Tim Challies: It is tragic but undeniable: There are many, many people in positions of church leadership who should not be in positions of church leadership. There are many pastors who should not be pastors, many elders who have no business being elders. This is not a new problem. In the pages of the New Testament both Paul and Peter labor to describe the man who is qualified to the office of elder. It is noteworthy that almost all of these qualifications are related to character. Where we are drawn to outward skill, God cares far more for inward character. There are millions of men who are great teachers and great leaders and great C.E.O.’s, but still completely unsuited to leadership in the church. God’s standards are very, very different. In the book of Titus, Paul writes to a young man and charges him to appoint elders in every church in Crete. He tells him what kind of man to look
How Do You Know If You’re Qualified to Serve As an Elder?
What does it mean to be elder-qualified? Jeramie Rinne answers that question with six statements in Church Elders: How to Shepherd God’s People Like Jesus (9Marks; Wheaton: Crossway, 2014), 19–29. You know you’re qualified to serve as an elder if . . . You want to be an elder. You exemplify godly character. You can teach the Bible. You lead your family well. You are male. You are an established believer. Rinne unpacks each statement in his short, well-reasoned book. (HT: Andy Naselli)
Membership in the Local Church: a neglected text
Sam Storms: A couple of years ago, following a rigorous and careful study of the Scriptures, we implemented formal church membership here at Bridgeway. One of the biblical texts that moved us in that direction was the reference to the people in the local church as being in the “charge” of the Elders (1 Peter 5:3). Some may translate this as “those allotted to you,” or those for whom you bear responsibility. In my opinion, there’s no way to escape the fact that this exhortation to Elders implies some expression of formal membership in the local church. Of course Elders can and should extend their love to anyone and everyone, within the limits of their ability. But the question is whether the Bible tells Elders that they are to have a special responsibility and care for a certain group, a group of covenant members. Consider Acts 20:28 where Paul tells the Elders how to care for their flock. “Pay careful
The Elder’s Qualifications
What should elders be like? Outside of the Bible, you’d be hard pressed to find a better, sweeter, more uplifting explanation than the one given by David Dickson The Elder and His Work. Chew on these words. Be encouraged. Be challenged. Be inspired. Pray for grace. ******* 1. The office and work being spiritual, it is necessary that elders should be spiritual men. It is not necessary that they be men of great gifts or worldly position, of wealth or high education, but it is indispensably necessary that they be men of God, at peace with Him, new creatures in Christ Jesus; engaged in the embassy of reconciliation, they must be themselves reconciled. We must love the Master, and the work for the Master’s sake. If we do love it, it will be a happy service because it is a willing service. And as our souls prosper, our work will prosper; the joy of the Lord will be our strength… 2. We
The Difference between a Theologian of the Cross and a Theologian of [Power] Glory
Justin Taylor posts: Carl Trueman on “the most glorious contribution of Martin Luther to theological discourse,” first revealed in Heidelberg during a meeting in 1518: At the heart of this new theology was the notion that God reveals himself under his opposite; or, to express this another way, God achieves his intended purposes by doing the exact opposite of that which humans might expect. The supreme example of this is the cross itself: God triumphs over sin and evil by allowing sin and evil to triumph (apparently) over him. His real strength is demonstrated through apparent weakness. This was the way a theologian of the cross thought about God. The opposite to this was the theologian of glory. In simple terms, the theologian of glory assumed that there was basic continuity between the way the world is and the way God is: if strength is demonstrated through raw power on earth, then God’s strength must be the same, only extended to
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What Does Your Church’s Statement of Faith Protect?
Excellent stuff from Thabiti Anyabwile: 1. The Teaching Authority of the Elders. What keeps the elders and members from descending into theological deadlocks, each proclaiming, “Well, I think it means this” or “To me it means that”? A healthy statement of faith summarizes the church’s position on key doctrinal subjects. That standard helps to raise theological conversation and teaching above the subjective preferences of individuals and anchors the teaching of the the church in the Scripture itself. One could say, “The Bible alone is our authority,” and that would be correct, but it wouldn’t really resolve the problem of subjective interpretation of key biblical issues. I mean, what are we arguing about? Isn’t it “What does the Bible teach?” So appeals to “The Bible says” can become inadequate for resolving theological conflicts. Statements of faith are not perfect and certainly do not possess any authority greater than the Bible, but they can go a long way in helping to the church
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Alexander Strauch on Biblical Eldership
“Most important, biblical eldership guards and promotes the preeminence and position of Christ over the local Church. Jesus left His disciples with the precious promise that “‘where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst’” (Matt. 18:20). Because the apostles knew that Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit, was uniquely present with them as Ruler, Head, Lord, Pastor, Master, Overseer, High Priest, and King, they chose a form of government that reflected this distinctive, fundamental, Christian truth. This concept was no theoretical idea to the early Christians–it was reality. The first churches were truly Christ-centered, Christ dependent churches. Christ alone provided all they needed to be in full fellowship with God and one another. Christ’s person and work was so infinitely great, final, and complete that nothing–even in appearance–was to diminish the centrality of His presence among and sufficiency for His people. So in the first century, no Christian would dare take the