The church I grew up in was in California. My dad attended Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Essentially all Korean Baptist churches in California are members of the Southern Baptist Convention, which, as I mentioned before doesn’t formally recognize elders. Dunno how it is with other ethnicities. I was desperately trying to find statistics on the web. But all I can find is that the Southern Baptist convention is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, and they have very healthy numbers in California. (Side note. There are at least 6 Korean Southern Baptist churches in San Jose.) I’d wager (but I can’t back it up) that most Baptists in California are Southern Baptists.

You can of course bring up exceptions, but they clearly are exceptions. The links you provide all indicate so. Even saying that there are many new churches in California are doing it indicates #1) it’s a minority (not most, just many), and #2) it’s a phenomenon limited to new churches. Both things put it in the minority. Because that’s what it is.

It’s not just limited to Southern Baptists. Here’s the American Baptist Association’s statement of belief. Note point 19. No elders.

I wish I could post more, because looking for stuff, a frequent comment is how strongly congregational Baptists are.

Anyway, I’m a broken record. But yeah, there’s absolutely no reason to believe that an elder-structured church is typical of Baptist churches, even in California, whereas there is significant reason to believe otherwise. Every example you pointed out showed that Baptist churches with elders are a minority and are arguing their point to everyone else. Burleson even calls the idea “alien to traditional Southern Baptist polity”.

But yeah, I don’t think I can convince you, and it doesn’t really matter. Maybe I should have just said this. I grew up in a Baptist church in San Jose. Attended since I was about 5 right up until college. And one of the biggest contrasts I found with the Presbyterian church I’ve attended for the last 7 years has been church government. That’s without question one of the biggest differences. I’ll just leave it at that.

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