Archive for the ‘Elder’ Category

Ecclesiology: the Rule of Elders

June 9, 2011

How do Scriptures describe the role of elders? There are many aspects. One on which I’ll focus in this post relates to their role as overseers and rulers. This seems to be a challenging part of the Scriptures for those living in Western democracies, in which rule of society tends to be (at least in theory) populist.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Hebrews 13:24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

1 Timothy 3:4-5 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

Romans 12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Titus 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

Cf. 1 Timothy 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

There is an important caveat:

Mark 10:42-45
But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

That caveat is important. It should prevent the rulers of the church from overstepping their bounds and becoming like Rome’s hierarchy. Nevertheless, even the caveat notes that there will be leaders in the church. Christ’s leadership of the church provides a moral example for those leaders. That example is not fulfilled through a pastor ceremonially washing the feet of his sub-rulers (as Rome’s bishop does), but through rendering practical assistance, comfort, and encouragement. In understanding that his role as shepherd involves authority over the sheep, but has as its purpose the benefit of the sheep.

-TurretinFan

Advertisements

No Women Pastors

July 28, 2009

It is crystal clear in Scripture that pastors must be men. It is totally unequivocal. Yet we still hear folks attempting to get around this:

1) Objection: The Scriptures are Culturally Conditioned

The reason given for women not teaching in the church goes back to the garden of Eden. That’s not something culturally conditioned.

2) Objection: What if the woman is really edifying?

Given that Scripture clearly prohibits it, the answer is still “no,” even if the woman is the best preacher since Spurgeon or Whitfield. We don’t break God’s commands because we think it’s practical.

If one would permit one’s wife or daughter to be a preacher on that ground, one might as well permit one’s wife or daughter to be a harlot on the ground that it will permit her to evangelize more men that desperately need it. Surely there are few folks with consciences so seared that think that an acceptable mode of proceeding. The only reason then that people find Objection 2 persuasive is because they don’t take God’s prohibition on women pastors as seriously as they take the 7th commandment.

3) Objection: Not enough Bible verses say it!

How many times does God have to tell you something for you to believe it? All the objections are bad, but this one has to be the worst.

-TurretinFan

Respect Old People

October 14, 2008

It is not just common courtesy, it is part of every human’s obligation under the fifth commandment.

Leviticus 19:32 Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.

The phrase “hoary head” is essentially the concept of a head covered by frost – i.e. a head with white or gray hair. The concept of “rise up before” means to stand when they enter the room, which was a sign of respect in those times – and continues to be a sign of respect in many places even to the present day. Likewise, to honor the face of the old man means to be respectful and to show that respect.

The “Western” societies all too often forget about this command. Increasingly, the old are disrespected and even disdained. This is contrary to the law of God. As Christians, we are called to show respect for the elderly and to honor them. This is a general relation between the young and old, which (like the distinction between the sexes) has a heightened emphasis within the family unit. One’s elderly father or mother is especially to be honored, just as a woman is to show a particular respect to her own husband. The same goes for children and adults. Children are to be deferential to adults, but they show a particular degree of deference to their own parents.

Finally, let me provide a reminder to any of my readers who happen to be old:

Proverbs 16:31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.

May I encourage you so to be found!

-TurretinFan

One order of Elder: Two (main) Offices Therein

January 18, 2008

These days, when most ruling elders have a part-time vocation (to that post, and a full time “secular” vocation) and most teaching elders are full-time, it is easy for people to begin to give greater authority to “the preacher.” It is easy for this to happen, but it ought not.

Consider these words that I recently happened to stumble across: “both the gospel minister and the ruling elder are the biblical presbyter, and that these are distinguishable offices within one order” (link).

There are distinguishable, yes, and yet of equal dignity. Read the article at the link for more info.

-Turretinfan


%d bloggers like this: