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The Constitution of Churches
The Tennessee Baptist, 1860
By J. M. Pendleton
      A brother at a distance wishes to know how many ministers are necessary to constitute a church?

      I hesitate not to say that when only one minister is present at the organization of a church, the organization is as valid as if there were twenty ministers in attendance. When a missionary goes forth to a heathen land, preaches the Word of the Lord, and is instrumental in the conversion of souls - has he not the right to baptize the converts? Certainly. - When they are baptized, is it not his duty to see that they are constituted a church? Unquestionably. This is required of him even if there be no other minister within a thousand miles. If there is nothing wrong in all this in a heathen land, is it wrong in our country? Principles are the same in all climes. Still, I say that where more ministers than one can be had at the constitution of a church, it is desirable and proper to have them. So I would say of the ordination of ministers and deacons. Titus was left in Crete to ordain Elders in every city. There is no intimation that any one was to aid him. The matter, I think, stands thus: When practicable, there ought to be a plurality of ministers at church constitutions, ordinations, &c.; but the absence of a plurality does not invalidate the constitution or ordination. If any brother thinks otherwise, he is at liberty to show that I am wrong.


[From the Tennessee Baptist, February 18, 1860, p. 2. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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