EIGHTY-THIRD ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Annual Conference Proceedings

1966


            The Eighty-Third Annual Conference of the Bible Fellowship Church convened in the Grace Church, Reading, Pennsylvania.


            The Conference opened at 10:00 a.m. , October 10, with the singing of "Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned"led by David E. Thomann. The Pastors' Quartet sang, "He Was Wounded for our Transgressions" and the host pastor James G. Koch read the scripture and led in prayer.


            District Superintendent, Chairman, T. D. Gehret gave the opening address based on I Corinthians 15:58 outlining the basic characteristics of the minister of the gospel under the enduement of the Holy Spirit.


            District Superintendents, T. D Gehret and A. L. Seifert conducted the communion service.


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


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON PROGRAM

Monday, October 10, 1966 - 10:00 a.m.

            Song Leader               Rev. David E. Thomann

            Pastors"Quartet           Senior

            Scripture                     Rev. James G. Koch

            Prayer                         Rev. James G. Koch

            Message                      Rev. T. D. Gehret, D. S.

            Lord's Supper             Rev. T. D. Gehret, and Rev. A. L. Seifert


Tuesday, October 11, 1966 - 9: 00 a. m.

            Song Leader               Rev. Harvey J. Fritz Jr.

            Solo                            Rev. Carl C. Cassel

ScriptureRobert Breitegam

            Prayer                         Norman Reed

            Message                      Rev. Willard Cassel, Secretary, Foreign Mission Board


Wednesday, October 12, 1966 - 9:00 a. m.

            Song Leader               Rev. William A. Heffner

            Pastor’s Quartet          Junior

            Scripture                     John I. Mengel

            Prayer                         Roy Williams

            Message                      Rev. Jansen E. Hartman, President, Berean Bible School


Thursday, October 13, 1966 - 9:00 a.m.

            Song Leader               Rev. Robert F. Johnson

            Solo                            Rev. Bert N. Brosius

            Scripture                     Byron Cassel

            Prayer                         Horace Kauffman

            Message                      Rev. Earl M. Hosler, Director, Church Extension

 

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

Rev. James G. Koch, Host Pastor, presiding

            Pastors' Quartet          (Senior)

            Scripture                     Rev. C. E. Kirkwood

            Prayer                         Rev. John H. Riggall

            Message                      Rev. W. B. Hottel


Friday, October 14, 1966 - 9:00 a.m.

            Song Leader               Rev. Daniel G. Ziegler

            Solo                            Rev. Leroy S. Heller

            Scripture                     Charles G. Hersh

            Prayer                         Harold Griest

            Message                      Rev. A. L. Seifert, D. S.


Note:   Devotional period - 30 minutes (except Monday). Messages 15 minutes.


(James G. Koch, George L. Herb, Ernest W. Bean, Committee)

            The report was adopted.


            Resolved, that the first 8 pews across the church shall constitute the Conference Bar.


            The following were enrolled as members of the Conference:

MINISTERS - Russell T. Allen, E. W. Bean, James A. Beil, Bert N. Brosius, Alva C. Cassel, Carl C. Cassel, Willard E. Cassel, John Dunn, Raymond Dotts, 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, Donald R. Knauer, James G. Koch, Ronald C. Mahurin, Leon K. Overpeck, Robert Paul, R. C. Reichenbach, John H. Riggall, Donald B. Schaeffer, A. L. Seifert, Robert W. Smock, David E. Thomann, David J. Watkins, Norman R. Weiss, N. H. Wolf, Daniel G. Ziegler, Paul E. Baer, W. F. Heffner, E. E. Kublic, J. B. Layne, E. J. Rutman, P. T. Stengele.


DELEGATES

ALLENTOWN DISTRICT

Allentown (Bethel) - Kermit K. Gehman

Allentown (Cedar Crest) - R. Paul Schaeffer

Catasauqua - Arthur W. Deppe

Graterford - Edward A. Stortz

Harrisburg - Walter A. Schlagel

Harleysville - H. Phares Mumbauer

Hatfield - William C. Rapp

Lancaster - Horace A. Kauffman

Lebanon - Jack S. Herb

Lehighton - Willard Blocker

Mount Carmel - Roy E. Williams

Nazareth - Norman W. Granda

Paradise - George J. Dippner

Reading - Robert Breitegam

Royersford - William R. Hunsberger

Shamokin - T. Lamarn Manney

Spring City - John F. Boyle

Sunbury - Allan F. Smith

York - Sterling 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 Kessler

Emmaus - Paul I. Wentz

Fleetwood - Norman L. Reed

Maple Glen - Byron C. Cassel

Philadelphia (Calvary) - Harry Wilkinson

Philadelphia (Emmanuel) - Edward J. Dietzman

Quakertown - Harold Shelly, Jr.

Scranton - Carl H. Kellerman

Staten Island - Kenneth E. Cole

Stroudsburg - George R. Fish

Terre Hill - David E. Weidner

Wallingford - Harold Griest

Zionsville - Charles Hersh


            Whereas, Charles G. Hersh, Delegate, and Bright N.Heist, Alternate Delegate, are unable to attend all sessions of Annual Conference, therefore,

            Resolved, That whenever they are able to attend, they be seated in the Conference Bar according to their order.


            Resolved, That John Dunn and Edward J. Dietzman be excused Wednesday morning and afternoon to attend a funeral.


            Kenneth E. Cole, David E. Weidner, John F. Boyle, William C. Rapp and Harold Shelly, Jr., new Delegates, were introduced to the Conference.

 

The Chair appointed the following committees:

            Committee on Finance: Paul I. Wentz, Byron C. Cassel, Roy E. Williams, Harold W. Griest, Kermit K. Gehman.


            Committee on Communications: William A. Heffner, Russell T. Allen, W. W. Hartman, Bert N. Brosius, James A. Beil.


            Committee on Resolutions: C. E. Kirkwood Carl C. Cassel, David E. Thomann, Harvey J. Fritz, Jr. , Daniel G. Ziegler.


            Committee on Auditing: James G. Koch, Paul H. Cressman, Norman Granda, William C. Rapp, William R. Hunsberger, Horace A. Kauffman, Norman L. Reed, W. B. Hottel.


            Committee on Examination of Local Conference Minutes: F. B. Hertzog, E. W. Bean, Frank L. Herb, Leon K. Overpeck, Alva C. Cassel, Harold Shelly, Jr., A. W. Deppe, Harold A. Mann, Walter A. Schlagel, Allan F. Smith, John F. Boyle, Edward A. Stortz, H. Phares Mumbauer, John I. Mengel.


            Committee to Examine Annual Conference Minutes: Richard H Kline, John Dunn.


            Timekeeper: LeRoy S. Heller

 

Reporter: R. C. Reichenbach


            Tellers: E. W. Bean, James G. Koch, R. C. Reichenbach, David J. Watkins, Daniel G. Ziegler,.


REPORT OF THE NOMINATING COMMITTEE:

            Nominees proposed by the Nominating Committee have been contacted and each person whose name is submitted has agreed to the nomination.

All names will be submitted in alphabetical order.

            Lists of proposed nominations will be submitted to the members of Annual Conference at least one session prior to the scheduled election.

 

We recommend the following to Annual Conference:

            Whereas, various members of Annual Conference have been nominated from the floor after the Nominating Committee has submitted nominees, and

            Whereas, some of these additional nominees were already members of Boards and Committees that draw heavily on their time and may not desire to take on additional responsibility; therefore be it

            Resolved, that no nominations be submitted from the Conference floor without having first secured the permission of the person being nominated.


(C. E. Kirkwood, Chairman; Horace A. Kauffman, Secretary; John H. Riggall, Russell T. Allen, Richard H. Kline, Paul H. Cressman, Robert W. Gehret, Committee).


            Resolved, That we suspend the rules and adjourn to meet at 3:30 p.m.

 

Adjourned 11:40 a.m. with prayer by Earl M. Hosler.


Second Meeting

Monday Afternoon, October 10, 1966

            The meeting was opened with the singing of "Blessed Assurance" and W. W. Hartman led in prayer.

 

The minutes of the first meeting were read and approved.


            Resolved, That no one be permitted to leave the Conference without permission of the Chairman, except Pastor James G. Koch, and Delegate Robert Breitegam.


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 payable to the treasurer of the Youth Fellowship General Committee and that it be submitted to the secretary of said Committee at the Adjourned Session of this Conference.


            Resolved, That the election of two laymen to fill the unexpired terms of the Youth Fellowship General Committee be referred to the Nominating Committee.


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. This contribution should be mailed to the Financial Secretary of the Committee before April 1, 1967.


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON MINISTERIAL CANDIDATES

            The Ministerial Candidate Committee met ten times during the year. The work of securing and screening candidates for the gospel ministry of the Bible Fellowship Church was continued. Men were studied and examined as to their Christian experience, call of God to the Christian ministry, preparation for service, and their agreement with our Faith and Order. The prayers of our people for God to call men into His harvest work in the Bible Fellowship Church are desired by this Committee. God's guidance must be diligently sought in performance of its important duties.

            The Committee realizes that any church which takes seriously the command of our Lord to make disciples must train men for the ministry. Knowing that the Bible Fellowship Church is no exception, we have earnestly studied and are presently in the process of preparing a program of field work to provide for practical training and experience under supervision. Such a program is generally called: Field Work, and the Lord willing, such a program will be presented in the future for adoption by Annual Conference.


            The following men were recommended to the Credentials Committee for examination for ordination: T. James Bigley, John H. Herb and Bruce A. Ellingson.

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


Probationers:

            T. James Bigley, Bethlehem, Pa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1962

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

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

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

            Richard J. Gehman, Kenya, East Africa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1964

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

            Roy Hertzog, Monte Carlo, Monaco. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1959

            Paul Kuder, Allentown, Pa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1966

Robert E. McIntyre, Allentown, Pa. (On leave of absence). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1958

Keith E. Plows, Allentown, Pa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1966

Theodore R. Shelling, New York, N. Y.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1966

Austin B. Sullivan, Miller Heights, Pa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1964

Harold C. Weaber, Millersville, Pa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1963


Candidates:

David Branning, Lansdale, Pa.

David Manney, Avoca, N. Y.

Paul G. Zimmerman, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Ronald Zuck, Fort Washington, Pa.


Applicants:

William Bartron, Stroudsburg, Pa.

Arthur H. Frable, Jr., Moscow, Pa.

Larry Gradwohl, Nazareth, Pa.

George Headley, Jr., Reading, Pa.

Gary Hoffman, Catasauqua, Pa.

Charles E. Kramer, Spring City, Pa.

George F. Lee, Mt. Carmel, Pa.

Robert Minnig, Lancaster, Pa.

Roger Reitz, Shamokin, Pa.

Jonathan D. Reynolds, Thompkinsville, Pa.

Harold F. Snyder, West Nyack, N.Y.

Dana Weller, Aristes, Pa.

Richard Woelkers, Scranton, Pa.

Larry Yerger, Reading, Pa.

Leonard Yerger, Nyack, N. Y.


(Carl C. Cassel, Chairman; James A. Beil, Secretary, Russell T. Allen, William A. Heffner, George E. Herb, Committee).

 

The report was adopted.


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 $50.00 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. Checks should be made payable to Fellowship News and sent to the secretary of the committee no later than February 1, 1967.


            Resolved, That the committee to Publish Fellowship News prepare a budget to be presented to the next Annual Conference for approval.


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


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON CREDENTIALS

            "Take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine. . . ."I Timothy 4:16. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhortwith all longsuffering and doctrine. " II Timothy 4:2.


            The Committee on Credentials held two meetings during the year to perform the duties placed upon it by this Annual Conference. The Committee is well aware of its solemn responsibilities and has sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the carrying out of these responsibilities.

            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 praise God for this group of ministering Brethren who are true to the Word of God and holy in manner of life.

            The Ministerial Candidate Committee recommended T. James Bigley, Bruce A. Ellingson and John H. Herb for ordination. The Credential Committee interviewed these men and approved them for ordination believing them to be men called of God to the Christian ministry. The Committee, therefore, recommends that they be ordained in the Thursday evening meeting of this Annual Conference.


            Pastor F.B.Hertzog has communicated with the Committee and requested that he be placed on the roll of retired ministers as of this Annual Conference. We therefore recommend that his request be granted and refer him to the Board of Directors of the Bible Fellowship Church in order that he might be placed on the roll of retired ministers and receive annuities from the Retirement Fund.

            Glenn R. Huratiak resigned from the ministry of the Bible Fellowship Church as of June 26, 1966 and is serving with another denomination.

            This Committee also wishes to recommend to this Annual Conference that we establish a minimum support of $ 4,200.00 per year for all our pastors.

            We have interviewed Donald B. Schaeffer who requests an indefinite leave of absence because of a physical need in his family. We recommend that his request be granted, his credentials be continued and he be listed in the Roll and Directory of Ministers under #3 Ordained Ministers, Retired and on Leave of Absence.

