Elders.Shepherds.Pastor-Teachers

Elders Cast out Sophists: speakers, singers, instrument players so that they might FEED the flock with the WORD which is SPIRIT and LIFE. This paper was written and presented about 30 years ago and needs some serious fixing.


             CONTENTS

Introduction................................................
What is the Eldership..................................
    A synoptic approach..................................
    Models of Eldership...................................
    Not Corporate Leadership..........................
    Not real estate management......................
    Not financial management.......................
    How to Determine the meaning.................
        The literal shepherd................................
        A false model of the shepherd..................
        False flocks seek false shepherds............
        God the Model and Originator.................
        Modelled by Jesus....................................
        Modelled by Paul......................................
The Elder and the Great Commission.....
    Early Post-Apostolic bishop.................
    Modelled by early schools.....................
    Education in early cultures.................
    Modelled by Hebrew education..............
    God taught as model...............................
        Result of failed institutions.................
        Parents must be trained.........................
        Nature of Law demanded education.......
The Office of elder........................................
    Definition of office....................................
    Argument for office...................................
    Argument against office............................
    Character of the work...............................
    Is the eldership permanent.......................
Qualifications for eldership.......................
    Comparison of qualifications..................
    Committment..............................................
    Character.....................................................
        Without reproach.......................................
        Not a drug user...........................................
        Positive mental and emotional qualities.
        Orderly...................................
        Gentle.....................................
        Hospitable..............................
        Just.........................................
        Free from negative mental and emotional qualities..
        Not contentions or given to strife......
        Not mentally or physically abusive.
        Not easily angered..............................
        Not Materialistic...................................
        Experienced............................................
        Not a novice..........................................
    Exhibits Spiritual qualities..................
        Holy..................................................
         Lover of good....................................
        Holding to the faith..........................
    Situational qualifications................
        Must be a man..................................
        Husband of one wife.........................
        In charge of own household.............
        Children in subjection.....................
        Believing and orderly children....... CLICK FOR NEW ADDED NOTES
            Must there be plural children........
    Capabilities........................................
        Under obligation to teach................
        Competent to teach..........................
            Reasons for the demand.................
            His attitude toward Scripture........
            His understanding of Scripture.....
Self-test for elders...............................
    Qualifications of Timothy.................
    First John..........................................
Duties of the Eldership...........................
    Not Corporate Leadership....................
        Wrong model........................................
        Biblical model.....................................
    Not financial or real estate management
    Determing the duties.................................
        Based on titles.(work descriptors)...........
            Steward...................................................
            Pastor or shepherd..(Pastor-teacher)....

Paul outlaws Unity in Diversity: Job one for Pastor Teachers are to silence either male nor female Paul silenced so that "All might be SAFE and come to a knowledge of the Truth or the Word, Logos or regulative Principle.

Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, 
        and carried about with every wind of doctrine,
        by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness
whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

-Fluctuo fluctus, to move in the manner of waves, i. e. to wave, rise in waves, undulate, to move to and fro, be driven hither and thither
I. Trop., to be restless, unquiet, uncertain, doubtful; to rage, swell; to waver, hesitate, vacillate, fluctuate,  Oratio II. In partic., formal language, artificial discourse,  Ciro like  the string on a bow or a  harp.
-Oratio E. A prayer, an address to the Deity (eccl. Lat.): “respice ad orationem servi tui,Vulg. 3 Reg. 8, 28: “per orationes Dominum rogantes,id. 2 Macc. 10, 16: “pernoctans in oratione Dei,id. Luc. 6, 12.—Also absol., prayer, the habit or practice of prayer: “perseverantes in oratione,Vulg. Act. 1, 14: “orationi instate,id. Col. 4, 2; cf. Gell. 13, 22, 1.

-cĭto . To put into quick motion, to move or drive violently or rapidly, to hurl, shake, rouse, excite, provoke, incite, stimulate, promote,
        by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Panourgia (g3834) pan-oorg-ee'-ah; from 3835; adroitness, i.e. (in a bad sense) trickery or sophistry: - (cunning) craftiness, subtilty.

-Panourg-êma  A. knavish trick, villainy, S.El.1387 (lyr.), LXX Si.1.6 (v.l.); sophistry, Gal.5.251; cf. panourgeuma.
-Sophia A. cleverness or skill in handicraft and art, as in carpentry, tektonos, hos rha te pasēs eu eidē s. Il.15.412; of the Telchines, Pi.O.7.53; entekhnos s., of Hephaestus and Athena, Pl.Prt.32 1d; of Daedalus and Palamedes, X.Mem.4.2.33, cf. 1.4.2; in music and singing, tekhnē kai s. h.Merc.483, cf. 511; in poetry, Sol.13.52, Pi.O.1.117
-Panourg-os A. ready to do anything, wicked, knavish, b. panourgôs kataskeuazesthai to be adulterated, 3. of animals, as the fox,  E.Alc.766, {wine, music, funeral} Sophos, Hypokritikos

UNIVERSALLY UNDERSTOOD BY THE ANCIENTS:
-Eur. Alc. 766 Then taking an ivy-wood drinking-bowl in his hands and drinking unmixed wine, offspring of the dark grape, until the fire in it enveloped and warmed his heart, he garlanded his head with sprays of myrtle [760] and howled songs out of tune. There were two sorts of melody one could hear.
        He
was singing, paying no attention to the trouble in Admetus' house,
        while we servants were bewailing our mistress. But we did not show our faces in tears to the stranger, for those were Admetus' orders. [765] And now I must feast the stranger in our house, some knavish thief or brigand, while my mistress has left the house without my following or holding out my hand in mourning for her. She was like a mother to me and to the other servants,
Proverbs 21.[11] When the mocker is punished, the simple gains wisdom; When the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.
they lie in wait to deceive;

-Hupokritikos skilled, having a good delivery, the actors part, pretending

-[1384] Behold how Ares stalks onward, 1385] breathing bloody vengeance that is hard to oppose. Just now have the hunters of wicked crimes [Panourgema] passed beneath that roof there, the hounds which none may flee. And so not long shall 1390] the vision of my soul hang in suspense.

WHY ARES STALKS: Theatrical performers creep in using a "womanish" approach

"a gradual and regular advance. -pronemesthai is lit. ‘to go forward in grazing.’ The midd. occurs only here; nor is the act. found in a strictly parallel sense, as meaning to encroach on a neighbour's pastures, here: ‘the limit of a woman's belief (too lightly won) quickly oversteps the border’ (between fact and fiction).

Campbell suggests that the image in “pronemetai” is from fire ‘eating its way’ forward, and compares Her. 5. 101ap' oikiēs es oikiēn ion to pur epenemeto to astu

Serpo , of things, to move slowly or imperceptibly, to creep along, proceed gradually,
Of disease, etc.: “si ulcus latius atque altius serpit,gradually spreads,serpentes quasdam (bestias), quasdam esse gradientes,”  “chamaeleon,
 Fire: “exsistit sacer IGNIS et urit corpore serpens,slowly spreading,  canam, qui leniter
(cf.:sermones Repentes per humum,”   A creeping LOUSE

IGNIS  The fire or glow of passion, in a good or bad sense; of anger, rage, fury: raving, inspiration, Stat. Ach. 1, 509ore dabat pleno carmina vera dei,Ov. F. 1, 473:
[1] plēnus  strong, loud (class.): “vox grandior et plenior,Cic. Brut. 84, 289   The populus
vŏluptas   B. Voluptates, sports, shows, spectacles, given to the people,
[2] carmen , I.a tune, song; poem, verse; an oracular response, a prophecy; a form of incantation (cf.: cano, cantus, and canto).  a tune, song, air, lay, strain, note, sound, both vocal and instrumental
also versus, numeri, modi): carmen tuba ista peregit ( = sonus),carmine vocali clarus citharāqu
per me (sc. Apollinem) concordant carmina nervis
barbaricum,id. M. 11, 163.—With allusion to playing on the cithara
Carminibus Circe socios mutavit Ulixi,Verg. E. 8, 69 sq
            Presbyter or elder...................................
            Bishop or overseer..................................
            Watchman..............................................

Four classes of elders............................
    Duty of the elder as a teacher....................

Titus 1:9 Holding fast the faithful WORD as he HATH BEEN TAIGJT
            that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort
         and to convince the gainsayers.
Titus 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers,
        specially they of the circumcision:
Titus 1:11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses,
        teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.
Titus 1:12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said,
        The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
Titus 1:13 This witness is true.
        Wherefore rebuke them sharply,
        that they may be sound in the faith;
Titus 1:14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables,
        and commandments of men,
        that turn from the truth.

Titus.1.Not.Giving.Heed.To.Jewish.Fables

2.Timothy.4.2.Giving.Heed.Jewish.Fable


        Duty to be Prepared
            Get ready................................................
            Get set....................................................
            Go..........................................................
    Duty to take heed to self..........................
    Biblical models of the teaching task.
        Testimony of scholars.
        Understanding the compound term Pastor-Teacher
        All key Biblical figures were teachers.........

    Duty of the elder to equip.................................
        The teaching chain........................................
        Duty to guard the flock.....................................
            The nature of the opposition.........................
            Table of opposers...........................................
    Ministry to sick...............................................
The Elder as Ruler..............................................
    Negative models
        Influence of contemporaty writers.................72
        Influence of Charismatic movement................74
        Influence of friends........................................
    False models of rulership................................
        Secular rulership condemned by Jesus.............79
        Diotrephes.....................................................
            The Modern Diotrepehes...............................
    Those who lord it over the flock.................
    Positive examples of rulership.....................
        Rule by example..........................................
        Rule by teaching..........................................
        What is rule.................................................
            Scholars comments..................................
            Testimony of Scripture.............................
    Rule modelled by Pastor-Provider...........
        Who is "Over you in the Lord"......................
            The Teacher...............................................
            The Ruler...................................................
            The Watcher..............................................
            Those accountable....................................
    Is the Elder over you..................................
        As teacher................................................
        What is the meaning of "Over you"..............
    Duty of the flock to submit and obey............
        What submission is not..............................
        What is submission.....................................
        How does the flock submit..........................
The Appointment of elders.............................
    Introduction..................................................
    Definition of appoint....................................
    Who is to select..............................................
        That the church selects...............................
            Its right to choose ministers.....................
            Based upon the nature of the church........
            Selecting new Apostles...........................
            Authority to select first elders....................
            Body to preserve unity.................................
            Body to preserve doctrine and worship.......
            Charge of the Great Commission................
        Scriptural evidence of selecting officers.....
        That the church selected evangelists..........
            Church sent out missionaries.....................
            Church sought theological answers............
            Church to exercise discipline......................
            Church to select financial missionary or "treasurer"...
            Based upon open membership......................
        Selection by the Holy Spirit.............................
            During supernatural period............................
                In the primary sense..................................
                In the Secondary sense.................................
        Selected by the Evangelist................................
             The work of the evangelist..............................
                The example of Titus....................................
                The case of Timothy.....................................
                    Timothy ordained by elders.......................
    Paul establishes the permanent order.........
    Involvement of existing elders................................
        That elders are self-selected.............................
        The selecting process........................................
The required number of elders.............................
    The model of the synagogue................................
    The argument for a plurality..............................
    The argument for a singular pastor....................
        Dividing up the work - DeFacto Singular elders..The duty of  Discipline...........................................
Members to be disciplined..................................
    Discipline in the brotherhood..........................
    Face to Face the Biblical demand.....................
Elders to be disciplined.......................................
    The Procedure of discipline 142
Is there an ordination process..............................
    Prayer, Fasting, Laying on of hands

Even within the contemporay church with its evangelists (missionaries), local ministers, minister-evangelists, teachers, counselors, financial advisors, elders, deacons, teen ministers, education ministers, financial ministers, communications ministers, and women's counselors, the ultimate end  of these ministries is to teach truth, model the truth, and guide the body  away from error.  

If the eldership assumes the oversight of a church it must not be as the board of directors of a multi-million dollar institution but as qualified  Bible teachers and models.  While the Biblical model probably does not prohibit the building of massive buildings and the accumulation of monies for things other than evangelism and benevolence, it does not in any sense authorize them with commands, examples, or inferences to such an extent that the spiritual component of the elder's oversight of the flock is diminished.   

Much of this material could be used to prove the grave responsibilities of the evangelist as well as that of the eldership.  In fact, within the New  Testament, in the post-apostolic history of the church, and in contemporary  life, one person—with or without a title—might fulfil the various functions  of tending, guarding, and feeding the flock at different times.  The minister  may indeed function as a pastor of the flock by assumption, by default, or by  congregational choice.  The elder may, by prescribed duties and historical  precedent, also serve as an evangelist.  Thus we will not be as concerned with  titles as with work descriptors—those words which describe the nature of the  shepherding task rather than as an "office."  

The argument will be made that the eldership has the ultimate teaching responsibility based upon; 1) ways in which the shepherd is modeled, 2) work descriptors, 3) the character of the office, 4) the qualifications of Christians generally and elders specifically, 5) duties of the elder, 6) authority of the eldership, 7) some of the historical teachers of scripture, 8) the nature of the adversaries of the Christian faity, 9) the nature of error, 10) the nature of the Great Commission, 11) the post-Apostolic teachers and bishops, 12) the history of schools of the Bible, 13) the task of the early apologists, 14) by claims of eldership authority, and 15) some of the goals of Christian education.  We will look briefly at how the elder is appointed and by whom.  

To the extent that the church exploded in the early fifties it was  largely because there was a deep-felt need to teach the members and teach  the community.  And conversly  where the church, in the institutional sense, has  catastrophically shrunk in some places and been replaced by small home churches and by churches which do not focus upon "church plants," it is largely due to the failure to meet the educational mandate and failure of both the  shepherds and the flock to understand the nature of the rule/submit formula.  

"Contempt for constituted authority in church matters is becoming so  substantive as to threaten the very existence of the church.  There is no problem more crucial than the scornful attitude toward elders and tragic breakdown of proper administration in congregational affairs" (Homer Putnam Reeves, Gospel Advocate, Dec.  14, 1978, p.  789)

While we might agree that where and to the extent that scornful attitudes  exist then scornful attitudes exist, but this is in no way an indictment of  those dedicated elders who go above and beyond the call  of duty to keep the local church operating smoothly by their considerable  capabilities.  Where there is failure it is probably because the elders as the only Biblically authorized pastor-teachers of the local assembly have allowed themselves to follow the "red-herring" of command authority and corporate leadership or have abdicated this responsibility to “located evangelists” which is a contradiction in terms.

However, the warning is important because to the extent that the local  church and individual members fail to rise to their fullest potential, it may  be because neither the flock nor the elders have fully grasped the significance of the elder's role as pastor-teacher.  

We would also warn that because of a lack of accurate, coherent education within many modern churches, the situation has seriously deteriorated since 1978.  One deterioration is that "going into all the world making disciples"  has been abandoned to those who make disciples to churches in the corporate sense and to cult leaders  rather than to Christ.  Another deterioration is the almost total lack of adequate Biblical education to equip potential elders for the pastor-teacher  task.   

If the thesis of this paper is correct—that the elder's primary duty is to  be a Biblical pastor-teacher—, the path back to the restored church is for  those elders who are competent corporate leaders to develop into true pastor- teachers so that the church, largely stalled on "dead-center," can go about its task to restore the church in organization, spirit, and mission.   

The meaning of the Eldership.

As seen by contemporary literature, the eldership, from the New Testament viewpoint, springs into existence without a clear answer to major questions such as: What are the total duties of an elder; what is the tenure of the office; who selects the elders; and just how much authority does he have?  These questions are never clearly answered in either the Old Testament or the New Testament to the satisfaction of scholars.  

This literature vacuum seems propelled by two understandings: First, it is assumed that the New Testament elder is equivalent to the Old Testament elder and further that it is the only "office" which is transferred from the dispensation of Law without change.  Thus, if we wish to understand the work of the elder we must seek a Jewish understanding.

The second understanding (or misunderstanding) is that the New Testament does not clearly define all of the eldership parameters.  This means that we have no understanding at all.  In fact, because the eldership is usually discussed alongside Apostles and Prophets and because the early elders often had supernatural powers, some even deny that the eldership is a permanent office.  We will show why we believe that this is wrong later.

The history of the organized church seems to indicate that no definition is better than a good definition because this leaves the "living church" free to evolve the eldership into the office of Bishop with command authority.  And it leaves restoration churches free to evolve a form of corporate leadership where the non-Biblical office of "preacher" becomes, by default, as the pastor of the flock and elders, many lacking the skills to be pastor-teacher, are  seen as real-estate managers, financial managers, or thwarters of the Great  Commission.  

    A synoptic approach.

Perhaps there is nothing which is calculated to bring terror to the hearts of we "pattern-seekers" than the charge of "proof-texting."  That is, we pick a little here and a little there and recast it into a pattern or doctrine.  However dangerous or misused this system may be, there is no way to understand  the Bible without attempting to determine all that it sayson a particular subject.  In fact, to do otherwise—to leave out significant bits and pieces—is to really be guilty of proof-text theology.  This is vital because the  overwhelming majority of Scripture may lead us to a certain conclusion which is absolutely contradicted by just one passage.  In our quest for absolute certainty in the case of the eldership, as with so many Biblical topics, we  find that seventy percent of the passages support our pre-supposed conclusion but thirty percent directly contradicts it.  Now what do we do?

If our task is to put together a pattern for the eldership which excludes even the remotest chance of contradiction and one so iron-clad that we can use it to whack our foes over the head and, Diotrephes-like, cast our friends out of the church, then we are forced to ignore the thirty percent which contradicts our scheme.

If, on the other hand, our goal is to seek the mind of God in Scripture;to use our knowledge of the eldership as means to enrichment and spiritual growth—rather than dogmatic certainty—then we can gain great insight by examining all facets of the eldership.  The seventy percent which fits our pattern can serve as a launch-pad to great spiritual insight and we can use the remaining thirty percent as warnings against dogmatism and as a spur to greater prayerful research.  It is interesting that the revisers who produced the King James Version, who could not grasp the meaning of variants, imply that perhaps God simply threw in these troublesome passages just to prevent dogmatism.  And they may be right to some extent because when we believe that we have arrived, we cease to grow.

Models of the Eldership

Someone has said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  And it is probably true that a symbol is worth a thousand pictures.  Too much is sought from explicit words and instructions of the Bible and too little from the pictures or models; if we fail to grasp the pictures which God has painted through the inspirational work of the Holy Spirit then we will be left in the dark about many facets of the eldership.

The model of the eldership is not vinedresser that he might prune anything which he does not like.  He cannot, without becoming personified evil look a brother in the eye and promise "I will destroy you."  The symbol is not that of fisherman that we can toss back the jelly fish and sharks.  It is not farmer with the option to pull up the tares from within the wheat.  It is the model of the gentle shepherd who is tender father who leads, feeds, and guards.  He is involved with knowing, sharing, and bestowing.  He guides, guards, and equips.  

Where explicit verbal instructions are lacking we can learn much from understanding this model and where our understanding of the Scriptural  instructions conflict with this model of the shepherd then we can be sure that we have missed the point of the passage under consideration.

Not only is it unscriptural, it is self-defeating to take the position that the sheep "owe" the shephards their monies.  To be redeemed in the eyes of the lock, the shephard then must seek the willing "free-will" participation of the flock if he is to truly be a Spiritual leader.  

Because the "plant" and the "bank account" are the major tools for controlling the modern congregation, often to the exclusion of spiritual leadership of pastoring-teaching the flock, we will expand the idea of giving as a law in Appendix A, to show that the elder has no authority to appropriate the monies of the flock and use them at the discretion of a small group.  

As we will see from the models which follow, the image of a corporate leadership is totally foreign to God's image of a shepherd which he has set over a group of assigned lambs.  In order to see the most attractive picture of the eldership we need to  look at models within both the Old Testament and New Testament which picture  the elder as a shephard of the flock—the protector and feeder of those whom  God has entrusted to the local eldership.  We could find no greater contrast than between an ancient shepherd and a modern corporate leader. 

False Models of Leadership

Model of Old Testament Secular Rule

Just as Catholicism began with only one class of local leader—the Pastor-Teacher—and then gradually added other levels of leadership in a pyramid form, modern usurpers of the eldership’s work have added these levels which are absolutely mandatory if one man is to gain total control of the denomination.

This multi-layered leadership is modelled after Old Testament patterns of civil or judicial systems rather rather than New Testament patterns of spiritual oversight which has only one key goal—guare the flock from evil forces in order that he might teach Biblical principles looking to God to  give the increase in the form of individuals being conformed to the image of Christ.  While there are several OT passages which give insight to leadership in the generic sense they do not model the NT eldership.

“...they defend their...shepherding with the example of Exodus 18:13-26 where Moses instituted a judicial system with four levels.  Disputes went first to a ruler in charge of 10 people.  If the dispute could not be settled at that level, it went to a ruler in charge of 50 people.  disputes unresolved at that level went to a ruler in charge of 100 people.  Appeals from that level went to a ruler in charge of 1000 people.  The only cases that were brought to Moses were those that could not be resolved in a lower court” (p.  60-61).

This is not the organization of a local, autonomous congregation but is more suitable for a military or judicial organization such as Israel in the wilderness.  And whatever good we might gain from studying the principles of this example, it is an Old Testament pattern which has no counter-part in the New Testament nor in the historical church for several hundreds of years when Catholicism usurped the authority of the individual.

Other churches of Christ do not believe that the evangelist has or needs any authority other than the authority to preach the gospel” (Ibid.  p.  60)

The Rejection of Theocracy—God’s Rule

The history of instrumental music is intimately bound up in the deplorable rejection of God as Theocratic ruler and the demand for a king—just like the countries around them.  They had rejected God’s direct rule and protection.  What they demanded was a human protector—a pastor—to lead them and protect them.  This miserable story begins in 1 Sam.  8:5 where the people said, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint for us a king to govern us like all the nations.”

Samuel tried to warn the people by showing what happens when secular rule takes over God’s institution.  He will set up a top-heavy organization.  “...he will take your sons...to run before his chariots; and he will appoint himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties” (1 Sam.  8:11-2, see thru verse 18).  This is not a pattern for the church but a warning against ruling an organism—the church—with a human organization.

Of course, the new king cannot build this large civil-religious structure without someone paying for it.  In the future, much of the blood of the youth and the monetary resources of the people will go toward the maintenance of a standing army, a horde of temple authorities, the intrusion of religion into the civil life of the people, and the ultimate demise of all spirituality.

“He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves.  And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day” (1 Sam.  8:17-18).

What God is saying is that Israel has launched itself free from Him and there will never be a return to the old order.  The rejection of God's rule, which led to the rejection of God’s plan for worship, started a downward spiral which could not be reversed.  

Later, in trying to dissuade the people from seeking David as a new leader, Saul appealed to the greed of the leaders when he reminded them of this system of spoils.  He said,

“will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds” (1 Sam.  22:7).  

Trying to reconstruct Old Testament patterns for the modern church is often motivated by Saul’s understanding.   That is, if we build bigger organizations and hire a big staff people will have to give us more money.  The beginning of the problem can be seen from the initial command of David.

“Now when David reached old age, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.  And he gathered together all the leaders of Israel with the priests and the Levites...and 4,000 were gatekeepers, and 4,000 were praising the Lord with the instruments which David made for giving praise” (1 Chron.  23:1-2, 5).

We understand, however, that Solomon vastly increased these numbers and according to Josephus the numbers had increased to the hundreds of thousands by the time of Christ.  While the overt practice which evoked Christ’s charge of the temple becoming a den of thieves, the underlying reason for the commercialization was the number of people who had to live as a burden to the working classes.

After being rejected as king by God, it is said: “Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him...Let us seek a man who is skillful in playing the lyre; and when the evil spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well” (1 Sam.  16:14-16).  This man, of course, was David who would later be chosen to replace Saul as king.

David’s Change to God’s Original Pattern

Just as it seems to be David’s idea to install musical instruments and vastly complicate the festive and ceremonial sacrifices, it is David’s idea that he should build a permanent dwelling place for the Ark, which he understood to also be a house for God.

“And it came about, when David dwelt in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, ‘Behold, I am dwelling in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under curtains” (1 Chron.  17:1).

However, God rejected David’s plan for the moment and says:

“Go and say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord, Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in?  For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle” (2 Sam.  7:5-6).

One can feel the condescension in God’s voice as He asks “Are you the one who should build me a house?”  The answer is that he is not because he is a man of blood and he does not understand God’s infinite nature.  In David’s mind, the ark of the covenant was the Lord Himself and in 2 Sam.  6:14 where it is said that “David danced before the Lord with all his might,” we understand from this passage that he was dancing before the ark.  In 1 Sam 1:22 when Hannah talks of appearing before the Lord she has ministering before the ark in mind.  In Psalm 132:8, the ark is called “God’s footstool” and in 1 Sam.  4:4 it is said “the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who is enthroned on the cherubim.”  What this means is that the ark is a symbol of God’s presence and not that God actually dwelled in or upon.

It is clear that God wanted rest for His people (Psa.  132:13; 2 Sam.  7:10) but the Temple was a concession to sinful man just as was the kingdom even as God understood that it would be the beginning of the end for those who had rejected Him.

God’s primary rejection of David’s desire was not that he was a blood-stained man but that He (God) did not need a house and could not live in it if he had one.  Then we may well imagine a time of sadness as God says through Nathan:

“Go and tell David My servant, ‘Thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not build a house for Me to dwell in; for I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up Israel to this day, but I have gone from tent to tent and from one dwelling place to another” (1 Chron.  17:4, 5).

David tells his people:

“Then King David rose to his feet and said, ‘Listen to me, my brethren and my people; I had intended to build a permanent home for the ark of the covenant of the Lord and for the footstool of our God.  So I had made preparations to build it.  But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood’” (1 Chron.  28:2-3).

That David totally misunderstands the very nature of God is shown by his statement in Psalms:

“I will not enter my house or get into my bed; I will not give sleep in my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Might one of Jacob” (Psa.  132:3-5).

However, just as God relented and allowed Israel a king, He says:

“And it shall come about when your days are fulfilled that...I will set up one of your descendants after you, who shall be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build for Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever” (1 Chron.  17:11-12).

The spiritual meaning is that God would establish His kingdom through David’s Son, Jesus Christ.  The earthly Temple, which Solomon build, like the animal sacrifices, was a pale copy of the true Tabernacle which is God’s heavenly kingdom.  Just as the sacrifices showed the futility of being justified by keeping the Law, the Temple worship had no effect upon the moral nature of the Israelites.  Again, it was by man’s initiative that the physical house was built and not because God felt the need for a dwelling place.

“And so I purpose to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord said to David my father, ‘Your son, whom I will set upon your throne in your place shall build the house for my name’” (1 Ki.  5:5)

Later, under the reign of Solomon, the temple was built but it was built not as a house to contain God but as a place where God would make His presence known and toward which prayers would be directed.  Just as God lamented the fact that David wanted to tame Him and put Him in a house, Solomon makes it clear that such an idea betrays a total lack of understanding of God’s nature.  

“But will God dwell indeed with man on the earth?  Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built” (2 Chron.  6:18).

“That thy eyes may be open day and night toward this house, the place where thou has promised to set thy name, that thou mayest hearken to the prayers which thy servants offer toward this place”  (2 Chron.  6:20).

“...when they pray toward this place; yea, hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place; and when thou hearest, forgive” (2 Chron.  6:21).

Under Christianity He destroyed the Temple, put the priestly class who had hung like a dead albatross around the neck of the people out of work, declared that Jerusalem (the site of the sacrificial system) was no longer the place of worship, and promised to come into his people and walk among them just as He had travelled with Israel for about 450 years.  

“Jesus replied, If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.  My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John.  14:23).

While many things which happened under the kingdom period are seen as the will of God, they must understood in the context that by demanding a kingdom, the Israelites had forfeited the highest protection which God extended under the Theocracy:

“He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves.  And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day” (1 Sam.  8:17-18).

This bondage was shown in the construction of the Temple by slave labor:

“King Solomon raised a levy of forced labor out of all Israel and the levy numbered thirty thousand men” (1 Ki.  5:13).

When Solomon was dead , there was an attempt to lift the bondage:

“Your father made our yoke heavy, Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke upon us, and we will serve you” (1 Ki.  12:4)

Rather than heading the advice of the older men, Rehoboam proves to us that Solomon had used slave labor:

“My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add  to your yoke, my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions” (1 Ki.  12:12).

Confirmed by The  Parallel Witness of Stephen

Much of the New Testament is devoted to showing the Jews that the Law and the Temple in which they put their trust was temporary and never understood.  For instance, Paul shows the Jews that they should not put their trust in the Law for their justification because Abraham was justified by obedient faith both before his circumcision and  430 years before the Law was given through Moses.

Stephen has a similiar task.  That is, Stephen’s sermon is not just a reciting of the history of the Jews but is a well-developed proof that the Temple was temporary and not related to the justification of the Jews.  In this example, the Jews put their trust in the place even Jesus the Messiah had come and made the Temple of non effect.  And they so put their trust in the place with its ceremonies rather than the Saviour of the world that they were quite willing to destroy the person of Stepen just as they had destroyed Jesus Christ, the Messiah.  

“And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, and set up false witnesses who says, ‘This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place, and will change the customs which Moses delivered to us” (Acts.  6:12-14).

While the charges were trumped up, the truth was that God would destroy the temple and cause the Law to be fulfilled and thus abrogated.

Stephen then launches into his argument.  First, he shows that Abraham, their spiritual father, was justified and he never worshipped in the temple and therefore never worshipped God with instruments (Acts.  7:1f).  Next, he shows that the sons of Jacob soujourned in Egypt and found favour in God’s eyes without the temple or its ceremonies.  Then, the people wandered for fourty years without the temple.  Finally, they moved into the promised land and received part of the promise made to Abraham without the Temple and found favour with God by worshiping in a tent.  In fact, God’s highest ideal said:  “You shall not build a house for Me to dwell in; for I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up Israel to this day, but I have gone from tent to tent and from one dwelling place to another” (1 Chron.  17:4, 5).

God’s Highest Ideal—Worship according to the Pattern

Stephen then confirms what we have already said about the temple—it was not in God’s plan and it was not according  to His  initiative.  

“Our fathers had the tent of witness in the wilderness, even as he who spoke to Moses directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen.  Our fathers in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations which God thrust out before our fathers” (Acts 7:44-45a).

Why would Stephen make such a statement at the risk of his own life?  He being inspired wanted the Jews to know that there was no conncetion between the Temple and its ceremonial system and God’s power to justify mankind.

“Even David had to content himself with the old Tabernacle.  Somehow God did not seem to be so anxious about a temple.  He even let David ask in vain for the privilege of building one and put this event off until Solomon’s time.” (Lenski, Acts, p.  295)

To the contrary, it was God’s extreme tolerance of David which allowed Him to permit the Temple and even then not until David was dead.  The Tabernacle, given at God’s initiative and by His explicit pattern sufficed for over 400 years until David changed the pattern for the house which necessitated changes to the age of the priesthood (from age 30 to age 20) and the addition of the multitude of singers and instrument players.

“So it was until the days of David, who found favor in the sight of God and asked leave  to find a habitation for the God of Jacob.  But it was Solomon who built a house for him” (Acts.  7:45b-47).

There is no evidence that God saw the Temple as His highest ideal and therefore we see that God permitted it as a favor to David but the evidence is clear that it was part of God’s instrumental means to convince mankind of the futility of approaching Him through material things—idols, houses, ceremonial worship—none of which had the power to change the nature of man.

Stephen says that the Tabernacle was given by God’s initiative and by His pattern or directions but David took the initiative and asked permission to build the Temple.  Now, if God had the temple in mind David would not have had to ask leave to do it even as Israel would not have demanded that God give them a king to build the permanent structures if it was in God’s plan.

But what David did not understand and what the first-century Jews did not remotely grasp is that God does not dwell in houses, and the attempt to house him shows that just as  David saw the Ark as almost an idol standing for God Himself,  the building of a temple betrayed a view of God as just a national God.  First, He was replaced by an earthly king and then an attempt was made to house Him like the idols of the nations around them.  

“These Jews treat the Highest as though he were some pagan god or pagan idol that had to have some sort of temple for its home.  Because Stephen has spoken of God as being exalted above all man-made temples, they are now putting him to trial.  Because he will not make God an idol that needs must have a temple, they are ready to condemn him for blasphemy of their temple.” (Lenski, Acts, p.  296).

This story of Stephen’s sermon shows that they held the Temple in higher esteem than even the incarnate God or of his prophetic messengers.  However, even with God’s permission, the best that man could do in constructing a material dwelling place was proven to be in vain—and indeed herein we perhaps find the true meaning of the Temple, that when man has done his best it is as filthy rags.

“Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands; as the prophet says, Heaven is my throne and earth my footstool.  What house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?  Did  not my hand make all these things?” (Acts 7:48-50).

What is the meaning of this sermon which cost Stephen his life?  The meaning is that where God has expressed Himself in clear, unambigious plans and patterns, sinful man is always willing to change the plans even if someone has to get hurt.  By refusing to abide by the instructions delivered through the prophets the Jews in effect resisted the Holy Spirit.

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit.  As your fathers did, so do you” (Acts.  7:51).

By attempting to hang onto the Temple and its ceremonial system, the Jews resisted the Holy Spirit who had now made it known that worship “was not in this place” but worship is in Spirit and in truth.  By grasping onto a failing system they rejected Messiah whom they had expected but whom they could not see because of their forms and ceremonies.  While they believed that God lived in the Temple—just as modern Jews believe that he lives beyond the Wailing Wall—the God-Incarnate was out on the dusty byways ministering to the weak and helpless.

The point of this story is also that carnal man is always getting hung up on the externals, insists upon them, and are willing to divide or destroy to preserve the externals while never understanding the spiritual meaning.  The did not understand circumcision, the Law of Moses, or the Temple with its comforting ceremonies.

It is important that we also emphasize Stephen’s point: that God ordered the Tabernacle  and gave a pattern but He permitted the Temple.  

The Demise of the Temple

We have shown that as a result of Israel’s rejection of God’s rule and because they began to see Him as a national idol who needed a shrine like the other “gods” around them that God gave them up to their own devices and warned them that the king whom they demanded would not be their saviour but their oppressor.  And we saw that the Temple was built with slave labor and this is proven by the statement of the people after Solomon was replaced with Rheoboam who multiplied the oppression.

After the return from captivity, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah show that  Nehemiah like a dictator devoted all of the national resources to the wall and to rebuilding the Temple.  Instrumental music and temple singers were used in connection with dedicatory services.

“And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with thanksgivings and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres.  And the sons of the singers gathered together from the circuit round Jerusalem and from the villages of the Netophathites...for the singers had built for themselves villages around Jerusalem” (Neh.  12:27-29 partial quote)

By the end of the Nehemiah narrative most Jews had forsaken the sacrificial system and the professional musicians had resumed the life of the common man.  Nehemiah had been able to accomplish the rebuilding of the walls because he had dictatorial powers but when the very nature of the Jews was not changed just because they had walled out their enemies, Nehemiah seems to lose his cool:

“So I contended with them and cursed them and struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, ‘You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take of their daughters for your sons or for yourselves’” (Neh.  13:25).

But even a dictator cannot cleanse the heart of man and while the priests kept up the act in the walled city of Jerusalem where the gates had to be shut to prevent the Temple from becoming a “den of thieves,” the people built their lives around the Synagogues in any local community which had ten men.  

It is significant that when Hellenistic influences threatened to completely overwhelm the Jewish culture the natural recourse was to educate their people.  Even though the returning exiles rebuilt a less splendid temple in Jerusalem it never replaced the newly gained influence of local Synagogues or houses of learning.  The Synagogue gradually developed to the point of being a place of compulsory education especially for the males.  And it was education and not national worship at the Temple which prevented the Jews from being totally overwhelmed by Greek influences.

Thus we see a fundamental change in the life of the Jews after their return from captivity and this centered around education and prayer more than sacrifices at Jerusalem.  

A false model of the shepherd.

Just as the Law of Moses, the Temple, and the models of civil rulership was to show the Jew the futility of putting his trust in his own devices while rejecting His direct rule in their lives, God also gives models of the false shepherd to refute error before He established the truth.

Consistent with the terminal duties of the eldership to refute false teaching and teach true teaching (or doctrine), Scripture models the shepherd in both negative and positive ways.  This is also consistent with a true under-standing of any fact.  That is, one must understand what a thing is not before he can truly understand what it is.  

"Therefore, thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, against the shepherds  that FEED my people:  You have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them; behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doing, saith Jehovah" (Jer.  23:2).

How does the shepherd scatter the flock?  Primarily by not feeding or educating them.  It is not uncommon for parts of the flock to leave enmass because they hold some theological view not consistent with that of the eldership.  In this case the eldership, by not teaching its own views, has effectively scattered the flock.  They have driven them away.  Others drive the flock away by demanding that "if you can't support my program, you need to find another church home."  Of course, the Holy Spirit has not made the elderoverseer of the flock and God has not given him the sheep to support his own program.  Rather, the sheep are given to the elder to be supported.  Thus, an eldership seeing itself as lord rather than shepherd will always drive the sheep away.  

The duty of a shepherd is to act in the best interest of the sheep and it is inconceivable that a true shepherd would act such that the sheep are caused to scatter.  However, it is a fact that many who look like sheep, smell like  sheep, and eat grass are wolves in disguise and the shepherd is not responsi-ble to maintain wolves within the flock.  

False flocks seek false shepherds.

Often evil men set themselves up as shepherds or leaders because of their own hidden agenda.  However, false shepherds are often the product of false flocks. The failure of the true shepherd to educate his flock will allow the flock to seek false shepherds.

 "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, BECAUSE THEY RECEIVED NOT THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should   believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thess.  2:10-12).

While the book of Zechariah is prophetic and its use fraught with danger, we can at least see God's picture of what a false shepherd is and thereby see  what a true shepherd should be.  The first thing which we understand is that those who cease to listen to God's prophets and "have itching ears" will find their own messengers to scratch them.  However, it may be the case that  because they have gone over the boundary and lost their love for the truth the teachers they think they are selecting may be sent from God to fill up their cup of delusion:

"And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish,  BECAUSE THEY RECEIVED NOT THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should  believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thess.  2:10-12).

Unless God operates in some direction operation, he deludes those who do not love the truth by sending them deluders.

It is clear that people can go beyond the point of redemption and if the shepherd does not lead and the flock does not follow God will send false shepherds.  Unless God operates in some direction operation, he deludes those  who do not love the truth by sending them deluders—false teachers.

"but they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising His words, and  scoffing at His prophets, till the wrath of the Lord rose against his people, till there was no remedy" (2 Chron.  36:16).

"Many years thou didst bear with them, and didst warn them by thy Spirit through thy prophets; yet they would not give ear.  Therefore thou didst give them into the hand of the peoples of the lands" (Neh.  9:30).

The nature of the false shepherd which God sends—and may have sent to YOUR congregation—is seen antithetical to the true shepherd:

(Zech.  11:16) says,

    The glory of the shepherd is spoiled v.  3

    Lions are waiting for the feast v.  3

    They have lost God's pity v.  6

    The shepherds will be cut off v.  8

    God will not feed them and they will die v 9

    God will raise up false shepherds which will: (vv.  16-17)

    not VISIT (Episkeptomai in Greek) those who are cut off,

    not SEEK those who are scattered,

    not HEAL...  the broken and,

    not FEED that which is sound.

(Ezek.  34) The False Shepherd:

    Ruled with FORCE.  

    Feed THEMSELVES—not the flock,

    Trampled underfoot the FEED of the flock,

    Fail to NURTURE the weak,

    Allowed the sheep to be DRIVEN AWAY,

    Failed to SEARCH for the lost,

    The lost sheep were CONSUMED,

THEREFORE: The False Shepherd would:

    Be punished,

    They would be stripped of their position,

    The Great Shepherd would not feed them,

    They would be judged and destroyed.  

The flock of the unfaithful shepherd (Ezek.  34:5) become prey to beasts of the field.  This analogy teaches that just outside the protective circle of the well-kept flock there lurks false shepherds.  These false shepherds may be evangelists of secularism, liberalism, heretics, or simply weak Christians.It is the duty of elders to assure that they are not free to savage the flockfrom within the fold.

While the carnal shepherd might rejoice that a trouble-making lamb has left his fold and left him in peace because he thinks that the lamb will find a compatible flock.  However, this usually is not the case.  Very often when lambs wander off it is to leave the church forever, never seeking another flock because it is the nature and responsibility of the shepherd to seek the lamb.  

The Literal Shepherd

The shepherd is the model which God has used to describe Himself, Jesus Christ, the apostles, and the contemporary elder of the flock.  And while we might protest that we have a mind of our own and are not "sheep," Jesus was not above claiming that He was the "Lamb of God that takes away sins."

The shepherd, as opposed to the job boss, was used as the model because the true shepherd oversees his flock because he has genuine affection for the sheep.  Even one lost and almost worthless lamb out of ninety-nine valuable sheep was worthy of the shepherd's care and protection.  And the sheep do not respond to the shepherd because they fear the whip but they too have affection for the shepherd, will follow him in good times and bad, and even understand that the shepherd knows them by name.  

1.      In the morning the shepherd led the flock out from the fold (Jno.  10:4)  Growth and danger are bedfellows.  The shepherd knows that the sheep do not live in the sheepfold but must learn to survive in a cold and hostile world.  Where the flock goes, the shepherd will be found out front to assure that the sheep are not surprised by danger and because he knows that the flock, even if they could be driven before the whip, will not know where to go without leadership.

2.      He watched over them "out in the world" (Job 30:1).  In addition to feeding the flock by putting it in the green pastures, the shepherd stood above the flock where he could see approaching danger.

3.      He searched for the lost (Ez.  34:12; Lk.  15:4).  Sheep, like most of us, are easily led astry or wander off from the protection of the group.  It is the shepherd's responsibility to guarantee that no sheep are permanently lost.  In the case of sheep owned by another, he watched over the flock and gave account.  If he went out with one hundred sheep and came in with ninety-nine the owner had lost one percent of his property.  It is not likely that he could lose many sheep and retain his position as shepherd.

4.      He supplied water (Gen.  29:7; 30:38, Psa 23:2).  In order for sheep to flourish they need water.  And it must not be a raging river but must be "still waters" where the flock can drink and rest.  The shepherd  doesn't invent busy-work for his sheep.

Water is symbolic of knowledge and the sheep cannot live without it.  However, the fleece of a sheep is like a sponge and it can easily be swept away and drown in violent currents (every wind of doctrine).  Therefore, the shepherd protects the flock by constructing a quiet pool into which the water flows and the sheep can drink.

5.      At evening he brought them back into the fold (Lev.  27:32; Ez 20:37; Jer 33:13).  Protection from the weather, wolves, and false shepherds  could only be found within the protection of the fold when night came.The shepherd must absolutely know when danger threatens and protect the sheep.

6.      And he guarded them throughout the night (Jno 10:3; Lk 2:8).  The shepherd did not put the sheep in the fold and then punch the time-clock and go home.  The flock was his charge, his family, and he was the overseer both day and night.

7.      A hireling could never be depended upon to honestly look after the flock.  Normally, it is not possible to hire a shepherd who will exercise the same care as the owner of the flock.  God is the owner of the flock, Jesus is  the chief-shepherd, and the elders are under-shepherds.  They must have the same care as the owner because when the Chief-shepherd appears the elder must give account for every lamb entrusted to his care.  He cannot save every stray lamb but he dare never rejoice that "that wandering fool is out of my hair."

True Models of Leadership

Modelled by God

God says, "Behold, I myself, even I will search for my sheep, and will seek them out" (Ezek.  34:11).  Christ is the Chief Shepherd, "come to seek and save the lost."  He modeled the shepherds task as to:

SEEK the lost and bring them into the fold,

They would be FED,

Their wounds would be BOUND up,

He would set up one Shepherd—Jesus the Chief Shepherd,

He would establish a COVENANT with them.

The Twenty-third Psalm shows the model shepherd meeting specific needs of the flock.  Specifically as related to the Pastor-Teacher duties of the elder-ship, certain traits are indispensable:

CONCERN    The Lord is my Shepherd.  The Shepherd calls them by name and knows them (John 10:3,27).  He is not shepherd of the flock but the shepherd of each sheep.  If one is lost, he leaves the 99 safe ones and seeks the lost.  He never gloats that "that troublesome lamb is lost and now my life is easier."  He would not rest easy if he understood that the wolf has just devoured the lamb which God assigned to him.  

PROVIDES REST     Paul said that the child does not provide for the parent but the parent is given to provide for the child.  "He makes me lie down" implies that the shepherd does not drive the sheep, and does not "churchianity" them to death.

FEEDS THEM    Green pastures and still waters imply food and a stress-free atmosphere in which to eat and drink.

RESTORES THEM    he restores my soul" implies that he encourages those who might "grow weary in well doing."

LEADS THEM    One is led to ask, "lead where and for what purpose?" He leads and does not drive.  (See John 10:3,4; Rev.  7:17; Psa.  80:1)

INSTRUCTS THEM    The elder must "lead them in the paths of righteousness" by "training them in righteousness."  (II Tim 3:16) The elder is given to "equip the members for the ministry so that they can do what is right and resist what is  wrong.

PROTECTS THEM    The ultimate failure to protect them is to fail to protect them againss false teachers.  (I Peter 2:25; Heb.  13:17; John 10:11)

FELLOWSHIPS THEM     "you are with me" implies that there is fellowship between the shepherd and the individual sheep (John 10:14, 15; Rev.  7:17).  Some of the most effectivefeeding occurs "one on one."

The Hebrew word, PAQUAD, means "to attend with care, to describe the process of numbering, recording, and enrolling people."  It has been truly said, "If you don't have an accounting department, you don't have a business."  A shepherd can account for his flock.  He must do so and the best way of doing this is to be found teaching them as he leads them.  

The Old Testament picture and God's model, then, is that of respected, God-selected shepherds with the primary responsibility of VISITING, SEEKING, HEALING, FEEDING, and KEEPING WATCH over the flock—leaving the 99 to seek the lost one.  When the chief-shepherd returns he must give account.

Prophecy of Pastor-Teachers

We have attempted to show that the primary church-related activity is to train and equip each member—not just to be a ministering member to keep the "church" in order but to meet the triumphs and tragedies of daily life.  However the shepherd who succeeds in other activities and who does not instill knowledge and understanding  is not a God-sent shepherd.

Jer. 3:14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:

This again puts the emphasis of the church and of its leadership upon education.

Again consistent with the bottom-line duty of the elder to feed the flock by being a competent and willing teacher, God promises a kind of leadership which can accomplish this task.

Jer. 3:14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:

While Wednesday night pot-lucks are easy to organize, the elder has only God-given Biblical knowledge with which to feed the flock.  If he cannot teach, he cannot feed the flock..

Jer. 3:16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.

Old Testament teachers as models

New Testament Models

It is a fallacy of the Western mind to wish that God had detailed the  eldership on a 3X5 card—and some modern experts claim to have done just that!  As an example, most of First and Second Corinthians consists of answers and we have no positive idea of what the questions were.  Perhaps it is God's wish that we be driven back to the Bible to diligently search out answers rather than being able to condense them into a creed.  

In understanding the Bible it is important to see exemplary models as teaching just as effectively as explicit instructions.  While the Western mind wishes that God had said "This is what an elder is," we must understand that God, Christ, Paul, Timothy, and all of the examples in the OT and NT consists of models whereby God says "look at the ways in which the shephard is modelled and by this you can understand My mind."

    Not Corporate Leadership

Consistent with our thesis that one cannot truly understand what a thing is without understanding what it is not, we need to see that the eldership is not what it is often understood to be.  It is not the leadership of an organization but rather it is the nurture of an organism—the Body of Christ.  It is not the board of directors of a multi-million dollar "plant" who consume their resources acquiring, maintaining, and paying the bills.  It is not the medical board of a mental health institute.  While it guides and counsels the members of the body, it is not intended to replace psychological counselors, financial advisers, nor housing authorities.  It cannot subscribe to the now-defunct "social gospel" without disappearing from the earth.

    Not real estate management.

    How to Determine the meaning

Jesus as Model

Jesus is called miracle worker, sign giver, preacher, prophet, and king but in all he is more often called "Teacher."  (Mt.  5:2; 7:2; Mk.  11; 10:1; Lk.  5:3; 10:47; Jno.  7:14,32).  Jesus came to "be" something but he also came to "say" something.  He spent his entire lifetime teaching.  He came to preach the gospel of the kingdom using the example of the sower (Matt.  13:3-23), the lost sheep (Lk.  15:1-7), the lost coin (k 15:8-10) and so on.  He had great respect for the Old Testament.  He told his disciples to "go into all the world and preach and teach with the object of conversion and discipling.  (Mt.  28:19-20)

Jesus did not just dwell upon "Jesus" but taught litterally hundreds of idea and discoursed definitively upon perhaps 80 topics.  No better example of topical teaching (indeed is there any other kind?) can be found than in the life of Jesus.  No better example of presentation could be found.  That is, going out to the people rather than demanding that they come to the building to be taught.  

The nature of Jesus as the supreme schoolmaster is seen from his product - the evangelists, pastors, and teachers.   

Rex F.  Johnston and Morris M.  Womack in Pillars of Faith, pp.  193-198, point out that Jesus utilized principles of effective education as modern as contemporary education: He modeled context, focalization, socialization,  individualization, sequence, and evaluation.  In addition he exhibited a philosophy of education which was effective and compatible with modern education.  

Jesus validated his Chief Shepherd office by saying, "My sheep hear my voice."  This implies an intimate knowledge of the shepherd and implicit trust.  The sheep know what the shepherd stands for and the shepherd knows what is good for the sheep.  Jesus is miracle worker, sign giver, preacher,prophet and king but in all he is more often called "teacher." (Mt.  5:2; 7:2;Mk.  1:21; 10:1; Lk.  5:3; 10:47; Jno 7:14,32).

Jesus as the Chief-Shepherd asks the only legitimate questions posed by achief shepherd or flock owner

1) Have you guarded my sheep from wolves?

2) Have you increased the size of my flock?

3) Have you increased the productivity of my sheep?

THE CHARACTER OF THE SHEPHERD MODELED BY JESUS

1.  Correct                (Jno.  10:2)

2.  Recogonized                 (10:3)

3.  Knows his Sheep             (10:3, 14, 27)

4.  Sheep know Him              (10:4, 14, 27)

5.  Leads his Sheep             (10:3)

6.  Is True                     (10:8)

7.  Is Sacrificial              (10:11, 15,17)

THE CHARACTER OF THE SHEEP

1.  Will not follow a Stranger  (10:5 ,8)

2.  Are dependant               (10:12)

3.  Shares with others          (10:16)

THE CHARACTER OF THE GOATS

1.  Deny the Shepherd           (10:33)

2.  Are false Accusers          (10:20, 33, 36)

3.  Destroy the True Shepherd   (10:31,39)

THE CHARACTER OF THE FALSE SHEPHERD

1.  Unconcerned                 (10:12,13)

2.  Unprotective                (10:12,13)

         The false shepherd is not always evil, he may just not care.

Modelled by Paul.

Paul always describes himself as a mother, father, or shepherd and hisepistles are overflowing with characteristics of a true Christian which mustbe possessed by those who would be overseers.  While the following list is not exhaustive, some of the traits which should be emulated by every elder is seen from the first letter to the Thessalonians:

He suffered for the flock   (I Thes.  2:1,2)

He came as a pure person    (2:3, 10)

He came with integrety      (2:4, 5)      

He did not seek glory       (2:6)

He came with gentleness     (2:7)

He had genuine affection    (2:8)

He worked night and day     (2:9)

He came as a father         (2:11)

He came as a teacher        (2:16)

He was an overseer          (3:1-5)   

He was a good steward       (2:3-6)

He labored for the flock    (2:9)

He was gentle as a mother   (2:7,8)

He was like a father        (2:17)

He was like a brother       (2:17)

He was an example           (2:11,12

He prayed for the flock     (2:13; 3:7-13)

1st John....

Eldership Determined by the Need Education

The Elder and the Great Commission

The model of the shepherd, used to explain and commission the eldership,  shows that the Pastor-Teacher, as a working, teaching, leading, minister must  share what he knows, what he is, and what he has, with the novice of the  Christian faith.  If he presumes to be the leader, he must have a clear    understanding or the church, its God, its teachings, and its mission and  must have a burning zeal to share it, knowing that the success of the contest depends upon the level of his preparation.  Therefore, it is logical to  propose some of the objectives of the work of the elder based upon the great  commission and historical models.   

1.      In the great commission (Mt.  28:18f) the primary task was to reach out  into the wilderness, seeking the lost, discipling them by baptizing them  and teaching all that Jesus taught.  If the leadership falls for the  prevailing thought that there is no "imperative" in the "go" of the   commission then the mission activity will cease as surely as it did when  the denominationaly world, interpreting scripture in a liberal sense,   came to believe that there is no "lostness" in the world.  

If there is no imperative in the commission then there is no imperative in Mt.  21:2 where Scripture says, "Go into the village..." or in Mt.  22:9 where it says, "Go ye therefore into the highways..."  Of course the teaching or making disciples is the mission and the going is incidental.  It is not possible to carry out the world-wide imperative without going.  

2.      "It is written in the prophets, and they shall all be taught of God.  Every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me" (Jno.  6:44-45).  The goal of the Christian dispensation is that the word be "written on our hearts" and this can only be accomplished by first entering it into the mind through teaching.

The second part of the commission was to "teach them to observe all that I have commanded you..."  The elemental part of the gospel message was that Jesus was God incarnate, the source of life, who died and was resurrected for all mankind.  A cursory reading of the gospel accounts show, however, that Jesus came to preach the gospel of "the kingdom"— the church—as well as the gospel of its Savior.  Jesus and the disciples taught doctrine as well as the so-called kerygma.      

Early Post-Apostolic bishops.

During the Apostolic period of the church the titles used of church workers  describe functions more than distinctive offices or narrowly defined duties.   Paul as an example, fulfilled the ambassadorial task of the apostleship—he  was sent by God as well as by the church at Antioch as a missionary.  He  fulfilled the Prophetic task by revealing to the world part of the "all truth"  promised by Jesus.  He could speak in tongues better than any—and he did so  to preach the word in strange lands.  He describes himself in terms of a  shepherd, and he certainly was the greatest of all evangelists.  Peter was an  Apostle, an elder, and an evangelist.  Philip was an appointed minister and an  evangelist.    

So it becomes apparent that one person might be called by one title but fulfil many tasks.  The terms used of the elder in Eph.  4 is Pastor-Teacher showing two tasks performed by one person.  One might be a teacher and not be a pastor.  He might me a minister (servant) and not be an evangelist.  

Even though there is one office described by the term pastor, bishop,       elder, or presbyter, almost immediately following the apostolic period, there  developed in some places a division of labor between the bishop and the  presbyter (elder).  Ignatius (c.  107) in his letter to the Ephesians, addresses  the bishop (Damas), two presbyters (Bassus and Apollonia), and one deacon  (Zotion) as constituting the leadership of the church.  He speaks of the  scattering of bishops showing the pastoral duty of the bishop to "go" where  the sheep are, ".....even as the bishops that are settled in the farthest part  of the earth."  In his first epistle, Peter shows that as the sheep are  scattered it is the responsibility of the elder to take the oversight of the  flock.

The earliest non-cannonical writings (Didache and Shepherd of Hermas) show  in some places a sharp distinction between the local presbyter and those who  travelled.  At times the bishop existed side-by-side with the presbyter or  local church leader and often travelled as a roving proclaimer of the word.   He had no fixed circuit, did not stay long at one location, was supported  partly by those he visited and partly by his own labor.  This is consistent with the pattern of Paul who often spent extensive time in one location but never forgot his mandate to go into all the world.  

The travelling bishop working as an evangelist was confronted with the       feeling that an outright request for money was a sign that he was not sincere  and anyone staying more than two weeks was suspect.  According to Origen,  "Chistians do all in their power to spread the faith all over the world...Some  wander from city to city...to win fresh converts...they often refuse to accept  the bare necessities..."  

This pattern for evangelism was modelled by Jesus the Chief Shepherd when  he said, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; FOR  THAT IS WHY I CAME OUT" (Mk 1:38).  Paul modelled the pattern by stating that  he "preached Christ where he had not been named" and he taught Timothy, Titus  and others who could go and repeat the process.  The elders, in the case of  the ordination of Timothy, understood the need to equip through "prophetic utterances" (which is teaching) and lay hands or commission those who could take the message out into the world.

And just as some of the early bishops, perhaps out of necessity, took it  upon themselves to go out and make converts, some of the most effective  evangelists were, or later became, bishops.  

Polycarp was accused of being  "...the teacher of ASIA, the father of the Christians, the overthrower of our  gods..."  

Iraneus, in Gaul, is said to have preached so extensively in other  towns and other languages that his native language—Greek—became almost a  foreign language.  

Pantaenus, who founded a school in Alexandria, is said to  have been a missionary as far as India.  His most famous student was Clement.

Those early bishops who did not themselves travel through the region making  converts were very aware of the imperative of the Great Commission and sent out missionaries.

J.  P.  Free in "Archaeology and Bible History" says that Ur a school was found  where the students learned to read hymns, to write, and do arithmetic including  learning the multiplication and division tables, calculate the square and cube  root.  Thus the student learned "reading, writing, and arithmetic."

"Centuries before Abraham was born Egypt and Babylonia were alike full of schools, and libraries, of teachers and pupils."  "The Babylonia of the age of Abraham was a more highly educated country than the England of George III." (Monument Facts and Higher Critical Fancies, Sayce, A.  H.)

At Ugarit "The educational system was so advanced that dictionaries in four languages were compiled for the use of scribes."  (Higher Critics and forbidden fruti, Gordan, Cyrus H.  Christianity Today Nov.  23, 1959)

 "The Gezer Calendar, written in 925 B.C.  is obviously an exercise performed by a child..." Archaeological Discoveries and the Scripture.  Christianity Today, June 21, 1968

Modelled by Hebrew education.

 Thus even if the Scriptures are ignored, it is obvious that Abraham came out  of a highly developed, educated, library-equiped society and not from the camel haired tent of the wilderness.  Abraham must not be viewed as just a parent but as a Patriarch, the head of a tribe, the parental, civil, and religious leader of his flock.  As a responsible, able leader he would by nature, training, and experience train his flock in the vocational and civil duties.  (Gen.  14:14) In addition God gave him the responsibility to educate his children and his household to walk in the ways of God (Gen.  18-19; cf.  Psa.  78:5-7)

God Taught Moses

God initially taught the law to moses orally and then Moses wrote it down.  (Exod.  19:4) "And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord..."  Later God  commanded Moses to "come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give  thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that  thou mayest teach them."  Exod.  24:12.

"And Moses went up unto God, and Jehovah called unto him out of the mountain saying, thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of  Israel...these are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of  Israel." (Exod.  19:3-6).  Often God instructs Moses to carry the message to the people (Exod.  20:22; 21:1; 24:1,12).  Moses did as he was instructed.  

It has always been God's plan that His people learn His will.  The Hebrew  nation can well be a model for a good educational model.  God's message says: "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart  from it." (Prov.  22:6).  "Apply thine heart unto instruction and thine ears te  words of knowledge.  Withhold not correction from the child..."(Prov.  23:12-13)

Isaiah says that "them that are weaned from the milk and drawn from the  breasts" should be taught knowledge (Isa.  28:9).  That this was the pattern is  seen from the experience of Timothy who was taught from his childhood (2 Tim.  3:15).  "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine  heart and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of  them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and  when thou liest down, and when thou risest up" (Deut.  6:6-7).

Many of the scriptures (Deut.  4:9; 6:7-9; 11:19; 32:46 and Proverbs) imply that education was family oriented and this has always been true.  However, as with Abraham in the examples above, the parent was more than just the domestic leader of the tribe.  And the parent was not the source of the educational material.  

In time the ordained teachers of the people, the priests and the Levites failed in their mandate to teach.  

"Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without   a teaching priest, and without law.  But when they in their trouble did   turn unto the Lord God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them."  2 Chron.  15:3,4

This resulted in the prophtes and the "sons of the prophets" becomming  preachers and teachers.  The fact that they denounced family and personal sin  is proof that they taught the people (1 Ki.  20:35-42).  

The Israelites were told to remember all "the things which thine eyes saw...  but make them known unto the children and thy children's children; the day that thou stoodest before Jehovah thy God in Horeb, when Jehovah said unto me, assemble me the people, and I will make them hear my words, that they might learn to fear me all the days that they live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children." (Deut.  4:9-10).  See.  Deut.  5:31; 6:7; Exod.  12:24-28 Deut.  11:19, Judges 13:8)  

Parents must be trained.

Parents must be prepared to know what to teach by the priests and Levites   (Lev.  10:10-11).  At Passover (Exod.  12 ) on a yearly basis and every seventh   year at the feast of Tabernacles, the law was read to the people (Deut.  31:10-  13).   

"set his heart to seek the law of Jehovah, and  to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and ordnances." (Ezra 7:10)

Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and the scribes and  Levites taught the people.  (Neh.  8:1-3, 8-15).  Heads of houses, priests and  Levites assembled with Ezra to further study the law.  

The prerequisite must be that God's words be "in thine heart." (Deut.  6:6-7) and then he is to teach continually.  Ezra learned, did, and taught the law.  Unless curriculum considers the leaders having God in their heart, living for  God, and equiping parents who are the real teacher then the curriculum is not complete.

Teaching Task of the Early Church

If education is to be one of the tasks of the Christian Church the responsi-bility for the task must be clearly assigned.  A study of the New Testamentshows that the Pastor-Teacher has been charged by God with that responsibilityin the ongoing local church.

The task as explained in Eph.  4:11 is that of equiping the saints for the  ministry.  He is to guard, tend, and feed the flock.  If an elder accepts  the posi- tion of "elder" he must also accept the job of "bishop" and  "pastor."  

Philip, who "taught Jesus" proceeded to baptize new converts (Acts 8:5,12, 35,38).  

Timothy was urged to do the work of an Evangelist (2 Tim.  4:5).   

Titus completed the organization of the churches (Titus 1:5).

Titus was to indoctrinate the Church (Tit.  1:13; 2:1,5).

Faithful men were trained to perpetuate the work (2 Tim.  2:2)

Build up the Church ( 1 T.  1-3; Titus 1:5)

Guard against false teachers (1 Tim.  1:3)

Warn the Church (1 Tim.  4:1-6)

There are several other words used in scripture to describe the teachers of God's Kingdom:  1) Doctor, 2) Master, 3) Ambassador, and 4) Teacher.  

DOCTOR:  The Doctor was principally the teacher of the Law.  Lk 2:46; 5:17; Acts 5:34 as well as false teachers I Tim.  1:17.  In the Jewish system the  violation of a law was very serious.  Thus Moses was instructed to read the  law to the people.  In later times it is thought that the Syna- gogue arose  from the post-exile custom of gathering around the prophet or teacher and  reading and explaining the doctrine of God.   

"And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart and you shall TEACH them diligently to your CHILDREN....." Deut.  6:4-7

RABBI: In Matt 23:7,8 Jesus forbids the use of the idea of "master-teacher"  or "doctor" or authoritative teacher.  Future teachers are to be humble  explicators of God's message and not authoritative teachers.    

MASTER:  Jesus is the Master.  See Matt 8:19; Mark 4:38.  In an accomodative  sense it is used of Nicodemus.  Other words translated master are; Lord  (Kurios), Master (Despotes), and Rabbi (Rabbei) and others.  

AMBASSADOR.  Reconciliation to God always begins by teaching the facts to  the lost of the world.  This work has been passed on to the church.  The  Apostles (Apostolos) had an ambassadorial task (sent) and a prophetic task  (revealing truth).  There was another ambassadorial task performed by a senior  person (PRESBEUO in 2 Cor.  5:18-21), a representative, a preacher whose work  is the prophetic work in the "forth-telling" sense from the idea of PRO "in  place of" and PHEMI "to speak".  II Cor.  5:18-21.  Of course there are no first- level ambassadors in the APOSTOLOS sense but there are those in the PRESBEUO  or teaching sense who can only tell what has been revealed by the apostles and  prophets  

TEACHER: Those who are said to be teachers are: Christ   Matt 23:8; Jno.  3:2 Nicodemus in Israel  Jno 3:10 Truth-teachers in the church  Acts 13:1; I Cor 12:28 Paul among the churches I Tim 2:7; II Tim 1:11 False teachers for itching ears II Tim 4:3 The elders who are to feed and equip the flock Eph.  4:11

Nature of Law demanded education.

The Israelites were a well ordered society with all aspects of diet, hygene, sacrificial offering, and civil laws.  Any slip could result in quarantine from the group and some acts could result in the death penaly.  The giving of the law without a well structured educational system would have been unthinkable.  Indeed, we see moses being continually warned by God to teach the law to the  people.  Parental authority and respect were crucial to an ordered society: "Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long in the land that  Jehovah giveth thee." (Ex.  20:12).  "And he that smiteth his father, or his  mother, shall surely be put to death.  And he that curseth his father or hier  shall surely be put to death." (Ex.  21:15,17)

Teaching Nature of Proverbs

 At the highest priority with Solomon was a request from God for wisdom.  It is said that Solomon composed 3,000 proverbs (1 Ki.  4:32) of which 800 exist in the book of Proverbs.  Solomon ties knowledge and wisdom together as a matched pair.  It is said that knowledge is the ability to acquire facts and wisdom is the ability to wisely apply the facts.  The ability to apply without the acqui- sition of facts would be of no value.  Facts without the ability to use them is likewise useless.  

Proverbs constituted a portable classroom.  The parents could learn the  provebs which compress volumes into short easy to remember sayings and thus  transmit great learning to their children.  

Proverbs pictures a boy and a school.  The wise boy will attend the school of wisdom (of which the book of Proverbs is valuable) or he will attend the school of fools - the school of hard knocks.  It would be difficult to read Proverbs and still believe that education took back seat in the early History of the Bible.  

Schools of the Prophets

The failure of the priesthood resulted in the prophtes  and the "sons of the prophets" becomming preachers and teachers.  The fact that they denounced family and personal sin is proof that they taught the people.  (1 Ki.  20:35-42).  The sons of the prophets and the prophets would not have rescued the educa- tional process unless they had been prepared by the instruction of the prophets.  The prophets were not of the elite.  Amos claimed not to be a prophet or a son of a prophet (Amos 7:14-15), but a herdsman (1:1; 7:14,15) and a gatherer of sycamore fruit (7:14).  However, it is obvious that he was not an ignorant man.  

Schools of Wisdom

Several scriptures lead to the conjecture that there may have been schools of wisdom just as there were schools of the prophets.  The queen of Sheba hearing of the fame of Solomon visits and says, "Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom." (1 Ki 10:8).  Solomon says of himself, "The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem." (Eccl.  1:1).  "And moreover, because the preacher was wise, still taught the people knowledge; ye he gave good heed, and sought our, and set in order many proverbs." (Eccl.  10:9)

The Synagogues

While the synagogue may have a very early history it is generally felt that  the synagogue grew out of the informal meetings of the Jewish people during  captivity where they met to edify one another.  In the KJ it is said, "Let us  destroy them together: they have burned all the synagogues of God in the land." (Psa 74:8).  This scripture may have in mind the same meeting place which was later called the  synagogue.  Lacking Old Testament references we are still left with James who  says "For from early generations Moses has had in every city those who preach  him, for he is read every sabbath in the synagogues." (Acts 15:21).  It is clear that the primary purpose of the synagogue was  educational—reading the law and having someone speak the sermon or "word of  exhortation" (Acts 13:15).  Other references to teaching in the synagogue are: (Matt.  4:23; Mk.  1:21; 6:2; Lk.  4:15; 6:6; 13:10; Jno.  6:59)  

While the home was the primary educational institution during the early  Christian period, the synagogue occupied an important place.  In most Jewish  communities there existed elementary schools attached to the synagogue.  While  it is very easy to narrow the curriculum to include only the teaching of the  Torah no true education would really be possible without some intellectual ability.  Great stress was placed upon memory thereby writing it first upon  their minds and hopefully upon their hearts.  During the priesthood of Joshua  ben Gamala (63-65 AD) schools were established in many cities and provinces to begin teaching at the age of 5.  At five, the child attended the primary  school which was a part of the synagogue and later he attended the beth ha-midrash under a famous doctor such as Gamaliel who taught Saul of Tarsus.  

The synagogue attendant (Lk.  4:20) served as the teacher and taught reading,  writing, and arithmetic not as end-product of the curriculum but as a means to  the end of having students who could understand the law and the bulk of inter- pretations which had grown up as commentaries.  If the attendant had more than  25 students he was allow an assistant  

Graduates of the synagogue or anyone with ability could continue their  education by studying at the feet of scribes in their homes, the synagogue, or  the temple portico.  Here the student learned all of the interpretation and  application of the law.  Paul received such an education at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3)

"At five he must begin the sacred studies; at ten he must set himself to  learning the traditions; at thirteen he must know the whole of the Law of  Yahweh and practice its requiements; and at fifteen years begin the  perfecting of his knowledge." (Talmudic tractate 'Pirke Aboth,' Ibid   p.  132)

Conclusion to Models of Education

 The Pastor-Teacher's ability to meet the challenges of education is crucial because the quality of our church community—our living together as strangers in the Earth—is made possible and enhanced by the highest possible development of each part of the Body.  The quality of religious education will bear fruit in the personal quality of Christian life and the growth of the churches.  

The leadership of the church has a vested interest in the education of those in their charge.  This is true because it is demanded by God and the elders will give account to God, and because their ability to lead and the quality of that leadership in turn depends upon an enlightened membership.  

The charge to the Church to Go and make disciples, baptizing and teaching them, meeting the needs of our neighbors, and helping all to grow up in Christ  can only be met if the elders FEED the flock.  

Even without specific qualifications, these models all illustrate the terminal duties of the eldership to teach truth, exhibit the truth in his  life, and to dispel error.  

        Shepherd but more

            Elder

            Shepherd

            Superintendent

Modelled by early schools..

The model for the elder's responsibility for education can be seen from       the Jewish model of the elder, the qualifications for the eldership which demands that he be a competent teacher, and by the post-apostolic history of those who saw the need for education.

When God placed early man in the garden, the first thing that he did was  to educate him.  Later on, the early elders of a community or patriarch was  charged with teaching hunting, farming, civic duties, and religious duties to  his children.  The greatest judgement is passed upon those who did not instruct  and restrain their children.  Education is a mark of civilization and there  must have been very early schools which we have no record of.  

That the early elders believed that teaching was important is proven by the  many schools which were set up to train people.  Some examples are:

School of prophets at Naioth (Samuel as head)  1 Sam.  19:20

At Bethel                   2 Ki.   2:3

At Jericho                  2 Ki.   2:5,15

At Gilgal (Elisha)          2 Ki.   2:4:38

At Jerusalem                2 Ki.  22:14; 2 Chron.  34:22

Sometimes they had to build a school           2 Ki.   6:1

Bible School every seven years                   Deut.31:10-13

In the Home                         Psa.  78:8; Deut 4:9,10; 6:7,9; 11:19,20

State sponsored for all the people             2 Chron.  17:7-9

School in Captivity                            Dan.  1:3-21

Gamaliel                                       Acts 5:34; 22:3

??Post-apostolic

The Office of elder

There is widespread belief among restoration churches that the eldership is  an office which carries much the same authority as the "bishop" in denominational churches.  This leads to the belief that when a once competent, autonomous congregation selects men as elders, however incompetent they may   be, he "becomes what God wants by the power of the Holy Spirit" and therefore  all authority of the group passes to the elder never to be relinquised.  This  belief is so strong that many believe that "to oppose the elder is to oppose  God Himself."  Why have we digressed so far from the Biblical pattern?    Perhaps the greatest reason—the proof-text—is the translation of certain  versions controlled by ecclesiastical authority.  

(1 Tim.  3:1)  

KJV  "If a man desires the OFFICE of BISHOP, he desires a good work"

NASB "If a man aspires to the OFFICE of overseer..."

NIV  "If any man sets his heart on being an overseer..."

Literal translation: "If any stretches forward to overseership, of a good   work he is desirous."    Albert Barnes says:

"The Greek word here is a single word.  The word 'episcope'...occurs  but four times in the NT.  It is translated 'visitation' in Luke 19:44, and   in 1 Pet.  2:12; 'bishoprick,' Acts 1:20; and in this place 'office of a  bishop.'  The verb..  in Heb.  12:15 is rendered 'looking diligently,' and in   1 Pet.  5:2, 'taking the oversight'" (Notes on I Tim.  III, p 141).  

The second argument for office is the use of the word "presbytery" which  is considered a "college of elders" to supervise the local church.   

Definition of office.

Vine defines the word "office" as follows: The Greek word HIERATEUO is   defined as "to officiate as a priest, is translated 'he executed the priest's   office' (Luke 1:8)."     

However, to show that this translation is really a paraphrase (reflecing   the opinion of the translators and not the Greek text), Vine continues: "In 1    Tim.  3:1, the word 'office' in the phrase 'the office of a bishop,' has    NOTHING to represent it in the ORIGINAL."    

Under the new covenant, the individual believer stands before God as a   priest with only Christ as mediator before God.  The elder does not occupy   this position because this separate priestly "office" does not exist in the   Christian Church.     

We see then that Scripture does not define an office or a place of honor   or prestige but defines the work of overseeing the flock by teaching it, by   being an example, and by protecting it.  Both Jesus and Paul showed respect   for the "office" of the priesthood even when the individual priest was a   contemptable fellow.  However, because there is no "office" of the eldership   which transcends the individual, the elder does not inherit this crown of  respect and honor by virtue of his "election" to the office; it must be earned   by the life of the elder prior to his appointment; it must be acknowledged   by the church by his appointment; and it must be discharged by overseeing the   flock IN ORDER THAT he may be a teacher of the Biblical message.  The elder is   to be honored because of "his work's sake" and not because of his office.  

"We have frequently used the term 'officers' with reference to the   servants of the church.  We have frequently affirmed that in the ordinary use of that term an 'officer' is unknown to the Christian scriptures...An officer in the ordinary acceptation of the term is one who is appointed to do a work, which he could NOT do without that appointment and to which,  without the official investiture, would be a crime...can an overseer   consecrated as as he may be...do anything as such that every Christian  is not at liberty, and even is duty bound to do to the best of his   ability" (David Lipscomb, The Gospel Advocate, 1867, p.  567)  

Argument for office.

The danger of adducing human writers as authorities on any Biblical   subject is that they testify that "one the one hand there IS an office but  on the other hand there is not."  It all depends upon which documentation is  used and the stage of life in which the testimony is given.   

The testimony of J.  W.  McGarvey—on the one hand:

"Its exact etymological equivalent in English is overseership.  What   particular kind of overseership is meant in the Psalm from which it is  quoted, the context there does not indicate, but that it had not in the   days of the Psalmist the meaning now attached to the word bishoprick in   English, is absolutely certain, for no such office then existed.  In the  absence of definite knowledge also the overseership originally referred   to, it is probably that the generic term office is best representative of  the work, especially as it is so rendered in the Psalm from which the  quotation is made." (J.  W.  McGarvey, commenting on Acts, p.  14)

J.  W.  McGarvey—on the other hand:

"Individuals...deny that the term eldership designates an office, or that   elders are properly styled officers.  They deny, indeed, the existence of   office in the church, and would use the term work here the term office is   commonly employed.  We regard the dstinction as between words rather than  ideas; for one of a body of men, who has any work specially assigned to   him by the body, is an officer of that body, in the full import of the   term.  If, then, we shall, in the course of our investigation, ascertain   that the elders of the church are charged with the performance of public    duties assigned to them by their brethren, we shall thereby know that they   are entitled to the name of officers.  If, after this, any shall still   prefer not to call them officers, while recognizing all the functions   which they are charged, we care not to have a war about words with such  persons." (J.W.McGarvey, The Eldership, pp.9-10)  

If, however, McGarvey is seen to diminish to a "war about words" his own   description of "duties assigned to them by their brethren" and the belief that   the elder then assumes an aura of authority which cannot be countermanded by   those who assigned these duties then we believe that he is misunderstood.  McGarvey also seems to miss the testimony of Vine, Lipscomb, and others  that the term "office" by its very definition conveys the sense of authority  which is indispensible to the performance of the work.  That is, a man is  called an officer if he cannot perform his work without vested authority.  

McGarvey also defines the word "eldership" or the Greek PRESBUTERON, which   in the KJV is translated "presbytery," as arguing for a body of men who   individually are presbyters and collectively are the presbytery.  This,   however, is a group of men who sometimes operate collectively in the Spiritual   affairs of the church but they are not equivalent to the board of directors of   a modern corporation.    

In our discussion of appointing elders, we address the laying on of the   hands of the presbytery, or the collective work of the eldership who help  Paul equip Timothy "through prophecy" or through factual teaching and then  ordaining him for the work of evangelization.  At other times, funds which  were specifically earmarked for the poor were sent to the elders (collective)  for distribution.  We must conclude, therefore, that in some sense when duly  appointed by their peers, the eldership assumes some level of authority   whether we define it as office or work.  

It is important to acknowledge that the elder is appointed to a work which   makes some distinction between being just an elder who helps to oversee the   flock (which probably includes all of the mature men of the church) and one   who teaches the Word and upholds the doctrine of the church—the one Paul     defines as due "double honor."  

1.      In Acts 14:23 in appointing people "elders" they were not pointed  out to be "OLDER" but were they pointed out for a certain work.  

2.      When communicating with certain churches paul addressed the elders and deacons as seperate groups.  

3.      When sending money to the christians in Judea, it was sent to the elders (Acts 11:29,30) although they did have discretionary authority over the monies—it was earmarked for the poor.

4.      In Acts 20:28 it is said that the "Holy Spirit" had made them  guardians.   

5.      It is certainly true that a person is not caused to be either old or    a superintendent by virtue of someone pointing him out.  It has been    truly said of the diaconate that "If he ain't a-deeking, he ain't a     deacon".  Likewise, if a Shepherd is not shepherding the flock through   teaching he is not a true shepherd even if he has the total consent of   the flock.  He cannot be elected "to be" a shepherd any more than a    novice can be elected to be a brain surgeon.  

Argument against office.

Most of the restoration writers deny that the eldership is an office:

"The word officer is never in the Scriptures applied to a member of a church of Christ" (Gospel Advocate, 1874, p.  294).

"We have frequently used the term 'officers' with reference to the  servants of the church.  We have frequently affirmed that in the ordinary use of that term an 'officer' is unknown to the Christian scriptures...An officer in the ordinary acceptation of the term is one who is appointed to do a work, which he could NOT do without that appointment and to which,  without the official investiture, would be a crime.can an overseer consecrated as as he may be.do anything as such that every Christian  is not at liberty, and even is duty bound to do to the best of his   ability" (David Lipscomb, The Gospel Advocate, 1867, p.  567)  

Lipscomb then defines office as:

•    To do the work without the investitute would be against the law.

It is clear that one is appointed to the eldership, but it is not clear that he has authority in the sense that the term "office" implies.  And it  is also clear that there is nothing demanded of an "appointed" elder that  cannot be done by any qualified person.  His appointment acknowledges his  competency and does not confer it.

"Controlling the church by virtue of authority of office is unknown in the Scriptures.  All should seek to control simply and only through the   authority of truth, impressed by lives of godliness, purity and love."  (Lipscomb in The Gospel Advocate, 1871)  

Lipscomb's demand that every Christian can and must perform to the best of his ability whatever is demanded of the elder is seen in Romans 12:4 where  it is seen that each functioning member of the body has an "office" or work  to fulfill:  

"For as we have many members in one body, all members have not the same office."

"...The elders do not have an office in the political or secular sense.   There is no place in the New Testament calling their place an office perse.  These re-emphasizes the point that their authority is not like  political or secular forms." (Christian Bible Teacher, Feb.  1974, p.  65)  

"While we honor as highly as anyone the wisdom, the experience and weight  of authority which belongs to those who have been faithful servnts of the  Lord, we have never yet seen in the New Testament, the least ground for   the authority of certain individuals, termed officers, to act independ-  ently of the congregation...While there can be no doubt that the more   experienced men and women in the church are the proper persons to instruct,  admonish, and reprove, still such a notion as official authority vested in   a few individuals to act for the congregation is not to be found in any   examples or precept in the word of God" (William Lipscomb, quoted by Waymon   D.  Miller, The Role of Elders in the NT Church, p.  28).   

"Hence elders and deacons, whatever may be meant by these words, can do   nothing by what is called official authority into whch they are to be   installed by something called ordination.  Whatever is done by them must   be done by the word of God, and not by any official authority to them."   (Gospel Advocate, 1898, p.  280).    

"No man, therefore, has any arbitrary or official authority in the church of God...The word of God, not their personal decisions by their own wisdom,   must be the rule, the law, in all things pertaining to the service of God."   (E.G.  Sewell, GA, 1897, p.  292)      

The great tragedy of the elder who sees himself as elevated above the  flock because he thought that he was given the "office" of the elder by a  direct operation of the Holy Spirit is that he cannot help feel "lifted up  with pride" and as a result he and the flock will be damaged.  This view  allows one with only slight Biblical knowledge to be transformed from a humble   man to one who disdains the opinions of his subjects.  Too, it means that a   faithful, spiritual man who by virtue of old age must retire from his   "office" is no longer thought to have the power and authority to direct the    affairs of the church.  Indeed, because he has "given up" his power, he may   never again be consulted because what value is the opinion of a non-official?  

However, if this writer understands the Biblical pattern, it is just as  sinful to "retire" and refuse to hear a man because he "cannot make the  meetings" as it is to "elect" one who is not spirtually equipped and already  recognized by the congregation.  To refuse to hear the vast resource of older   men who are not "official" elders, is to "lord it over the flock" and to  usurp the "headship" of Christ over the church.  

Character of the work.

Definition of words such as "rule" clearly indicates that elders have the  responsibility for guiding the affairs of the local church.  While the  terminal duty of the elder is to be the teacher or feeder of the flock, if it   is true that the only authority that an elder has is that of teaching and   example then he has NO authority not available to all members.  However, if   he fails to rule by the WORD he has failed utterly.  He has the oversight of  the church not just to have oversight but to facilitate the teaching of the   Word.   

If he has no authority there would be no reason to call him "elder," "pastor," or "bishop," because even young people can teach and serve as  examples.    

The character of the eldership is bound up and limited by the example given to describe him—shepherd.  A shepherd cannot dominate, cannot drive, must  love his sheep, his sheep must know his voice and hear him, and he must be  tolerant.  He must be a sheep-developer and not a sheep-culler.  

It is possible to gain further insight into what an elder is and is not  by looking at the SYMBOLISM associated with the work.  

Christ did not call him VINEDRESSER.  The vinedresser has no emotional   attachment to his vines (hardly ever).  He is expressly charged with   inspecting branches, pruning them even to the ground, heaping them in the   field and burning them.  Non-productive vines are not to be tolerated—even   Jesus cursed the fig tree for not "getting with the program."  

In the image of the SOWER, life would get a little more difficult.  He gets  both wheat and tares and he cannot know which is which until the harvest.  Even  if he could, he might uproot wheat while pulling tares.  Tare eleminators  are either so fearful of planting or so anxious to eleminate, that nothing is  done.  However, it might be added that the sower can recognize the difference  between a ragweed and a radish.  

In the image of the FISHERMAN, the command is to take a broad, indiscrimate  sweep with his net, knowing that to catch the salmon, he must gather in lots of  shark and jellyfish.     

The analogy of the SHEPHERD and his sheep—like all analogies—fails in  some comparisons.  For instance, the Christian "sheep" are free, independant  agents able to "vote with their feet" if not happy.  To be effective then the  elder CANNOT lord it over the flock, but must teach and persuade.  Every lost  sheep is a token of the elder's own failure.    

In the secular age (some call it the POST-CHRISTIAN age) authority of all  kinds and especially "divinely deligated authority" is suspect.  Leadership  therefore, must be measured by strength of CHARACTER and not strength of WILL.  

Whatever its limitations, it is clear that the pastor-teacher is an elder         who has been selected by consent of the congregation to exercise oversight  in some special way.  

Is the eldership a modern work

While there are numerous negative and positive models for the eldership  within the Old and New Testaments, not all of them can be applied today.    There are qualifications and models for the apostleship but we understand that the apostleship is not a permanent work.  Neither is the office of prophet.    

Because much of what we know about the eldership is from within the context   of establishing or confirming the early church and breaking down the Jew-Gentile barriers, and was described alongside such offices as the apostles and prophets, we cannot even be certain that the office is an ongoing work.     

In addition to the pervasive lack of knowledge about the eldership, what we do know from the Bible perspective is couched within a supernatural context.  We understand that where descriptions of the worship of the early church is given within the context of regulating Spiritual gifts, we must use extreme care when projecting the patterns and models into a non-supernatural environment.  And too, we see the early elders appointed by men with supernatural gifts, were given supernatural gifts, and sometimes performed supernatural tasks.  This must give us pause when attempting to establish    dogma for the contemporary church to regulate the office.    

Earl H.  West said that anything based solely upon custom and temporary world conditions and anything which involved the miraculous and living  apostles cannot be binding.  (Earle H.  West, Following Bible Examples, p.    16)     

We believe that the eldership exists, not as faith-healer, but as pastor- teacher for the following reasons:   

1.  The work of the elders exists in all societies.

To understand the eldership, we are forced to do a "logical straddle"—to   see the task of the elder prior to the Christian dispensation and to understand from logic the absolute demand for competent leadership in every age   and every sector of society.   

To grasp a clearer understanding of the work, it must be understood that  the tradition of ELDERSHIP has existed in most societies described in history.  Indeed, the role of leadership is bedrock.  There can never be a functioning,  orderly society without leaders.  It begins with the family unit and extends    to the most extensive national organizations.  Only under true anarchy is  there no focused leadership.  Even under the most open democracy a central  core of leadership exists to steer and direct society.  We should, therefore, expect that as far as the church exists in a corporate sense, there will  always exist this same central direction and even the most forceful effort  to rid the church of central leadership will only result in its replacement   by another group of central leaders.  

It seems fair to say that the birth of the Christian dispensation is not  accompanied by the liquidation all of its religious ancestors.  The Jewish  history of eldership, therefore, must serve as the immediate antecedant to the  Christian eldership.  If this assumption is allowable then some understanding  can be gained by looking at these historical precidents.  

Beginning in the Patriarchial dispensation, the senior or elder member of  the family was the community leader.  In Egypt it was the elders who acted  as family priest to sprinkle the door post with blood as a modelling of the   redemptive nature of the coming Christ, to redeem the first-born from death.  In the wilderness it was to the priest and elders that Moses presented the Law.  They were responsible to relay these commandments to the peoples of  their respective family groups.  And it was to the elders that disobedient  children were brought for discipline.  

During the long sojourn from Egypt to the promised land, Moses was urged to  select representatives to govern discrete groups of the marching community.     

It was probably during and just after the captivity that the Jews met to hear the scriptures read and explained in community.  This is what we now call the Synagogue and its leaders were the elders (Mt.  16:21; Mk.  8:31; Lk.  9:22;   Acts 4:5).  The synagogue elder kept the assembly in order and read and   explained the Scriptures but he was not a preacher-philosopher.  His rulership   was much like the guidance of his own family.  

"Elders, among the Jews, were the rulers of the people, prominent men who took the lead in directing and controlling affairs...an official term, therefore, this word expresses the idea of government by men of age, prominence, experience, and wisdom.  It indicated that an incompetent eldership is a great misfortune, and disasterous in its consequences."   (W.L.  Hayden, p.  51, Church Polity).     

To the extent that the Old Testament elder was a community official, the parallel with pastor-teachers no longer holds true.

2.  There is an ongoing need.  

  The fourth chapter of Ephesians declares that supernaturally endowed workers within the church, including the elder or pastor-teacher, were given gifts to prepare the church for service "until we reach unity of the faith," or "attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ," or until "that which is perfect" comes.  In some sense the attainment of unity meant   that the church was fully organized and that both Jew and Gentile was   included.  To this extent the apostle and prophet as officials within the   church are no longer available today.  And also, to the extent that the early   pastor-teachers were supernaturally gifted men, they do not exist within the   church.   

This is often used to show that since the church was "once for all" extablished by supernaturally gifted men there is no longer a need for Spiritual gifts.  However, just as the organization of the church and the   achievement of maturity as a "once for all" effort was needed in the first  century, there is an ongoing need to bring each member of the church to   spiritual maturity which means that he has been equipped to withstand the   teaching of error and grows "into the image of Christ."  

3.  There are clear qualifications which can be met.

  We believe that the apostleship is no longer available to the church  because no living person can meet the personal qualifications.  It is true that, given the demand for "perfectionism" of the modern eldership, it is  almost impossible to meet the demands for the eldership.  However, they can   be met at some level.

In letters to Timothy and Titus, Paul outlines many qualifications for the eldership.  If these qualifications are not for an ongoing office or work it   is very difficult to see how any of the first century Bible is applicable   today.   

4.  Possession of "Supernatural gifts" is never given as a qualification.  

Most of what we know about the eldership flows from within a supernatural   environment, where elders were even appealed to for help in physical   illnesses.  However, the two primary lists of qualifications for the elder  

do not include the demand that he have some Spiritual gift.  We conclude,  therefore, that the eldership can exist without benefit of these gifts in the   modern society.  

It is important in understanding models of the eldership that we make a  distinction between those supernatural abilities which some early elders  possessed and those tasks which can be performed today without supernatural  gifts of the Holy Spirit.  

Once established by supernatural creation, a flock of sheep may be  perpetuated by what we call "natural" means.  While the early elders were  equipped with supernatural powers, as were many within the early churches,  there is no no continuing need for these powers.  By supernatural power, the   early leaders modelled the Christian Church and it exists based upon   following those patterns as guides.  

Conclusion to Office

  It seems clear that the elder was an older man who was a recognized  community leader and who was due double honor because he taught the word  and doctrine.  If by office we mean authority without which he could not  be a pastor-teacher then it is clear that he was not an officer of the   church.  If, however, we mean that he had been recognized as the overseer  of the flock because he was a competent teacher then he is an officer because  he is part of the "college of the presbytery."        

Qualifications for eldership.

Consistent with all of human experience, the teachings of Jesus, and the witness of Scripture, the truth can be told on a particular subject only by understanding what a thing IS NOT as well as what it IS.  The qualifications for the eldership are no different in that the elder must meet certain positive qualifications and he must not be afflicted with certain negative traits.  

The elder MUST BE the husband of one wife, temperate, sober, orderly,hospitable, able to teach, gentle, have his own household in order, have a good reputation, be self-controlled, possess a holy character, love all things, and be just.

The elder MUST NOT BE subject to reproach, be given to wine or be a brawler, be a striker, be contentious, love money, not inexperienced, not quick-tempered, and not selfish.

All of these traits are demanded so that he can function in his terminalduties:

    Teach the faith,

    model the faith, and

    prevent false teaching.  

The demand to project only the positive aspect of a thing and allow others to draw negative implications is clearly seen to be fallacious in this example.  For instance, what if the elder meets all of the positive traits of the eldership but "gets near wine" meaning that he frequents places where wine consumption is the object?  What if he is hospitable but beats-up on his guests?

The qualifications listed in the books of Timothy and Titus are only asampling of the basic Christian qualities which an elder must possess.  We have listed the qualities side-by-side to show that only one account is not exhaustive.  We have further taken the liberty to attempt to arrange the qualities under key headings to try to get a better grasp on the topic.

Comparison of qualifications.

(SEE Acts. 20:28,31)       I TIM.3: ITUS 1:

Qualification    Tim.    Titus

_________________________________________________________

1   INSTRUMENTAL QUALIFICATION - COMMITTMENT

 fervent/compelling          v2

(Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5)

2.  CHARACTER QUALIFICATIONS

A. Without reproach

1) Blameless (ANEPILEMPTON) invulnerable-no handles     v2   v6,7

2) Having a good standing without                       v7  

B. Not addicted to drugs--under control                      

1) Temperate (PAROINON) not even near wine-drinking     v3   v7  

2) Vigilant (NEPHALION) alert-awake - total abstinence  v2

3) Soberminded (SOPHRON) wise-prudent, not having       v2

the same disposition produced by wine.

C. Positive mental and emotional qualities

1)  Orderly (KOSMION) creative                          v2

2)  Gentle (EPEIKE) patient, easily entreated           v3

3)  Hospitable (PHILOXENOS)                             v2   v8

4)  Just (DIKAION) fair-impartial                       v8

D. Free from negative mental and emotional qualities:

1)  Not contentious (AMACHON) free from strife          v3

2)  Not a striker (APLEKTON) physically or mentally     v3   v7

3)  Not self willed (AUTHADE) arrogant, selfish              v7

4)  Not soon angry (ORGILON) emotional excess                v7

E. Not enfluenced by materialism:

1). Not lover of money (APHILARGURON)                   v3

2)  Not greedy of money (AISCHROKERDE) not coveteous    v3   v7

F.  Experienced:

1)  Not a novice (NEOPHYTOS) either old or young        v6

G. Exhibits positive Spiritual qualities:

1)  Holy (HOSION) undefiled-pure, set aside for this work    v8

2)  Lover of good (PHILAGATHON) things/truth/people          v8

3). Holding the faithful word (ANTECHOMENON) steadfast       v9

3.  SITUATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS

A.  Must be a man                                          v1

B.  Husband of one wife (MIOS JUNAIKON ANDRA)              v2   v6

C.  Ruling household (PROISTAMENON) in charge of           v4

D.  Children in subjection                                 v4   v6

E.  Believing/orderly children                                  v6

4.  TERMINAL QUALIFICATIONS - CABILITIES

A.  Able to teach DIDAKTIKON skillful in teaching          v2

B.  Convict gainsayer with sound doctrine                       v7

Here we see two well-defined lists of qualifications for the eldership.  From these lists, it can be seen that they do not perfectly match.  What does this mean?  Is one list for a well established church and the other for a new church?  Are there two or more lists depending upon other circumstances?  Are there two approximate, or generalized, lists of qualifications indicating that the elder should be "something" like the list but not perfectly?  

If either of the above theories are correct then the contemporary church has no definitive lists of qualifications which must be met by the candidate for the eldership.

The qualifications for the elder must be taken as more than just an approximate measuring up to the list of qualifications.  The qualifications, in summary, say: the candidate MUST be willing and anxious; he MUST have the positive characteristics or capabilities to lead; he MUST lack the negative characteristics which would destroy his ability to serve; and he MUST have situational characteristics which qualify and validate his life as a leader.  It says more than he must meet the qualifications—he must be a certain kind of man.

Yet, we are left with the elementary realization that to demand perfection (100% on ALL requirements) would eleminate the eldership in the church.  If an elder is to be "apt to be taught" as well as "apt to teach" as we shall see later, we may conclude that he is not perfect when he begins to serve.

A legalistic approach would demand that each elder meet:

1) several hundred positive values demanded of a Christian;

2) NOT have any of the several hundred negative qualities;

3) meet Paul's sixty-five or more characteristics of a servant of God;

4) measure up to the demands placed upon Timothy by Paul;

5) he should meet the self-tests of of I John; 5) he should measure up to the qualifications of the eldership in both I Timothy and Titus, and

6) he should posses the fruit of the Spirit listed in Gal.  5.  This would be a feat greater than keeping all of the law and would meet with the same results.  No person could possibly qualify.  

A careful look at these particular lists show that these are qualities which are normative for all christians today and they establish a profile of someone who not only meets these qualifications in a legal sense but who truly has the qualities of one who has been "conformed to the image of Christ."  If properly met, these qualities define the broad outlines of a profile for every aspiring follower of Christ.

The following broad areas summarizes the qualifications as they relate to the task of aspiring to be the servant of the local Church:

1   INSTRUMENTAL QUALIFICATION - COMMITTMENT

The Greek word "Oregomai" means to "stretch oneself or toreach after."

The word "Epithumea" means to "set the heart upon, to desire, to covet, would fain, to lust." These words are more than "I might be willing to serve." They have  to do with the preparation for the arena of the Olympic games  (See Jesus in Lk.  22:15 and Paul in Phil.  1:23).    

A man who aspires to the eldership must have this kind of desire.  He may fall short but he must aspire.  To clarify this desire, emagine approaching a young man on the street and saying, "We have a spot in the next Olympic games, would you care to enter?"  The young man answers, "yea, man, I'm free 'bout then."   

Of course not!  The man or woman aspiring to a gold medal will have spent years preparing for the event, with an overwhelming desire to excel.  The candidate for the eldership must have this kind of desire and preparation.  If not, he will look like a fool when he attempts the marathon.  He must have acquired the offensive and defensive skills and above all, a love for the race.  

The seriousness of this charge is amplified by the realization that the servant of God is a SOLDIER ( 2 Tim.  2:4; 4:7; 1 Tim.  6:2) and an ATHLETE in a life-or-death contest ( 1 Cor.  9:24; Heb.  12:1).  He has presumed to put himself in leadership of a church battling against human and supernatural foes.  

Peter says that he should be willing:

"...taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind" (1 Pet.  5:2)

A.  fervent/compelling          v2

(Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5)

Trained as an Olympic athlete

Trained as an offensive warrior

Trained as a defensive warrior

Trained as Biblical Scholar

2.  CHARACTER QUALIFICATIONS

A    Without reproach

1) Blameless (ANEPILEMPTON) invulnerable-no handles     v2   v6,7

The elder is invulnerable with “no handles”.  This does not mean that the elder is to be perfect but it does mean that he has no "handles" by which the religious community can "grab hold of" him in some destructive way.  He has no hidden family, sexual encounters, shady business deals, or personal associations by which others can accuse him and thereby detract from his work and the work of the flock.

2) Having a good standing without                       v7  

The elder must be not be chosen for who he is or who he knows but for "what he is." He must not be chosen because he is a good business man— although that is important—or because he is liked.  He must have the character or else both he and the church may be damaged.  When someone asks "where can we find a good man," this elder's name jumps to the lips of those within and without the church.  

Just as one person might eat meat sacrificed to idols without either personal difficulties or jeopardizing the faith of another, the elder is absolutely forbiden certain people, places, and activities because of  appearances.  

B.  Not addicted to drugs—under control                      

1) Temperate (PAROINON) not even near wine-drinking     v3   v7  

2) Vigilant (NEPHALION) alert-awake - total abstinence  v2

3) Soberminded (SOPHRON) wise-prudent, not having       v2

the same disposition produced by wine.

+WINE

            Not a drug user

In response to a question, Lipscomb and Shepherd answer:            

"The use of strong drink is entirely incompatable with a fully developed  Christian character.  The character given for the elders is that of the  most complete and best-rounded Christian.  Every Christian is bound to seek,in his spiritual growth, to develop the character portrayed for the elders.  This will lead evey Christian to refrain entirely from the use of strong  drink."    

It is not uncommon to hear mature leaders in the church demand that the Bible nowhere condemns the drinking of alcohol!  Such a person lacks the elementary knowledge of the Old and New Testament, the ancient art of "wine-making" (which was to preserve the wine as a food product and not to lose it by having it ferment), the meaning of the Greek words for the various types of wine, and the absolute prohibition against the use of drugs by the leaders of the church who are to act as role models.  

He must be embarassed that the National health authorities have had to take the lead in declaring that tobacco and alcohol are addictive drugs and those who are hooked are now labeled as "drug addicts."  Drug addicts who consume intoxicants kill 25 to 30 thousands of people each year not to count the life-destroying enjuries of others.  Other deaths amount to about 200 thousand related to alcohol.  Drug addicts who consume tobacco kill about 350 thousands of people each year in addition to many thousands who do not smoke.

One seriously doubts that one can be a "drug addict" and a shepherd of the Flock of God!  We have attached, as Appendix B, reasons why we believe that an elder cannot consume intoxicants and why he must, if he is the leader, work to detoxify those who are addicts.  He cannot function if he is perceived to be tolerant of drug use among his flock.

                The Danger of Tobacco

                The prohibition of Alcohol

            Positive mental and emotional qualities

C.  Positive mental and emotional qualities

1)  Orderly (KOSMION)

creative.  Decent, modest, orderly, good behaviour (Vine)  A man living wih decorum, a well-ordered life (Thayer)

The situation at Corinth, which might well lead outsiders to think that the believers were crazy (mad), was a totally disordered worship service.  Paul makes it clear that whatever one does in the collective assembly is not solely for his own edification but must contribute to the EDUCATION of the corporate assembly. 

one at a time, concluded his remarks by saying, "...but all things should be done decently and in order" (1 Cor.  14:40).  This admonition might exclude efforts done within the church services purely to excite the physical senses and which might hinder those who would serve God by listening and meditating.  Of course, it might be the case that a cold, sterile service which does not involve the worshippers might be just as indecent and disorderly to the senses of a spiritual person as the other extreme.  

In the contemporary sense the elder must assure that all efforts of the congregation are organized such that the mutual goals of the body are met and each member is caused to grow in the image of Christ.

2)  Gentle (EPEIKE)

patient.  Jesus established one of the fundamental marks of the believer when He said, "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matt.  5:5).  The elder's conduct should be gentle to outsiders as well as to friends or family.

Why must the elder be gentle?  First, it is his very nature to do so and it is not a case of "must" but by nature he IS gentle.  Christ said, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I AM gentle and humble of heart..." (Matt.  11:29).  Christ did not say that as Messiah He "must" be gentle but stated that I AM gentle.  Those who become Christ-like do not just cultivate gentleness, they become gentle just as surely as the child becomes like theparent.  

Second, based upon the example of the wife who had an unbelieving husband, gentleness might be the only evangelistic tool which she had to bring him to Christ (1 Pet.  3:4).  Gentleness might be the only tool left to restore a wandering child of God.  "...you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted" (Gal.  6:1).  Mutual gentleness is the oil which makes the machinery of a Christian church family work smoothly.  "with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forebearance to one another in love" (Eph.  4:2) and "preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph.  4:3)

3)  Hospitable (PHILOXENOS)  

In the contemporary sense, hospitality often means to invite those for Sunday lunch who can reciprocate.  At a more spiritual level it might mean to associate with those "of low esteem."  However, just as "visiting those in prison" primarily had to do with those Christians who were thrown in prison for their faith's sake, the first century image of hospitality means to take in strangers or friends who are either fleeing persecution or traveling and who do not have private means.  

The elder must be hospitable not just so that he can personally take in strangers, although this is included, but because his terminal duties are to be a teacher-modeller of the faith, he is to equip the flock to exercise this ministry.

The Greek and many other non-Christian groups considered hospitality areligious duty and the Hebrews were enjoined to treat strangers with care.  The Law said:

"When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.  The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself..." (Lev.  19:33,34).

This has particular application to those travellers and newcomers who visit the local church.  While the most ignorant peasant would not allow a stranger to visit his home without being greeted and served, it is very common to treat church visitors with indifference at the highest level and even with disdain at the lowest.  We have even heard it charged that "those people simply do not WANT visitors to their services."  While it may not be either a case of ignorance or indifference, it may show that the shepherd needs to instill a higher level of sensitivity within the flock.

Moving from one location to another is the most dangerous event in the life of a Christian and very often the experience, unless it is met withwarmth and hospitality in the new location, provides an excuse to abandon the church.  This demand is not only upon the elder but he is to provide the leadership for meeting the needs brought about by a traumatic event such as a move.  And this effort cannot be left to chance but the elder should provide a systematic effort to welcome and integrate new members into both the community and the church.  He does it not because it is his duty but because it is his nature to do so.

This OT rule was summed up again by Paul when he said, "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Gal.  5:14) James demands that it be extended to the poor as well (Jas.  2:6-9).

But again we are tending to drift off and see hospitality as a "duty" rather than seeing it as the automatic outgrowth of those who possess love.  Paul (Remember him? He is the same one who outlined the qualifications of the elder) said to the Romans, "Let love be without dissimualation...Be kindly affectioned one to another...in honour preferring one another...distributing to  the necessity of the sanits; given to hospitality" (Rom.  12:9-14).

Peter said it also: "Be hospitable to one another without complaint" (1 Pet.  4:9).  The phrase "without complaint" does not mean that we are to grudgingly bestow hospitality yet without murmuring.  It means literally that we "have no complaint."  It is natural and pleasant to be hospitable.

4)  Just (DIKAIOS)

fair-impartial.  This word, as seen from its actual use seems to have a much deeper meaning than simply being fair.

One is struck with the contrast between the high spiritual qualities of  the elder and that displayed by the Corinthian church which had many with supernatural gifts and was the only church severely reprimanded because the total disorder within their assembly could lead outsiders to conclude that they were crazy.  Paul makes no mention of elders within the assembly and rather says, "Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?" (1 Cor.  6:5)   

It is clear that this group of recent pagans were cursed with spiritually and psychologically immature people to such an extent that Paul warned them against their use of un-interpreted tongue speaking because there might actually be tongue-speakers who are cursing Jesus Christ (1 Cor.  12:1) and there apparently were no spiritual leaders.

The just elder is one who is righteous and a fair and impartial judge of differences within the church.

            Free from negative mental and emotional qualities.

D.  Free from negative mental and emotional qualities:

1)  Not contentious (AMACHON)

free from strife  

Because of the corporate nature of the modern congregation, the elder is often selected because he is a successful business man who is accustomed to giving the orders and cannot take them.  This kind of background which might provide valuable experience for being a shepherd might also prevent one from being "easy to be entreated."

One possessing moderation or forebearance does not fight in the ordinary  sense but he does defend the Gospel.  We are told that there is no equivalent word in the English language and that its meaning can best be understood by  looking to the life of Christ.  He is gentle, kind, patient, and fair but He defends His truth with all of his might.

I will always remember the words of an old preacher who said, "it is easy  to love a loveable person."  And it is easy to get along with those who support us.  But what is our reaction when our ideas are opposed?  The mature  person can argue, debate, and contend for his own position; he can also listen, compromise, or even give in or defer to others.  The elder has "lorded" it over the flock when he dismisses any idea with the express or implied idea that "you are not qualified to make such an observation or  decision."

How do we react to suggestions?  When one is "in charge" of a particular project, the "pride of authorship" or "the territorial imperative" or "turf  jealousy" may make the elder defensive when suggestions are made to improve a project or worship services.  It is always a sign of maturity when a suggestion is not taken as an attack upon a project and therefore an attack upon the one in charge of the project.  The wise elder always finds ways to affirm those who make suggestions even though the idea might be rejected.

"But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not aginst the truth...for where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.  But the wisdom that is from above is first  pure, then peacable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocracy" (Jas.  3:14, 16).  

James says that one who is peacable based upon his true nature is "easy to be entreated."  This means that he is teachable and does not know it all.  The true shepherd of the flock is easy to be approached with ideas, suggestions, and even criticism.  James further warns that if peacableness is not manifested by any Christian it may be because it is simply not a part of his nature.  A contentious person cannot really force himself to be gentle because  he lacks the internal nature and motivation.  

"Doeth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?  can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries?  either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh" (Jas.  3:10-12)

2)  Not a striker (APLEKTON)

physically or mentally  

A striker is one who is quick-tempered and ready to physically, mentally, or emotionally abuse anyone who opposes him.  There are many ways to attack another.  One may attack by benign neglect, by a look, by preventing another from active participation in the work of the church because of personality clashes, or he may wish he could bash the head of his enemies even as he maintains control and a smiling face.

One who attempts to diminish another because of doctrinal differences is, at heart, a striker and can do more damage than a prize fighter.

3)  Not self willed (AUTHADE)

arrogant, selfish  

The self-willed person is the self-pleasing person who always looks to his own interests before those of the church.  He seeks to have his own way in every instance.  He does not listen to questions but forms his own question and answer from isolated tidbits of a conversation.  He has the answer before the question has been asked.  He is quite willing to destroy the church of  God in order to "defend the faith" as he sees it.

His own authority is the most important thing in the world and quite often a naturally self-abasing person may be lifted up with pride in his new "office" and begin to lord it over those who actually selected him to be  pastor-teacher.  

4)  Not soon angry (ORGILON)

emotional excess  

It is a rare person whose temper does not flare occasionally.  This passage demands that the elder not be "quick to anger" or that he gets angry over trivial affairs or from personal slights.  Anger is usually a sign that we  feel that we are under attack, our defenses are down, and that we are called upon in a life or death test to defend our position or our turf.  Many church battles are carried on for years until someone dies because someone was quick to get angry over some trivia.

The elder does not get angry when he is challenged but can be "entreated" or is teachable and is able to discuss controversial issues without insulting or questioning the intelligence of others.

Easy to be entreated

        Not Materialistic.

Jesus, the chief Shepherd, gave up heaven and Diety itself with all of its glories and became a lowly, humble, human, made of clay in order to model the very nature of service to others.  Paul, who was an educated man of influence,

???

E.  Not enfluenced by materialism:

gave up being "part of the establishment" in order to suffer physical abuse which brought him near death, suffered seasickness and ship-wreck, endured hardship beyond the wildest imagination, and yet rejoiced in his suffering.  Paul knew when to enjoy or "abound in plenty" when it was available but he also know how to live off the land when he must.   

The shepherd must be willing to give his ambition or even his life for the flock.  Paul, in instructing Timothy, said, "But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is the root of  all sorts of evil and some by longing for it have wandered away from the  faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang" (1 Tim.  6:9-10).

While these dangers face the elder who would be wealthy in a personal way, the very nature of the modern, corporate church exposes the entire body to the same faith-destroying dangers.  In the quest for more and more money to build bigger and bigger buildings and hire more staff, it becomes very tempting to conspire with potential supporters in order to acquire property and money.  If the "love of money" causes the elder to act on behalf of theentire congregation in "making deals" which the IRS might object to, then the shepherd exposes the entire flock to "many a pang."  He is not a lover of money (APHILARGURON) nor greedy of money (AISCHROKERDE) or not coveteous.    

1).  Not lover of money (APHILARGURON)

2)  Not greedy of money (AISCHROKERDE)

not coveteous

            Dedicated to Preaching and Teaching

                The Older man as respected leader

                The Pastor-Teacher as full time worker

        Experienced.

F.  Experienced:

1)  Not a novice (NEOPHYTOS)

either old or young

The term "novice" does not speak to age but experience.  One may possess all of the requirements for being an elder but actual experience inoverseeing and guiding others.  This lack of experience totally disqualifies him and he should seek experience, not only to prove himsel electable as an elder, but to actually qualifiy him to make the hard decisions in times of extreme distress where inexperience might cause him to err.  The novice is more emotion-drivin than logic-driven.

This qualification also argues for the right of the congregation to see the man in action over an extended period of time because one cannot look at a person's education or his standing in the business community as proof of his ability to overcome the problems implied in not using a novice.  It also absolutely demands that the eldership attempt to move the novice to a higher level of experience by putting him into various positions of  service.

G.  Exhibits positive Spiritual qualities:

1)  Holy (HOSION)

undefiled-pure, set aside for this work

The Greek word hagios is our word "holy," meaning "set apart for God's service."  The assembly of Christians is called a "holy temple in the Lord" (Eph.  2:21) and its earthly overseer must set the tone.  Being set aside or sanctified demands purity of thought and action.

Eph.  2:16-22 shows what the temple of God is and 4:11-15 shows how the temple is constructed and built up in a local sense.  The temple is the dwelling place of the entire Godhead in the Spirit, Christ Jesus is the chief corner stone, and the gifted men such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers are the means which God uses to bring about this holy dwelling  place fit for His own residence.   

The evangelists and pastor-teachers, we believe, are ongoing works of God for equipping or perfecting the saints for the work of ministry.  The end result of that work is that "we all come in the unity of the faith, and of  the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the fulness of Christ" (Eph.  4:13).  Paul goes on to say "That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph.  4:22-24).  This then is consecration.

Men less than holy or not totally "set aside for the service of God" cannot equip the entire body for this same measure of holiness or "set-asideness."  Holiness means that the elder is not tainted by sin and that he is separated from both sin and sinners in the sense that he does not participate in their deeds.  In this, Paul does not mean that one has to totally avoid contact  with sinners as this would mean that one would have to escape the earth (1 Cor.  5:9,10).  Holiness does not mean "sinless perfection" but it means that the habits and desires have been redirected toward God.  The flock does not demand a perfect shepherd but it has a right to demand one who is moving in the right direction and is "set aside" for this service with nothing evertaking the time which belongs to the flock.

One who is set aside for God's service simply annot involve himself in habitual persuits which takes his presence from the flock.

2)  Lover of good (PHILAGATHON)

things/truth/people  

A lover of good is one who not only appreciates good things and good people but he literally loves to do things which are good as opposed to things which are evil.  He delights in the Word of God and has no higher ambition than to discuss its meaning and application.

Paul's letter to the Thessalonians warns that God sends strong delusios to those who do not love the truth.  There can be no greater tragedy than an elder who does not know, seek, and love the truth.  He "buys the truth and sells it not."  He sells all that he has to buy the field which contains the  hidden jewel of the kingdom.  

It is increasingly difficult to convince people that there are "good" things and "evil" things as opposed to just "relative" things.  If Scripture has any meaning at all, those things which are taught and promoted by God are good and those promoted by satan are evil and there is no middle ground.  And it is a fact that our total life will be sumed up in giving an account for knowing the difference.  

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one must receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor.  5:10).

It is probably true that one who does good, must first love to do good.  If this is true then all people including the elder must grow to conform their deeds to their intentions.  Paul, in Romans the seventh chapter, never felt that as a man his actions matched his intentions.  However, he speaks one of the most comforting messages in the New Testament when he says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."  

3).  Holding the faithful word (ANTECHOMENON)

steadfast  

This qualification is simply an amplification of our premise that all of the qualifications of the eldership are to enable the elder to rule or oversee so that he might be a competent teacher of the Word.  He must not only be able to teach the doctrines within the Word in a convincing way but he must also personally hold onto these teaching and be faithful to them.  He understands them, he teaches them, he defends them, he refutes those who contradict true doctrine, and above all he lives by them.  

"Nine times in these letters Paul uses 'healthful,' participles and adjective; here four times in succession (1:13; 2:1, 2, 8).  Who wants diseased teachings?  Diseased animal are not offered to the public for consumption, they are taken out and buried, but some pulpits today offer such diseased matter" (Lenski, commenting on Titus 1:9, p.  900)

Situational qualifications

The elder must be married to one wife and he must have mature, believing children.  Many people may have most of the qualifications but still not qualified.  Too bad, we say.  But to God there is a reason for demanding that the man have desire and character and meet certain circumstantial qualifications.  

A.  Must be a man

The Christian system's reliance upon men as "overseers" seems directly connected to mans' being head of or superintendent of the household.  However, anyone who has reared a family knows that much of the training and discipline of children falls upon the wife.  And too, those associated with the church know that if the women did not "oversee" much of the educational program the elder's duty to teach and equip the flock would not be accomplished.  The duty of hospitality would never be accomplished without the wives of church leaders.  And these comments could be extended to all areas of the work of the church.  

If our understanding is correct that the primary duties of the elder is to teach, model, and admonish, then there is no reason that "older women" along with "older men" cannot perform these tasks among certain members.

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, that they may  encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,to be sensible pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored" (Tit.  2:3-5)

Nevertheless, unless the demand that the "appointed" elder be a man and be the husband of one wife means just that, it is difficult to understand how to interpret Scripture.  And unless we accept that the writers of the Bible were chauvinistic—in which we again must reject their opinions—then we must accept the notion that God understands that in some way certain men—and even here only a limited few—are equipped to oversee the flock.  

Perhaps there is so much concern because the "work of the church" seems focussed around the one or two hours on Sunday rather as an ongoing work in which women teach, convert, and confirm many in the Christian faith.

B.  Husband of one wife (MIOS JUNAIKON ANDRA)  

The candidate for the eldership is to be "one wife's husband."  This probably has nothing to do with scriptural divorce and remarriage but is a repudiation of polygamy, fornication in any form, and especially the use of  temple prostitutes.

It is probably not true that a man who has been responsible for the destruction of a marriage should ever be an elder even if God and his fellow man has forgiven him.  The reason that human logic such as “well how can you say that he is forgiven if you have not utterly wiped the incident from your mind?”  The answer is that man is not God and the respect and confidence placed in a man is b ased upon the totality of our knowledge about him.

“Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband...” (1 Tim.  5:9).

Lenski says: “One husband’s wife is an apposition to the subject-participle.  None of these three expressions means that the person must have been married only once; all three mean that the person must have been true and faithfulto one married spouse.” (Commentary on 1 Tim., p.  667).

If she had been married to one husband and had committed adultery, been forgiven, and been married again she could never free herself of the stigma of not having been faithful to one husband.

The demand that the elder be experienced, having demonstrated his ability to superintend his own household, is not just a legal requirement but equips him to oversee the church of God.  The demand for superintending a household and rearing faithful children absolutely demands that he be married.  If there is no demand that he be married then there is no demand that he be a "house-ruler" or that he has demonstrated his ability to rearchildren.

Not only should the elder be married, he should have a comfortable, complete relationship with his wife because of the stresses which the sheperd  will experience.  Any problems at home provide a powerful wedge by which the elder may be led into sexual errors.  

If the real qualification was that "IF married, the elder should have only ONE wife," the Holy Spirit was totally competent to say so.  For instance, He could have said "the elder need not be married but if he is married he must  have only one wife."  We believe therefore that he must be married and must be sexually pure.

C.  Ruling household (PROISTAMENON)

in charge of  

The Greek word does not convey the exact idea of "rule" but more properly means to "superintend" the household.  In verse 17 we will see that he must also "superintend" the church of God and the idea of "rule" in the contemporary sense is excluded.  A ruler is an over-lord and lording is positively excluded from the vocabulary of the elder.  He is to rule his own house to prove that he can "take care" of the church and not that he can rule it.  We will discuss the concept of RULE under the chapter on Duties of the Elder.

Nothing so quickly reflects upon the elder's parenting ability as children (young, old, or elderly) who are unruly or ill-trained.  They not only do not support the elder in displaying an example to the flock, but even more they show that the father is not competent to be an elder.  The father, if qualified to be an elder, will exercise influence within his extended family as long as he lives.  Even though Abraham had received a call to leave his land he obeyed his father as long as the father lived.  However, there must be a limit as to how far the family can be extended and still be used as an excuse to exclude or use one who is well qualified to lead.

The reason that he must be able to "superintend his own house" is to prove that he is able to "oversee God's church."  If the church is unruly—reflecting upon the teaching ability of the elder—it may be because his children are unruly—reflecting upon his superintending ability.

 D.  Children in subjection

But what if the children are no longer at home?  Do the standards still apply?  The elder is not just one whose children have just been baptized.  He is probably older and his children will probably be grown up because a twelve-year-old is not likely to be "refractory" or "not subject to the father."  Even though the children have left the home of the father, Paul seems to exclude as elders those whose children are accused of being riotous  or unruly.  The Jewish family, like so many within our society, was an extended family.  The father could not, and cannot even now, escape from the acts of his mature children which would reflect upon his ability to guide them in righteousness.  Assuredly the qualification did not mean that the elder must have orderly children just long enough for him to be selected to the eldership after which he has unlimited tenure with no accountablility for the actions of his family.  

The idea is not just "children in subjection" but "children in subjection with all gravity or dignity."  Under the chapter on Duties of the Elder we will see that rule is primarily teaching, and guiding; and obeying and being in subjection is following the teaching of the elder and imitating his faith.

Undoubtedly there comes a time when a man is no longer responsible for the actions of his children if those actions do not bring reproach.  If this is the case then he could not meet the test of being  being “beyond reproach.”

E.  Believing/orderly children

Various Versions all agree

As usual in our study, seeing the eldership as the leadership of a multi-million dollar corporation (often confused with the church) leads us to attempt to make this a legal test quite often to exclude otherwise qualified men rather than understanding the implication of having faithful, orderly children.  The word "believing" is from the Greek PISTIS and normally means to be a believer in the sense of trusting obedience.  It does not mean that the children are prone to believe the parent.  

