh, Daniel G. Ziegler, Leon K. Overpeck, Glenn R. Huratiak, Kermit K. Gehman, Arthur W. Deppe, Daniel K. Ziegler, Paul T. Rutman, Jack S. Herb.