            We would further recommend that the Stationing, Boundary and Appropriating Committee give him a sum of money to help him relocate and meet this immediate need.


(C. E. Kirkwood, Chairman; W. B. Hottel, Secretary; T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, John H. Riggall, Committee)


            Resolved, That Donald B. Schaeffer be granted an indefinite leave of absence, his credentials continued and his name placed on the Roll and Directory of Ministers under #3, "Ordained Ministers, Retired and on leave of Absence."


            Resolved, That the Stationing, Boundary and Appropriating Committee grant Donald B. Schaeffer a sum of money to help him relocate and meet this immediate need.


            Resolved, That the name of F. B. Hertzog be placed on the Roll and directory of Ministers #3, "Ordained Ministers, Retired and on leave of Absence."


            Resolved, That the recommendation of the Committee on Credentials regarding the establishment of a minimum support for pastors be assigned to the Stationing, Boundary and Appropriating Committee.


            Resolved, That T. James Bigley, Bruce A. Ellingson and John Herb be ordained in the Thursday evening meeting of this Annual Conference.


            Adjourned at 5:05 p.m. with prayer by Kermit K. Gehman.


Third Meeting

Monday, Evening, October 10, 1966

            The meeting was opened with the chorus, "He Keeps Me Singing" and Russell T. Allen led in prayer.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

 

The following person was elected:

Treasurer of Annual Conference: Paul I. Wentz.


REPORT OF THE ALLENTOWN DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT, T. D. GEHRET (See Reports)


REPORT OF THE BETHLEHEM DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT, A. L. SEIFERT (See Reports)


REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT OF BEREAN BIBLE SCHOOL, JANSEN E. HARTMAN (See Reports)


REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR OF CHURCH EXTENSION WILLIAM A. HEFFNER (See Reports)

 

The above reports were adopted.


REPORT OF THE MINISTERIAL CONVENTION (See Reports)

            The report was adopted.


            T. James Bigley, Ron Hoyle and Dr. William Campbell, rnissionaries on furlough, gave brief addresses to the Conference.


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.


            The Pastor of the Denville Church read a tribute of appreciation concerning the Church Extension Director, William A. Heffner, for his untiring ministry. He gave unreservedly of himself to the many needs of the Denville Congregation during the infant stages of their development and particularly during their building program.


            Resolved, That Annual Conference grant the petition of Sinking Spring congregation to become a Conference appointment, and further,

            Resolved, That this petition be referred to the Stationing, Boundary and Appropriating Committee, for the stationing of a pastor.


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 Annual Conference grant the Board of Directors of the Home their request to elect the said officers,and be it further

            Resolved, That the name "Board of Directors of the Home" be deleted from the Year Book as it now appears on page 9, article 4 paragraph 1 and 2, (1965 Year Book) (First Reading)


            Resolved, That the By-Laws governing the Board of Directors of the Home be deleted from the Year Book. (First Reading)


            (The above resolutions were adopted by a ballot vote with 72 affirmative and 1 negative vote)


REPORT OF THE BOARD OF MIZPAH GROVE (See Reports)

The report was adopted.


REPORT OF THE BOARD OF VICTORY VALLEY (See Reports)

            The report was adopted.


            Resolved, That each church make a contribution to Victory Valley Camp. Checks shall be made payable to Victory Valley Camp and sent to the Secretary of the Board before March 1, 1967.


            Adjourned 8:45 p.m. with prayer by Harvey J. Fritz, Jr.


Fourth Meeting

Tuesday Morning, October 11, 1966

            The meeting was opened by Harvey J. Fritz, Jr. , directing in the singing of "Praise the Saviour Ye Who Know Him" followed by a vocal solo of Carl C. Cassel entitled, "Children of the Heavenly Father."


            Robert Breitegam read scripture and Norman L. Reed led in prayer. The speaker of the morning was Willard E. Cassel who read Psalm 37:23 -25 and brought a helpful message of the Lord guiding the steps of a good man.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

 

The following were elected:

            Credentials Committee: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, C. E. Kirkwood, John H. Riggall, Frank L. Herb Jr.

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE TO EXAMINE LOCAL CONFERENCE MINUTES

            We have examined the Local Conference Records and have found them correct except for a few omissions and minor errors which were corrected by the pastors involved:

 

The following petitions were found:

            Graterford: Resolved, that we petition the 83rd Annual Conference of the Bible Fellowship Church to make the Graterford Bible Fellowship Church a self-supporting church with all the rights and privileges thereof, effective at this conference.


            Terre Hill: Whereas, a number of families living in the Ephrata area have been desirous of establishing a Bible Fellowship Church in this community; and,

            Whereas, there is now available a beautiful church building and parsonage formerly used by the Nazarene Church at Chestnut Street and Washington Aveuue in the borough of Ephrata, Pennsylvania; and,

            Whereas, several families are presently negotiating for the purchase of this property at a cost of $35, 000; and,

            Whereas, these families pledge their active support of this ministry publicly, prayerfully and financially; and,

            Whereas, this congregation expects by God's enabling to be self-supporting after its first year; therefore,

            Resolved: That the Berean Bible Fellowship Church of TerreHill ask the Eighty-third Annual Conference meeting in Grace Bible Fellowship Church, Reading, during October, 1966, to consider our petition and grant the following:

            (1) That these members who desire to establish an evangelical witness in the Ephrata community, be considered as a newly formed congregation of the Bible Fellowship Church,

            (2) That the Stationing, Boundary and Appropriating Committee assign a pastor to this church.


            Harleysville: We, the congregation of the Faith Bible Fellowship Church of Harleysville, Pa., petition the 83rd Annual Conference of the Bible Fellowship Church convening on Monday, October 10, 1966 in Reading, Pennsylvania, that this church be recognized as a station, self-supporting, with all the rights and privileges thereof.


            Denville: Whereas, God in His sovereign grace and divine providence has raised up the Denville Bible Fellowship Congregation for His glory and praise, and,

            Whereas, He has been pleased to quadruple the size of the congregation both in number and financial income, enabling the church to support its pastor at a rate that is well above the minimum established by the Annual Conference, and,

            Whereas, it is the desire of the congregation to release the funds which it would receive in Church Extension appropriations in the future so that they maybe used in the establishment of new Bible Fellowship Churches, therefore, be it,

            Resolved; that the congregation, at its fourth local Conference, convened in the church, Wednesday evening, September 21, 1966, hereby express its appreciation to its sister churches in the Bible Fellowship Church for their generous and faithful assistance during its nine year history, and, be it further

            Resolved, that the congregation of the Denville Bible Fellowship Church petition the 83rd Annual Conference of the Bible Fellowship Church convening at Reading, Pennsylvania, on October 10, 1966, to discontinue forthwith its Church Extension appropriations and admit its duly elected delegate to membership on the Stationing, Boundary and Appropriating Committee, and further, to grant the Denville congregation the status of a Station.


(F.B. Hertzog, E.W.Bean, Frank L. Herb, Jr., Leon K. Overpeck, Alva C. Cassel, Harold Shelly, Jr., A. W. Deppe, Harold A. Mann, Walter A. Schlagel, Allan F. Smith, John F. Boyle, Edward A. Stortz, H. Phares Mumbauer, John I. Mengel, Committee).


            The report was adopted.

 

The following were elected:

            Committee on Ministerial Candidates: Russell T.Allen, Earl M. Hosler, James A. Beil, Carl C. Cassel, William A. Heffner.


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE TO REVISE STANDING RULES

(First Reading)


            Formation - "Resolved, that the Chairman appoint a committee of three to deal with the matter in bringing up to date the Standing Rules which concern the various offerings included in the Conference Budget."


            We recommend the following changes in the Standing Rules:

            Page 15 - Miscellaneous

* Edelete paragraph

            * G      delete paragraph

* Pdelete paragraph

* SThe offering for the Home for the Aging shall be paid at the Adjourned Session.


(Robert W. Smock, Willard E. Cassel, Earl M. Hosler, Committee).


            Adjourned with prayer by Alva C. Cassel.


Fifth Meeting

Tuesday Afternoon, October 11, 1966

            The meeting was opened with prayer by Donald R. Knauer.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.


            George Dippner and Bright N. Heist, delegates, were introduced to the Conference, and a word of testimony was given by Austin Shelly, missionary to Venezuela.

 

The following were elected:

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


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


            Resolved, That Annual Conference elect a Committee on Pensions consisting of five laymen, who shall bring recommendations to the Conference concerning the development of our Retirement Program and death benefits.


            That the petition of the Graterford Church be granted and be referred to the Stationing, Boundary and Appropriating Committee.


            Resolved, That we receive the petition of the Terre Hill Congregation and that it be referred to the Stationing, Boundary and Appropriating Committee.


            Resolved, That the petition of the Harleysville Church be granted and that it be referred to the Stationing, Boundary and Appropriating Committee.


            Resolved, That we grant the petition of the Denville Church an that it be referred to the Stationing, Boundary and Appropriating Committee.


REPORT OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE BIBLE FELLOWSHIP CHURCH (See Reports)

The report was adopted.


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE TO PLAN FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE BIBLE FELLOWSHIP CONFERENCE CENTER (See Reports)

The report was adopted.

 

The following were elected:

            Board of Directors: Jansen E. Hartman, T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, John H. Riggall, Frank L. Herb, Jr., Carl C. Cassel, Paul I. Wentz, Byron C. Cassel, Kermit K. Gehman.


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE TO STUDY CHURCH GOVERNMENT HARMONIZATION OF 1963 and 1965 PAPERS


Introduction

            Two studies on the Biblical Basis of Church Government have been presented to the Annual Conference. The present committee has been asked to locate the areas of agreement and the areas of disagreement between the two studies:


            "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 shall 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. " (1965 Yearbook, p. 47)

            The problem to which this committee addresses itself is: Upon what principles of church government can we agree and what shall be the form of government of the Bible Fellowship Church.

            In seeking to carry out the assignment given by the 1965 Conference, discussion has revealed that some areas which appeared to be areas of disagreement have decreased in size and importance. Throughout these discussions this committee has attempted to make fair judgments based upon the statements in each paper rather than on the basis of the opinion of any of the members of the present or previous committees. Misunderstandings which arose in the previous studies originated from lack of clarity and completeness rather than from diametrically opposed points of view.


Analysis

            The committee has analysed the previous studies according to the following outline: (1) areas of agreement, (2) areas of disagreement, (3) questionable areas (in which it is difficult to discern where there is agreement or disagreement), (4) areas of silence in either paper. The details of the analysis are presented in Appendix I. For consistency we have used the terms "particular church" and "lower level" to refer to individual churches and the terms "fellowship of churches" and "upper level" to refer to the denomination.


Harmonization

            Believing that we should have a Biblical basis for what we do, we reject a pragmatic approach to Church government as being insufficient. Inquiry in the field of Church history reveals three systems of Church government: rule by elder, rule by congregation and rule by bishop.

            Rule by congregation sounds wonderful and democratic giving each believer an equal voice in the government of the church. However all believers are not equally well qualified to enter into decisions in the particular church and on the upper level this position tends to deny the unity of the body and is opposed to denominational structure that is workable and meaningful. It results in fragmentation and lack of subordination. The well documented text Authority and Power in Free Church Tradition, Paul M. Harrison (Princeton University Press, 1959) gives an excellent analysis of the problems of this position in a large denomination.


[Diagram #1 — Rule by Congregation]


            Rule by bishop seems to solve some of the problems of rule by congregation, but it creates other problems. The tendency here is to deny the completeness of the particular church as a manifestation of the body of Christ; this results in loss of initiative in the particular church. It tends to separate the clergy and laity; it does not allow the people to have sufficient voice in the life of the church to have a meaningful relationship to the church. The history of the Bible Fellowship Church over the last twenty years has been to give more responsibility and authority to more individuals.


[Diagram #2 — Rule by Bishop]



            We believe the Scripture teaches rule by elder and desire to have the system of Church Government taught in the Scripture. It places spiritually mature individuals in positions of responsibility, allows the general membership its proper rights and provides for meaningful relationships between other churches and denominational structures.


[Diagram #3 — Rule by Elder]

 

We submit the following as support for this system.


A. Lower or Particular Church Level

            1. Scripture teaches that Christ is the Head of the Church. The two papers agree on this. Any discussion of Church Government and authority must begin with Christ, the Head. However, to say that Christ is the Head of the Church is to say more than we sometimes realize. It is more than a pious cliche with which we begin and from which we immediately depart. In actuality the whole discussion of Church Government should be controlled by this consideration. For although Christ, the Head, is in Heaven, His church militant is upon earth. Thus the natural question which immediately arises is this: How is the authority resident in Christ, the Head, conveyed to the Church militant, and to whom is this authority conveyed? (See further in Appendix II).


            2. Scripture teaches that Christ conveys His authority to men. The two papers agree on this. The Ascended Christ has bestowed and continues to bestow spiritual gifts. It becomes the responsibility of the members of each particular church to recognize the recipients of these gifts and to elect to office those who meet the Scriptural qualifications.


            3. Scripture teaches that the recipients of His authority are elder/bishop. The two papers generally agree on this. Thus when Christ exercises His authority in a particular church, He does it through men who re elders in a particular church. It is for this reason that authority is considered as coming from the particular church to the fellowship of churches. The office of elder and bishop is the same: elders always exist in the plural; elders are in charge of particular church affairs; the pastor is an elder among elders.


            It can be said that although 1963 explicitly denies any permanent office bearer higher than that of elder, the 1965 paper nowhere explicitly affirms the contrary. In referring to this matter the 1965 paper (p. 42, 1) speaks of apostles as exercising leadership and filling a unique position in the early church. Further on it speaks of the missionary function of the apostles and cites texts which refer to Barnabas and other of the apostles. A word of clarification here might aid in harmonizing the two papers.


            That the word "apostle" has a variety of uses - some ordinary and some technical - no one would deny. A full detailed study of the word is beyond the purview of this paper. The New Testament speaks of "Apostles" and "apostles". In as much as the office of Apostle was not a continuing office, the Bible knows of no permanent office bearer higher than that of elder. Among the "Apostles" would be Paul and the twelve. To these men would be given special rights and privileges because they had met special qualifications. Yet by the very nature of the qualifications, the office of "Apostle" had to cease by about the end of the first Christian century. Furthermore, the New Testament makes no reference to provisions for maintaining the prerogatives of this office or transfer of authority. It is for these reasons that we speak of the office of "Apostle" as temporary and speak of no permanent office higher than that of elder. If one wants to use the word "apostle" to refer to missionaries this would not be incorrect. It does, however, lead to misunderstanding and error to cite references to "apostles" and then ascribe to the individuals all the prerogatives, privileges and qualifications of "Apostles.”


            The 1963 paper speaks of the distinction within the eldership, basing it upon I Timothy 5:17 where it avers to find teaching and ruling elders. While not claiming different requirements for office - holding that I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 give the qualification for office - the paper does speak of two classifications, two functions within the eldership.


            The 1965 paper quotes Philip Schaff (p. 43) to substantiate the claim that all elders are required to be apt to teach. When representatives of the two committees discussed the matter of requirements for office it became evident that 1965 was proceeding on the assumption that 1963 denied the requirement of ability to teach for all elders. When it was understood that this assumption was groundless, it soon became evident that 1963 and 1965 concur in the matter of ability to teach as a requirement for all elders.


            4. Scripture teaches that the authority in the particular church is (a) primary, (b) ministerial and declarative, (c)moral and spiritual. On this subject the 1965 paper was not silent even though it did not generally speak as explicitly as did the 1963 paper.

            (a) The authority is primary - After discussing the matter, the present committee was led to conclude that each paper speaks of the authority conveyed by Christ, the Head, to elders is direct authority, there are no intermediaries; furthermore, it was led to conclude that it is primary authority, there is no source other than Christ from which it is derived. Thus authority for particular churches does not come from a denomination, confederation or the like, but vice versa. The denomination does not give existence to the particular church but vice versa. Although the 1965 paper (p. 12) says, “ministers from without the local church exercised strong influence over the congregation by way of instruction and rebuke," it cannot be said that this statement and the scripture reference cited (I Cor. 5:9-13) nullifies the claim that each paper speaks of the authority conveyed from Christ to the particular church as be ing direct and primary. This is so because no one would deny that a minister, or an apostle as in the case of I Cor. 5:9-13, might not "exercise strong influence... by way of instruction or rebuke."


            (b) The authority is ministerial and declarative. Again we find that the difference between the two papers is not one of contradiction, but that of one paper being explicit on the subject and the other being silent. Perhaps a word of explanation concerning the meaning of these terms would be in order. When one speaks of the authority which Christ conveyed to elders as being ministerial and declarative he means that the task of those exercising this authority is that of ministering - serving as does a minister of His Majesty's government in England - and declaring - making known what He has revealed, not lording or originating. In other words, the task of church rulers is that of ascertaining what Christ, the Head, has said, then declaring it. Putting it in the negative, it is not akin to writing or revising a constitution for a stamp club or some voluntary organization. In the sense used above, the church is NOT a voluntary society. It is the body of which Christ is the Head and in which He exercises His Lordship. This fact when kept in mind will place limitations upon the best intentions of men, particular churches and fellowships of churches.


            (c) The nature of authority in the particular church is moral and spiritual rather than legal and juridical. The church of which Christ is Head and in which elders exercise ministerial and declarative authority has no army, police force or deputy sheriffs. This does not mean it has no authority nor that the authority it has is not real authority. It does mean that because it is a spiritual entity its authority is of a different nature than that of the state. (for further evidence see material Upper level, Sec. 4, b)


            5. Scripture teaches that each particular church is autonomous , but not independent. Having said that Christ is Head of the church and exercises His authority through elders who minister and declare, and that ecclesiastical authority is moral and spiritual with no legal or juridical power, one may wonder about the extent of particular church authority. In referring to the particular church it can be said that the authority conveyed to it is general in that it is not limited as is the authority of major assemblies. Since it comes from Christ to elders of a particular church there is a real sense in which each particular church can be referred to as autonomous. But saying that each particular church is autonomous is not saying that each particular church is independent, nor is it it saying all that need be said on the subject. For just as one enters the kingdom of God voluntarily and personally, not by infant baptism nor the consent of his parents, yet when once he enters he is not to

live in isolation from his brethren nor be a law unto himself; just so a church, although possessing all that is necessary to its life and government, is not to exist in isolation nor be a law unto itself. Just as a believer submits himself to his brethren in the Lord and receives from them that which is conducive to his perfection and in turn contributes something to the body to which he belongs, just so a particular church submits itself to the fellowship of churches and receives from it and contributes to it for the upbuilding of the whole.


            The Annual Conference exists for the well being of the churches. The local assembly of elders exist for the very being of the church; should the Annual Conference cease to function due to unusual circumstances, the churches would still exist. The particular churches have an existence apart from the Annual Conference, whereas the Annual Conference exists by virture of the particular churches.


            Does Annual Conference have authority over the particular churches? The authority of Annual Conference is derived, limited, smaller in measure and ministering. Yet this authority is not mere advice. Because the church is a spiritual entity and because there is mutual subordination on the part of the particular churches, it is not wrong to speak of the authority of Annual Conference over the particular churches. One should bear in mind that the authority of Annual Conference is limited to those things pertaining to the churches in general, those things relegated to it by the FAITH and ORDER or those things for which the particular churches make request.

 

B.Upper or Fellowship-wide Level


            1. The Scripture teaches that churches should organize into a fellowship of churches. The two papers agree on this. They agree that this should be more than an association; there should be organizational structure to this fellowship. Two of the problems which we must guard against as we seek to serve God in our generation are (1) Independency and (2) Ecumenicalism. A proper understanding of the Biblical materials concerning fellowship of churches will help us take a clear stand on both of these problems. On the one hand, Independent Churches have taken the Biblical

material concerning the God-given ability of each church to govern itself and have pressed it to imply that any organizational relationships between churches is nonbiblical. On the other hand, horrified by the fragmentation of the church, some who see the evidence for the unity of the church have become champions of the Ecumenical Movement. The scripture does teach that there is only one church, but the advocates of the ecumenical movement have led people to believe that unity must be more important than truth. They say. Unity at any cost, but unity.


            Although we do not seek to equate the Independent Movement and the Ecumenical Movement as being equally wrong, we do believe that each group distorts some aspect(s) of Biblical truth. Scripture does give basis for a fellowship of churches which includes an emphasis on the ability of churches to govern themselves and one true unity of the church.


            2. The Scripture teaches that the direct or participating membership of the fellowship of churches shall be elders from the participating churches. There was disagreement between the two papers at this point. The 1963 paper indicates that only elders from particular churches shall be members of the fellowship-wide level of operation (pp. 55-57); the 1965 paper indicates that all members of the church or at least some of the members (in contra-distinction from elders) of the church should be part of the fellowship-wide level of operation (p. 4 1, sec. E).


            In reviewing the basis for the claims made in the 1965 paper, a problem appears in the text of the verses cited. The paper indicates that the "brethren" participated in the decision and publication of the decision; but the best text indicates that this is not the sense. The ASV translates it: ". . the apostles, and the elders, brethren .. . " (Acts 15:23) thereby making the word "brethren" refer to the "apostles and elders, " The "and" between "elders and brethren" which the KJV includes to make a series of three is not in the best manuscripts. The phrase "with the whole church" in 15:22 does not fully support the idea of the entire congregation participating in the decision, but rather indicates that the whole congregation agreed with the decision. The basis for this interpretation is 16:4 where the narrative says that Paul and Silas delivered the decree that was "ordained of the apostles and elders that were at Jerusalem." Thus the elders from the various churches properly chosen and recognized become the members of the decision-making body of the fellowship of churches.


            3. The Scripture teaches that the binding force in such a fellowship of churches is the mutual conviction of the truth of the Biblical doctrines agreed upon by the fellowship of churches. The 1965 paper states this conviction; the 1963 paper does not state it, but it does recognize the need for this kind of unifying force. Both papers agree that we need a firm basis for our work together. Because each believer and each church must answer to God for its response to His revelation in the Bible, therefore our mutual understanding of God's revelation is the binding force in our union. Those believers who are convinced of the same body of teaching from Scripture form a particular church; those churches which hold the same teachings are brought into closer fellowship with one another than with any other group of churches forming a fellowship of churches. Thus our conviction concerning our mutual beliefs is the basis of our union as the Lord manifests Himself to us and among us. We are not bound together simply by the fact that we were basically begun by the same group of men; we are not bound together simply by the "trust clause" in the titles to our properties; we are not bound together simply by the fact that separation is difficult. If these things are not so (and we believe they are not), then we declare ourselves bound together by our mutual understanding of the Word of God under the guidance of the Spirit of God.


            4. The Scripture teaches that the authority in a fellowship of churches (a) originates in Christ, (b) is spiritual in its nature, (c) progresses by mutual subordination and (d) is limited.


            (a) The origin of authority in a fellowship of churches is Christ, the Head. Both papers say that the only source of authority in the fellowship of churches is Christ or the Holy Spirit. On p. 4 1, sec. E, the 1965 paper is emphasizing the fact that the Jerusalem Council had real authority. The churches recognized the Council's authority because the Holy Spirit directed. Because the nature of the church is spiritual, the only authority in the church must be spiritual. Christ is the only head of the church whether composed as particular churches or as a fellowship of churches.


            (b) The nature of the authority in a fellowship of churches is moral and spiritual. The 1963 paper speaks concerning the nature of authority in the church. (pp. 52 -56). The 1965 paper does not deal with this area explicitly; on p.41, sec. E it says that the authority is real because it is Spirit directed. This implies that authority in the church is spiritual; therefore men are morally obligated to obey it.


            The authority in the church is moral and spiritual because the church is a spiritual entity. To say anything other than this would be as if one would speak of a creature with a human body and the non-material nature of a lion. The two just do not fit together. The moral and spiritual nature of the authority of the church applies to the particular church as well as to the fellowship-wide level. Be cause more time was spent discussing the nature of authority on the fellowship-wide level in the 1963 paper, an erroneous impression may have been given that the moral and spiritual authority of the fellowship-wide level was less demanding than the kind of authority on the particular-church level. Actually, however, authority in the church is always and everywhere moral and spiritual because the church is spiritual; on the particular church level not only on the fellowship-wide level.


            To speak of authority as being moral and spiritual is to comment on its nature. It is not commenting upon how demanding it is. But because it is moral and spiritual, it is actually more demanding than legal or juridical authority. Submission to moral and spiritual authority demands inner submission as well as outward conformity. Outward conformity alone may satisfy legal or juridical rule. But with the church of Christ it is quite different. He judges inner or spiritual judgment rather than outward or legal judgment. This is true in every aspect of the church - on the particular church level as well as the fellowship-wide level.


            (c) The authority in the fellowship of churches moves (progresses) by mutual subordination. The 1963 paper speaks of this (pp.56-57); this area is not discussed by the 1965 paper. Some may think it dangerous to state that each church is invested by the Lord with sufficient authority to govern herself in every aspect of her life. To state this in other terms is to state that each church is autonomous. However the danger is removed when these churches realize that their fellowship is to be one in which each particular church voluntarily subordinates herself to each of the other churches and to the fellowship of churches. This is necessary if each church takes seriously the fact that it is not the complete body of Christ. Other equally Christ-possessed churches exist. As soon as there are two or more equally Christ-possessed churches, their relationship must be defined. Size, age, loudness of voice, financial contributions are of little importance. Christ, the Head, indicates that each part of His body is to be voluntarily and inwardly subordinate to Himself and to all other parts of His body. The particular churches are a part of the fellowship because they desire to be; and, therefore, they surrender their autonomy to the group as a whole. They are bound to obey the decisions of the group by the same strength of concern that makes them a part of the group.


