Home > Self-referential > Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church

Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church

Someone from PRBC was kind enough to contact me with some clarifications and corrections. Here’s the promised follow-up:

I wrote earlier [link]

I was a bit disturbed to note that the parking lot only had room for 12-15 cars, and the building seemed quite small, so I was concerned that PRBC was some sort of separatist group, single-extended-family church or even a cult.

The church property extends along 12th from Indianola to Clarendon and the lot on Indianola is complemented by a comparable amount of parking on the Clarendon side. We parked on the street, off church property; I’d guess with overflow there’s parking for maybe 50 cars. I’d refer kind readers to the original post for context for the “even a cult” part.

The person who contacted me was kind enough to let me know that the church property is paid for. My congratulations to PRBC for that; I wish all churches were debt-free.

Second, in the earlier post I wrote

since he is an elder at PRBC and occasionally preaches but isn’t so far as I know ordained or paid by the church.

The person who contacted me was kind enough to tell me that James White “has a regular preaching schedule, is ordained, and is paid by the church.”

Pastor: Donald Fry

For reference sake the church’s website [link] mentions in its frame header that both Fry and White are elders. So far as I’ve seen it doesn’t elaborate on what this means, and casual readers may be confused as a result. It mentions [link] that the New Testament mentions both deacons and elders, and that in RB churches they are distinct offices. If there are any deacons at PRBC I can’t find them on the website. Nor can I find any language to suggest that elders are ordained and paid.

I haven’t been able to find a constitution, by-laws, indication of an affiliation with an association, etc. I’d appreciate any and all assistance here.

To my knowledge in the churches I’ve attended deacons and elders are rarely paid, and they aren’t ordained. I’ve seen the occasional Brethren church that just has elders, with a position of “teaching elder” that is an unpaid rotating position, but I rarely see any other churches where elders preach. I’m accustomed to “pastors preach, elders teach” distinctions, where pastors are professionals and elders are amateurs, for lack of a better word, and elders teach Sunday School or Bible studies but never step behind the pulpit. This strikes me as a situation where Scripture says something, different groups interpret it differently, and there’s plenty of discussion as a result.

Anyway, for the record PRBC apparently has one elder who is also a pastor and one who is not; both preach regularly and both are paid.

  1. December 2, 2010 at 12:14 pm


    I’m trying to understand your point in the above post. All you seem to be doing is comparing what you have experienced to how you think PRBC operates. You also said you can’t find a constitution and by-laws. Well, the url you gave (http://www.prbc.org/ReformedBaptist.htm) has a link right on the top right that says “Constitution.”

    I am a deacon in an SBC church and have been ordained as such. There are churches that have paid elders, paid and non-paid, and non-paid. There is not just one structure across the board. Also, it is not just RB church that have elders and deacons.

    One last issue, PRBC did have three elders, but one went to be with the Lord. That elder has not yet been replaced.

    • December 2, 2010 at 7:55 pm

      Mark —

      Thanks much for stopping by and for taking time to look at this issue. You’re right: there is a constitution at the link you mention above.

      Thanks for the update on PRBC elders.

      My reading of the PRBC constitution suggests to me that the pastor is an elder (Section 2 Pastors A(1) Eldership: “Among the Elders are those whom we call Pastors.”) As far as I can tell there’s no mention of paid elders apart from the pastor; at least, that’s what I understand “These are set apart for prayer and the study of the Word, and should, as far as is possible, be adequately maintained in material necessities, so as to be disentangled from the cares of a secular calling.” to mean.

      A couple of minor points: I still can’t find anything in the constitution to suggest that elders apart from the pastor(s) are either paid or ordained.

      Thanks again.

      I think my questions about this arose as a result of Peter Lumpkins’s long blog post


      which if you can overlook the high rhetorical tone asks questions about White’s accountability as one of two elders. The question about whether he was paid by the church was a secondary concern.

  2. SirBrass
    December 2, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Dear sir,

    You have mentioned in this article that,

    “I haven’t been able to find a constitution, by-laws, indication of an affiliation with an association, etc. I’d appreciate any and all assistance here.”

    For all the time it must have taken to write this post, I am appalled that you were not able to find what you were looking for on the PRBC website. On the website is clearly a link which says “What we believe.” Following this link you are taken to a page which clearly has links to both the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith (for those who do not know, this confession is to Reformed Baptists as the Westminster Confession is to Presbyterians, aka wide spread and universal), and the church constitution.

    PRBC has a deacon, who, if you had arrived earlier than less than five minutes before the service, would have had time to notice a new face and extend a polite and friendly right hand of fellowship.

    Have a good sir.

    • December 2, 2010 at 7:56 pm

      Thanks much. I’ll look forward to visiting again and arriving early enough to meet a deacon. We sort of got sidelined by the fire engines and missed the bulletin and the deacon too.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: