Council of Brethren Elders – First Annual Meeting
Council of Brethren Elders – First Annual Meeting – August 8, 2015
From notes taken at the meeting
Held at Hades Church of the Brethren meeting house – Falling Spring congregation
Attendance approximately – 65 adults plus several children
Most attendees were people of the 50+ age group of men and women
Song leader – Tim Lehman
Songs sung from 1901 Brethren Hymnal –
335 – How Firm a Foundation
189 – At the Saviors Right Hand
21 – Great God
404 – Trust and Obey
Moderator – Kenneth Nell
Welcome to the first annual meeting of the CBE
In one sense, this is new. In another sense it is not new. It is God’s design for elders to be in leadership over the local and broader church. The New Testament establishes the design. This worked well for nearly 200 years in the CoB until about 1920 when it changed its approach.
There are some people from Maine who are listening in by phone this evening.
There are 7 congregations represented here this evening.
I call us to worship as we begin this meeting.
Opening and prayer – Paul Shirk
Reading from Matt. 16:13-18
Like the context of this passage, this is a time of confusion and conflict in the church and in the world where there are many voices saying different things. We need steadfastness to the truth that can be learned from the character of Jesus. Steadfastness is not produced by man’s reasoning, but by God’s heart conviction. This heavenly impression produced Peter’s confession. We need this kind of heart conviction. The rock in this passage is Christ. Peter is a little piece of that rock. Leaders are to be stones patterned after the Stone which is Christ. The Rock represents Christ like character – Leaders are to have that firm rock-like character which comes from Christ.
Ezekiel 3:7-9 – the Rock is truth – our steadfastness to truth must be harder than the surrounding rebellion against the truth. Christ and The Word of God is the only rock-like foundation. To build on that Rock we must not only believe the truth, but also obey it. Christ is the builder of the Church – Christ will only build the Church on His own foundation, and will not build on ours.
The gates of hell represent opposition to truth. They also represent God’s territory that has been usurped by Satan. Jesus’ promise is that Church can re-take and rightfully claim that territory and the defenses of the gates of hell will be ineffective against the truth. God’s truth will prevail as we are faithful to it.
Ministry Training Report – Joel Sollenberger
We purpose to provide sound ministry training materials and to help congregations train ministers for ordination as new leaders.
We appealed to the district for them to accept credit for Council of Brethren Elders classes. That approval for credit was denied by the district.
CBE has chosen to stay their course of beginning the CBE.
Each new minister should work with his congregation’s plan.
We will allow district courses but want ministers to beware of potential dangers in taking those courses.
CBE will offer classes (one per year for four years) plus Brethren Bible Institute classes are accepted for ordination in the CBE.
It is time for courage for we believe God will reward the faithful.
Statistics for the recent classes
The class was Introduction to Pastoral Care
The class consisted of 5 sessions, 3 hours long at Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren congregation
Frank Reed was the instructor –the classes were well received and appreciated – much was learned by the students.
There were 77 registered students.
There were 6 who took the class by phone.
There were 6 recently called ministers.
There were 17 taking the class for CoB CEU’s.
There were 26 who had perfect attendance of all five sessions.
There were 46 who attended 4 or 5 sessions.
There were 9 Dunkard Brethren, New Conference German Baptist, Independent Brethren, etc.
There were 5 Mennonite students.
Next class is planned to begin February 2016 on Interpreting the Bible.
The instructor will be Paul Shirk.
Message – Garnet Myers – 7:40-8:20
Text – Ephesians 4 –Unifying Around the Truth (he used many scripture verses)
There are many conflicting voices in the world and the church today.
I. Understanding what is truth
What is truth?
John 18:36 There are two kingdoms
John 17:17 – Thy word is truth
John 14 – I am the way the truth and the life
Christ on trial – No fault found in Him
I Tim. 3:16 – The church is the pillar and ground of the truth
You need to know: what, why you believe
II. Unwavering stand on the truth
II Tim. 2:19 – Lord knows them who are His
The Brethren Card – Biblical in belief and Scriptural in practice. The Word of God does not change.
Isaiah 40 – the Word of God stands forever.
Eph. 4:12 – We should be no more children tossed and about by every wind of doctrine.
False teachers are wolves who enter the flock. We need to guard who teaches and preaches in our churches.
Pro. 23:23 – Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
The 3 Hebrew children took a stand for truth.
Do not be ashamed to confess Christ or He will be ashamed of you.
III. Unfailing in our defense of the truth
Jude took a stand to defend the truth.
Paul set for defense of the gospel. Do not get weary in well doing.
Adam accepted Satan’s temptation – “Did God say…?” what did God mean?
Adam did not accept God’s truth. He sinned.
Some hold the truth in unrighteousness. Wrath of God revealed from Heaven against those who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
II Tim 4:4 – Truth or fables, Eph. 4:8 Christ gave gifts to men.
Eli and Samuel – Word of God was precious in those days. It is precious and scarce today also.
Apostles were ignorant and unlearned men but had the power of God.
Sola scripture – the battle for truth intensified in the Reformation – Scripture alone.
IV. Unifying together around the truth
We need to bring Brethren together who will not compromise on truth.
We need to rally Brethren around the elder leadership.
Nehemiah and revival resisted much opposition to the revival.
‘Members of the Church are spokes on the wheel – Christ is the hub of the wheel’
Acts 15 – Church get together to make decisions – come together in counsel.
Eph. 4 – There are 7 doctrinal unities – The CBE stabilizes on these doctrines.
Ps. 133 – dwell together in unity – aroma of precious ointment is the result.
John 13:35 – love one TO another not just with another.
We need to stand against the gates of hell.
Unity cannot be worked up by man – unity must be brought down by God.
John 8:32 – The truth shall make you free.
Melvin Hade – closing comments and prayer
What have we established?
What truth is not? It is not found in many voices. It is only found in the Word of God.
Truth is the Holy Spirit and Christ and God and His Word.
What are you standing for?
What are you standing on?
What is you house built upon?
Why is truth important?
I Tim. 4:16 – Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.