            Three alternatives present themselves in particular churches relating themselves to one another. First, each may be organizationally independent of all others. We have already seen that this violates the Biblical information concerning the unity of the body of Christ. Each church is not a law to itself but must evidence its relationship to other churches. Second, each church may be simply a segment of the larger body rather than a body capable of self-government. This view makes the fellowship the church rather than allowing the particular church to be the church. It appears to violate the Biblical emphasis on self-government. Third, each church may govern herself (to be autonomous) and yet recognize her responsibility to subordinate herself to sister churches and to the group of churches. Although this view is not beyond the possibility of abuse, it alone recognizes the Biblical emphasis on self-government of each church and the unity of the body of Christ.


            (d) The authority of a fellowship of churches is limited for two reasons: (1) Its authority is limited because it is secondary and derived rather than primary and original. This limitation is peculiar to the upper, or fellowship-wide level of the church. The 1963 paper teaches this. The 1965 paper does not deal with this material. The New Testament teaches that the particular church is invested by the Head of the church with authority to govern her self in every area of her life; therefore, the authority of the particular church is primary and original. Therefore, the authority of the fellowship of churches must be secondary and derived. The other side is also clear: The New Testament teaches that the fellowship of churches is dependent upon the particular churches rather than the particular churches being dependent upon the fellowship of churches. The flow of authority is from Christ, the Head, to the particular church and from the particular church to the fellowship of churches. This means that the authority of a fellowship of churches is limited (a) to matters that pertain to the churches in fellowship or (b) to matters which the particular churches have agreed to take care of together.


            Problems arise only when the decisions of the fellowship and the desires of the particular church come into conflict. The usual solution to such problems should be that the particular church should accept the decision of the fellowship because the larger group should be more objective in discerning the mind of the Lord. Because the particular church is invested by the Lord with the right to govern itself, some might think that it has a right to do as it pleases; but because the particular church is also made a part of the fellowship by the Lord, it should be bound by the decisions of the fellowship. This relationship is expressed by saying that each church is autonomous (having the right to govern itself) in contrast to saying that each church is independent (having the right to do as it pleases). If this approach does not result in mutual understanding between the particular church and the fellowship, both must give full opportunity for reconsideration, restudy and recourse based on Biblical teaching. The moral and spiritual nature of our anion demands this. Although it is possible that a member might, as a final resort, desire to withdraw from the group, such action could not be considered without having previously exhausted all possible means of reconciliation. The moral and spiritual nature of the union in a fellowship of churches is based on their mutual understanding of the teaching of Scripture; therefore, withdrawal could never be considered except on the basis of difference in understanding the Scripture.


            (2) Its authority is limited because it is ministerial and declarative rather than self-derived or self-originated; this limitation is true for the entire church - upper and lower level. One of the basic reasons for this is that the church is Christ's, not man's. This means that men cannot properly decide how the church shall be formed or ruled; only Christ can do this. Men are charged with the responsibility of leadership in the church, but these men must be spiritually qualified elders because their authority is ministerial and declarative rather than inherent and originating in them selves. The elders do not, in and of themselves, rule the church by rules and principles they have devised out of their own heads or hearts. The elders rule the church as under shepherds at the direction of Christ, the Head, according to rules and principles which He has given in the Scripture. Because spiritual things are spiritually discerned, these men must have the qualifications outlined by Paul in I Timothy 3, etc. As such they serve Christ (their authority is ministerial) and the church by declaring Christ's will (their authority is declarative).


            5. The Scripture teaches that the particular church has the right and responsibility to govern itself. Scripture is silent, however, concerning permanent fellowship-wide offices. This implies that the fellowship-wide level shall have offices that are in keeping with the God-given responsibilities of the particular church. These offices must be carefully defined. The papers may disagree concerning the necessity for and authority of officers on the fellowship-wide level. The 1963 paper says that there is no higher permanent office than that of elder recognized in the New Testament (pp 58. 59). "Permanent" is used in that paper to distinguish apostles from other church leaders; Apostles had higher authority than elders, but by definition the office as such did not continue in the church after the first century. (See page 5, this paper - "Apostle, apostle") The 1965 paper (p. 46 sec. 4) says that churches in fellowship shall be responsible for selection of denominational officers. This indicates simply that denominational officers are necessary.


            This may or may not be an area of disagreement. It will be an area of agreement if the offices are defined in such away that the elders are still the highest permanent officers in the church. If the delineation of the offices on the level of the fellowship of churches creates a gradation of clergy or looks in that direction, there is disagreement.


            In seeking to interpret the actions of the Annual Conference on this part of our problem an interesting pattern has developed. As late at 1951 the duties of the District Superintendent included a statement such as: "He has the superintendence of the work of all the societies within the bounds of his district." This no longer is present, and the conference for several years has been less than eager to examine the office of District Superintendent and define his duties. In addition to this we notice a trend that began in 1941 and has continued to the present. At that time items of business began to be taken to the Board of Directors (Executive Board) which never had been taken there before. Previously the Presiding Elders made these decisions by themselves. In 1945 we limited the time one might serve in the office of District Superintendent. In 1958 we gave each church and pastor the opportunity to express his desire regarding pulpit supply; previously stationing was done largely by the District Superintendent. In 1960 we established the Ministerial Candidate Committee and the Credentials Committee. These committees now take care of the work of enlisting, training and supervising the men who have ordination credentials with our denomination; previously the District Superintendent did this. In 1962 we established the Board of Mizpah Grove for the supervision of the summer camp meeting program; this work was previously done by the District Superintendent. Each of these actions came only after a two-thirds vote of the conference at two succeeding annual sessions. Our voting record during the last 25 years indicates a desire to limit the authority of the office of District Superintendent in our fellowship.


AREA OF DISAGREEMENT


1963


            The question of who is authorized to exercise discipline is answered differently in the two papers - 1963 refers the authority to elders, 1965 refers it to the congregation (I Cor. 5) The scripture cited by 1965 is that of Matthew 18:15-18. (The 1963 paper does not cite specific references). It would be in order to turn to these references and see what can be learned.


            The words "tell it to the church" (in Matthew 18:15-18) admittedly can be construed to mean "tell it to the congregation.” That this is a possible interpretation can hardly be denied. However, to say that it is the only interpretation is hardly accurate and does not do justice to other scripture references. We all subscribe to the tenet that scripture best interprets scripture, and that which may seem a valid interpretation when isolated is rendered invalid when other relevant passages are allowed to speak.


            When we turn to scripture to ascertain how the word "church" is used we soon discover that the seemingly obvious meaning of "tell it to the congregation" is not so obvious. Note, for instance, Ephesians 5:25 “. . . Christ. . . loved the church and gave himself up for it. . .” That the word "church" is not to be interpreted to mean "congregation" here is obvious. Furthermore, when we speak of the ”powers of the state" we often mean those individuals within the state authorized to act. So also in the church. Thus to make Matthew 18:15-18 mean "tell it to the congregation" may not be the only valid interpretation.


            Reflecting further upon Biblical usage, we might recall that the Bible can attribute to an individual what is done by representatives (cf. II Chron.7:5). With this in mind, and also the many biblical references to elders ruling (I Tim. 5 - 17), taking responsibility (Acts 20:28-31 ) and not lording it over the flock (I Peter 5:2), one would expect a task as difficult and demanding as discipline to be exercised by those responsible for ruling. Furthermore, the authority possessed by the Church is authority conveyed to it by Christ and exercised for Him by elders. Hence it would be unusual, unless clearly commanded elsewhere, to expect disciplinary action to be exercised by any other than those normally ruling in Christ's behalf. In the face of no evidence to the contrary, we conclude that Matthew 18:15-18 is no exception to the rule that elders rule.


            Because of the nature of church discipline especially excommunication, the entire congregation must enter in to the execution of the discipline or it is meaningless. What is the value of excommunicating a member formally if the other members continue to treat him as a brother. This fact gives the basis for the statements of Scripture that appear to involve the congregation in discipline.


1965


            The impression was given in 1965 that the congregation initiated discipline. This is an overstatement of the case in that the intent of the 1965 paper was rather that the congregation must concur in the act of discipline before it can be final.


            The initiatory action of discipline must originate from the Elders since discipline is an act of rule, but the Bible in both injunction and practice: teaches final ratification of the action is enacted by the local church. The passage in I Cor. 5:4-5 clearly indicates that the man who was living in fornication was to be delivered to Satan by those who were gathered together. (I Cor. 1:2)


            The writers of Scripture which speak of discipline in no case address the officers of the Church nor instruct them that it is their sole authority and duty to carry out final excommunication. Rather in each case the Church is directed to finalize this action. (Matt. 18:17; I Cor. 5:4; II Cor.2:6) II Cor.2:6 illustrated that "the many" (A.S.V.) were involved in the discipline of the man who lived in fornication. Vincent concurs when he says "the many" is "the majority of the Church.”


            John Owen in his book, The True Nature of a Gospel Church, pp. 113-114, expresses some practical reasons why the whole church must ratify the action taken by the Elders:


            This excommunication, as we have proved before, is an act of church-authority exerted in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; and if so, then it is an act of the officers of the church... for there is no authority in the church, properly so called, but what resides in the officers of it... And there are two reasons which prove that the power of excommunication, as to the authoritative exercise of it, is in the elders of the church: -


            (a) Because the apostles, by virtue of their office-power in every church, did join in the authoritative excommunication, as is plain in the case insisted on, I Cor. 5; and there is no office -power now remaining but what is in the elders of the church.


            (b)       It is an act of rule; but all rule, properly so-called, is in the hands of rulers only. We may add hereunto, that the care of the preservation of the church is its purity, of the vindication of its honour, of the edification of all its members, of the correction and salvation of offenders, is principally incumbent on them, or committed unto them, as we have declared....


            Howbeit, it cannot be denied but that the interest, yea the power of the whole church, in the fraternity of it, is greatly to be considered herein; for indeed wherever the apostle treats of it, he doth not anywhere recommend it unto the officers of the church in a peculiar manner, but unto the whole church or the brethren therein.... Wherefore the whole church is concerned herein, both in point of duty, interest, and power:-


            (1) In point of duty; for by virtue of mutual watch of all the members of the church over each other, and of the care incumbent upon everyone of them, for the good, the honour, the reputation, and the edification of the whole, it is their duty, jointly and severally, to endeavor the purging out from among them of every thing that is contrary to these ends.


            (11) In interest they have also a concernment therein. They are to look that no root of bitterness spring up among them, lest themselves be at length defiled thereby....


            (111)   In point of power; for the execution of this sentence is committed unto and rests in the body of the church. According as they concur and practice, so it is put in execution or suspended; for it is they who must withdraw communion from them, or the sentence is of no validity. This punishment must be inflicted by the "many"; who are also to restore him who is rebuked: Wherefore, excommunication without the consent of the church is a mere nullity.


            As a result the Eldership is limited in the area of final excommunication thus sharing with the local church final disciplinary action. (See page 44, #4 and page 46, par. 1 and 2.


RECOMMENDATIONS:

I.         WE RECOMMEND THAT A COMMITTEE OF ORDAINED MINISTERS BE ELECTED TO DEVISE LEGISLATION ON THE BASIS OF THE FOLLOWING PRINCIPLES: THIS LEGISLATION SHALL BE PRESENTED FOR APPROVAL AT TWO ANNUAL CONFERENCES.


            A.        Lower or Particular Church Level

                        1.         The Basis of the Particular Church

The Church is the body of which Christ is the Head. Although Scripture uses this term of the church as invisible, it also uses it of particular visible manifestations of His body.

 

                        2.         The Membership of the Particular Church

a.Its Composition: the believers in a given community who believe the Scripture as interpreted in the Articles of Faith of the Bible Fellowship Church and are willing to submit to the Order of the Bible Fellowship Church, shall be recognized as a particular church.

b.Duties and Rights of the Congregation

(1)E a c h congregation h a s the right to elect officers according to the qualifications for church officers in Scripture and the rules of the Bible Fellowship Church.

(2)Each congregation has the duty to place itself under the leadership of these duly elected officers as God's rulers in the congregation. (See 4, C. 2 below, for the limits of the rights of elders).

(3)The pastor shall be chairman of congregational meetings and the secretary of the Board shall be secretary of the congregational meetings.

 

3.The Authority of the Particular Church

a.The Authority of the particular church is primary because it proceeds directly from Christ, the Head. He enables each congregation to govern itself. The particular church, there fore, is autonomous; but it cannot be independent because it is part of a larger body. In exercising its God-given ability to govern itself; it must give mutual subordination to other. particular churches and to the fellowship of Churches.

b.The Authority of the particular Church is ministerial and declarative. It may not ignore the teachings of Scripture nor may it add to the teaching of Scripture in exercising its ability to rule itself. It serves Christ, the Head; but this service becomes man-centered rule rather than service to Christ when not based upon His Word. The decisions of the church are simply declarations of His will and action.

c.The Authority of the Particular Church is moral and spiritual. Submission to this authority is inner submission not simply outward conformity.


                        4.         The officers of the Particular Church

a.Christ the Head of the Church conveys His authority to the leaders in the particular church. This body of leaders shall be called the Board of Elders.

