RULES OF DECORUM
We the Old School Baptist Church of Christ in the city of Wilmington, Delaware do
reaffirm and establish this to be our covenant with God and each other on how the
temporal affairs of our church should be conducted, believing all actions of the
church should be in decency and in order. We acknoledge the Holy Writ to be the
final authority on all scriptural and procedural matters, however for the sake of
understanding, establish this to be our rule of church order.
We claim to be and are the Wilmington Old School Baptist Church, New Castle
County, Delaware and have through baptism been admitted to the Lord's table and
are the proper successors of the congregation which established the First Baptist
Church in the Borough of Wilmington, New Castle County Delaware on the 8th day
of October in the year of our Lord 1785.
We purpose to maintain ourselves as a church of Jesus Christ, founded in regular
order and established upon principles laid down by Jesus Christ and his Apostles.
We feel it necessary to establish and publish and make available to each member
of the church basic principles which we feel to have been ordainded by God.
We feel is necessary to meet one with aonother for the purpose of worshiping the
most high God and for fellowship one with another. We feel that is necessary to
meet at least once per month for this purpose and more often if convinent for the
majority of members after having been decided on in regular meeting.
We believe we ought to remember the Lord's passion by taking the bread and the
wine in rememberance quarterly, the time of which shall be left to the discretion of
the members and availability of proper administrator.
We believe that church meetings should be conducted by singing, prayer and
preaching, the manner of which shall be left to the discretion of the members.
WE believe it necessary to hold regular conference or business meetings, at least
quarterly. The time of which should be regularly announced and published to all
members. Additional sessions may be held at the call of one third of the membership
after giving notice of at least two weeks to the church at a regular meeting.
We believe it proper to open and close business sessions with prayer.
We believe is proper, that all members should have the right of freely expressing
their opinion on matters under consideration, as long as they do not cast disparaging
remarks on other members or personnel speaking to the church, without proof of err
on the member about whom the remark was made or addressed.
We believe that each member ought to contribute such sums to the church as
they think proper. Such sums then will be deposited with a treasurer who shall be
liable for accounting with all monies deposited with him. Such funds on account with
the treasurer may be called for by a majority of the members present at regular
meeting to pay such obligations as the church may enter in.
We believe that the church should have at least one deacon, who shall be chosen
from the male members of the church as being one described by the Apostle Paul.
The membership should feel free to chose more than one deacon if the majority of
the members should deem expediant. Deacons thus called and duly ordained shall
serve the duration of their natural lives.
We believe in necessary to have a clerk, to record the actions of the church is a
book purchased for that purpose. That record shall be presented to any individual
member who should desire to see the record, or shall be brought to the regular
conference for examination at the call of three or more of the members. We believe
that the clerk should serve at the pleasure of the church and of theirself.
We believe that the church should have a pastor, who should be duly ordained
Elder, meeting the qualifications sepcified by the Apostle Paul, who should be called
to serve for terms of one year or longer at the discretion of the membership. The
pastor will be liable for removal.
We believe that the church should elect a sexton annually for maintainace of the
church property, for which the sexton should be paid out of the church treasury.
Unusuall maintinance shall be done collectively or contracted for and paid for by
contribution or payment from the treasury, at the discretion of the majority of the
We believe a Board of Trustees, as was organized in 1913 should be continued, and
that they should oversee matters of the church's physical property. We believe that
the trustees should be members or friends of the church. We reserve the right to
replace members of the Board of Trustees with persons we feel will defend our
property rights in the temporal world.
We reserve the right to determine our membership. We believe it according to
Holy Writ to accept membership by baptism by total immersion by a qualified
administrator. We are willing to accept members by letter from another church of
like faith and discipline, having been dismissed by their original church by favorable
letter of recommendation. We are willing to accept members by relation of faith who
were at one time members of churches of our faith and order, but which churches
have been abandoned or dissolved or become inactive or which have departed from
the faith once delivered tot he saints.
Persons presenting themselves for membership shall be voted on by the members
of the church persent at the meeting at which they petition for membership. Should
the members fail to receive the person by unanimous vote, the person shall be placed
under the watchcare of the church for a period not to exceed 6 months at which
time another vote shall be taken. Members opposing admission of new members shall
be required to give their reason, which shall be investigated by the church. Members
shall not be admitted who reject our article of faith or principles.
Dismission of members shall be done by letter, with a vote on whether or not to
give a favorable recommendation to a sister church of like faith and order. Persons
to whom favorable recommendation is given should have been an active participant in
church activities, unless hindered by health or distance.
Church discipline is matter we believe to be of grave importance. We believe
that the church has the right to discipline its members in ways the majority of the
membership shall deem appropriate. We know that members are often hindered from
attendance of church services, however we believe it the duty of each to inform
members whom they believe will be present of the reason for their absense. Total
lack of communication with the church for a period of 3 months is an offense against
the church. If a member so absents himself, the church shall have the right to inquire
into reasons for such an absense. If a member does not give a reasonable explanation
of their absence they will be suspended from the right of admittance tot he Lord's
table and will full under the censure of the church. If a member remains absent for
six months without proper excuse, they will be excommunicated. If there be rumors
of character of any member, it is the duty of the church to investigate the
allegations. If the allegations are substantiated the member is liable for censure or
excommunication at the discretion of the membership. If the church shall vote more
than 50% guilty, but less than two-thirds, the member shall be censured and placed
under the watch care of the church. If two-thirds of the church member not guilty,
the member so accused, shall be excommunicated. A member so dealt with may
petition to be restored to his former estate within the church, by acknowledgement
of error and belief by the church that he has a penitent heart. A member may be
restored to his seat if new evidence comes to light which disproves allegations
previously made. If the church has erred in its opinion, the church shall make
acknowledgement to the individual who was accused. Individual offenses against one
another will not be dealt with unless the instructions in Matthew 18 have been
followed. No person shall be accussed of heresy unless they have publically advocated
doctrine we consider to be unsound. We realize that there are differences of opinion
and interpretation and feel that each should feel at liberty to come to their own
conclusions, but not to disturb the peace of the church with doctrine the majority
consider to be unscriptural. Individuals shall have the right to present their case,
therefore no action will be taken without notification of the accussed of their right
to present their case, Notice of trail shall be made at regular meeting and shall be
adjudicated at the next regular conference.
We believe we are obligated that we ought to bear one anothers burdens. That
we ought to maintain ourselves in Godly communications and that it is our duty to
strive for peace among God's children.
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