Paul had already said that the children must be under his rulership and that they must be in subjection to him.  It would be redundant if PISTOS simply meant that the children obeyed their father.

Of Pistos, Thayer says "one who has become convinced that Jesus is the Messiah and the author of salvation"  

“Paul wants only men who have believing children, not men whose sons and whose daughters are still pagans...These children will be grown up, and even if they are professing Christians, Paul wants only the father of children ‘not in accusation of dissoluteness.” (Lenski on Titus, p.896)

This undoubtedly had to do with not being pagans in the first century, but all first century principles must be applied in the modern setting.  If the elder has not demonstrated his ability to train and influence children he probably is not disqualified on some techincal grounds but he simply has not demonstrated a life which will cause the flock to follow.

Most scholars seem to understand that the term "believing" is equivalent to being an active, baptized disciple of Christ.

While we believe that one believing child would meet the demands of this passage in a technical sense once qualified the arrival of additional children would not disqualify him until and if the younger children are not believers at the appropriate time.

ADDED NOTES:

Note: Two other words, the Greek word for "fruit" and "seed" also can have the metaphorical meaning "offspring" in the sense of "Abraham's seed," and Christ uses them that way, but not really "children" so they are not covered here. these words are used frequently but almost always to mean, well, fruit and seeds.

This word refers to a "child" in the sense of an offspring, but it is used to refer to primarily to adult children, not the young. Of course, since most of these references are to Christ himself, at least as a symbol, this is obvious.

The Child as Son
The next most common word is used a couple of dozen times (26), but it means "child" and "children" more generally.
Finally, we come to the word Christ uses to refer to children as the "young." This word is paidon. which means "little child" or "young child," "infant" or "young slave." It is use a little over a dozen times (14).

UNQUOTE

Psa. 12:1 Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the CHILDREN of men.

Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting,
        and ordain [identify] elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
Titus 1:6  If any be blameless, the husband of one wife,
        having faithful children
        not accused of riot or unruly.

Paul very often uses parallelism to further explain what he mean

Notice that faithful children
g4103. pistos, pis-tos´; from 3982; objectively, trustworthy; subjectively, trustful: — believe(-ing, -r), faithful(-ly), sure, true.

WHICH MEANS.
g810. asotia, as-o-tee´-ah; from a compound of 1 (as a negative particle) and a presumed derivative of 4982;
        properly, unsavedness, i.e. (by implication) profligacy: — excess, riot.
g506.  anupotaktos, an-oo-pot´-ak-tos; from 1 (as a negative particle) and a presumed derivative of 5293;
        unsubdued, i.e. insubordinate (in fact or temper): — disobedientthat is not put under, unruly.

Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless,
        as the steward of God;
        not selfwilled,
        not soon angry,
        not given to wine, [not near wine]
        no striker,
        not given to filthy lucre;
Titus 1:8 BUT a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Titus 1:9 Holding fast the faithful WORD  
        as he hath been taught,
             that he may be able by sound doctrine
            both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

The WORD is the LOGOS and is defined as God's Regulative Principle. It excludes performance speaking, singing, playing instruments or acting.

If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ,
        nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 1 Tim 4:6

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 1 Timothy 4:7


 Must there be plural children.

ADDED NOTES

Taking a word out of context or making too much of a given Greek word often leads to a legalistic approach and a misunderstanding of Scripture.  The term "children" in the Greek—as in English—is a plural word but it can include the singular.  The term "fruit" is often seen as a plural word but one who had one apple would have some fruit.

I Tim 5:16; I Cor.  7:14; Mark 10:29; Gen 21:7 and other scriptures show that the plural includes the singular.  

Case one:

1Tim. 5:4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.

Case two:

"If any man or woman (singular) that believeth have widows (plural), let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed" (1 Tim.  5:16)

This passage is a direct parallel with the qualifications for the elder in Titus 1:6.  Both of these passages were written about the same time by the same author and using the same grammatical construction.  A legalistic approach would have a household with only ONE widow to support able to appeal to the local church for relief whereas one with TWO widows could not.  Because the fallacy of this reasoning is so obvious, we can say that an elder who has only one believeing, orderly child would be qualified.  

Other examples:

Mark 10:24 And the disciples were astonished at his words.
        But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them,
        Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
Mark 10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you,
         There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife,
        or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
Mark 10:30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children,
        and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

No one would say that this did not apply to those who had ONE Child.
In Mark 10:29 one who has left ONE child is equivalent to one who has  "left house...or children."  In 1 Cor.  7:14, the child (singular) is sanctified by the believing spouse just as surely as children (plural).

Probably the real issue is not how many children an elder has but that he has learned how and can demonstrate to others that he can guide people.  The issue is that the children must be "faithful."  We understand that the phrase  is not only "having believing children" but in the KJV is "having his children in subjection."  

Probably in addition to the idea that the plural includes the singular it could be argued that IF he has only one child then they need not be in subjection.  The phrase "having his CHILDREN in subjection" could be legalistically used to say "it does NOT say having his CHILD in subjection."  The absurdity of this example perhaps can help in understanding the plural/singular nature of children.  

However, the test is not just whether or not he has one or two children, but Paul, in typical Pauline parenthesis, says, "For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God."  

If we see the elder as a "young man whose children have reached the age often and been baptized" rather than as the Jewish elder who was probably an old man whose children have left home then far from an elder with four children being more qualified that one with only one child, he may have less time to devote to the church.   

The point is that Paul, to Timothy and Titus, gives some bench-marks by which we can evaluate a man's future performance by his past.  It might be accurately argued that one who does not have children nor even a wife might be eminently qualified to be a shepherd.  However, it could likewise be argued that a new convert or "novice" might learn as much Scripture in six months as another who has been a believer and an elder for forty years.  While this may be true, the odds are against it, and Paul, perhaps just as a guarantee, forbids a novice from being an elder.



4.  Terminal Qualifications-Capabilities

A.  Able to teach DIDAKTIKON

B.  Convict gainsayer with sound doctrine  

The elder must meet certain qualifications almost totally in order that he is able to teach, model, and admonish—or convict gainsayers with sound doctrine.  Under the chapter on DUTIES, we will discuss in fuller detail the reasons why there is a absolute demand that the elder be the primary Pastor-Teacher of the flock and also the protector of the flock

            Under obligation to teach

There are two operative words in the description of the elders' competence as a teacher: They are the word "must" and the word "teach." The elder must (Gr.  DEO = under obligation or bondage to be) be APT or able to teach.  Teaching is not an option.  He MUST be able and he MUST teach.  If his terminal duties are to teach, model, and admonish then his skills as a teacher are something which he continually develops.

            Competent to teach..

The second word, as translated by the KJV, is "apt" which is often understood to mean that "he is APT not to be here but if he attends, he is APT to teach."  Webster defines apt in the modern sense as "tending or inclined; likely [as likely to rain]."  This means that it "might" rain and it "might"not.  This encourages the belief that one is qualified if he is interested in or inclined toward being able to teach.  That is, he would teach if he could.  However, by retaining obsolete words a translation can be guilty of teaching serious error.  

Webster then gives the obsolete meaning as "{Archaic} ready; prepared.  The meaning in obsolete English then is not just inclined toward being a teacher but he is ready to teach and prepared to teach.  

The Greek does not convey the idea that the elder is apt to teach if you twist his arm.  Apt is the Greek DIDAKTIKOS which means "skillful in teaching absolutely to give instruction" (Vine).  

Lenski shows the absolutely mandatory requirement to be a teacher:

"He may have all of them but the teaching ability, namely full grasp of the Christian doctrines to be taught.  'Wait,' until everything is duly and fully ascertained; wait also until thou art sure that he will make a capable, sound, well informed teacher."   

This description says first that he must be "capable."  That is, he has a measure of didactic skills.  Then he must be "sound."  He must understand the nature of the Bible and understand the key doctrines.  He must be "well informed." He must understand the nature of his culture.  He must understand that false doctrine is spread more through print, movies, and music than through false teachers in the church.  Finally, according to Lenski, he must be a "teacher."  He says that it is not enough to understand what should be taught but he must know how to teach and he must teach.

Elsewhere we discuss in detail the absolute demand that the elder understand that error exists and be willing and able to refute it.  Titus goes so far as to say that they "should do but one thing with these people, namely  GAG them, stop their mouths and silence them by main force" (Vine).  This probably had to do with not permitting the teachers of error from speaking within the assembly and not with travelling over the land trying to silence all false teachers.  If the shepherd launches out to kill all of the wolves in the world it is almost certain that his own flock will be devoured.

While God readily works with vessels of clay, He demands intellectual abilities.  Indeed much of the worlds education has proceeded from a desire to be able to read and understand God's word.  He must be "able" or "sufficient" to the given task.  He must also be aware that he is not personally adequate (2 Cor.  2:16) and know that God is the source of his adequacy (2 Cor.  3:5,6).

Lenski shows the absolutely mandatory requirement to be a teacher:

"He may have all of them but the teaching ability, namely full grasp of the Christian doctrines to be taught.  'Wait,' until everything is duly and fully ascertained; wait also until thou art sure that he will make a capable, sound, well informed teacher."   

This description says first that he must be "capable."  That is, he has a measure of didactic skills.  Then he must be "sound."  He must understand the nature of the Bible and understand the key doctrines.  He must be "well informed." He must understand the nature of his culture.  He must understand that false doctrine is spread more through print, movies, and music than through false teachers in the church.  Finally, according to Lenski, he must be  a "teacher."  He says that it is not enough to understand what should be taught  but he must know how to teach and he must teach.

This ability does not encompass human "credentials" which may actually hinder.  He must be a Bible student by nature and not just by profession.  He must be a product of the text book of positive, personal experience as  well as a skillful student of the Bible.

                Reasons for the demand

1.      The elder NUST be a teacher because it is generally understood that he fills the dual office, that of pastor-teacher.  We have discussed this elsewhere to show that God did not give SOME pastors and SOME teachers but SOME pastors and teachers.  While a teacher may not be a pastor teacher it is clear that an elder must be a teacher.  And he is not a pastor in orderthat he be a pastor but in order that he may be a teacher.  Keeping the flock tended and orderly provides the platform from which the elder may do his fundamental work.

2.      The elder must be a competent teacher because the Scriptural qualifications demand it—"able to teach."     

3.The demand "apt to teach" is best seen by looking at the duties of the flock to the shepherd:   

"REMEMBER those who LEAD you, who SPOKE the words of God to you, and who have a life-style WORTHY of imitation—imitate THEIR faith" (Heb.  13:7).

"APPRECIATE those who LABOR among you and have Charge over you and who CONFRONT your sins and who display SUPERIOR work" (I Thes.  5:12f).

The demands put upon the flock also show that the primary duties are to teach what is true (remember those who speak), model the Christian faith (imitate their faith), and appreciate those who confront your sins.  These again illustrate the three duties of the elder.

3.      THE GOOD NEWS is conveyed to lost mankind through the teachings or Doctrine (Gr.  Daktikos) I Tim.  3:2; II Tim 2:24.  The pastor-teacher must be APT or able to teach.  The meaning goes well beyond the idea expressed when we say "he is a good and able teacher."  Too, it transcends the supernatural GIFT of teaching given only to certain people (Eph.  4:11; I Cor.  12:28,29).  

4.      In 1 Tim.  3:2 the "apt to teach" thought is embedded within and authenticated by a life-style or a Spiritual quality of life.  Note that in 2 Tim.  2:23-26 Timothy and all "vessels of honor" must be able to:    

Refuse foolish and ignorant speculation  

Not be quarrelsome  

Be kind to all  

ABLE TO TEACH

Patient when wronged and able to  

Correct with gentleness those who oppose and  

Lead them to repentance WHICH  

Leads to KNOWLEDGE of the truth and cause them to  

Come to their senses and to  

Escape the Devil.  

5.      It is conceded by all except those who teach a direct operation of the Holy Spirit that the growth and happiness of a church depends upon its ability to use Biblical doctrine as a steping stone rather than as a stumbling block.  If teaching is not sound and thorough then this fortunate application of doctrine will turn to destructive warfare.

The decline of the church can be attributed to a decline in the teaching mission of the church.  In all major apostasies the cause has been a decline in the teaching of the Bible and an understanding of Biblical doctrine.  And it is just as true that all major revivals have been spearheaded by someone who called the church back to the understanding of Biblical doctrine.

(1 Pet.  5:3) says, "Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock."  He must be an example to those who would aspire to and become qualified to teach.  If the elder does not aspire to teach then he cannot be a model.  If he is not qualified to teach then he is not an example.

                His attitude toward Scripture

The elder must be "self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in SOUND DOCTRINE and to refute those who contradict it" (Tit.  1:8,9).  He must not know that "all scripture is inspired...to equip for good work (2 Tim.  3:16)   

The "cause-and-effect" relationship is obvious; only if he is self-controlled, can he exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict it.If he does not do these he is NOT in control.  

He      Holds Fast              The Faithful word

He      Exhorts                 In Doctrine

He      Refutes                 False Doctrine

He      Is Able                 To Lead people to repentance

                His understanding of Scripture.  

It is self evident that if he is self-controlled, able, with a proper respect for scripture, he absolutely must know enought to be "able to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict."  This squares with Paul's charge to Timothy: "And the things which you have heard from me.....entrust to  faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim 2:2).  

            Qualifications of Timothy.

If the elders are to equip others for the ministry, there is no better pattern for the elders to follow than much of II Corinthians where Paul very clearly points out about sixty-five qualifications or qualities for the Christian ministry.  The other pattern can be seen from the partial list of admonitions of Paul to Timothy in second Timothy:

1.  Keep a clear Conscience  (1:19)

2.  Examine yourself         (4:16)

3.  Examine your Doctrine    (4:16)

4.  Self Discipline          (4:8 )

5.  Be an Example            (4:12)

6.  Develop your Gift        (4:14,15)

7.  Protect your Health      (5:23)

8.  Don't love Wealth        (6:10)

9.  Look for the Good        (6:11)

10.  Be a Warrior             (1:18; 6:12-14)

11.  Don't respect Persons    (5:21)

12.  Love the Scriptures      (4:6, 11, 13)

13.  Don't Speculate          (1:4; 6:20)

14.  Pray for others          (2:1-4; 4:4,5)

These qualities made it possible for Timothy to be a minister and to teach and trust the word to other people.  There are literally dozens of Scriptures which deal with the positive qualities of God's people.  The elder must be about "his father's business" of first knowing, then showing, then bestowing these qualities through teaching.  

            Qualifications from First John

In addition to the qualifications specifically for the elder and those modeled by Timothy, there could be no better test of the suitability for the eldership than the entire book of I John.  Please note that these qualities are not a legal list by which one may either accept or reject a candidate fot the eldership, but they are given here as a self-test for anyone who aspires to church leadership as well as all others.

An elder must have a close fellowship with God and proper relationships with the world and with brethren.  This list is a goal for the elder even when he knows that he does not perfectly measure up.  

I John

1:2-3   Is there FELLOWSHIP between God, Jesus, me, and my fellow Christians?

Do I fellowship the world? Do I have time for others?

1:6-7   I cannot confess fellowship and WALK in DARKNESS.  

1:8     If I claim to be SINLESS I flunk the test.  I must confess sins.

2:9     I cannot be in the light and HATE or hold my brothers in contempt.

Inherent in the word HATE is the thought to hurt or hinder others

2:15    I must not LOVE the WORLD.  Where do I spend my time?

2:22    I am a liar if I deny (word or deed) Jesus as the Christ.

2:24    My gospel must be the original gospel message.

2:29    I will DO right if I have been born of God.

3:4     I cannot practice sin and remain in Christ.

3:7     I DO right if I am righteous.  Otherwise?

3:11    I must love others.  Especially those who support me.

Love like Hate implies overt action to help or hurt.

3:14    I must be willing to lay down my life for the brotherhood.

I may lay it down one act, one evening meeting at a time.

3:17    I must meet other's needs - not be a burden to them.

3:21    My heart must not condemn me.  Confidence will prevent judging.

3:22    I must keep God's commandments.  This is a test of my love of Him.

4:1     I must test every spirit - he may be a false apostle.

4:2     I must confess, not just Jesus, but the God-incarnate Jesus Christ.

4:5     I must not give my ear to a false teacher/apostle.

4:7     I, again, must love others.  

4:13    I must walk in awareness of the possession of the God's Spirit.

4:18    I must have no fear.  Fearful, negative people should not be teachers.

5:4     I will be seen overcomming the world-not being overcome, not negative.

5:13    I will be sensitive to the priceless gift of eternal life.

5:15    I must pray for the forgiveness of others.

5:20    I will not be ignorant but have understanding from God.

5:21    I will keep myself from idols - of any kind.

CONCLUSIONS

These qualifications were not to be seen as a formal list which one   fulfilled on some legal basis,  but were given as a yardstick to determine who   already met them.  If a man is unqualified to be an elder prior to the   teaching by Titus then he is unqualified after this teaching because the  emphasis is upon who the elder IS as well as what he KNOWS.  

One writer proposes that if a candidate meets all of the qualifications except, say, being "sober"—meaning total abstinence from wine—or in his words, "he is a beer drinker," he should be told what the qualifications are   and if he is willing to give up his beer then he could be an elder.  But this   would focus upon what the elder "does" or is willing NOT to do as opposed to   what the elder "is."  His nature or character has not changed because he  has given up beer because he is told that an elder cannot drink.  

The purpose of this material is not to discuss all of the qualifications, but primarily those which deal with what many consider the cardinal duty of the elder; that is to guide, guard, and equip the saints for the ministry.  

    Qualifications for wives

Duties of the Eldership

    Not Corporate Leadership.

        Secular models

The wrong model:

  In addition to Scriptural models, an understanding of ways in which modern   corporate managers achieve results can be helpful in defining what the manage-  ment duties of the eldership is not.  One model of secular management is the   very opposite of Scriptural management.  Gene Shnell, in Christian Bible   Teacher, July, 1974, pp 282-283 defines this model as:      

This leader "sees leadership as a process of directing people's efforts,   motivating them, controlling their actions, and modifying their behavior   to fit the needs of the organization...They must be persuaded, rewarded,   punished, controlled—their activities must be directed."  

He seeks to be this kind of leader because he has a low regard for the   flock and he sees that: "The average man is by nature indolent—he works   as little as possible; he lacks ambition, dislikes responsibility, prefers    to be led; he is inherently self-centered, indifferent to organizational   needs; he is by nature resistant to change; he is gullible, not very    bright, the ready dupe of the charlatan and the demagogue."

  This model is being employed when the eldership meets privately to map out   the plan of work for the church and to make most or all decisions concerning  the work and financing of the local body of believers and then groans "we  can't get anyone to do anything."  Of course he cannot!  He is following a   system of management which is guaranteed to squelch all effort.  It is a model   of management maintained by failing businesses and loudly rejected by all   modern businesses which are suceeding.  This model can easily be proved in   error by looking to Scripture and by once seeing a church which is allowed to   function as a body of believers.      

The result of this kind of leadership is a body of believers not engaged   in the corporate work of the church.  He leaves Sunday "worship" rejoicing   that "they did not lay a glove on me."  But he is ill at ease without knowing   why.  He or she is not involved emotionally, spiritually, or financially and   no one knows why.  It is the kind of leadership which labels positive   suggestions as "troublemaking" and it suggests that when 70% of the church  is not contributing to the work that "everyone be told to give or leave!"  

        Biblical model.

The second model says that "People are NOT by nature passive or resistant   to organization needs.  They have become so as a result of experience in   organizations.  The motivation, the potential for development, the   capacity for assuming responsibility, the readiness to direct behavior   toward organizational goals are all present in people..."  

"It is the responsibility for management to make it possible for people   to recognize and develop these human characteristics and skills for them-  selves.  The essential task of management is to arrange organizational    conditions and methods of operation so that people can achieve their own   goals best by directing their own efforts toward organizational   objectives."   

This model is consistent with Paul's message in Ephesians the fourth   chapter where church leaders are not seen as organizational leaders but were     put in the church to develop each person for the ministry.  Paul further   describes the church as the Body of Christ where Christ, and not local   leaders, is the head of the body.  In order to achieve the goals of the    church, each finger, each eye, each foot must sense its own vitality and  must be mobilized to work in harmony with the body, taking its directions from   Christ the head.  The church leaders because he functions as pastor-teacher,   has the responsibility to teach each member to assume its rightful place and     to the extent possible, get out of the workers way.

  It may be significant that the Holy Spirit, who understood corporate  management, in none of the qualifications for the eldership envisions   business, managerial, or financial duties, but rather focuses upon those  intrinsic qualities which will train and motivate others.  In fact, the  phrase "not greedy of filthy lucre" and "not covetous" denies the elder's  material concerns in any sense.  

Not financial or real estate management.

A professor of a Christian college once preached, "the flock is composed of   sheep and it is the duty of the shepherd to fleece the sheep."  His meaning was   clear that he thought that a primary duty of an elder was to appropriate a   percentage of the private money of the members and direct its use.  And he  say 1 Cor.  16:2 as being "the law" which mandates that each believer "owes"  the "church" financial support.  Scripture, on the other hand, makes it clear   that the elder supports the flock and not the flock the shepherd.  

"Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but   willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over   those in your charge but being examples to the flock" (1 Pet.  5:2, 3)  

Even if the elder was tempted to "lord over" or domineer the flock, he is   deprived, from a Scriptural standpoint, of the demand to build a large   physical institution and he is deprived of the legal leverage to command  that the flock give their monies for any and all projects not part of the  plan of the total congregation.  Paul, both because he understood the free-  will nature of Christian giving and because he understood that sheep cannot  be driven, abstained from demanding that people give.  If Paul would not   demand that people give of their means then how can the elder?  

We have further shown that while the elder has the total oversight of the  flock, he oversees and guides primarily through instructing in healthy   doctrine and preventing the flock from being ruined through the teaching of   false doctrine.  

We often state that "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God," and "whatever is not of faith is sin."  But we are faced with the total lack of command, example, or even inference for the corporate holding of real property.  Yet, it is not uncommon to spend multi-millions of dollars on a "plant" which will be utilized from 3 to 6 hours out of the 168 hour week  (or less than 2% utilization).  

Not only is one struck with the total omission of the issue of church-owned meeting places in the story of the early church, but we fail to see the church focusing at all upon structures within the early post-apostolic history.  

This oversight is normally explained away as a result of the persecution of  the Roman government.  But whatever was true in Jerusalem was not true in all places.  For instance, Paul taught in public places and was not harrassed by the Roman authorities but by the Jews.  And even if the political situation would not allow massive building programs, did the inspired writers not understand that a time would come when the church would be a part of the "establishment" with a need for massive real property and the management skills to hold and maintain it?   What prevented the Holy Spirit from inserting just a small entry governing the joint purchase of church property?  

We need to briefly look at the places in which Christians assemble because the environment may be more important in determining what transpires in the worship than the clear (but highly limited) Biblical message.

Jesus said that worship in spirit and in truth is not place-bound and this is a fundamental shift from the law.  However, along with adding some forms of OT worship there is a danger that we again fix worship to a time and place because we see the players and singers so intimately connected with the sacrificial system.  In first-century worship we see a total break with the sacramental system of legal worship which was tied to a time and place.

“This domestic worship was in harmony with the spirit of early Christianity, full as it was of ideas of one family of brethren.  A Christian house was the ideal place for it.  The primitive Church, therefore, lacked not only the means but the motive to erect any special building for divine worship; it had no temples, and expressly rejected the idea of building them” (Shaff-Herzog, Architecture, p.  264).

However, within a very short period of time the forms of sacramental religion began to creep back into the church and at Rome and Galatia Paul was confronted with the magnetic attraction of worship which appealed to the flesh.

“Christianity had ceased (about AD 200) to be the close brotherhood which it was at first; it had developed a complicated organization, with a marked distinction between clergy and laity; the conception of priest and sacrifice had won a place.  And as the body changed, so did its worship; the place which had sufficed for the simple, informal gatherings of the first Christians was no longer adequate” (Shaff-Herzog, Architecture, p.  264).

Seeing the church as “place” was probably more responsible for the introduction of  instrumental music and other worship forms than any Biblical evidence.  

That the church can own and use buildings may be implied in the fact that the demand to teach, take the Lord’s Supper, pray, and take care of the churches poor gives authority for anything which can be an aid to that task.

"The New Testament does not contain the command for the churches to build meeting houses or church edifices.  No New Testament church had one, and such buildings are expediencies only, not essential to acceptable worship or divine services; and the church could exist today, meet for worship and carry on every work the church is commanded to perform without owning a 'church building'—for they could rent or lease the accommodations for assembly, as many business firms do in the conduct of their enterprise." (Foy E.  Wallace Jr., The Gospel for Today, p.  554)  

The model which we have is not encouraging to "plantaholics."  It may be significant that we see the destruction of three temples in Jerusalem—the last in A.D.  70 intended to be the last temple without any provision for its replacement.  Even the synagogue, which was more family life center and private school than church, while used by Jesus and by Paul, had no Scriptural warrant that we can find.  We know that under the Law, people often went to a "place" to find God, but under the New Covenant we hear the witness of Jesus that worship did not depend upon place.  And we see the universal pattern of the early church using rented public and private places.  Then we see the use of private residences within a given community for the church meeting place and one can still see these "house-churches" throughout the Roman world.  In addition, the church met by the side of rivers, and when persecution arose,  in catacombs.     

Buildings generally were not owned until Emperor constantine, who legalized the Christian religion and perhaps in doing so almost dealt it a fatal blow,  built the first Old Saint Peters in Rome between AD 320 and AD 330 The first legal meeting place for the church in Rome did the following:  

1.  It was no longer an upper room or a secret meeting place.  The church— which had swept the world—was now captured, tamed, made respectable, and  made into a tool of the world-wide policy of the emperor.  

2.  From the first, the building exemplified a new phylosophy of evangelism.  The church itself was perceived as a major part of the church's witness.  They saw art, architecture, and religious artifacts such as head, feet, and  fingers of the holy men, as something which could greatly influence people to  want to become part of the show.  Still later, music and pagent sought ot do what true spirituality could not do.  This is not so different from the modern focus upon style over economical and utilitarian buildings.  The funds were collected for the building and the poor were given a "poor box" at the rear of the building where small change might be collected.

George F.  Jowett, in The Drama of the Lost Disciples comments upon the first Christian churches in Rome and in Britian.  Of Rome, he says that the first and only property dedicated to the Church in Rome up until the church was recognized by the state was The Palace of the British owned by the husband of the daughter of the British king.  This was A.D.  58.  

"Pastor Hermas refers to this munificent home as 'amplissimus Pudentes domus' the 'hospitium,' or home of hospitality for Christians from all parts of the world.  It was more than this.  For many years it was the Sanctuary, in the true sense of the word, wherein no Roman soldier dare set foot to arrest any member or guest of the Pudens' household." (p.  116)

"It is recorded that these were the only properties owned by the Christian Church at Rome up to the time of the Emperor Constatine." (Ibid., p.  116)

In addition to being a sancturary for Christians on the run, a center of hospitality for travelling Christians, it was also the repository of the bones of the saints.  While the destroyed Temple was seen as the worship center to which every male Jew had to return from around the world, the Tabernacle and the early churches were seen as places of privacy where the members could be taught the Word of God.  In addition to being a sanctuary for Christians on the run and a center of hospitality for travelling Christians, it was also the repository of the bones of martyrs:

"In this sacred and most ancient of churches...repose the remains of  three thousand blessed martyrs which Pudentiana and Prazedes, virgins of Christ, with their own hands interred" (Ibid., p.  128)

Of course, prior to having the first place of safety in a building, the early Christians met in the catacombs which were entered through secret entrances dug to bypass the Romans who guarded the normal entrances.

Many of the early churches were built as evangelist tools—let the people see the finger of Peter, be impressed by the great building with the art collection, hear the great responsive singing, and this will either convert the outsider or hold the membership.  And for a while it worked.  While early Christians had places of seclusion to carry out the eating of the Lord’s Supper, to pray, and to hear the reading of the Word, it was in the streets and processionals that we see the beginning of antiphonal music.  When the modern mind attempts to combine the worship with the social singing, and other celebrating it may destroy both.

The church was recognized and approved in Britian about 150 years prior to its recognition in Rome.  The early churches was wattle (sticks and mud) shelters and there are many fanciful stories but less actual history.

"In it the first Neophites of Catholic Law...found a church constructed by no human art, but divinely constructed, by the hands of CHRIST HIMSELF, for the SALVATION OF HIS PEOPLE.  The Almighty as made it manifiest by many miracles and mysterious visitations that He continues to watch over it as sacred to Himself, and to Mary, the Mother of God" (p.  138 quoting Pope Gregory)

“The church of which we are speaking...is the 'Old Church' of wattlework at  first, savoured somewhat of heavenly sanctity even from its very  foundation...  In the meantime it is clear that the depository of so many  saints may be deservedly called an heavenly sanctuary upon earth...who here  more especially chose to await the day of resurrection under the protection  of the Moher of God" (p.  142)

Later, in Britian, the church buildings which were proper structures  were not a product of the religious body, but of the state.    

"All British and Roman records attest to the fact that Lucius was  confirmed and baptized in the faith by his uncle..on May 28, A.D.  137.  In  the year A.D.  167 he commemorated the event by building St.  Michael's on  the summit of Tor" (p.  203)

"King Lucius was the first in the Isle of Britain who bestowed the  privilege of country and nation and judgment and validity of oath upon  those who should be of the faith of Christ" (p.  201)

"The first church dedicated to Peter was founded by King Lucius, the   British king, who was the first by royal decree to proclaim Christianity   the NATIONAL FAITH of Britain in Winchester in A.D.  156."  

One can conclude several things from this information.  At first, church  buildings were private structures, which through personal hospitality became  the place of safety, a home for travelling Christians, and a repository for  the dead, they unfortunately took on a mystical quality having saving  qualities.  

Because many Christians had come out of Judaism or of pagan religions  they were considered as temples or sacred places.  They were believed to be "divinely constructed, by the hands of CHRIST HIMSELF, for the SALVATION OF  HIS PEOPLE."  They were repositories of bones of martyrs—especially the  bones of the apostles—works of art, and other historical relics in the  belief that these would produce faith.  They were repositories of the bodies of many others in the belief that the "church building" was a sacred place and perhaps "easier for Christ to find when he returns."

After discussing the early church in Rome and in Britian, Jowett lists the dozens of cities and countries which had well-established churches within  sixty-six years after the birth of Christ.  And then he says:

"In comparison, the missionary progress made by the Christian world in the  last one hundred years is minute.  In spite of the vast sums of money  provided and expended, under far more favourable conditions, the impress  made by our churches and missionaries...is not heartening...  

"The Gallup polls claim that the majority of the Christian world believes  in God and worship, but the empty churches and pitiable financial support  given to them hardly substantiates the claim" (pp 198-199)

Perhaps the difference is the early emphasis upon missions and the modern emphasis placed upon buildings.  These buildings are often accompanied with the same early superstition: That they are temples, sacred places, and tools of evangelism.  There can be little doubt that the prevailing thought is that "this munificent home" can convince people that they should be Christians or at the minimun, paying members.  

From the Bible and this material we can conclude that there is neither  command, example, precidence in the New Testament, nor substantial historical  evidence for the vast expenditure upon buildings and grounds.  The meager historical evidence for buildings shows that from a very early date they took on a supernatural aura and there is little wonder that the building is  almost universally considered "the church."  Contrary to the prevailing opinions about buildings, the usual Biblical exegesis might see the vivid  picture of God forbidding what we understand today as the "plant."

However, like so many contemporary practices which find neither command, example, nor precident to support them, we believe that the corporate part of the work of the church is an expedient to the operation of the church  (although many successful movements would deny the need to own property).  

We see no demand to be commanded to "get in out of the rain and snow."   Thus, the need for meeting places as an "aid" to the work of the church is not  forbidden, but its management does not come within the Scriptural prescription  for the eldership's spiritual management of the body.  Rather, the decision to  build buildings is the collective decision of the congregation to jointly hold  real property and is very often governed by the state laws for corporations  and not by Scripture.    

While the early examples do not forbid what we are not commanded to do, they do say, however, that the church was organized, implemented, and spread  through the world without the use of church-owned property and therefore we can conclude that real property is not a necessary part of the church  structure.  And while the holding of such property might be a legitimate use  of some of the members time and money it should not become the predominating  preoccupation of the local body and its leadership.  It should be seen as a  means and not as an end.    

While buildings and grounds are not the primary focus of the eldersship, sometimes there is a tendancy to wish to exclude the eldership from the corporate decisions with the argument that "that is deacon's work."  We believe, however, that the control of jointly-held real property is the responsibility of the entire congregation and this includes the eldership who cannot properly oversee the spiritual affairs if someone else controls the symbols of power—buildings and bank accounts.  Because the spiritual  welfare of the congregation is intimately bound up with its modern corporate

  structure, the eldership must lead, but not dominate, this "plant" focused  structure.  It is true that the elder is called shepherd, but he is also  called overseer.  

ELDERSHIP IS NOT FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

 A college professor once said that "elders are shepherds and the work of a shepherd is to fleece the sheep."  He meant that a primary work of the eldership was to promote the "laying by in store upon the first day of the week" as the product of a well-ordered flock.  

And another preacher said that "giving is an act of worship, a legal obligation."  And because it is a legal act of worship, "each" member of  the church must "lay by in the collection plate" as opposed to the Biblical charge to "lay by HIM in store" for the poor.  

And a deacon is reported to have said (there are no secret meetings), "Only  thirty percent of the congregation supports ninety percent of the work of the  congregation.  If we demand they give or get out, we will either get our money  or they will be gone and we will not need to expand our plant."  

A minister of a large West Coast church which could seat 1500 but normally  had about 150 in attendance stated, "I personally don't care whether they attend or not because they always mail in their check."

And it is well documented that otherwise non-evangelistic churches  suddenly "get religion" when there is no longer enough money to pay for the buildings (missions and benevolence have long since been tokenized).  This often leads to abortive drives to rebuild the membership.  

Not only money often the focus of leadership energies, but buildings and the bank account can be the sources of congregational power.  The ones who have the keys and the passbook in reality have the tools for lording it over the flock unless, as is often the case, the flock cuts their losses and move on to another church.  

It is easy for the eldership to accrue power from fostering a cult-like  sense of guilt which, in the words of Paul, might "extort" money from the  congregation.  This is why the elder is warned not to take the work for the easy access to money.  If this guilt exists and the elder-ship assumes the  total responsibility for spending, wasting, hording, or using the money for  legitimate purposes, then he has wrested power from the collective body and  assumed it for himself.  This we believe is not a legitimate model of the New  Testament elder and may account for the diminishing utilization of the  institutional churches in favor of rump-groups meeting in houses.  

The elder may gain limited power but he forfeits the greater power— that motivated by true generosity, participation, and a "free-will."  Under  the Law the tithe was a "tax" just as any commanded giving is a tax and it was to meet the needs of both the civil and religious authorities.  However,  it is exciting to read of the examples of "free-will-offerings" in the Old  Testament, where, in several examples, there simply was no room for all of the  gifts and the people were told not to give any more.  Wouldn't it be grand if  the eldership could catch the vision and be forced to tell the congregation  "no more money please, we simply cannot find a way to use all that we have!"       

    Determining the duties.

        Based upon titles.(work descriptors).

The entire premise of this material is that the terminal duties of the  eldership is to teach the Word of God, model its precepts, and correct and  refute those who oppose sound doctrine.  Consistent with this premise are  the qualities of the elder which can be described by the duties to:   

The positional responsibility for the elder is that assumes the general  superintendence over the spiritual affairs of the flock (1 Pet.  5:2).  He  takes this oversight for specific purposes—that he be in position to do the   following:  

1)      Feed the flock by teaching, encouraging the fainthearted, and supporting   with longsuffering the weak.  He teaches both publically and   privately.  (1 Thess.  5:12; Tit.  1:9; 1 Tim.  5:17).

2)      He is to take heed to himself as a model (Acts 20:28)

3)      He is to tend the flock which involves admonishing the disorderly,   watching for wolves, and disciplining trouble-makers, and accounting   for any loses.     

The duties of the elder can be determined from two sources: from explicit   definition of duties and from the titles or descriptors of the work.  While  several work descriptors are used, it is generally agreed that they all apply  to different aspects of the same person and to different areas of work in   which he engages.  1 Peter 5:1,2 and Acts 20:17, 28 show that the "pastor,"   "elder," and "bishop" are the same persons.  The term "elder" has to do with  the age, dignity, and community respect of the man; the term "bishop" has to   do with the overseeing work; the term "pastor" has to do with the teaching   or feeding work of the elder; and the term "steward" has to do with the   assumption of God-given responsibility in the form of souls which must be   accounted for; and the term "watchman" (or task of watching) has to do with  watching for teachers of error which Paul warns might be fellow-elders.  

            Steward.

"For the bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God" (Tit.  1:7).

This is the Greek OIKONOMOS "House-ruler or estate manager."  It denotes   the manager of a household or estate, a steward (such were usually slaves or   freedmen)" (Vine).  Those who are said to be stewards are:    

1.      Preacher of the Gospel or Teacher of the Word (1 Cor.  4:1)  Paul and other apostles were stewards of the Gospel in a primary  sense but the evangelists and elders have been trusted with this  revealed message.

2.      Elders or bishops in churches (Tit.  1:7)

3.      Believers generally (1 Pet.  4:10)

  A steward is one in whom the master has trusted his own property for safe-  keeping and enhancement.  The flock of God, the blood-bought possession,  has been put in trust to the elders to protect and increase.  If the flock  decreases then the shepherd has failed and if the flock has been carried off  then he is not a true steward.  

                Only church worker who is to give account to God

Pastor-Teacher

1.  Ephesians 4 seems to make only one class of the PASTOR and TEACHER, some even saying that this is a hyphenated word, Pastor-Teacher.  This is shown by   several proofs, the first being the use of the word "some" as shown:

Ephesians the 4th    Corinthians the 12th

he passage says that: "he gave     SOME apostles,

    SOME prophets,

     SOME evangelists

    SOME pastors and teachers.

If pastors and teachers were separate work descriptors scholars feel that the passage would read "SOME pastors and SOME teachers."  The apostles almost exclusive work was to reveal the word by teaching it and confirming it and the prophet was more of a forth teller than he was a foreteller.  That is, he  was a teacher.  The evangelist is the traveling preacher and the pastor- teacher is the preacher-teacher of the local church.  

 "This double function appears in Paul's expression 'pastors and teachers,' where, as the form of the original seems to show, the two words describe the same office under different aspects." (Lightfoot, J.B., St Paul's  Epistle to Ph....-the Christian ministry p.  194)    

This PASTOR-TEACHER relationship is also shown in I Tim.  5:17 where it is indicated that the elder who "presides well" is specifically he who "labors in the word and teaching..."    

 Further,  the first term "Pastor" seems to be instrumental and not terminal: he oversees the church not just to be an overseer or to assure that the flock is overseen, but he oversees that he might teach just as the teacher is the overseer of the classroom in order that she be the teacher.  If she is the dominant overseer but not the teacher then she is the "boss" but she is  not the overseer-teacher.

                Primary Preacher/Teacher of the flock

                Teacher of Healthy Doctrine

  This is the Greek POIMAINO meaning "To tend, feed, lead" (Poimaino) the   flock (Poimnion) (John 10:11).  He is a herdsman or shepherd and in the   spiritual sense he is the one whom another has trusted and whose teachings   they follow (John 10:11, 14).  God is the True Shepherd (Psa.  23), Christ as   head of the church is the Chief Shepherd (John 10:16; 1 Pet.  2:25; Heb.   13:20), and the one who ovesees the assemblies of Christians are called   pastors or under-shepherds (Eph.  4:11) with the responsibility to equip the   members for the ministry so that they know what is true and are protected from   false teachers.   

The SHEPHERD = leads, not drives, the flock

The PASTOR   = feeds the flock or leads them to the feeding grounds   

(See Acts 20;17; 28:31; 1 Pet.  4:1-4; Eph.  4:11)

After summing up the Old and New Testament nature of the pastor and   quoting Jesus who said "feed my lambs" and "feed my sheep," The Theological  Dictionary of the NT, p.  752 says:  

"The foregoing injunctions, taken in connection with the great commission,  'Go teach all nations,' show at once the nature and importance of the   pastoral office in Christianity."  

"In order to make full proof of his ministry, the man of God must be both   a preacher and a pastor.  Preaching and the pastoral care have a common   object."  

This writer continues:

 "Preaching is the initial work..Pastoral care feeds the flock of Christ,   nourishes and cherishes the lambs of his fold, gives milk to babes, and   strong meat to them that are of full age.  

"Preaching introduces the Gospel, Pastoral care establishes and   perpetuates the institutions of Christianity.     

"Preaching enlarges the area of Christian influence.  Pastoral care  individualizes the application and consolidates the results of pulpit  labor.  

"Preaching attracts hearers within the circle of pastoral influence,  and Pastoral care waters the seed sown in their hearts.  

"Preaching attacks error in its various forms, and unfolds and defends the   truth of God.  Pastoral care folds, watches, and guards the gathered   flock."  

SHEEP-GROWING A MULTIPLYING MINISTRY

A flock of sheep yields two products: the first is wool and the second  is lambs.  That is, a shepherd, if he is a true steward of God's flock will  gather wool and assure that the flock increases.  And just as Abraham and  and Lot were not able to graze the same pastures and had to divide their  flocks, the successful church will grow too large for the territory and the  ability of the shepherd and must move on.    #

"Pastors die, but the church is immortal.  Nevertheless, each true pastor,   by faithful service, contributes not only to the perpetuation, but to the     wider extension of the Church.  A Christian shepherd takes the oversight   of souls.  Aggregately they form a single flock.  But the flock is   designed to increase in numbers, and with its growth to become divisible,   forming additional flocks and founding other churches, each of which will   have expansive and self-multiplying power.  Individuals in the original   flock and in every Church that may grow out of it may, under pastoral   influence, be themselves called to the ministry, and become, in due time     the founders and pastors of other churches which shall go on multiplying."  (Ibid.  p.  754)  

This is exactly what happens when the pastor-teachers equips each member   for the ministry.  Having been equipped, each one is able not only to be a  tool of the pastor-teacher to do his bidding, but he is able to "swarm" with  other members and form new congregations where none exist.  The elder's task  then is to equip each one to be able to take the lead and he is to instill  the "swarming instinct" so that orderly, friendly divisions of a successful  church is achieved.  The failure to do so has almost always resulted in the  flock deciding, without adequate financial and leadership preparation, to  launch out on its one resulting in ill-feelings between the "church fathers"  and their "deserting children."  

This instinct to launch out is basic to the animal and human world.  It  is the nature of animal flocks to multiply and move on to new territory.  It  is the nature of children to want to leave the oversight and tutelage of   their parents.  It is the nature of leaven to spread out into the bread   dough, multiply, and move on.  And it is the nature of one who has be taught  to teach other faithful men who in turn can teach faithful men.  

Presbyter or elder

God's appointed delegate to take care of the flock

The Greek PRESBUTEROS (Acts 14:23; 1 Tim.  5:1, 17; Titus 1:5; 1 Pet.  5:1)   has to do with the age, dignity, ability, and community status of the person  and not with his actual duties.  The assumption is that a person with more age   and experience is more mature.  This, of course, is not universally true.  An   immature old man is no more qualified that an immature young man.   

"And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed   with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed"  (Acts 14:23)  

"When the context indicates that a comparison as to age is intended by the   writer, we must give the term the primary sense of 'elder'; but when the  context shows the person spoken of sustains an official relation to the   church, it must be understood in its official sense" (J.  W.  McGarvey, The  Eldership, p.  14)  

He acts (1 Tim.  5:1, 17; Tit.  1:5; 1 Pet.  5:1)

He acts on behalf of the congregation (Acts 11:29-30)

He manages the affairs of the church (Acts 20:17-37; 21:17-18)

All older men are elders in one sense but not all men are moderate,   prudent, wise, not capable of being pointed out as pastor-teacher.  

                Four classes of elders.

There are FOUR classes of elders in the New Testament.  First, there is  the PRESBUTEROS or older man as opposed to being a NEOTEROS or younger man.   

Not ever older man is the Pastor-teacher because he lacks the absolutely   mandatory qualification of being able to teach healthy doctrine and refute   those who would scatter the flock through false teaching.    

Second, In 1 Tim.  5 there appears to be two other classes.  The first, in   verse 1, by virtue of his age, should be used by the church for a host of   responsibilities: He can give counsel in making corporate decisions about   the physical plant; he can prevent the church from making unwise decisions; he   can give marital and financial advice; he can train the younger men in their   choice of vocation; he can train those who are to become deacons, he can and   must be a pastor-teacher of the flock, he has the community standing to   supervise the treasury of the local church over the novice.  This class could   include all of the elders of the village or contemporary church who are not   disqualified by a poor reputation and are competent teachers of various life   and religious skills.         

The third class of elder from 1 Tim.  5 is the Pastor teacher who "works at   preaching and teaching."  

This is the "elder who rule well be considered worthy of double     honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching"     (1 Tim.  5:17).     

The word "especially does not just differentiate the "teaching" elders from   the "non teaching" elders but differentiates those who are pastor-teachers   from those who incur mental and physical exhaustion because of their zeal for   teaching the word and Doctrine.   

"'Especially those toiling in connection with Word and teaching' does not   mean that some elders did not teach, for all were required to have (and   thus to use) this ability (3:2).  Naturally, however, some would manifest  especial zeal in this part of the work, actually toiling in it to the   point of fatigue and weariness." (Lenski, commenting on 1 Tim 5:17, p.   682)

That the elders who rules well by preaching and teaching is due financial   support is shown by two arguments: He is due "double honor" and Paul'    rounding out this statement by saying "For (meaning he is due double honor)   you shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing and the laborer is worthy    of his hire" (v.  18).  However, some writers because of the term "double   honor" think that Paul is speaking of expressing appreciation in the form of  an "honorarium" to the ones who "work hard at teaching" in word and in deed.  That this is an "honorarium" rather than regular pay is also seen from the   example of the synagogue:   

"The probability is that none of them were paid.  The elders of the   synagogues were not paid or salaried.  Each synagogue had a number of   elders, too many to have a payroll that would be large enough to support   them.  The apostolic congregations imitated the synagogue in this respect"  (Lenski, p 683).     

This supports the notion that there might be a very large number of men   within the congregation who were competent teachers but a limited number who  worked at the task to the point of exhaustion.  

The image of not muzzling the ox is that of an ox worthy of eating "as he   teads out the grain."  The example of the limited commission as well as that   of Paul, is that he took food and lodging where he found it in the course of     his works and did not receive a regular paycheck.  Because the elder normaly  did not have a "church house" as headquarters to which members might attend  each Sunday, he might, as did the early bishops, travel over a wide area to  guide his flock.  In 1 Pet 5:2 Peter told the elders (older men) to take the   oversight and shepherd the scattered flock in their area—which was Pontus,   Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (1 Pet.  1:1).  In this case, "as they   are treading out the grain" the elders was not to be muzzled.  He was to be   fed, clothed, and housed where ever he might be.  

Churches which grow spiritually and numerically usually involve a large  number of the mature, interested men in arriving at corporate decisions   through regular business mettings, retreats, or other meeting.  That is,  even though elders have accepted the "office" of an elder they are wise enough   to know that they do not have an exclusive corner on the brain market.  So  while bowing to the digressed notion of the eldership as an "office" they  are wise enough to understand that there are many who function as pastor-  teachers with no form of ordination.  

Peter in urging the elders (older men) to take the oversight or to shepherd   the flock does not distinguish between men who are older and men who are   overseers.  The only difference is that the one "takes it upon himself to   oversee by teaching".  This is amplified when Peter uses the same word and   says,   

"You younger (as opposed to elders), likewise be subject to your elders  (older men)..." (1 Pet.  5:5)  

This says in effect that the elder who oversees the flock is due honor  because he is older and because he keeps the church community in order.    

The elder who preaches and teaches is the elder who fulfills the demands  defined by the qualifications of Paul in Timothy and Titus to teach the Word,  model the Word in their life, and refute those who teach destructive   doctrine.  This elder is due double honor and this honor involves support in  some way.  However, just as Paul refused to ask for support from many of those   whom he taught, the elder is under no obligation to accept financial help.  On   the other hand, if he is truly overseeing the flock it is not a job which can   be done in spare time and he may, just as does the "located preacher," be   supported for his work.

It would be strange indeed if we are authorized to support the "preacher"   with no office designated as preacher in the New Testament and cannot support  the elder who is clearly defined as the teacher of the local congregation and  if he does the job well he is due "double honor."  

The fourth class of elder is the one "from out of your midst" who goes  astray and leads some or all of the flock with him.  In 1 Tim.  5:19 we have  an example of a disciplinary process against the wayward elder.  We will deal  with this in greater detail in the chapter on Discipline.  Part of the honor   due an elder is not to be falsely accused of sin but Paul warns that men "out  of your midst" or from among the elders would come digression.  

Bishop or overseer

                The Superintendent of the flock

"Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy   Spirit hath made you bishops, to feed the church of the Lord, which he   hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28).   #

The word bishop comes from the Greek EPISKOPOS  (Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5,   7).  In the Greek EPI means "over" and SKOPEO means "to see."  It is equivalent   to the English word supervisor or suprentendant.  It means to visit, oversee,   comfort, give care.  In the classical Greek it meant to look upon, inspect,   observe, regard  visit, review, consider, and reflect.    

The equivalent Hebrew terms amplify the duties of the elder:

NACHAN  In Job 2:11, Jobs' three friends come to comfort or console.  

PAQAR   in Ezek.  34:11 "I will search and seek them out..."

Guardianship of souls is supervision 1 Pet.  2:25

Rule                  is supervision 1 Tim.  5:17; 3:5; Heb.  13:17

Tending               is supervision 1 Pet.  5:2-3

Teaching              is supervision Heb.  13:7

In Acts 20:28, it is said that the Holy Spirit placed (set, appointed, or   ordained) the elders to be overseers (episkopos) among or within the flock.  The one duty of shepherding is the total care of the congregation through   teaching, and the second duty of shepherding is to protect the flock from   destructive foes or false teachers.    

Watchman

                Able to refute doctrine

                Able to convince gainsayers

  It might be argued that words such as "steward" and "watchmen" describe  the work of the pastor-teacher and are not "titles."  However, it is   generally recognized that none of these are titles but are "work descriptors"   defining the nature of the work done within the body of Christ.  

Pastors are to be "watchmen" as shown by Paul's injunction, "Obey them   that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your   souls as they that must give account" (Heb 13:7).  This duty has always been   very important: "I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the   trumpet" (Jer.  6:7).  "If the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the   trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come and take any   personfrom among them, he is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood will   I require at the watchman's hand" (Ezek.  33:6).  

And Paul says further to Timothy, "Watch thou in all things, endure   afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry" (2   Tim.  4:5).  It is felt by some that Timothy, while being called an evangelist,     which was a description of what he did, was ordained as a bishop-elder.  

THE SHEPHERD-OVERSEER

The terms EPISKOPOS (overseer) is intimately linked with the term  POIMENA (or shepherd).  One oversees souls by being a shepherd of souls.  Peter confirms this connection when as a presbyter he calls himself a  shepherd (SUMPRESBUTEROS) and urges other presbyters to shepherd (POINEMATE)  the flock of God among you, overseeing (EPISKOPOUNTES) not by constraint."  (See 1 Peter 5:1,2)  

The term pastor is used only in Eph.  4:11 and in other passages it is used  in the verb form showing that this is not an ecclesiastical title but is  a description of the work to be done (See Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-5).  

Duty of the elder as a teacher

We have previously established that the primary way in which the pastor-  teacher "rules" the flock is by teaching Biblical knowledge.  We need to  expand this concept a bit.    DUTY OF THE ELDER AS TEACHER  

Teaching is universally recognized as the major role of the elder.  He is     to FEED and TEND the flock, and therefore he is called "teacher" (I Tim 3:20;    5:17; Tit.  1:9).  Where he functions as the evangelist, as many early biships    did, he must be able to teach the word to non-members, establish and put in     order new churches, and be QUALIFIED to teach the flock.  All must teach at     some level (See Matt.  5:19; Col.  3:16 Tit.  2:3; Heb.  5:12; Psa 51:13), but     James warns of the dangers posed to those who would be authoratative teachers.   

Our children always liked to launch every project with the old cry,  "Get ready! Get set! Go!"  This is, however, more than a game.  It describes  the procedure by which any successful endeavor must be followed; the elder-  ship is no different in that the Bible can be clearly shown to teach that  he must follow these three steps.  

Duty to be Prepared

Get ready.

Frequently an elder is selected because he is a "good" man, a successful   businessman, or is seen as a potential source of funds for the church.  If he   and his congregation are extremely lucky, and with time, the elder will "grow   into" his work as he has opportunity to serve.  The Biblical pattern, however,   is that a man must study and mature to the point of readiness to serve and   is, to some extent, already functioning as pastor-teacher prior to his recog-  nition or "pointing out."     

1.      Take heed to self:  Make sure that you are internally what the    qualifications demand outwardly.  This is the first duty of the elder: to  know who he is and to understand that he is to be a stepping stone rather than   a stumbling block.  We discuss this further in the following material.  

2.      Get qualified:  Under the heading of Qualifications, we discuss the   keen desire and the fact that the elder must be qualified prior to his   selection.  This is not the best place for on-the-job training.  His desire is   equivalent to that of the athlete preparing for the Olympic games or the   soldier who has tough of fibre and skilled in is own art and understands the   nature of his enemies.  

Get set.

1.      Take heed to the flock: (Acts 20:28).  Having looked inward to self,   the elder must look outward to the flock.  He must have a deep love for the   flock and he must examine it in detail.  And there is no way to love the flock   without loving each sheep individually.   

2.      Know the flock: Perhaps the need for hospitality is to get acquainted   with each member at some level.  He must understand their level of competence    as Biblical Christians and understand their spiritual development.  He must   direct his educational efforts to the specific needs of each lamb.    

Jesus said,

"I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine...My   sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:14, 17).  

Go.

1.      Oversee the flock: "The Holy Spirit has made your overseers" (Acts   20:28).  He does not oversee as a boss but he oversees in order that he might    tend, feed, and guard the flock.  He is the guardian or watchman for the souls   of those under his charge.  He will give account for every lost lamb.  He is   the spiritual supervisor of the flock.  He oversees in three ways: He   oversees the flock IN ORDER that he can tend and feed it through Biblical  teaching.  

a.      Rule the flock: While the word "rule" is not in the Text as   related to the eldership, we inject it here to call attention to a section on   RULE OF THE ELDER which shows that the evangelist, teacher, or elder "rules"   as he teaches and models the Christian faith.   

"The function of the apostles was not to exercise authority, but to give testimony." (Fred Fisher, Commentary on 1 & 2 Corinthians, p.  207)    

"Above all else one who rules in the first century church must have a  personal knowledge of the Word of God.  The elder must be able to rightly divide the word (2 Tim.  2:15) and make relevant applications to modern situations.You must exercise the utmost in courage and creativity to  execute your prime responsibility of imparting knowledge of the word of God which is the spiritual food that every member of the congregation needs if the church is to grow and prosper." (F.  Dale Simpson, Leading  the First-Century Church in the Space Age, p.  13).  

"The Word of God, not their personal decisions by their own wisdom, must be the rule, the law, in all things pertaining to the service of God...The leading purpose of the elders in being placed as overseers of the flock is  that they shall feed the church.  Feed them how?  With the word of God, is  the only answer.  And this word of God is the ruling power.  But when the elders rule by their own wisdom, by their own enactments, they become lords over God's heritage, which the word of God, the very thing the  elders are to each and enforce, forbids." (E.  G.  Sewell, The Gospel  Advocate, 1892, p.  444)  

"It is the business of elders to take the oversight of the churches, lead  them by the word of God, and induce them as far as possible to live in  harmony with the will of God.  An elder therefore, that thinks he is an official, an arbitrary ruler in the church, knows nothing yet as he ought to know." (Gospel Advocate, 1898, p.  280)

 "While in all these respects the wise pastor that, in order to make full proof of his ministry, he must personally  preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine (2 Tim.  4:2)." (Theological Dictionary of the NT, p.  752)  

b.      Tend: "Tend the flock of God that is in your charge" (1 Pet.  5:2).   The tender of the flock moves among the flock teaching and admonishing the   weak.  Initially he had the ability to heal those who were sick.  Today, he  heals spiritually and binds up the wounds of those who suffer physically and  emotionally.  He assures that parents are skilled in Biblical knowledge and  are equipped to instill Christian virtues in their children.  Thus, he acts  to prevent the wounds which will be incurred by those who do not follow the  laws of God.  

c.      Feed: "Feed the church of God" (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet.  5:2).  This   probably has its primary application in the teaching and feeding the flock   with spiritual knowledge and wisdom.  While he can and must delegate much  of the teaching task, he cannot abdicate the responsibility.  

1)     Able to teach:  The King James Version uses the term "apt" which carries the meaning that the elder is "inclinded toward" but the meaning of the Greek and Elizabethan English is that he is prepared and totally compe-  tent to teach.  The elder cannot oversee, tend, feed, or guard the flock  without this terminal duty to be a competent teacher of the Word.   

d.      Guard: The primary need is to guard against false leaders within   the church because external forces are never as destructive as a wolf loose   within the sheepfold.  He must resist, or as Titus says "gag" false teacher to   prevent error.  He cannot do this unless he is able to "hold firmly to the   trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage those by   sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it" (Tit.  1:9)  

e.      Oversee by example: "...being examples to the flock" (1 Pet.  5:3)   The elder cannot rule as a secular lord because he is prohibited by the   example of Christ, by Scriptural mandate, and by the fact that the gentle   lambs have a nasty habit of turning into pit bulls when pushed around.  

Not as lords: "...neither as being lords over God's heritage"   (1 Pet.  5:2-3).      

Duty to take heed to self.

Having outlined the three steps the eldership must follow, we need to  expand on these a bit.  The first duty of the elder is to absolve himself of   all guilt just as modelled by Paul when he said:  

"Therefore I testify to you this day, that I am innocent of the blood of   all men.  For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of  God.  

"Be taking heed to your own selves and to all the flock in which the Holy   Spirit set you as overseers, to shepherd the church of God which he   purchased for himself through his own blood" (Acts 20:26-28).  

Paul is perhaps remembering the universally true Old Testament statement   that makes us responsible for the actions of others:  

"When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die'; and you do not warn him   or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that   wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your   hand" (Ezek.  3:18).  

Paul claims freedom from responsibility because he had warned those who  were guilty of sin and he projects this responsibility onto the elder to  take heed or "be on your guard" against those grevious wolves which would  arise within the eldership to draw away disciples.  Paul is not negative and   he is not a pessimist.  He simply can open his eyes and see the problem-  clouds gathering.  

"I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not   sparing the flock; and from amog your own selves men will arise, speaking   perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them." (Acts 20:29-30)   

Because the problems would always come from those with power to create   them, Paul warns "Be watchful over yourselves," "Be on guard for yourselves,"  Keep a watchful eye on yourselves."  While the elder is busy watching for  error to arise from without the leadership, he himself may bring it in if  he does not "know himself."  When looking for enemies he must not ignore   looking into the mirror each morning to prevent self-deception.  

The elder must look within to test every attitude, every motive, and every  action.  When he sees flaws within others he must be dead-certain that he  does not have his eyes turned inward.  He must look to his own standing as  a Christian because that is what he will project outward.  He must examine  his doctrine to make certain that he is a Biblical pastor-teacher.  

As that great comic strip wise man, Pogo, stated it, "We have met the  enemy face to face, and he is us!"  And when the enemy of the local church  comes it will almost always be "us."  Perhaps this is why Satan diverts us  so easily to look for flaws in sister congregations two thousand miles away.  

While within the religious world there have always been those addicted  to the control over others, the restoration gained its greatest foothold   because it rejected, on a Biblical basis, the preeminence of any one.

"It has only been in the past quarter-century that men, seemingly filled   with a lust for power, have assumed prerogatives that God never intended   men to have.  The result has been strife and turmoil.  Practically every   congregation in the brotherhood has been split at least once, and many   more than once.  Why?  Because free men will not be in bondage to any.  We   believe that al little research would establish that practically all   congregational troubles, and most of our preacher firings and quittings,   are the result of power struggles, and that most of them are precipitated   by 'ruling' elders." (Reuel Lemmons, Firm Foundation, Nov.  7, 1978, p.  2)  

Biblical models of the teaching task.

Consistent with our thesis that the primary responsibility of the elder  is to teach the Word of God as a method of tending, teaching, and guarding  the flock, we will briefly examine these duties.  

I Cor 12:27 lists Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Workers of Miracles,   Healers, Helpers, Administrators, Those who speak in Tongues.  Paul shows   that not all do the same things in the church and he also shows in chapter 13   that prophecies, tongues, and the addition of new knowledge were temporary.    "Forth-telling" could continue with edification being the goal.  The qualifica-  tions show that the Apostles were also temporary.     

A careful look at all of these offices within Scripture shows that most of   these gifts were for the purpose of revealing truth, teaching truth, or con-  firming truth.  Paul claimed the title of a preacher and an apostle but his   work was to teach.      

"And for this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the   truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth"  (1 Tim.  2:7).  

Eph.  4:11  lists Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.    From this list we can see the overwhelming emphasis of people assigned to   teach and equip the church for its work.  Having seen that the Apostles and    Prophets were temporary, we are left to believe that the evangelist and the   pastor-teacher are permanent works assigned to the ongoing church with the  emphasis put on teaching.  The evangelist is the travelling preacher of the  gospel message who establishes and sets new congregations in order but the  pastor-teacher is the only Biblical local "preacher."  

A study of early church history shows that the bishop frequently began as   an evangelist or traveling preacher-teacher and after becomming the bishop of   a local church he either continued to travel doing the work of an evangelist   or sent qualified people out to mission points.  Often he took it upon him-  self to establish schools to teach that part of human philosophy which helped  one know his culture and also the Bible with a plain emphasis put upon prepar-  ing evangelists to go out and make converts to the faith.   

Testimony of scholars.

While the Bible and not the opinion of man determines what we believe   about the eldership, it is important to see how this issue is handled by  others:  

"The function of the apostles was not to exercise authority, but to give      testimony." (Fred Fisher, Commentary on 1 & 2 Corinthians, p.  207)   

"Above all else one who rules in the first century church must have a    personal knowledge of the Word of God.  The elder must be able to rightly    divide the word (2 Tim.  2:15) and make relevant applications to modern    situations.  You must exercise the utmost in courage and creativity to    execute your prime responsibility of imparting knowledge of the word of    God which is the spiritual food that every member of the congregation    needs if the church is to grow and prosper." (F.  Dale Simpson, Leading   the First-Century Church in the Space Age, p.  13).  

"The authority of this verse is that of the Word of God itself, not that   of either an evangelist or elder as such." (Rubel Shelly, Commenting on   Titus 2:15, The Spiritual Sword, April 1978, p.  27)  

"The Word of God, not their personal decisions by their own wisdom, must   be the rule, the law, in all things pertaining to the service of God...The   leading purpose of the elders in being placed as overseers of the flock is   that they shall feed the church.  Feed them how? With the word of God, is   the only answer.  And this word of God is the ruling power.  But when the   elders rule by their own wisdom, by their own enactments, they become   lords over God's heritage, which the word of God, the very thing the   elders are to each and enforce, forbids." (E.  G.  Sewell, The Gospel   Advocate, 1892, p.  444)   

"And this word of God is the ruling power.  But when elders rule by their   own wisdom, by their own enactmets, they become lords over God's heritage,   which thw Word of God, the very thing the elders are to teach and enforce,   forbids." (E.G.Sewell, The Gospel Advocate, 1892, p.  444)   

"It is the business of elders to take the oversight of the churches, lead   them by the word of God, and induce them as far as possible to live in   harmony with the will of God.  An elder therfore, that thinks he is an   official, an arbitrary ruler in the church, knows nothing yet as he ought  to know." (Gospel Advocate, 1898, p.  280)  

"Or more literally, Remember your leaders who spoke to you the word of   God; carefully considering the issues of their manner of life; imitate   their faith." (Robert Milligan, Commentary on Hebrews, p 875)   

"Elders wield their greatest influence for good by living exemplary lives,   models after which the flock may pattern." (Dr.  Raymond C.  Kelcy, The   Letters of Peter and Jude, R.  B.  Sweet Co., p.  100)  

"Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the     word of God; whose faith follow, considering the end of their conver-   sation." (Heb.  13:7)     

"And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and   are OVER YOU IN THE LORD, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly   in love for their work's sake" (1 Thess.  5:12-13).  

"While in all these respects the wise pastor will encourage and guide the   efforts of his people, he will not forget that he, too, is a preacher, and   that, in order to make full proof of his ministry, he must personally   "preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke,   exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine (2 Tim.  4:2)." (Theological  Dictionary of the NT, p.  752)        

Pastor-Teacher

1.      Ephesians 4 seems to make only one class of the PASTOR and TEACHER, some   even saying that this is a hypenated word, Pastor-Teacher.  This is shown by     several proofs, the first being the use of the word "some" as shown:  

The passage says that: "he gave SOME apostles,

SOME prophets,

SOME evangelists and,

SOME pastors and teachers.

  If pastors and teachers were separate work descriptors scholars feel that  the passage would read "SOME pastors and SOME teachers."  The apostles almost  exclusive work was to reveal the word by teaching it and confirming it and   the prophet was more of a forth teller than he was a foreteller.  That is, he   was a teacher.  The evangelist is the traveling preacher and the pastor-   teacher is the preacher-teacher of the local church.  This does not eleminate   the ability of the elders to hire one who can be a pastor-teacher on a full   time basis.  If the preacher is the primary teacher of the flock and if he  shepherds the flock then he is the pastor-teacher.  

"This double function appears in Paul's expression 'pastors and teachers',    where, as the form of the original seems to show, the two words describe    the same office under different aspects." (Lightfoot, J.B., St Paul's   Epistle to Ph....-the Christian ministry p.  194)      

"The function of the apostles was not to exercise authority, but to give   testimony." (Fred Fisher, Commentary on 1 & 2 Corinthians, p.  207)  

"The word of God, not their personal decisions by their own wisdom, must  be the rule, the law, in all things pertaining to the service of God.  It is the business of elders to take the oversight of the churches,   lead them by the word of God, and induce them as far as possible to live in   harmony with the will of God." (E.G.Sewell, The Gospel Advocate, 1897, p.   292)   

This PASTOR-TEACHER relationship is also shown in I Tim.  5:17 where it is  indicated that the elder who "presides well" is specifically he who "labors in   the word and teaching..."      

Further, the first term "Pastor" seems to be instrumental and not terminal;   he oversees the church not just to be an overseer or to assure that the flock   is overseen, but he oversees that he might teach just as the teacher is the   overseer of the classroom in order that she be the teacher.  The terminal   responsibility of the elder is the ministry of the Word.      

"The task of the elder was   To keep the affairs of the church decent and orderly,   THAT the ministry of the WORD might not be hindered"   (J.I.Packer, Basic Christian Doctrine, pp.  251).     

"The leaders also, in Heb.  13:7, are described as 'speaking unto you   the word of God.'  Ecclesiastical history joins in proving that the two   offices of teaching and superintending were, with few exceptions, combined   in the same person, as, indeed, the nature of things dictated."  (Theological Dictionary of the NT, p.  819)  #   

In discussing the duties of the pastor-teacher to feed the flock, guide  the flock, and to guard from moral and spiritual evil, the same writer says:  

"In this manner only may be illustrated the design of the Saviour's   gift of pastors and teachers as supplementary to that of apostles and   evangelists, viz, 'for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of   the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Eph.  4:12).   

"The coupling of the terms pastor and teacher together in this connection is in itself a comment on the meaning of both.  It shows that the pastor   is to feed his flock with intellectual and spiritual food, while as a   religious teacher he is to communicate saving knowledge of the Son of God   as a means of edifying, singly and collectively, the body of Christ."  (Ibid.  p.  753).  

It is easy to lose sight of the end product of the work of the church and  focus upon the means to that end.  The organization of the church is not to  become the biggest church in our city: it is to facilitate the teaching of  the Word.  Putting the burden on people to get up early, dress up, and risk  their lives driving to "worship services" is not just to satisfy the legal  demand for "worship."  It is not to worship by worshipping but it is to  worship by showing forth the worth of God.  It is to worship God by acknow-  ledging the value of the church as taught in Scripture and it is to worship  by showing forth the worth of His revealed Word.  It is not to entertain by  singing, but it is to TEACH and edify by speaking specific Scriptural psalms,   hymns, and spiritual songs while singing and making melody in the heart.     Early church singing did not use four part harmony with majors and minors   thrown in to obscure the message, with one group singing one set of words   while another simultaneously sings another set,  but it was spoken by one   group and answered by another as a means of TEACHING.    

Worship is not to appropriate grace by keeping the Lord's supper but to  "show forth" or TEACH the death, burial and resurection of Christ 'til He   come.'  Preaching is not to discuss world-events and pop-psychology but to   teach the Word.  Bible classes are to TEACH the Word of God.  In short, there  is little evidence for services as corporate worship but the overwhelming  evidence is that the early church met to be taught and edified so that their  entire life could be a continuous act of worship.  

Someone has said,

"ecclesiastical rule has no independent rights, it exists as a handmaid to the ministry of the WORD."   

And we might add that the church, in the modern, corporate sense has no independent rights, but it exists as a handmaid to the ministry of the Word.  Just as the overseeing responsibility of the sheperd was to get food and water to the sheep and to keep the wolves from the flock, the job of overseeing the Christian flock is to make possible the ministry of the Word so that each lamb may grow up into the image of Christ.   

2.       The terms "feed, lead, and tend" sum up the major component of the   elders work—that of teaching.  He is to "give instructions in sound   DOCTRINE and confute those who contradict it" (Tit.  1:9).  Neither  the qualifications for elders in Timothy nor Titus expand the  terminal duties beyond these two tasks.  

3.      Doubly-honored elders are to teach "the word and doctrine."  The  elder who is an older, community leader is worthy of respect and  honor but only the teacher of the Word and Christian doctrine are   worthy of double honor as pastor-teacher.

4.      The word "Rule" in Heb.  13:7 is teaching.  See further under the  heading RULE OF THE ELDER.

5.      The demand that the elders equip members for ministry to others is a  demand that he teach (Eph 4).  The end product of this ministry was  that each member understand the nature of true doctrine and be able  to withstand the teachers of false doctrine.  Only by the protection  from error and the teaching of "healthy doctrine" may one grow up  into the image of Christ.

6.      There seems to be one unequivocable duty of the elder—that is to  teach.  He rules primarily as he teaches the word (only the word) and  if he is not apt (able) to teach, he is not apt (able) to be a  bishop of God's flock.  This is one qualification which is intimately   connected to a terminal duty of the elder.  

7.      Elders can deligate teaching duties but he cannot, must not, deligate  the responsibility.  Without this responsibility he cannot tend, teach  or guard the flock.  He has lost control of the flock.

8.      Unless Christian doctrine is taught and studied with a sense of  urgency:   

A    Unbelievers will not know the will of God (Rom 10:10)

        -Thce Flock is not INCREASED

B.      Believers will not thrive and grow in grace and knowledge

        -The flock is not TENDED

C.      Weak believers will be lead astray when less-squemish people teach their version of Scriptural truth.

        The flock is not GUARDED

9.      In Jer.  31:15 God promised to give His people shepherds to give them  knowledge and understanding.  Under the heading of MODELS FOR THE  ELDERSHIP we expand the Old Testament model of the shepherd who was  in danger of judgment if he failed to teach knowledge to his flock.

10    Paul said that an elder "Labors in the word" (I Tim.  5:17).  This  cannot mean that he occasionally teaches a Bible class, but the sense  of this passage is that he teaches to the point of exhaustion.

11    Paul said that an elder "exhorts" (Tit.  1:9).  One exhorts by   attempting to get believers to conform to the image of Christ.    Where this does not happen, the believer is to be further taught  and exhorted to model his life after Christ.  

All key Biblical figures were teachers

  As we have previously said, all of the major figures of the Old and New   Testament are called servants of God and they serve primarily as they teach  the laws and principles of God.  If the elder is not to be a Biblical   teacher, he stands alone as the sole figure in the entire scheme of things.

Immediately after the creation of mankind, God proceeded to teach Adam  and Eve his laws.

Moses was the most important teacher of the Old Testament.

Abraham and all of the prophets, the kings, the judges, and the prophets were teachers.

Solomon was a teacher and probably had a school of wisdom for civil order

The priests were to be teachers and when they failed God sent prophets.

Christ was prophet, priest, king, and savior, but above all He was called

"teacher" (Matt 23:8; Jno.  3:2).   

Nicodemus was a teacher of Israel (Jno 3:10).  

Philip, the miss-labeled "deacon" taught Jesus (Acts 8:5,12).   

All truth-teachers in the church were teachers (Acts 13:1; I Cor 12:28).  

Paul, among the churches, was a teacher (I Tim 2:7; II Tim 1:11).  

False teachers for itching ears knew that the way to get their way was  

through teaching (2 Tim.  4:3)  

The elders who are to feed and equip the flock as pastor-teachers

(Eph.  4:11 ).  They, along with Paul, taught timothy.  

Timothy as an Evangelist was to teach (2 Tim.  4:5).      

Titus was to indoctrinte the church (Titus 1:5, 13; 2:1,5).   

Faithful men were trained to teach others (2 Tim.  2:2)  and these, in  turn (ad infinitum) were to teach.

All of the writers penned their message to teach future generations

so that they would know the certainty of what had happened.

The fundamental duty of the elder is to be pastor-teachers of the flock  to equip each member to reach his highest potential as a believer.  If he  is not a teacher then he fails in the two terminal duties prescribed by  Paul to Titus, "Teach healthy doctrine and refute those who oppose it."  

By restricting the eldership to being "shepherds" and by ignoring that he is also steward, teacher, and superintendent of the flock, his duties are  often restricted to the "spiritual" affairs of the church—visiting the sick, praying for people, and psychological counselling.  However, even if the teaching elder (as opposed to just elders) was defined only by the term “shepherd," an examination of the Scriptures would show that by using the term, God has provided models to show the key position of the shepherd.  This is shown by both false and true models of the shepherd.

"The word appoint, therefore, means to command, to direct, assign, or set,   or place a man over, or to do a certain work as in the case of the seven;   but the form of so placing or directing men to to do certain work is not   laid down, just as the matter of going to the place of assembling on the   first day of the week" (Questions and Answers, Lipscomb and Sewell, p.  201).  

Goals of Pastoral Teaching

Knowledge, comprehension, appliation, analysis, synthesis, and  evaluation  Successful pastoral teaching depends almost totally upon our ability to cut through the apparently invisible cloak of secularism and get back to the Bible, allowing God to change our lives from the inside-out.  To be able to lead, the  pastor-teacher must know the way.  He must have a clearly formulated set of  objectives to be achieved.  His vision for the church must proceed from clear  scriptural goals.   

Facts and Concepts (Knowledge)

 The beginning point of all change is the collecting of facts.  However, beyond superficial factual knowledge lies the task of emparting abstract concepts such as good, evil, heaven, or hell which go beyond our human grasp of physical facts and involve spiritually discerned ideas.  The first level of understanding of these concepts must rest upon faith in credible testimony.  Factual teaching is not complete unless it also "dispels error."  One way of  knowing about a thing is to know what it is not.  

Understandings (Comprehension)

 Hermeneutics attempts to interpret, in an understandable fashion, deeper concepts such as the existence of God, the fall, personal accountability, the atonement, and a future life with God.  The pastor-teacher should attempt to explain these god-related understandings to help the flock form a rich under- standing as a foundation upon which to build faith in the Author.  

Attitudes

 Having understood Gods' message of personal love, loyalty to His Church, and a personal connection with God and His plan for the universe, our attitudes will tend to crystalize into a set of personal convitions.  The pastor-teacher must seek to shepherd the student into the personal appropriation of correct attitudes.  

Values

 With a set of convicitons about what is right or wrong, profitable or un- profitable, the task must be to clarify personal values and convert them from preferences to absolute convictions.  It must help convert values to Gods' values.  

This means achieving an understanding, at a high level, giving us the skill to synthesize Gods' message—to apply the component parts of God's message to lifes' ever-changing challenges.  The Pastor-Teacher must be well qualified because his values will be  transferred to the flock with or without conscious teaching.  

Habits/Behaviors

 The acquisition of the fruit of the spirit, such as Love, should dominate the behavior of the flock.  Correct doctrine teaches that you cannot get a sweet orange from a sour lemon tree.  The goal must be to know that behavior is a product of changed relationships and changed values and is not the "means" for acquiring a spiritual nature.  The pastor-teacher must grasp that without a change in the work-a-day thinking and behavior, true spiritual growth has not occured.  

Skills

 In Eph 4, Paul stresses that the task of leadership is to equip the saints for the ministry.  God has decreed that mankind help work His will on the Earth by serving others.  Skills such as teaching, preaching, or ministering must be taught early in life and must not be left to chance.  The cardinal mandate of church leadership is to equip.  If he cannot equip he cannot pastor.  

Leadership

 The world is afloat with strange knowledge, doctrine, and value systems.  Correct teaching must help acquire, critically evaluate, accept or reject information, act upon that knowledge and influence others to right action and accomplishment The leader cannot simply dream that his hands-off attitude will result in a system of unbiased values and qualities of leadership.  Others wil teach their system (doctrine) of leadership.  The pastor-teacher is selected to equip.

Relationships/Maturity

 Personal maturity - growing to have the "mind of Christ" is the ultimate goal of the pastor-teachers work.  Maturity is accomplished when a proper relationship with God and mankind is formed.  Maturity is achieved, not by leaps, but by the acquisition of dozens of individual facets of belief and action.  

This maturity is classified in the following broad sequential areas: Needing, understanding, remembering, appreciating, discriminating, accepting obeying, relating, worshipping, sharing, acquiring personal values, changes of behavior, growing, and leading.  

Duty to Discipline

duplicates withdrawal??????

 Within the last few years several elderships have gotten into legal  problems when attempting to discipline church members and even those who are  no longer in the church.  And perhaps the the thing which will destroy the  church in the way we understand it is the penchant to attempt to discipline  those thousands of miles removed.  

Not only common decency be followed when the elder is suspected of committ- ing some sin, the eldership must follow this same Christ-like procedure when  judging another.  It is easy to decide in a high-handed or arbritrary way  that a member has done something which hinders his participation in the work  of the church.  In this case, the eldership is under absolute obligation to  personally confront the member and, like a good shepherd, try to understand   or restore that one to the flock before defacto disfellowshiping him.  

Jesus in Matt.  18:15-17 lays down the UNIVERSAL and MANDATORY procedure by    which one Christian must personally confront another who offends him or who is  or is thought to be guilty of committing a sin.  The procedure in I Tim.  5      repeats this procedure in all of its essentials.     

The major scripture which is thought to give approval to the idea of   publically rebuking a person before a personal investigation has been made    is I Tim.  5:20 which says, "Them that sin, rebuke before all, that others may   see and fear."(KJV)  or "Those who continue in sin..." (NASB) or "those who    PERSIST in sin..."

 We have previously established that the power of a newly organized  congregation is vested with the members of that body and is often guided by the founding evangelist.  When elders are ordained in recognization of  their exemplary spiritual qualities, the body does not abdicate its authority  to continually assure themselves that proper oversight is being exercised.   This means that the elders must at least meet the standards demanded by all  members of the congregation.  When offenses occur it is important that  discipline is exercised within the local congregation and not spill over into  the community or into other congregations.  

It is not uncommon for one congregation to attempt to discipline other  congregations because they do not see the Bible the same on a jot and tittle  level.  However, congregational autonomy and the pattern of Scripture reserves  discipline to the local congregation and demands it for extreme cases of  error.  Who then should be disciplined?

1)  Those who are disorderly (2 Thes.  3:6)

 Those who are disorderly (2 Thes.  3:6)  Paul demands WITHDRAWAL from,  Brothers who walk disorderly CONTRARY to the taught tradition:  

a.  The correct model:

"For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example; because

- we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you

- nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it,

- but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day

so that we might not be a burden to any of you" (2 Thess.  3:7:9)

b.  The error in Thessalonica:  There are those    

"leading an undisciplined life,

"doing no work at all,

"but acting like busybodies" (2 Thess.  3:11)

This has reference to those who were supported by others but who did no  productive work (3:8).  Paul was keenly aware of the feeling of many that  evangelists should not ask for help, and therefore refused help from some  churches and set the example of working in a secular field.  Paul sees this as  setting the example which is to be followed (3:9).   

Those who are living from the labors of others were at the same time so  underemployed that they had time to be busybodys (3:11).     

In every congregation the "field is white unto harvest" and there are  enough problems of outright sin and false doctrine to occupy everyone involved  in that work without going afar to correct the problems of others.  The  principle of congregational autonomy reduces the employment for busybodies.  

The solution to this problem is to put those busybodys to work, to quietly  earn their own bread or else refuse them the right to eat (3:10-12).  And they  were to keep aloof yet not treat them as enemies but as a brother (v.  15).  

Guilty of Outright Sin

Those who are guilty of outright sin, adultery, fornication, or perhaps   aiding or enticing others to sin or condoning sin (I Cor.  5:1-13).    Sin is a violation of God's law and we need to confront those who are   known to be guilty of conduct we know to be sin.  This includes gossip,   slander, and false accusations.  While Paul and other writers define some areas of organization, work, and worship of the local congreta- tion, the overwhelming emphasis is upon a Christian life-style.  It is not uncommon for those who would exercise discipline for the churches of an entire city, state, or even the world to make the attempt using     methods totally contrary to the principles of Christian morality.  

Those who Cause Division

Those who cause division.  (Rom.  16:17)  Deut.  17 (discussed later)  says that "he that repeateth a matter seperateth friends."  There is no  greater satanic weapon than slander—falsely accusing the brethren.  The solution, the writer says, is to REPROVE QUIETLY to cover the   transgression rather than make a public spectacle of God's servant.  

"...keep your eye on those who cause DISSENSIONS and hinderances    contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them"   (Rom.  16:17).  Verse 18 says that they deceived others so that they   might profit from their teaching.  These are the same as those  busybodies in 2 Thes.  3 who fed their own bellies from the labor of  others.  

One writer who often "repeats a matter" without attempting to determine the truth (assuming that it is his business), when asked what he did when he slandered a brother or a church and then found out that what he had  printed was false.  His response was that he was a journalist and his only  responsibility was to assure that the brotherhood knew what was being said.  In the real world this is called "yellow journalism" and the term yellow might derive from the lack of courage to confront an individual personally.  

Someone has said that when you cut open and shake a feather pillow into the wind it is never possible to recover all of the feathers and get them into the pillow.  And so it is with slander or gossip.  The damage is done (and perhaps the slanderer is only interested in damaging people) and it can never be undone.  The result is division among the body and it is the  absolute responsibility to discipline such a one.  

Heretics

Those who are heretical (Tit.  3:10).  Notice that even a heretic—one  who factionalizes the church and creates sects—one who is subverted,  and sinneth, and self-condemned is not to be rejected until there has   been the FIRST and SECOND personal admonition.  One is always faced with the danger that by accusing another of being heretical (sectarian) he may contribute to another heresy.  Heresy is seen in a good sense in that anyone who has "made a choice" has decided whom he will fellow- ship.  He may make such a choice, however, without making any claim to be a judge of all those he cannot physically fellowship. 

Romans 15. Ariskos, Placeo

False Teachers

 There is such a thing as correct doctrine and those who persist in  teaching it should be withdrawn from.  One key tenent of the "doctrine of  Christ" is love and the demand that we care about people as we attempt to  exercise discipline.  John says,   

"And now I ask you, lady, not as writing to you a new commandment, but the  one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.  And THIS IS love, that we walk according to His commandments.  This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should  walk in it" (2 John 5-6)  

John says that the commandment (singular) was that they should walk according to His commandments (plural).  This observance then would be proof of their love just as Jesus said, "If you love me you WILL keep my command- ments."

The false teacher, however, was not just someone who had a wrong notion  about one of Christ's commandments.  He was a bad fellow.  These deceivers denied that Jesus Christ came in the flesh.  He was a deceiver and the  antichrist (v.  7).  The solution to this problem was not to mount a campaign  of "yellow journalism" but simply to refuse to have anything to do with such  a person (v.  10, 11).   

Under the principle of local autonomy, it is difficult to exercise this  discipline beyond our own congregation.  Fellowship has to do with intra- congregational affairs and it is neither possible nor necessary to deal with a  congregation two thousand miles away.  The urge to control the entire brother- hood is the urge to "denominationalize the Church."  Therefore, the mandate to the elder is to work within his own flock.  

6) False teachers

The foes of the church are not accidental.  There are those who delight in  teaching error for the purpose of deceiving.  Paul said: "But there arose false prophets also among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them, bring upon themselves swift destrction.  And MANY shall follow their lascivious doings; by reason of whom the way of the truth shall be evil spoken of.  And in covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you..." (2 Pet.  2:1-3).  "Ye therefore, beloved, knowing these things beforehand, beware lest, being carried away with the error of the wicked, ye fall from your own stedfastness..." (2 Pet.  3:17-19).  Timothy was warned that "evil men and IMPOSTERS shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and  being deceived."  (2 Tim.  3:13)

Vs.  10-22

1 Tim.  4:1

Jude 17

 "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will  false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive  heresis, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift  destruction upon themselves" (2 Pet.  2:1)

These are not people who insist upon using only one cup while you use two or a hundred.  They are not those who begin services with a prayer while you  begin yours with a song.  They are not those who support Christian education while you insist that God ordained the government to teach your child.  They are not those who meet in private dwellings while you insist that the church  should develop a "church plant."  These are serious teachers of error.  

Peter says of them:

a)  They secretly bring in destructive heresies (v.1)

b)  They deny Jesus Christ (v.  1)

c)  They are doing something which will bring swift destruction (v.  1)

d)  Their behavior is licentious or shameful (v.  2)

e)  They exploit people for their own gain (v.  3)

f)  They a liars (v.  3)

g)  Their behavior is so un-Christian that their doom is predicted (v.  3)

In the Greek these people are Pseudo-didaskalos.  That is, their teaching is "pseudo" or false and they themselves are liars (pseutes).  They, like so many of the examples which we have cited, are not people driven by ideology.  They are not sincere Christians who incidentally are teaching something which is contrary to Scripture.  They operate as devious men, bringing their idea in secretly because they probably are so outrageous that people would not be deceived unless these ideas are developed gradually among those who are weak.   The ideas are of such a nature that they so ingratiate the believers to their  cult leader that they will repudiate sounder teachers and give their money to  the false teacher.  His motive is his own appetite.  

-The men work for money (Romans 16:17-18) by flattery (flattery is  deception),  

-They not only teach false doctrine they oppose true doctrine  (2 Tim.  3:8-9) because they are corrupt and false.   

-They are perverted and self-condemned because they KNOW that they are  wrong (Tit.  3:11).   

-They know how to penetrate "itching ears" (2 Tim.  4:3).  

 -Their teaching does not spring fron honest error but it is "Godless  chatter" (2 Tim.  2:16).   

-They are "ungodly persons who pervert the grace of God into licentiousness  and deny...Jesus Christ" (Jude 4).  Perhaps the modern mood is to  "convert the grace of God into legalism."

-They violated their own conscious and were guilty of blasphemy  (1 Tim.  1:19-20).    A false teacher is also someone who makes a false claim about what another teaches or puts people out of church because of a personal threat to ones  power.  

FACE TO FACE—A METHOD FOR A CHRISTIAN WITH INTEGRITY

 1)  Prov.  17:9-10 "He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; But he that REPEATHETH a matter Seperateth friends.          (sows discord)

The Christian attitude would be to automatically suspect that gossip concerning a brother or sister is a lie because one who will gossip about   you will also gossip about his best friend.  This would make one a liar  if he repeated it without bothering to verify it.  Even then it would not be appropriate to spread the dirt but the Christian would attempt to correct  the error.  

2)  Deut.  19:15-21.  This scripture, when outlined, says that:

a.  ONE witness SHALL NOT rise up (go public) against another, for ANY transgression or sin.  (Jesus says that one person may confront a transgressor personally but not expose him)

b.  He must have two or three witnesses.  Please notice that if the accuser can find three witnesses then this is NOT a private sin— it is PUBLIC.   

It being a PUBLIC SIN does NOT free the accuser from the Laws of  God, the Laws of evidence, or the Laws of common Christian decency.  

c.  BOTH the ACCUSER and the ACCUSED shall stand before judges where they are considered, 1) as before the LORD, 2) Before priests, and 3) before judges.  All accusers must be willing to make the charge before God.

d.  There shall be a determination of guilt or innocence.  

e.  If the witness is found to be a false witness he shall receive the same punishment which he sought to bring down upon the accused!

f.  All would learn from the experience.

 3)  In the case of a death penalty, the accusers must be willing to put their hands upon the man to be killed (Throw the first stone?) (Deut.  17:7).  This is the ultimate rule of personal confrontation.  Slander against a person may be worse than murder.  

4)  In Paul's rebuke of the Corinthian church, it is thought that they are  accusing Paul of cowardice because he has the courage to call their  attention to a sin by way of a LETTER but would NOT have the courage to  do so face-to-face.  If their charge is true then Paul is indeed a coward.  (2 Cor.  10:1-2)  Note: Paul talked to Corinthians about Corinthians before  he talked to others.   

5)  Paul rebuked Peter face to face (Gal.  2:11).  The whole context indicates  that Paul asked Peter for an explanation for his actions personally and  did not "write him up" before the confrontation.  While this was done  publicly it was done in a situation which allowed the truth to be taught  and not in an effort to destroy Peter.  Paul's definition of rebuke was to teach the truth as he saw it.    