                                    b.         The Composition and Election of the Board of Elders

(1)This Board shall be composed of the Pastor and all the active elders of the congregation.

(2)The lay elders shall be elected by majority vote of the congregation. They shall be mature men who meet the qualifications of Scripture (I Tim.3; Titus 1; I Peter 5).

(3)The number of elders chosen to serve on the Board shall be established by the congregation by ballot vote upon the recommendation of the Board of Elders.

(4)The term of service for active elders shall be three years; one third of the Board shall be elected each year.

(5)The Pastor shall serve as chairman of the Board of Elders; the lay elders shall elect one of their number to serve as secretary.


                                    c.         The Duties and Rights of the Board of Elders

(1)The chief duty of the Board of Elders is the general oversight of the life and work of the church including the preaching, sacraments, discipline, worship, evangelism, music, visitation, finances and maintenance of properties. This work can be carried out by Committees required by local conditions.

(2)Because they are "undershepherds" and not "lords the elders shall rule in the congregation according to the direction of Christ, the Chief Shepherd, as expressed in the Scripture and the needs of the members. They shall hold semi-annual congregational meetings to report the status of the work to the congregation; and when they deem it advisable present recommendations to the congregation. The congregation shall have the power to accept, to suggest changes or to reject such recommendations.

(3)The Board of elders shall be the chief point of contact between the particular church and the fellowship of Churches and its organizations. The elders shall elect from their number the representatives from the particular church to fellowship-wide level.

 

d.Other servants of the Particular Church

Deacons and others who serve in the church maybe elected or appointed for specific responsibilities. Being chosen for this work does not make the individual an elder in the church.

 

B.Upper or Fellowship-Wide Level


                        1.         The Basis for a Fellowship of Churches.

a.The Bible provides for a Fellowship of Churches.

b.The ground of cooperation in a fellowship of churches shall be mutual conviction of the truth of the Biblical doctrines agreed upon.

 

2.The Membership of a Fellowship of Churches. The particular churches shall be presented at the Fellowship level by elders from the participating churches.


                        3.         The Authority of a Fellowship of Churches.

a.The authority of the Fellowship of Churches is secondary in that it is derived from the particular churches. The authority flows from Christ, the Head, to the particular churches and from the particular churches to the fellowship of churches.

b.The nature of the authority of the Fellowship of Churches is moral and spiritual - the particular churches are morally obligated to obey it.

c.The authority in the Fellowship of churches is characterized by mutual subordination on the part of the participating churches.

d.The authority in the fellowship of churches is ministerial and declarative in that its rules and principles of operation are from Christ, the Head, and not humanly devised.

e.The authority of the fellowship of churches is limited to matters that pertain to the churches in fellowship or to matters which the particular churches have agreed to take care of together.

 

4.The Officers of a Fellowship of Churches.

a.The officers of the fellowship of churches shall be elected by the representatives of the fellowship-wide level.

b.The officers of the fellowship of churches shall not have apostolic or bishopric powers over the particular churches, nor shall they create a gradation of clergy.

C.The duties of the officers of the fellowship of churches shall be spelled out in such a way as not to violate the autonomy of the particular churches.


            Some question the concern over church government - because our concern, they claim, should be for evangelism. In fact, the concern for government originates in a desire for stronger churches, pastors and laymen. These in turn will be more able evangelists and teachers.


            The principles recommended here advocate more responsibilities for more people. The leaders of each church will need to face and accept the responsibility for the program of their church. Pastors will need to encourage laymen to accept greater responsibility. Our relationships to one another as particular churches and as a body will make demands of us in mutual concern and subordination.


            Some will object to adopting these principles because they cannot readily see of individuals available now in our churches to make such a program easily workable. We must be concerned about this; and therefore must be ready to be patient teachers and leaders. However we must also ask whether continuing to withhold responsibility will help us become stronger. It does not work that way with our children. Even in our physical body lack proper activity brings weakness. An arm does not get stronger in a sling nor a leg in a cast. If we wait to give men responsibility until we think they are ready, we are cutting them off from the very thing that will allow them to exercise necessary to become strong.


            While it will not happen immediately or automatically, changing our form of government to allow greater responsibility to churches and to individuals in the churches will develop stronger churches and people. We urge the adoption of these principles because we believe the Lord will use them to lead us to greater spiritual and numerical growth.

 

II.        WE RECOMMEND THAT WE ELECT ONLY ONE DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT AT THE ADJOURNED SESSION IN APRIL 1967, WITH THIS CHANGE BECOMING EFFECTIVE IN OCTOBER 1967.


            Discussion: This second recommendation is advisable for the following reasons:

 

A.The foregoing study of Biblical material indicates that the office of District Superintendent is not essential to the nature of the church.

 

B.Many have felt the financial demands of having two District Superintendents to be out of proportion for the number of churches we have.

 

C.Presently we, as a denomination, face a shortage of ministers: to take this action would help to solve our problem.

 

D.This recommendation would not be contrary to any of our present rules. We have no rule that demands electing two District Superintendents. We have no rule concerning the frequency of the District Superintendent's visits. We have a rule which says the pastor shall be chairman of the local conference when the District Superintendent is not present.

 

E.This is a propitious time to take this action.


APPENDIX I

Particular Church

I.Areas of Agreement

A.Christ is the Head of the Church - 1963 - pp. 48,49; 1965 pp. 37,41.

B.The authority of Christ is conveyed to men who are termed elders/bishops - 1963 - p.48; 1965 - pp.41,43,44.

            C.        Office of elder and bishop are the same - 1963 - pp. 48-50; 1965 - p. 43.

            D.        Elders always exist in the plural - 1963 - pp. 49, 50; 1965 - p. 44.

            E.        Elders are selected by the people - 1963 - pp. 48, 50; 1965 - p. 44.

F.Elders were in charge of local church affairs - 1963 - pp. 49, 50; 1965 - p. 43.

            G.        Pastor an elder among elders - 1963 - p. 58; 1965 - p. 43.


II.        Areas of Disagreement

                        Discipline 1963                                  Discipline 1965

 

                        Exercised by elders - p. 50                 Exercised by congregation - pp. 44, 46.

 

See page 15f, this paper, for substantiation of each position.


III.       Questionable areas

A.Does each paper distinguish between Ruling/Teaching elders? - 1963 - pp. 48, 49; 1965 - p. 43.

B.Does each paper claim that there is no higher permanent office bearer than that of elder? - 1963 - p. 49; 1965 - pp. 46, 47.


IV.      Areas of Silence in Either Paper

A.Silence in the 1963 paper:

1.1965 refers to the role of the apostle in the church - p. 42.

2.1965 refers to the role of the Apostolic delegates in the church. p - 42.

 

B.Silence in the 1965 paper:

                        1.         1963 refers to the authority of Particular Church in the following ways: p.49

                                    a.         It is spiritual authority - it concerns things spiritual, not juridicla.

                                    b.         It is primary authority - it is received directly from Christ, not indirectly.

                                    c.         It is general authority - it is not limited as is the authority of major assemblies.

 

2.1963 refers to the Particular Church as autonomous - pp. 49,50.


                        3.         1963 spells out the following implications:

a.A Board of Elders is the governing body of the Particular Church.

b.Elders are equals among equals thus giving a wider exercise of the authority of Christ's Headship.

c.Elders are to be elected to rule on the basis of scriptural, spiritual qualifications, rather than chosen as individuals to perform specific tasks.


Fellowship-Wide Level

 

I.Areas of Agreement

 

A.The New Testament teaches that there should be a fellowship of Churches - 1963 - pp. 5 1 - 52; 196 5 - p. 4 1, sec. E.

 

B.The source of authority in a fellowship of churches is Christ or the Holy Spirit - 1963 - pp. 52, 53; 196 5 - p. 4 1, sec. E.

 

C.There are proper joint efforts to be arranged by the fellowship of churches - 1963 - pp. 50, 58; 1965 - p. 46, sec. E.

 

II.Areas of Disagreement

 

A.As to whether the fellowship of churches includes only elders or members and elders.

 

                                    1963                                                                1965

 

                        Includes elders only - pp. 50              Includes members also - p.

                        sec. E -6; 57, 57.                                 41, sec.E.

 

III. Questionable areas

 

            A.        What is the nature of the authority of the fellowship of Churches?

 

                                    1963                                                                1965

 

                        1. It is derived not original                 This paper does not commit

                        2. Limited not unlimited                     itself specifically - p.4l, sec. E.

                        3. Conditional not unconditional 

                                    pp. 57, 58.

 

B.Do we need officers on the fellowship-wide level and what shall be their authority?

 

                        No higher permanent office                The fellowship shall choose

                        than elder pp. 57, 5 9.                         officers; authority not defined-p. 46, sec. 4.

 

IV.Areas of Silence in Either Paper

 

A.Silence in 1963

1.1965 speaks of the formulation of a Faith & Order - p. 47.

 

B.Silence in 1965

1.1963 speaks of:

a.The nature of authority in the church as moral and spiritual - pp. 53-56.

b.The progression of authority in a fellowship of churches as by mutual subordination - pp. 56-57.

c.The limits of authority of the fellowship of churches as

                                                1).       Derived and limited - p. 57,58.

2).Ministerial and declarative, not self -derived-p.58.


APPENDIX II

DEACON, BISHOP, ELDER

 

I.THE BIBLICAL BASIS FOR DEACON, BISHOP AND ELDER

 

A. Deacon

                        1.         Meaning of word

Thayer: "One who executes the commands of another, especially of a master; a servant, attendant, minister."

                        2.         Use

The noun appears some 27 times in a non-technical sense, e.g. Matt. 20:2 "whosoever shall be great.... shall be your servant. " Also Eph. 3:7, Gal. 2: 17. Of these 27 times it is rendered "minister" (20) and "servant" (7).

 

The technical use of the noun is found three times in the New 'testament: Phil. 1:1, I Tim. 3:8, 12, all in the plural. The verb is given the technical translation in two places, both in the Pastorals, I Tim. 3:10, 13.

 

                        3.         Function

This is summarized in Thayer's definition, "one who by virtue of the office assigned him by the church cares for the poor and has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use."

 

                        4.         Qualifications

Cf. I Timothy 3:8-13.

No mention of need for knowledge of the Word.

No mention of need for ability to instruct others.

No exclusion of youth (but must be proven men).

Positively, they were to be men of high spiritual and moral qualities.

 

                        5.         History

Deacons are mentioned in the Fathers. Cf. Ante Nicene Fathers I p. 16, Clement of Rome, p. 34 Ignatius, p. 51 Polycarp.

 

                        6.         Summary

The work of a deacon was that of serving, not ruling; it was in the realm of the temporal, not spiritual.

 

The qualifications were not as stringent as those of elder. They are not mentioned in the instruction from Paul to Titus.

 

They are separated from the "elders" in the address to the church at Philippi (1: 1). Thus in this church there were 1) elders, 2) deacons.

 

B.Bishop

1.Meaning of word

Thayer: "An overseer, a man charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly; any curator, guardian, or superintendent."

Of the corresponding verb Thayer says: "To look upon, inspect, oversee, look after, care for: spoken of the care of the church which rested upon the presbyters.

                        2.         Use

It is used some six times to refer to New Testament church officers or their work.

 

                                    Acts 20:28 

Phil. 1: 1[episkopos]

                                    I Tim . 3:2

Titus 1:7

 

                                    I Tim. 3: 1       [episkope]


                                    The verb is used in I Peter 5:2 (some texts).

The plural is f ound in Acts 20:28 and Phil. 1:1 and I Pet. 5:2.

 

                        3.         Function

As the name implies and the usage demands, it is parallel with elder. Thus whatwill be said of elder applies to bishop. For the proof of the synonymous use of these terms see the summary.

 

                        4.         Qualifications

The qualifications are parallel to those of elder, cf.I Tim. 3:1 ff; Titus 1:5 ("elder"), 1:7 ("bishop"); Acts 20:17,28. They rule and teach.

 

                        5.         History

Lightfoot (Philippians, p. 196) says, "The episcopate was formed not-out of the apostolic order by localisation but out of the presbyterial by elevation: and the title, which originally was common to all, came at length to be appropriated to the chief among them.

 

Rackham (Acts. p. cii) says, "We may say at once that it has not yet acquired the definite sense which it holds in the letters of Ignatius and which it still holds today, viz of a single ruler of a diocese.

 

It was subsequent to apostolic times that the gradated clergy arose:

Bishop - ruler of many churches

Elder - pastor of one church

Deacon - novice clergyman

 

            C.        Elder

1.Meaning of word

Thayer: "Among Christians, these who presided over the assemblies (or churches). That they did not differ at all from the bishops or overseers is evident from the fact that the two words are used indiscriminately...... "The title 'bishop' denotes the function, 'elder' the dignity; the former was borrowed f rom Greek institutions, the latter from the Jewish.”

 

                        2.         Use

The word is used about 15 times to refer to New Testament officers. The word is always in the plural until the Pastorals, and here the singular is only once used to refer to church officers. Even this is no exception to the plural usage, the nature of the case demanding a singular form (I Tim.5:19).

 

The first technical use of the word is found in Acts 11:30, cir. A. D. 44.

 

                        3.         Function

The term and function seem clearly to have been taken over from Israel. This, perhaps, accounts for the lack of explanation for the use of the office. The deaconate bring something without parallel in Israel is explained if Acts 6 is accepted as the explanation for the origin of the deaconate.

They are the rulers in the particular assemblies.

 

                        They receive alms                                          Acts. 11:30; Titus 1:5ff; I Tim.

                        They rule.                                                       5:17; I Pet. 5:2; Acts 20:17,28

                        They teach.


                        They are part of the requirements for a New Testament church. Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5.


                        4.         Qualifications

                                    Moral and spiritual                             Cf. I Tim. 3:1-7;Titus 1:5-9;

                                    Ability to teach                                   Acts 20: 17, 28; I Peter 5:1-4;

                                    Exemplary life                                    Hebrews 13:17.

                                    Christian experience

 

                        5.         History

                                    Cf. Bishop

 

                        6.         Resume

The elders were a group of men (aner)in every church who ruled by divine appointment (Acts ZU: 17,28). They were not all what we today would call "clergymen". Thus we must not read into the word "elder" our ideas of minister, pastor, etc. and restrict it to the professional clergy. The qualifications for elder must be borne in mind when we think of the qualifications for church officers.

 

                        7.         Summary

The arguments for the identification of bishops with elders are according to Lightfoot (Philippians, p. 96f.):

a.Philippians 1:1. The addresses are "bishops" and "deacons". Paul would hardly bypass the second order, elders, who were essential to the existence of a church.

b.Acts 20:17. Paul called for the "elders," in addressing them he calls them "bishops" 20:28.

c.I Peter 5:1, 2. Peter appears to the "elders, " then admonishes them to fulfill the office of bishops.

d.I Tim. 3:1-7. Paul speaks of "bishops" and he omits "elders." Later in the same epistle, 5:17, he calls those officers no longer "bishops" but "elders.”

e.Titus 1:5-7. "Ordain elders in every city" was Paul's instruction. When speaking of the qualifications for the “elders," he calls them "bishops."

f.This identity of office is sub-apostolic. Cf. Ignatius, Clement of Rome, Polycarp.

 

The positions of Timothy at Ephesus and Titus at Crete were temporary according to Lightfoot (op. cit. p. 199).

 

Conclusion:

Bishop and elder are synonymous in New Testament usage. They refer to church officers who rule and/or teach.

 

Deacon refers to one who served. Their requirements for office were slightly less stringent than those for elders.


II.        THE BIBLICAL BASIS FOR THE DISTINCTION WITHIN THE ELDERSHIP

 

"The words 'especially those who labor in preaching (literally 'in word') and teaching' show that already in Paul's daya distinction began to be made between those whom today we call ‘ministers' and those whom we still call 'elders'. All rule, and to a certain extent all teach, but some (in addition to ruling) labor in preaching (expanding the Word to the assembled congregation), and teaching (imparting instruction to the youth, to enquirers, and to all who stand in need of it). They specialize in it, working at it. It requires much of their time and effort: preaching, teaching, and preparing for it.

            (New Testament Commentary I - II Timothy - Titus, William Hendriksen, p. 180 ")

 

"especially those that labour in (the) word and teaching (there fore the preaching of the word, and teaching), was not the office of all the elders." (Italics his. )

            (Alford's Greek Testament, Vol. III, p. 351)

 

"Elders not called to teach ordinarily, or administer the sacraments, but to assist and help in the rule and government of the church, are mentioned in the Scripture, Romans 12:8; I Cor. 12:28; I Timothy 5:17. )

(Owen, Works, Vo. XIX, p. 535)

 

"If all that rule well be worthy of double honor, especially they that labor in the word and doctrine, it is plain that there be some who do not labor, for if all had been of this description the meaning would have been absurd; but the word 'especially' points out a difference.

 

"If I should say all who study well at the university are worthy of double honor, especially they that labor at the study of theology, I mean that all do not apply themselves to the study of theology, or I speak nonsense.”

(Dr. Whitaker, 17th century Cambridge professor)

 

So also: Ussher, Lightfoot, Whitby, Potter, Burnett, and Dodwell; all Ang1icans. Doddridge, Dwight, Ladd and Owen; all Congregationalists.

 

III.       THE POSITION OF EACH PAPER

 

Each paper claims that all elders should possess the ability to teach (1965, p. 39 (3); p. 43 (3); p. 46 - III 1963, p. 48) and that all elders should have the ability to rule (1965, p. 39 (3) - 1963 - p. 49). Each paper claims that the functions of elders include teaching and ruling. Neither paper claims that all elders are pastors, thereby denying the distinction within the eldership; on the other hand, neither paper claims that teaching elders are monarchial bishops among a group of elders, thereby denying the office and function of ruling elders.

 

Because the church is essentially a spiritual entity it well might be that referring to the pastor as first among equals (I Cor. 12:28, Eph.4:11) is putting it as well as impossible. In practice it means that the pastor exercises a stronger influence in some particular areas; the ruling elder exercise - a stronger influence in other areas of church life. Yet all are elders, and within the eldership there are these dual functions.

 

Pastors teach and rule; ruling elders rule and teach. The former are termed "teaching elders" by 1963 (Yearbook, p.48,49), the later "ruling elders" by the same paper. If the terminology is objectionable perhaps other terms can be substituted, yet one should keep in mind that the term "elder" is biblical terminology. Paul wrote to elders and insisted on the establishment of elders in every church. Peter called himself an "elder". In any case, altering the terminology need not alter the concept.

 

Deny if we will the interpretation of I Timothy 5:17 suggested by 1963, we will, unless advocating a form of brethrenism on the one hand or a form of episcopacy on the other, advocate in the end and on a pragmatic basis a system of elders who teach and elders who rule.


(John H.Riggall, Carl C. Cassel, Frank L.Herb, Jr. , Donald T. Kirkwood, Richard H. Kline, Willard E. Cassel, Committee).

 

The report was adopted.


            Resolved, That a committee of 7 ordained ministers be elected to devise legislation on the basis of the principles stated in the report of the Harmonization of Church Government Committee. This legislation shall be presented for approval at two annual conferences.

 

Resolved, That we meet this evening from 6:30 to 8:30 o'clock.

 

Adjourned with prayer by Robert F. Johnson.


Sixth Meeting

Tuesday Evening, October 11, 1966

            The meeting was opened with prayer by Bert N. Brosius.


            The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

 

The following were elected:

            Board of Church Extension: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, Earl M. Hosler, Harvey J. Fritz, Jr., Daniel G. Ziegler, John Deily, Donal Nilsson.


            Resolved, That we elect only one District Superintendent at the Adjourned Session in April 1967 with this change becoming effective in October 1967.


            Adjourned 8:30 p. m.with prayer by William A. Heffner.


Seventh Meeting

Wednesday Morning, October 12, 1966

            The devotional period began with singing "Stand up, Stand up for Jesus" led by William A. Heffner and the ministers' quartet sang, "How Gentle God's Commands ". John I. Mengel read the Scripture and Roy E. Williams led in prayer.


            Jansen E. Hartman used Philippians 3:12-16 as the basis of a challenging address for a greater knowledge of Christ to fulfill His purposes and goals for us in this age of grace.


            The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE (See Reports)

The report was adopted.


            The following were elected:

            Board of Directors of Berean Bible School (3 years) Jansen E. Hartman; (2 years) James A. Beil; (3 years) Horace A. Kauffman, Albert L. Wentz; (1 year) Carl Rishel.

 

Adjourned with prayer by John H. Riggall.


Eighth Meeting

Wednesday Afternoon, October 12, 1966

            The meeting was opened-with prayer by Harold Mann. The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.


            The following were elected:

            Board of Directors of the Home: E. W. Bean, T. D. Gehret, Richard H. Kline, Paul H. Cressman


            Board of Mizpah Grove: David E. Thomann, Bert N. Brosius, Robert W. Gehret, A. L. Wentz.


            Resolved, That we suspend the rules and meet this evening at the all of the Chair.

 

Adjourned at 2:00 p.m. with prayer by W. B. Hottel.


Ninth Meeting

Wednesday Evening, October 12, 1966

            The meeting was opened at 9:50 p.m. by the Chairman and adjourned at 9:55 p.m. with prayer by Donald T. Kirkwood.


Tenth Meeting

Thursday Morning, October 13, 1966

            The meeting was opened with Robert F. Johnson leading the singing of "O For a Thousand Tongues”. Byron C. Cassel read the Scripture and Horace A. Kauffman led in prayer.


            Earl M. Hosler brought an inspiring message on the power that God desires to impart to His servants in the Christian Ministry as described in Acts 1 and Ephesians 1 and 2.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.

 

The following were elected:

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

 

Adjourned with prayer by Donald R. Knauer.


Eleventh Meeting

Thursday Afternoon, October 13, 1966

            The meeting was opened with singing, "My Lord Knows the Way Through the Wilderness" and T. Lamarn Manney led in prayer.

 

The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.


REPORT OF THE STATIONING, BOUNDARY AND APPROPRIATING COMMITTEE (See Reports)

 

The report was adopted.


            Resolved, That the petition from the Terre Hill Church be approved and the church being formed in Ephrata, Pa., be placed under the supervision of the Board of Church Extension, which will also supply a pastor and appropriate such financial assistance as necessary in the Board's judgment.


            Resolved, That the figure as to minimum salary appearing twice on page 8 of the 1965 Year Book be changed to $4,200. 00.


            Resolved, That Reynold D. Gardner be granted his request for an extended leave of absence.


            Resolved, That Reynold D. Gardner be given an appropriation of $350.00 out of the Church Extension Fund and also reasonable assistance toward his moving expenses.


            Resolved, That a gift of $200.00 be given to Pastor Donald B. Schaeffer from the Church Extension Fund to assist him with expenses included in re-location.


            The Chairman requested Miss Harriet Kassay and Miss Frances Yonce, Foreign Mission Board approved candidates to Central America to address the Conference.


            Resolved, That H. Phares Mumbauer, Roy E. Williams and George J. Dippner be excused during the meetings tomorrow.


            Resolved, That William A. Heffner and Leroy S. Heller be excused Friday afternoon to attend a funeral.


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON STATISTICS (See Reports)

The report was adopted.


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE TO STUDY DIVORCE

            This report is in fulfillment of the assignment given by the 1965 Annual Conference as outlined on page 60 of the 1965 Yearbook;

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


DIVORCE

(First Reading)

(NOTE: Scripture references used in footnotes are included in the text at the designated location.)

            Divorce is the dissolution of a divinely instituted bond and a breaking of the relationship established by marriage. As a church we look with disfavor upon the practice of divorce upon any grounds whatsoever, and believe that the only scriptural basis for a severance of the marital union is adultery.1 (Matthew 19:6-9)


            Due to the grace of God, those who have been divorced and those who have married divorced persons, if they give evidence of divine forgiveness and continuance in Christian grace may be admitted to church membership and do not forfeit the privilege to be used in Christian service within the church.2 (I Corinthians 6:9-11)


            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 instruction from our Lord against it. In the light of this, no Bible Fellowship pastor shall be part of a marriage ceremony in which an illegitimately divorced person is involved.3 (Matthew 5:31-32)


            We recommend that the following statement appear under the heading of OFFICERS: Qualifications - Elections - Duties (1957 yearbook page 37).

            "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; I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9) that prevents a divorced person or one married to a divorced person from holding office on the Official Board of the Church.


(Jansen E. Hartman, Bert N. Brosius, Donald T. Kirkwood, T. D. Gehret,A.L.Seifert, Committee).

 

The report was adopted.

 

The following were elected:

            Youth Fellowship General Committee: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, (3 years) David J. Watkins, David Hendershot, John Vandegriff (2 years) Barry L. Kauffman., Harold P. Shelly, Jr.


            Sunday School Promotion: T. D. Gehret, A. L. Seifert, (3 years) James G. Koch, Robert Truett, John Boyle.


            Committee on Church Government: C. E. Kirkwood, Willard E. Cassel, Carl C. Cassel, Richard H. Kline, Jansen E. Hartman, Frank L. Herb, Jr., John H. Riggall.

 

The Berean Bible School Budget was presented.

 

The Budget was ratified.

 

The following were elected:

Editor of FELLOWSHIP NEWS: David E. Thomann

 

Business Manager: R. C. Reichenbach


            Committee to Publish FELLOWSHIP NEWS: Robert W. Smock, William R. Hunsberger, Paul T. Rutman.

 

Historical Committee: Byron C. Cassel


            Committee on Pensions: Byron C. Cassel, Harold W. Griest, Kermit K. Gehman, Roy E. Williams, Horace A. Kauffman.

 

Archivist: Harold P. Shelly Jr.


REPORT OF THE ARCHIVIST:

            "Timothy, keep safe that which has been entrusted to you. I Timothy 6:20 (N.E.B.)


            Additions to the archives during this past conference year included a copy of the 1897 journal of annual conference which made one set of yearbooks complete. Other yearbooks and pictures were contributed. A copy of the Garden of Spices, a gospel songbook, once quite popular among our people, was added to the collection of hymnals.


            The archival materials have been arranged in two fire-proof files for their protection and easy access.


            Professor Donal E. Nilsson of the Berean faculty made use of archival materials for a term paper entitled "Evangelical Mennonites: The Theological Fortunes of a Revivalistic Sect," written in connection with a course entitled "Seminar in American Religion,” taught by Dr. Don Yoder of the University of Pennsylvania. To do this work Mr. Nilsson did some translating from the early German sources of our history.


            Dr. Yoder, one of the leading authorities on folk religion, especially among the "Pennsylvania Dutch", has written a book, Pennsylvania Spirituals, in which he refers to Harvey B.Musselman and William B. Musselman. He has tapes of Harvey Musselman singing "Dutch" spirituals.


            Among his collection of source materials, Dr. Yoder has a Glaubenslehre (dogma) of the Evangelische Mennoniten Gemeinschaft which he lent to us. This first discipline of our church was published one hundred years ago. The archivist would greatly appreciate receiving a copy of this for our archives if anyone knows of an available copy.


            It our hope that many will take advantage of the archives and that other studies may be made into our history.

Harold P. Shelly, Archivist

October, 1966

 

The report was adopted.


REPORT OF THE HISTORICAL COMMITTEE:

            Two meetings were held by this Committee, November 5, 1965 and February 4, 1966.


            During the past year a communication was sent to each pastor requesting an announcement be made asking that any pictures, periodicals and reading course books of historical value be turned over to the archivist to become the property of the Bible Fellowship Church.


            We have contacted several older members who have abroad to write their life stories as it pertains to the Bible Fellowship Church.


            One set of conference journals has been bound,this to be the official history of our church organization.


            All these various contributions will be the source of authentic information for the Church Archivist.


            Continued interest in this phase of our organization by pastor and people is encouraged. During the coming year the committee will attempt the translation of our records in the German language.


(Byron C. Casse1, Paul H. Cressman, Daniel G. Ziegler, Committee).

 

The report was adopted.


            Adjourned with prayer by John Reitz, Presiding Elder of the Wyoming District of the Primitive Methodist Church.


Twelfth Meeting

Friday Morning, October 14, 1966

            In opening this morning Daniel G. Ziegler directed the singing of "Join All the Glorious Name" with Robert E. McIntyre reading the Scripture and Harold W. Griest leading in prayer. LeRoy S. Heller sang, "If I Gained the World" as a solo.


            District Superintendent, A. L. Seifert brought the concluding message of the morning devotions setting forth both the urgency of personal evangelism and the development of Christian character to assure the future growth of our Conference Churches as seen in 2 Timothy 2:3 and 4:1 and 5.


            The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON COMMUNICATIONS

            Communications were received from the following: J. B. Layne, Paul E. Baer, Olive I. Rawn, Harold Yarrington, Leonard Buck and C. Leslie Miller.


            Each of these communications indicated a deep interest in the deliberations of this 83rd Annual Conference.


            We express our gratitude for their intercession and concern, praying God's best upon each one as well as a very real conscious ness of His presence, as together we await the return of our Lord.


(William A. Heffner, Chairman; Russell T.Allen, Secretary, W. W. Hartman, Bert N. Brosius, James A. Beil, Committee).

 

The report was adopted.


            Resolved, That a committee of 4 ordained ministers and three laymen be elected to study pulpit supply.

 

The following were elected:

            Committee to Study Pulpit Supply: Russell T. Allen, John H. Riggall, William A. Heffner, Carl C. Cassel, Byron C. Cassel, Harold W. Griest, Horace A Kauffman.


            Resolved, That the paper presented by the Committee to Study Pulpit supply be studied by every member of Conference, and that he submit to the Committee to Study Pulpit Supply by March 1, 1967, inwriting, his reactions to the paper, particularly as to the question: "Why this proposal will not work" together with recommended modifications to make it workable. The report of pastor and delegate may be a joint report.


            Pulpit Supply Reports are to be sent to Harold W. Griest, 23 Thornridge Road, Springfield, Del. Co. Penna. 19064

 

Adjourned with prayer by Allan F. Smith.


Thirteenth Meeting

Friday Afternoon, October 14, 1966

            The meeting was opened with prayer by Carl H.Kellerman.


            The minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved.


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON AUDITING:

            The Committee on Auditing has examined the following accounts: Minister's Retirement Fund, Berean School, Beneficiary Society, Church Extension, Board of Directors of the Bible Fellowship Church and Allentown District Camp Meeting Treasurer's Book.


            Other accounts were examined by appointed individuals prior to 1966 Annual Conference in accordance with church regulations.


            All accounts examined were found to be correct and in a satisfactory condition.


(James G. Koch, Paul H. Cressman, N. W. Granda, W. G. Rapp, William R. Hunsberger, Norman L. Reed, W. B. Hottel, Horace A. Kauffman, Committee).

 

The report was adopted.


            Resolved, That the report of the Committee to Study Church Forms be taken up at the Adjourned Session of Annual Conference.


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE TO EXAMINE ANNUAL CONFERENCE MINUTES:

            We have examined the minutes of the Adjourned Session of the 82nd Annual Conference and found them to be correct with the following exceptions:

            1. On page 81A, the second resolution, the name "Leon Naudascher' should read "Leon Naudasher".

            2. On page 81D, line 2, first paragraph, "Sinking Springs" should read "Sinking Spring".

            We have been unable to examine the minutes of the 82nd Annual Conference Meeting, one to twelve, because they have been destroyed .

 

We submit two copies duly certified.

(Robert F. Johnson, Chairman; W. B. Hottel, Secretary; Committee).

 

The report was adopted.


REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON RESOLUTIONS:

Part I

            1. Whereas, we the members of the 83rd Annual Conference of the Bible Fellowship Church have been greatly blessed of the Lord by the able and Godly leadership of our District Superintendents, Rev. T. D. Gehret and Rev. A. L. Seifert, therefore,

            Resolved, That we give thanks to God for these brethren and that we assure them of our continued cooperation and prayers.


            2. Whereas, Berean Bible School has been blessed with the devoted and faithful leadership of Rev. Jansen E. Hartman, President, therefore,

            Resolved, That we praise the Lord for this man of God and pledge our daily prayer support.


            3. Whereas, Rev. William A. Heffner has faithfully served these past seven years as Church Extension Director, and

            Whereas, He will now be assuming Pastorate responsibilities, therefore,

            Resolved, That we express our appreciation for his sacrificial service to the department and further,

            Resolved, That we pray God's richest blessings may be his at his new charge.


            4. Whereas, Rev. Earl M. Hosler, the new Church Extension Director, will be assuming the leadership of his post, and

            Whereas, The Department has a great challenge set before it, therefore,

            Resolved, That we assure him of our daily prayers and utmost cooperation.


            5. Whereas, The brethren in the ministry have served the Lord through our church with diligence, therefore,

            Resolved, That we thank God for calling and giving us these men to speak His truth with fidelity.


            6. Whereas, Grace Bible Fellowship Church of Reading, Pa. with their pastor , James G. Koch, have so thoughtfully and thoroughly entertained this 83rd Annual Conference, therefore,

            Resolved, That we thank the congregation of this church for their kindness and invoke divine blessing on their corporate life and testimony in this city and further,

            Resolved, That the Secretary present a copy of this resolution to Pastor Koch for him to read to the congregation.


            7. Whereas, Pastor N. H. Wolf and Mr. Paul I. Wentz have served well as Editor of the Year Book and Conference Treasurer, respectively, therefore,

            Resolved, That we thank them for their work and that our appreciation be further expressed through a gift of $75.00 each from funds of the Committee on Publication and Printing.


            8. Whereas, David E. Thomann and R. C.Reichenbach have labored untiringly as Editor and Business Manager, respectively of FELLOWSHIP NEWS, therefore,

            Resolved, That we express our graitude to these men for their work and that we pray God's continued blessing on our denominational publication.


            9. Whereas, The brethren W. F. Heffner and P. T. Stengele, ministers who are in retirement, have attended sessions of this Conference, and

            Whereas, J. B. Layne and Paul E. Baer have expressed their interest in this Conference by sending communications, therefore,

            Resolved, That we praise God for these men and the service which they render to Him.


            10. Whereas, Missionaries Austin G. Shelly, T. James Bigley, Ron Hoyle, Dr. William F. Campbell, and the missionary candidates Misses Harriet Kassay and Frances Yonce, have attended these sessions, therefore,

            Resolved, That we thank God for them and the work He enables them to do, pledging them our prayerful support.


            11. Whereas, N. H. Wolf, Secretary, and Ernest B. Hartman, Assistant Secretary and Robert W. Smock, Recording Secretary, have served most acceptably in recording the deliberations and actions of this 83rd Annual Conference and,

            Whereas, David E. Thomann and Austin B. Sullivan have helped in duplicating for each meeting the minutes, various reports and other pertinent materials, therefore,

            Resolved, That we express our appreciation to these brethren for their faithful and useful service.


            12. Whereas, Pastor F. B. Hertzog is retiring from the pastorate as of this Annual Conference after forty-four years in the ministry of the Bible Fellowship Church, including nine years as District Superintendent, therefore,

            Resolved, That we thank God for Brother Hertzog's ministry and leadership in our church and further,

            Resolved, That we ask the Lord to bless his service at the Home and his life in the future.


            13. Whereas, The Lord of the harvest has through a physical need in his family, led Pastor Donald B. Schaeffer to minister in an area of dry warmer climate, outside of the present bounds of the Bible Fellowship Church, therefore,

            Resolved, That we express our appreciation to Pastor Schaeffer and thank God for the faithful and fruitful ministry of our brother in our midst and further,

            Resolved, That we pray for the clear guidance and rich blessing of the Lord in Pastor Schaeffer's future ministry and in the life of his family.


            14. Whereas, The Lord has led us into the Conference Center project and enabled us to make a good start in providing funds for this project, therefore,

            Resolved, That we commend this project to our people for their increasing support and to our God for His faithful provision.


            15. Whereas, The Lord has enabled three of our churches to become self-supporting stations at this Annual Conference, and,

            Whereas, The Lord has, during this past year, raised up two new congregations of the Bible Fellowship Church through division of existing churches, and

            Whereas, One of our Church Extension congregations has, at this Annual Conference, become a Conference appointment, therefore,

            Resolved, That we thank our Lord for these encouraging steps of progress in the extension of the church and further,

            Resolved, That we pray that these steps may, by the grace of God, occur with increasing frequency in the future.


            16. Whereas, Our Chairman has suggested that we consider having a Day of Prayer among all of our constituency for the needs of our beloved fellowship of churches, and

            Whereas, The informal gatherings for prayer during this Conference have been of such great blessing, therefore,

            Resolved, That we set aside December 31, 1966 as a Day of Prayer or the Bible Fellowship Church and further,

            Resolved, That the District Superintendents prepare and distribute material to be used in calling our people to earnest prayer for our church on that day.


            Whereas, Our God in His all wise providence has called to Himself Mr. Daniel K. Ziegler, a member of our Bible Fellowship Church and Conference for many years, who also served on many Boards and Committees, therefore,

            Resolved, That we thank God for his life of dedication and service and request that the Secretary forward a copy of this resolution to his widow, Mrs. Carolyn Ziegler, and further,

            Resolved, That the Editor of the Year Book prepare an obituary with a suitable picture.


Part II

            1. Resolved, That the Adjourned Session of this 83rd Annual Conference be held in Grace Bible Fellowship Church, Reading, Pa. , on Saturday, April 1, 1967 at 9: 00 a.m.


            2. Resolved, That at the Adjourned Session of the 83rd Annual Conference, a Nominating Committee be elected composed of four ordained ministers and three laymen to present nominees for the 84th Annual Conference.


            3. Resolved, That the 84th Annual Conference of the Bible Fellowship Church shall convene at Bethel Bible Fellowship Church, 528 N. 8th Street, Allentown, Pa. on October 9, 1967 at 10:00 a.m.


(C. E. Kirkwood, Carl C. Cassel, David E. Thomann, Harvey J. Fritz, Jr., Daniel G. Ziegler, Committee).

 

The report was adopted.


REPORT OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS BUDGET COMMITTEE:


            In the right hand column below is the budget which we respectively recommend to you for the year 1967-1968. In the following tables it is compared with the proposed budget for the year 1966-1967; and with offerings received for the budgeted items in the year 1964-1965.

 

                                                            Proposed          Approved        Actual             Recommended

                                                            for                   for                          for            for

                                                            1966-67          1966-67          1964-65          1967-68

 

1. Publication & Printing                     1,500.             1,330.             1,728.00         1,500.00

2. Conf. Ent. Expenses                        660.             630.             630.00         640.65

3. Beneficiary Fund                             800.             730.             828.00         800.00

4. District Supts.

            Annual Support                      14,000.            13,000.            16,205.00         7,000.00

            Traveling Ex. & Utilities         5,000.             4,800.                                     3,400.00

5. Dist. Supt. Parsonages                     3,100.             2,100.             1,989.00         3,100.00

6. Minister's Ret. Fund                        4,700.             4,000.             3,688.00         4,000.00

7. Moving Fund                                   2,200.             2,200.             3,202.00         3,200.00

8. Expenses for Boards &

            Committees while on

            Conference business                800.             700.              753.92         800.00

9. Other expenses of Board

            of Directors                             325.             290.              235.75         290.00

9a. Contingencies                                500.             -                            -                      -

10.Ministerial Convention

            Expenses                                  400.             300.             300. 00        400.00

            Total                                       33,985.            30,080.            29,559.97        25,130.65

 

The report was adopted.

 

The Chair appointed the following:

            Budget Committee: Byron C. Cassel, Kermit K. Gehman, Paul I. Wentz.


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


            Committee on Publication and Printing: David E. Thomann, Robert W. Smock, Harvey J. Fritz, Jr.


            Committee to Publish Year Book: David E. Thomann, Robert W. Smock, Willard E. Cassel.


            Committee on Statistics: Willard E. Cassel, John E. Golla, LeRoy S. Heller, Donald T. Kirkwood, John Dunn.


            Committee on Conference Program: Carl C. Cassel, Harvey J. Fritz, Jr., William A. Heffner.

 

Committee to Examine Annual Conference Minutes: Robert F. Johnson, Donald Knauer.


REPORT OF THE BOARD OF CHURCH EXTENSION:

The report on appointments is as follows:

Belvidere, N. J. - John Herb

Ephrata - Robert W. Smock

Finesville, N.J. - To be supplied

Macungie - John E. Golla

Miller Heights - Austin B. Sullivan, Jr.

Millersville - Harold C. Weaber

Walnutport - To be supplied


(A. L. Seifert, Harvey J.Fritz, Jr., T. D. Gehret, Daniel G. Ziegler, Earl M. Hosler, Board). Absent: John Deily, Donal Nilsson.

 

The report was adopted.


            Adjourned 4:25 p. m. with prayer by T. D. Gehret and benediction by 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, Raymond R. Dotts, Harvey J Fritz, Jr., Reynold D. Gardner, Sr., John E. Golla, W. W. Hartman, LeRoy S. Heller, Frank L. Herb, Jr., Kermit K. Gehman, R. Paul Schaeffer, Arthur W. Deppe, Edward A. Stortz, Walter A. Schlagel, H. Phares Mumbauer, William C. Rapp, Horace A. Kauffman, Willard Blocker, Roy E. Williams, Norman W. Granda, George J. Dippner,

Robert Breitegam, William R. Hunsberger, T. Lamarn Manney, George E.Herb, F. B. Hertzog, Earl M. Hosler, W. B. Hottel, Robert F Johnson, Donald T. Kirkwood, Richard H. Kline, Donald R. Knauer, James G. Koch, Ronald C. Mahurin, Leon K. Overpeck, Robert Paul, R. C. Reichenbach,

Donald B. Schaeffer, David,E. Thomann, David J. Watkins, Norman R. Weiss, Daniel G. Zeigler

John F. Boyle, Allan F. Smith, Sterling Baer, Robert E. McIntyre, Paul H. Cressman, John I. Mengel,

Harold A. Mann, John Moran, Leonard Kessler, Norman L. Reed, Byron C. Cassel, Harry Wilkinson,

Edward J. Dietzman, Harold P. Shelly, Jr., Carl H. Kellerman, Kenneth E. Cole, George R. Fish,

David E. Weidner, Harold Griest, Charles Hersch, Bright N. Heist.



EIGHTY-THIRD ANNUAL CONFERENCE

 ADJOURNED SESSION OF THE 83rd ANNUAL CONFERENCE

of the

BIBLE FELLOWSHIP CHURCH


Fourteenth Meeting

Saturday Morning, April 1, 1967


            The Meeting was opened with Carl C. Cassel directing the singing of "Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness" and Daniel G. Ziegler led in prayer.

            The devotional message of the morning was brought by District Superintendent and Chairman, T.D. Gehret, basing his remarks on I Corinthians 3:12 -18, and emphasizing the need of the hour as being a new encounter with Jesus Christ.

            The roll was called.

            Resolved, that we accept the alternate delegates and seat them in the Conference Bar.

            Resolved, that Frank L. Herb be excused from the morning session and William A. Heffner and H. Phares Mumbauer be excused for the day.


            Report of the Committee on Church Government:


             Whereas, the 83rd Annual Conference voted that we have only one District Superintendent beginning October, 1967, therefore,

            Resolved, that we request the Adjourned Session of the 83rd Annual Conference to consider the following enabling legislation:


I. Elections at Adjourned Session

            A Vice-District Superintendent ballot by the Annual Conference at among the active ordained ministers shall be elected annually by its Adjourned Session from

            In the event of a vacancy in the office of District Superintendent, he shall fulfill the unexpired term.

            A Vice -Chairman of Annual Conference shall be elected annually by ballot by the Annual Conference at its Adjourned Session from among the ordained ministers.


II. Composition of Boards and Committees

 We recommend the following necessary changes in the membership of Boards and Committees:

            Board of Directors - add - one layman

            Board of Foreign Missions - add - one minister

            Board of Church Extension - add - one minister

            Board of Directors of Berean - add - one minister

            Board of Victory Valley - add - one minister

            Board of Mizpah Grove - add - one layman

            Credentials Committee - add - one minister

            S. S. Promotion Committee - add - one minister


III. Local Conference


            Whereas, our transition to one District Superintendent makes it virtually impossible for him to fulfill the traditional visits to the Local Conferences, therefore,

            Each Congregation shall hold four stated Local Conferences each year. The Official Board shall establish the calendar of the four Local Conferences for each Church and shall inform the District Superintendent of the dates established by November I.

            The District Superintendent shall serve as Chairman of one local Conference on a date agreed upon between him and the Official Board.

            The Official Board may call upon the District Superintendent to serve as Chairman of Local Conferences other than regular stated meetings.

(C.E. Kirkwood, Chairman; Willard E. Cassel, Secretary; Carl C. Cassel, Richard H. Kline, Frank L. Herb, Jr., Jansen E. Hartman and John Il. Riggall, Committee)

            The report was adopted. The following were elected:

            District Superintendent: A. L. Seifert

Vice-District Superintendent: John Il. Riggall

            Director of Church Extension: Earl M. Hosler

            Chairman of the Annual Conference: A. L. Seifert

            Vice-Chairman of the Annual Conference: C. E. Kirkwood

            Secretary of Annual Conference: Ernest B. Hartman


            Report of the Board of Directors of Berean Bible School:


            On behalf of the Board of Directors of Berean Bible School, I submit the following item to the Adjourned Session of the 83rd Annual Conference meeting in Grace Church, Reading, Pa., on Saturday, April 1, 1967 for ratification:

            The election of Rev. Jansen E. Hartman as President of Berean Bible School for the term of June 30, 1967 to June 30, 1968. This action was taken by the Board in their regular meeting on Saturday, February 4, 1967.

                        Respectfully submitted,

                                    W. B. Hottel, Secretary


            The report was received and the action of the Board was ratified.

            John H. Riggall and Jansen E. Hartman gave oral reports of the progress of the Committee to Plan the Development of the Bible Fellowship Church Conference Center.

            Adjourned with prayer by C.E. Kirkwood.


Fifteenth Meeting

Saturday Afternoon, April 1, 1967


            The meeting was opened with prayer by Bruce A. Ellingson.

            The minutes of the previous meetingwere read and approved.

            The following were elected:

            Nominating Committee: Donald R. Knauer, C. E. Kirkwood, John H.Riggall, Daniel G. Ziegler, William Rapp, Robert W. Gehret, Harold W.Griest, Horace A. Kauffman.

            Report of the Board of Directors - Administrative Budget:


BIBLE FELLOWSHIP CHURCH

Board of Directors

            The budget to cover administration of the Bible Fellowship Church in the year starting with October 1967, is respectfully submitted for the consideration and approval of the 83rd Annual Conference, Reading, Pa., on April 1, 1967, as follows:


1. Publication and Printing

1,500.00

2. Conference Entertainment Expenses

 640.65

3. Beneficiary Fund

 800.00

4. District Superintendent:

 

(a) Annual Support

7,000.00

(b) Travel and Utility Grant

3,400.00

5. District Superintendent's Parsonage

5,215.35

6. Minister's Retirement Fund

4,000. 00

7. Moving Fund

3,200.00

8. Expenses for Boards and Committees while transacting Conference Business

800.00

9. Other Expenses of Board of Directors

290.00

10. Contingencies

500.00

11. Ministerial Convention Expenses

400.00

 

$27,746.00


            Subscriptions to the Budget for Administration for year 1967 - 68:

Allentown District

Allentown(Bethel)

$1,800

Allentown(Cedar Crest)

600

Catasauqua

372

Graterford

650

Harleysville

500

Harrisburg

775

Hatfield

1,280

Lancaster

380

Lebanon

330

Mt. Carmel

660

Lehighton

384

Nazareth

540

Paradise

360

Reading

1,920

Royersford

500

Shamokin

480

Spring City

600

Sunbury

1,200

York

850

Sinking Spring

215

 

$14,396


Bethlehem District

Allentown (Salem)

$350

Bethlehem

2,160

Blandon

500

Coopersburg

800

Denville

300

Easton

660

Emmaus

1,500

Fleetwood

900

Maple Glen

840

Phila. (Calvary)

500

Phila. (Emmanuel)

368

Quakertown

1,105

Scranton

450

Staten Island

300

Stroudsburg

252

Terre Hill

1,020

Wallingford

1,000

Zionsville

345

 

$13,350

                                    Total $ 27,746. 00

            The Budget was adopted.

            Returned Missionaries, Fred Venable of Nigeria, Austin Shelly of Venezuela and Timothy Kauffman of France gave a few words of greetings.

            The Sunday School Promotion Committee Report was presented.

            Resolved, that we recommit this report to this Committee for revision to include a doctrinal statement of our beliefs.


            Report of the Bethlehem District Camp:

            Chairman: Frank L. Herb, Jr.

            Recording Secretary: Willard E. Cassel

            Financial Secretary: Harvey J. Fritz, Jr.

                        Willard E. Cassel, Secretary


            Report of the Allentown District Camp:

            Chairman: John H. Riggall

            Recording Secretary: N.H. Wolf

            Financial Secretary: James G. Koch

                        David J. W atkins, Secretary


            Report of the Committee on Church Forms;

            (For presentation to Adjourned Session as per directive on page 49 of the 1966 Year Book).


APPLICATION FOR CHURCH MEMBERSHIP

Bible Fellowship Church

 

Name                                      Date                                        Phone

 

Address                                                Zip Code


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

            This questionnaire is to provide information in preparation for your interview with the Membership Committee. (If additional space is required for your answers, please use the reverse side).

            Kindly return the completed form to the pastor.

            SALVATION: Have you accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour from sin? When? Where? On the reverse side, please write a resume’ of your conversion experience.

            BAPTISM: Have you been baptized by immersion upon your confession in Christ? When? Where?

            DOCTRINE: Are you in agreement with the FAITH AND ORDER OF THE BIBLE FELLOWSHIP CHURCH ? Yes No

            CHRISTIAN LIFE: We, of the Bible Fellowship Church, "look with deep concern on the great increase of potentially harmful amusements and lift up a solemn note of warning against theater going , indecent literature, dancing,.and such games of chance as are frequently associated with gambling, and the indiscriminate use of television. "

            Therefore, will you by public example and personal devotion, seek to live a Christian life that will bring honor to the Lord?

            Please check (X) any of the following if you: use or deal in ( )tobacco ( )intoxicating beverages ( )narcotics; belong to ( ) secret oath-bound societies; have been ( )divorced.

            CHURCH ACTIVITY: It is my earnest purpose as a member of this church to aid in every way I can the successful carrying out of its program. To this end:

            1. I shall pray regularly for the blessing of the Lord upon this church and its ministry.

 Yes No

2. I shall make it my practice to attend regularly the services I have checked: ( )Morning Worship ( )Evening Service ( )Sunday School )Prayer Meeting

3. I shall give regularly and proportionately to the financial program of our church work.

 Yes No

            MEMBERSHIP: If your membership is currently in another church, please give the name and address of that church.

GENERAL INFORMATION


this church and its ministry.

 

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:

            The report was not adopted.

            Resolved, that a committee of five pastors be elected to study and prepare a paper on Church Membership to be presented at the Annual Conference 1968.

            The following we re elected: Frank L. Herb, Jr., C. E. Kirkwood, James G. Koch, David J. Watkins, Daniel G. Ziegler.

            Adjourned with prayer by District Superintendent A. L. Seifert, at 5:00 p.m.