6)  In Tit.  1:13 Paul says of those who teach error to "rebuke them."  These men were unruly, vain talkers, and deceivers but even here the word rebuke  carries with it the idea of convince or admonish and has as its primary  motive the correction of the person teaching error that "they be sound in  the faith."  There is not a hint of taking the easy way out by publicly  exposing the person before the world to gain personal clout.  

7)  Paul faulted the church for airing its problems before the world's courts.  His advice was that within each congregation there are people of such spiritual natures that they can resolve any local conflict without "going public" and bringing reproach upon the total body (I Cor.  6).  

Indeed, most local problems can be solved by local wisdom.  Any outside influence usually has the effect of hardening opinions and therefore  delaying a solution and often creating discord.  Many times before outside influence is brought to bear the problem has been locally resolved.  

Even among animals, there is a natural order for resolving conflict.  One  animal who transgresses by intruding into another's territory is first warned- off.  If, and only when, the animal refuses to be corrected, does conflict  result.  Even then, the conflict is normally of a nature to get the message  across without doing permanent damage to the intruder.  

The Scriptual mandate, then, is that ANY sin by ANY sinner must be resolved  by a personal face-to-face effort to determine the facts and attempts made to  correct the problem.  When the accuser knows first hand by a face to face  confrontation the true facts he then has the necessary evidence and the moral  leverage to go to the next step.  Only when there is no lower-level resolution  are witnesses assembled and a trial carried out before competent judges.  Only  when the accused refuses—as determined by the judging group—to repent and  be corrected is disciplinary action to be taken.   

When this procedure is not followed, division occurs and discord is sown  among the brethren.  While the false accuser is guilty of the gravest sin, the  wilfully ignorant accuser (those who don't check the facts) is guilty of gossip  and slander—and is the worst of sinners.  

There are several rules to be followed to prevent false accusations:

First :  Is it true?    Do I know all the facts?

Second:  Is it nice?    

Third :  Is it necessary?

Fourth:  Will it help the accused?  Will he be harmed if I do not confront?

Fifth :  Will it help the church?

Sixth :  Will the Church be damaged if I do not bring the charge

public before qualified judges?

DISCIPLINING THE ELDER

 The character of a church leader—minister or elder—is of such value and  and influence that great care should be exercised.  It is not possible to  diminish one of God's servants one bit without diminishing the whole Body of  Christ.  

"Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father, and the younger men as  brethren...against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or  three witnesses.  Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear" (1 Tim.  5:1, 19, 20).  

"The honor due to the office demands this protection for even a charge of  which an elder is aquitted nevertheless damages his office and his work to  some degree." (Lenski).  

Albert Barnes lists the following reasons for treating the elder with  great care:    

1) It is the requirement of Jewish law that one be charged only upon the evidence of two or three witnesses—one who has been an eye-witness or one who knows the charge to be absolutely true.

2) One person can easily be deceived, he may have the wrong motive, or    one witness could easily be bribed.

3) Paul assumed that evil-minded people would be anxious to bring charges    against elders.

4) The character of a church leader—minister or elder—is of such value    and influence that great care should be exercised.  It is not possible  to diminish one of God's servants one bit without diminishing the whole body of Christ.  

"The honor due to the office demands this protection for even a charge  of which an elder is acquitted nevertheless damages hi office and his work to some degree" (Lenski commenting on 1 Tim.)

It might be said also that all of these precautions should be followed by the eldership when receiving an accusation against a member.  The true  shepherd should react with speed to any attempt to harm one of his lambs.  

The case of a charge against an elder, Paul tells Timothy, is so serious  that he is not to even HEAR such a charge except in the presence of two or  three witnesses who can judge the validity of the charge.  The term has more  to do with being a judge (Mark 13:9; Acts 25:9, 10; 25:26; 26:2)

This is to be contrasted with accepting any gossip as a true accusation, or  constructing an accusation out of undeveloped reasoning power, guilt-by- association etc.  Please note that not even an EYEWITNESS account of only one  witness is to be accepted as valid in much of Scripture.   

But it is argued, this does not demand that there be two or three witnesses but that the charge must be HEARD BEFORE two or three witnesses who could determine the worth of the charge.  That this precaution is required can be seen from the following:

a)  The precaution would be minimal because one could always summon a quorum to LISTEN TO a charge but who had no ability to evaluate it.  

b)  Paul in 2 Cor.  13:1 says, "In the MOUTH (not ear) of two or THREE witnesses shall every word be established."

c.  In Deut.  19:15 "One witness shall not rise up against a man for ANY iniquity, or for ANY sin, in ANY sin that he sinneth: at the MOUTH of two or three witnesses shall the matter be established.

d.  In Matt.  18:16 Jesus says "take one or two more, that in the MOUTH of two or three shall every word may be established."

e.  In Rev.  11:3 "And I will give unto my two witnesses..."

f.  The death sentence could not be decreed without a plurality of  witnesses (Num.  35:30; Deut.  17:6; Heb.  10:28).

g.  Jesus Himself said in Jno.  5:31 "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true."

If the person accuses the elder (in this example) face to face before  witnesses and the elder is found to be guilty and then persists in his sin, he  is to be rebuked before all (the other elders in this context?) the object  being that the others will not fall into the same sin.  

THE ARGUMENT THAT I TIM 5 DEALS WITH ELDERS WITHIN A CONGREGATION

 The option to "rebuke openly," or in print, those who sin stems from  isolating 1 Tim.  5:20 from the rest of the text which deals with elders.  That  is, those who drag this verse out of context (and thus add to the word) say  that verse 19 deals with elders and verse 20 deals with anyone.  That person  who sins, or even does something differently, is subject to be "pounced upon"  and sorely rebuked and that done before the entire world.  

There are two major reasons to believe that verse 20 continues to deal with an elder who continues or persists in sin and does not deal with a person  who is believed to have sinned but has not been accused before witnesses:

a.  Elders as opposed to "youngers" are discussed in 1 Tim.  5:1

b.  Elders "who rule well" or bishops are discussed in 1 Tim.  5:17

c.  All elders are worthy of honor but those elders who fulfil the task

of pastoring the flock by teaching are due "double honor." v17

d.  The church is not to even RECEIVE an accusation against this leader unless there are TWO or THREE witnesses (those who can fairly judge) V.  19

e.  Those (Elders is the nearest antecedant) who sin (persist in sin NASB)

are to be REBUKED BEFORE ALL.  V.  20

f.  This discipline—against elders (and perhaps BEFORE elders) is to be

done without partiality or predjuice.  V 21

g.  In view of the seriousness of the eldership, Timothy is to "lay hands"

or ordain elders only after careful examination and not hastily.

(Acts 6:6; 13:3; I Tim.  4:14; II Tim.  2:16: Mk.  10:16 illustrate

this age-old method of ordaining a person to an office or work).

 Bible scholars generally concede that those who are to be rebuked are the  elders who are accused and persist in sin:  

a)  Albert Barnes: "referring probably to the elders mentioned in the  previous verse."

b)  Pulpit Commentary: "But in the case of the serving presbyter, which is here intended." (Not just the elder but the teaching elder)

c)  Interpreters Bible: "means sinning elders."

d)  Matthew Henry:      "This accusation is not to be received unless supported by two or three credible witnesses; and the accusation must be received before them.  That is, the ACCUSED must have the ACCUSER FACE to FACE."

e)  Dewelt, College press:  "The guilty elder or elders are to be rebuked in the sight of all.  (probably the local congregation)

f)  David Lipscomb:  "When the accusations have been properly made and the ELDER found guilty of sin, reprove them in the sight of all." (He thinks this is within the congregation)  

g)  Lenski concurs with the idea that it is persistently sinning ELDERS  who are to be rebuked.  

The concensus approach is that he is to be rebuked before the other elders,  the next approach allows that it might be before the church.  No one remotely  suggests that the rebuke is to be public or before the WORLD.          

THE PROCEDURE

 The procedure for rebuking (correcting if possible) an elder, and by  implication anyone guilty of sin is:

1.  The accuser is absolutely sure that the Elder is guilty of SIN.  So sure under the Law that he was willing to accept the same fate due the siner if he is found a false accuser.  For instance if the penalty  for the accused sin was death, the accuser would be so sure of his charge that he would risk his own life.

2.  The accuser accuses him before someone who is in authority.  (Timothy  or the eldership in the case of hearing a charge against an elder) Before God, the Priests, and Judges under the Law.

3.  There must be two or three witnesses to the trial

4.  The elder is accused (the accuser and the accused must be present)

5.  Someone in authority can judge the case.  (how could this be if the  accused is not present to defend himself?)

6.  The elder must be given a chance to repent—and he must not continue or persist in sin.

7.  If he is guilty of sinning he is to be rebuked before all (perhaps the  other elders or as some think, the local church)

8.  The result would be disciplinary to the other elders.

Jesus, in Matthew, adds two other self-evident steps.  

First, He says, and minimal Christian decency demands:

9.  That the accuser personally confronts the one he believes is sinning  or who has offended him personally

10.  If the accuser is wrong, the matter can be corrected and no further  damage is done.  The one who refuses to hear the collective judgement of the church is to be cut off.  (considered a Gentile)  

The following chart shows these models side-by-side with added Scriptures:

Matt 18                                       I Tim.  5

——————————————————————————————————————-

1)  Sin against person (personal offense)       Sin against or before one

2)    Pray for the person (I Jno.  5:16)

3)  Personal confrontation

4)    Attempt to convert them (Jas.  5:19-20)

5)    Attempt to restore them (Gal.  6:1)

6)  Brings 2 or 3 witnesses                     Brings 2 or 3 witnesses

7)  Brings it before the Church                 Brings it before Timothy

8)  Given a chance to correct                   Must not persist

9)  Consider him an outsider                    Rebuke before all

10)    Then according to Deut.  19 if the           Note: rebuke is a accusation is false, the FALSE              corrective word.

ACCUSER IS TO BE PUNISHED.

 It is always right to correct any sin.  However, it is never right to  expose that person without a personal confrontation and a chance to explain.   Ben Franklin says, "judge not all the eye sees."  The eye is not trustworthy  and the EAR has no value at all.  The personal confrontation gives the  accusers' eyes and ears a chance to be educated.  

Paul says that this procedure is to be followed without predjuice or  partiality.  That is, we must not allow one elder to engage in questionable  activities because he is our friend or because he signs our paycheck.    

CONCLUSION TO DISCIPLINE

 It is clear that the Bible demands the utmost care in accusing the elder.  It should never be done without two or three witnesses (probably eye- witnesses) to the offense.  We have all met those who are not reluctant to promise to destroy you if you interfere with certain activities.  Such a person has no hesitation in making false accusations.  If these accusations are treated as true, however honorable we might feel the accuser, without positive verification then we have done damage to the elder and at the same time have diminished and damaged the entire flock.  

The Old Testament demand was that the penalty due a sin should be  inflicted upon the accuser if he is found to be a false accuser.

 The same care must be exercised by the eldership in accepting accusa- tions about any of his flock.  If he cares he will not sleep until he has   determined the truth of the accusation and if he repeats it without veri- fication he is as guilty as the false accuser.  

The elder also has the responsibility to discipline those within the flock  who are guilty without a doubt of intoxication (drug addiction), adultery, or any of the destructive sins which we have discussed.  The most effective way to exercise discipline is to "disciple" every member of the church by  effective education.  

Conclusions

 The Pastor-Teacher's ability to meet the challenges of education is crucial because the quality of our church community - our living together as strangers in the Earth - is made possible and enhanced by the highest possible development of each part of the Body.  The quality of religious education will bear fruit in the personal quality of Christian life and the growth of the churches.  

The leadership of the church has a vested interest in the education of those in their charge.  This is true because it is demanded by God and the elders will give account to God and because their ability to lead and the quality of that leadership in turn depends upon an enlightened membership.  

By studying God's pattern of the shepherd, Jesus' model, Pauls' model, the requirements of Timothy and Titus, we can glimpse the qualifications of the eldership.  More than meeting certain qualifications, all of this material would say that the elder must "be" a certain kind of man.  If he is not, then no ammount of measurement against qualifications will make the man a leader.  

The charge to the Church to Go and make disciples, baptizing and teaching them, meeting the needs of our neighbors, and helping all to grow up in Christ  can only be met if the elders FEED the flock.      

Duty of the elder to equip.  

The fourth chapter of Ephesians establishes the pattern for the organized church which is equipped to maintain the unity of the Spirit by showing that the  each new church must be equipped for the ministry.  This ministry is not some ministry system which seeks to organize the corporate body to take care of their buildings and grounds however important that might be.  Equipping for the ministry is to prepare each believer through Biblical training to measure up to the image of Christ in his personal life and be equipped to withstand false doctrine.  This equipping work falls into two categories:

First, to PREACH the gospel as part of the revelation-inspiration process.  

Second, to PREACH and TEACH the gospel as the ongoing work of the church.  

There is ample reason to believe that the apostleship and all gifts of the  Holy Spirit to reveal knowledge have ceased.  These gifts are supernatural  knowledge, prophecy, tongues, and many others.  This means that Ephesians the  4th has its primary meaning of "perfecting the body" or maturing.  

In order for unity of the Spirit to be maintained unity must first be   established.  Paul, in this chapter of Ephesians, shows that after Christ   purchased the church with His own blood and entered into the inner sanctuary   of heaven itself, He sent forth His Spirit to equip the church - His kingdom -  for its mission to be the teacher of His gospel message.  The church would be  established in a miraculous way by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the primary   gift being that of revelation.  

"Therefore it says, when He ascended on high, he led captive a host of  captives and He GAVE GIFTS TO MEN." (Eph.  4:8)  

These GIFTS were not just raw powers, but specific people who had a function to perform and with that function came supernatural enabling gifts to assure   its performance.  

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as   evangelists, and some as pastor-teachers..." (Eph.  4:11, 12a)   

Apostles and Prophets = laying the foundation  

Evangelists = spreading the "evangelion" the gospel to new territory  

Pastor/Teacher = overseeing the local assembly once it is established.  

This unity is "the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of  God" (v 13).  It is not only unity between believers, but it is unity between  what is taught (doctrine) and what is practiced.  It is unity of confession  and life.  It is not passive unity but that which causes the church to grow.  

The gift of the Holy Spirit was bestowed to supernaturally selected  persons to equip the church.  This equipping was established by supernatural   means in the beginning, is planted in new locations by evangelists and is   maintained in the local sense by pastor-teachers.   

In order that the unity of the Spirit be maintained by humble and gentle  Christians, the pastor-teacher has a dual function to perform.    

"GIVE INSTRUCTIONS in sound DOCTRINE and   

CONFUTE those who CONTRADICT it"  (Tit.  1:9)  

"LABOR in TEACHING and PREACHING"  (1 Tim.  5:17)  

Paul continues his discourse in Ephesians to show that the UNITY OF THE   SPIRIT was guaranteed by the provision for Biblical pastor-teachers to promote  and maintain this unity (Eph.  4:11-).  While each Christian has some respons-   ibility to MINISTER to others, this is not the focus of Paul's warning.  The   greatest danger facing sheep is not a failure to produce wool but of being   consumed by wolves.  Just so, the overwhelming danger to the unity of the   Spirit is not a failure to discover and fulfil some role of ministry in the   body but it is the danger of being diverted by false teachers - foes of   unity.  

Unity is not organizational unity but organic unity.  It is unity within   the church of Christ, the body of Christ.  Because Christ dwells within His   body any disunity does violence to the kingdom of God.    

"from which the WHOLE BODY, being fitted and held together by that which   every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual   part, causes the GROWTH OF THE BODY and the BUILDING UP OF ITSELF IN LOVE."   (Eph.  4:16)  

"that their hearts may be encouraged, having been KNIT TOGETHER in love,   and attaining to all the wealth that comes from full assurance of   UNDERSTANDING, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is,  Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and   knowledge." (Col.  2:2,3)  

THE TEACHING CIRCLE

 It is the nature of God that He does not repeat his message to each  individual.  Rather, He reveals the message once and then inspires prophets  to make this message known and record it for posterity.  

The teaching chain of passing knowledge along to others demands that the younger members of the church be "equipped."  And the demand that an elder NOT be a novice, implies that there must be some procedure to advance  him above the novice category.  Simply growing older will not do it.  

Jesus Christ:

Jesus could have come to earth, been crucified, resurrected, and then ascended back to heaven and saved Himself thirty years of pain.  He did not! He spent at least three years selecting the apostles, teaching them, and promising that they would be guided into all truth.  

The Apostles:

Paul, as one born out of due season, did not rely only upon the other apostles but received much of his message directly from God.  He, in turn, taught and appointed elders and certain evangelists.  

The Elders:

The elders, in the case of Timothy, are perhaps involved in his education in that Paul said that Timothy had received his gift through prophetic utter- ances (teaching) when the elders laid their hands upon him (1 Tim.  4:14).  

"God gave Timothy this charisma, not by a miraculous gift from heaven, but  'by means of prophecy,' by a communication of the Word to him."  

"...the imposition of hands accompanied the training in prophecy...  Timothy was not appointed...by Paul alone but by a joint act of Paul and the mother church of the Asian territory." (Lenski, Commentary on 1  Tim.  4:14, p.  645).   

Timothy:

"...and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust  to faithful men..." (2 Tim.  2:2)   

Faithful men: new elders in new congregations who were taught by Paul,

Timothy, and Titus.  

And to others:

"...who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim.  2:2)

The Flock:

The absolute duty of the pastor-teacher is to oversee the flock so that he might feed it and prepare every member of the congregation so that they  can understand true doctrine, withstand false doctrine, with the end that they develop in the image of Christ.  Then the cycle repeats with new  evangelists being sent out from the mother church to disciple all the area  within the grasp of the local church.  

It is easy to see the shepherd as personally ministering to all of the flock and being "all things to all people."  Ephesians, on the other hand, sees the elder as the one who develops others to perform many of these ministries.  This is consistent with what Paul said in the books of I Timothy  and Titus.  (See 1 Tim.  1:5; 2:1,7,10; 3:15; 5:1-16; 6:17,18; Titus 2:1-10,  14, 15; 3:2, 8, 14)

The qualification "ABLE TO TEACH" defines the terminal responsibility of  the elder—WILLING TO TEACH is implicit.  (1 Tim.  3:2)

      Analysis of Eph.  4:12- "God Gave Pastor-Teachers (and others)...

 1.  What are they to do?

    A.  To PREPARE God's people (or the equipment of the saints)

 2.  Why are they to do it?

    A.  FOR the work of SERVICE

    B.  So that the Body of Christ may be BUILT UP

 3.  How long are they to do it?

    A.  UNTIL we all reach-

           1).  Unity of the Faith and in

           2).  Knowledge of the Son of God

           3).  And become mature,

          4).  Attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ.

 4.  Results of the process.

    A.  THAT  We no longer be infants-

           1).   TOSSED back and forth by the waves, and

                   a).  Blown here and there by every-

                   b).  Cunning and craftiness of men in their Scheming.

       B.  INSTEAD THAT:

             1).  Speaking the truth in love,

             2).  we will Grow up into Him.

    (See further 1 Tim.  1:5; 2:1,7,10; 3:15; 5:1-16; 6:17, 18; Titus 2:1-10, 14,15; 3:2,8,14)

 5.  WHAT is he to teach?

     A.  "Hold firm to the sure word AS taught" (Tit.  1:9)

     B.  "speak the truth in love" (Eph.  4:15)

 6.  HOW IS HE TO TEACH?

    A.  "WORK AT" or "LABOR IN" PREACHING and TEACHING" 1 Tim.  5:17

     B.  "Hold firmly to the trustworthy message AS IT HAS BEEN TAUGHT and

     C.  "Encourage others by SOUND DOCTRINE and

     D.  "Refute those WHO OPPOSE IT" (Tit.  1:9)  

 7.  WHY IS HE TO TEACH?  (Titus 1:5-13)

     A.  FEED the flock and to

     B.  SILENCE or literally "gag" false teachers, insubordinate, empty

            talkers, deceivers, legalists.  (Acts 20:28 shows that these

            deceivers may usually be fellow elders)

        1).  WHY SILENCE: PREVENT upset of whole households

                         Teaching things they ought not to teach

                         and teaching for the sake of dishonest gain.

        2).  HOW SILENCE: Rebuke them sharply.  

        3).  RESULTS    : To make them sound in the faith.

If the "body is not built up," if there is not "unity of the faith,"   if there is not "knowledge of the Son of God," if there is not "maturity,"   if we "remain infants" so that we are "blown here and there by false   teachers," if he does not "speak the truth in love," if the flock does not     "grow up into Him," if he does not "work or labor in teaching," if he does  not "hold to the message as it has been taught," if he does not "encourage  by SOUND DOCTRINE," if he does not "refute those who oppose it," if he does  not "feed the flock," and if he does not "silence false teachers," he will   utterly fail as an elder and the church will be destroyed and he will give   an account to the Chief Shepherd when He appears.  

            Withstand false teachers

            Understand healthy doctrine

        Duty to equip

THE TRUE NATURE OF THE EQUIPPING MINISTRY

 Even a cursory look at Ephesians the 4th will show that "equipping the  flock for the ministry" is not selecting a few ministry leaders as a way to cut off a more intimate involvement of each member in "doing his job." It is, rather, the:  

"Equipping of EACH member to know healthy doctrine and to be able to withstand false teachers, IN ORDER that he (as an individual member) man grow up into Christ as a productive member of the flock"

The flock is not equipped for the ministry because he has a "ministry" but  because he totally understands what Paul called "healthy" doctrine and can withstand the onslaughts of the teachers of "unhealthy" doctrine.

 We have shown that the elders are to refute error as well as teach truth.  This is consistent with the teachings of Aristotle who said that for educa- tion to succeed it must meet two tests:

It must refute error and

It must discover the truth.

 And that great genius, Sherlock Holmes, has the following words put into  his mouth:  

"The truth is only arrived at by the painstaking process of eleminating the untrue."

 Unless there is some way in which we can determine what a thing is not we  can never be quite sure that our understanding is correct.  

If the "body is not built up," if there is not "unity of the faith,"   if there is not "knowledge of the Son of God," if there is not "maturity,"   if we "remain infants" so that we are "blown here and there by false   teachers," if he does not "speak the truth in love," if the flock does not     "grow up into Him," if he does not "work or labor in teaching," if he does  not "hold to the message as it has been taught," if he does not "encourage  by SOUND DOCTRINE," if he does not "refute those who oppose it," if he does  not "feed the flock," and if he does not "silence false teachers," he will   utterly fail as an elder and the church will be destroyed and he will give   an account to the Chief Shepherd when He appears.  

"Equipping for the ministry" then is equipping each member for the work which God has for him to do as a member of the body of Christ.  

The Apostles and Prophets had the  initial task of building the church: "built upon the foundation of the  apostles and prophets."  The permanent works in the church today involves  Evangelists who found and set in order new congregations and elders whom   Paul calls Pastor-Teachers which absolutely demands that the church be  equipped for the ministry.   

"Equipping for the ministry" is not "job assignment" or preparing one  to become a deacon but according to Paul has the following results:

1.      "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried  about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning   craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Eph.  4:14).  

2.      "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which   is the head, even Christ" (v.  15).  

1 John 2:20-27 shows what this discipling task should produce:  

 "But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.  v.  20.   "I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because    you DO KNOW it, v 21.   

"As for you, let THAT abide in you which you HEARD from the beginning.   "If what you HEARD from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide    in the Son and in the Father.  v.  21.   

The scholar Lenski shows what this anointing should be:

 "By 'the anointment' John refers to the Holy Spirit as he is bestowed upon   us (see v.20) by sacrament and by Word.  Fanatics imagine that they can  get possession of the Spirit in an immediate way without the Word (note  that the Word is the power in the sacrament.)" (Lenski, Commentary on   First John 2:27).     

"You are not a group of ignoramuses that need to be taught over and over   again by apostles and by Christian teachers...When people were received    into the church in John's time they were evidently first well taught,   they received a real anointment with the Spirit by the Word..."   

"(again the durative present tense).  John's readers received continuous    teaching after they had been brought into the church.  This ought to be    the case everywhere." (Lenski, Commentary on First John 2:27)     

Baptism is the ultimate sign of making disciples to Christ.  One is first   brought into spiritual relationship with God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit,   and then is thouroughly and continuously taught the principles which were  taught by Christ and have been delivered to us by Apostles and Prophets as  they spoke at the direction of the Holy Spirit.       

SOME MODERN FAILURES OF THE EQUIPING MINISTRY.  

A.  The adaptation of failed corporate structures:

 As an outgrowth of the modern corporate structure (which has not been found  to be very effective in industry) there is a tendancy to develop multiple   layers of "ministry leaders" as middle-men between the local evangelist and  those actually performing the work.  Aside from the fact that Japanese com-  petition has driven much of corporate middle management out of existance  because it does not work, such a system has another detrimental effect: It  severs the "common members" from the body such that there is an additional  "head" between leadership and the flock.  The predictible outcome is that  the ministry leader increasingly finds that he gets "all the glory" and   must also do all the work.  The members are estranged and flee the flock  looking for a place to belong.  

B.  Seeing the Eldership as psychological counselors:

 It is easy to see the shepherd as personally ministering to all of the   flock and being "all things to all people."  Ephesians, on the other hand,   sees the elder as the one who develops others to perform many of these   ministries.  This is consistent with what Paul said in the books of I Timothy   and Titus.  (See 1 Tim.  1:5; 2:1,7,10; 3:15; 5:1-16; 6:17,18; Titus 2:1-10,   14, 15; 3:2, 8, 14)  

It is not uncommon to demand so much of the elders in the way of meeting   with people, visiting hospitals, visiting prisons, and other tasks that he  has no time to fulfill what is undoubtedly his terminal duties: model the  faith, teach healthy doctrine, and refute those who teach false doctrine.  

While the meaning of the Greek words describing the work of the presbytery must be taken into account,  this may not be the best way to understand.  It is well accepted that there are no English-Greek dictionaries by which we can understand the meanings of words.  This means that the very best Greek scholars must determine the meaning of words from the context—from  the way in which the word is used within the immediate context.  Grasping the word shepherd as the descriptor of the total work of the eldership while ignoring the broad meaning of the work of the shepherd and by ignoring the other words which describe his work encourages the false conclusion that the elder must meet my needs.

The focus upon the word shepherd may be the result of focussing upon the church as flock.  However, the word flock is used to describe only one aspect of the church and the need to guard and feed the church which possesses some characteristics of a flock of sheep.  A broader understanding may be gained from the primary word used by the Holy Spirit to describe the church is eklesia which describes “a collection of people who have been called out of the world and called into a body of believers organized to take the gospel message to the entire world.”

We repeat that the shepherd in the real world does not just solve personal problems for the sheep —which largely defy solution—but he is the total overseer of the flock with broad responsibilities with the duty to guard and feed being at the top of the list.

Failure to see the church as a model and teacher of Christian doctrine and the elder as the primary teacher within the local assembly will result—has resulted—in the failure of the church as God’s primary educational institution.  In our previous material we looked at  what we often describe as the worship service and saw that this description may contribute to the perception that the church—the other people—are there to meet my needs.  However, a closer look at the activities which the assembled church are asked to engage in are all edification or education directed: the preaching was to teach, the Bible reading was to teach, the singing was to teach or edify, the prayers were to be understood so that the assembly could say amen, and even the Lord’s Supper was to teach by showing forth his death until He comes.

C.  Seeing the Eldership as just "spiritual leaders":

 Confusing the Pauline mandate to "equip for the ministry" as authority   for the modern "ministry system" flows from a misunderstanding of the   passage but it also flows from the desire to relegate the eldership to the   "spiritual affairs" of the church with the demand that they keep "hands   off" the normal organization and operation of the church.  However, the  elder as Bishop is the superintendant of the flock who is to oversee it.  

This is often the product of the failure of elders to prepare themselves as Pastor-Teachers and the inability to open up and involve the membership in the corporate affairs of the church—where the eldership is more often seen as stumbling blocks than stepping stones.  If this is the case then the so-called spiritual affairs should probably be the last work in which the eldership should engage.

However, we have seen from numerous sources that all of the affairs of the church are spiritual affairs because they affect the spiritual well-being of the assembly.

D.  Failure to equip the equippers.  

Because the church is confused with the corporate church, the benevolent   society, the dispenser of the social gospel, the social club, and the    collector of "the best people in town," the equippers are at times not  Biblical scholars nor teachers.  This condemns the church to a downward  spiral of Biblical illiteracy which always results in a diminishing supply   of Biblical Christians with the non-church community "spewing the church  out of its mouth."  

When Jesus went to the temple and discussed and questioned the "doctors  of theology" about doctrinal issues, He was not doing anything that a normal  twelve-year-old Jewish lad could not have done.  It is claimed that many of  the scholars consulted Josephus when he was 14 years old because he had a  complete grasp of the Law.  He would have begun Bible study at the age of  five, had graduated from the synagogue school (church school) at the age of  twelve, and had spent two years with a teacher such as Gamaliel who taught   Paul.  

It is more than tragic that the contemporary twelve year old is still  "cutting and pasting" and knows little of the church.   

E.  Accepting the notion of the Social Gospel

In the fifties and sixties the Churches of Christ were the fastest growing churches in the country.  Considerable research documents the fact that our total culture has changed and that this may account for our failure as a viable and growing church.  However, this may be just a cop-out because of two very important points:  First, our very culture may in fact be a product of a church which has lost its missionary zeal and not the other way.  Second, other groups have grown while many protestant groups have failed to grow.  Therefore we cannot blame our culture.

Paul Harvey once said it: "Churches with integrity–those whose actions are compatible with their teachings however weird–grow because they are seen as consistent."  He further said that conservative (Bible preaching) churches were growing and those caught up in social issues were dying.

We noticed that we grew–whatever our failures–in those years because we believed in our church and its Saviour so thoroughly that we wanted to share it with others.  This led to door-to-door visits to offer our services to the community, the bus ministry, meeting with people in their homes rather than at church to teach the Bible one-to-one, and a host of other efforts compatible with the Great Commission.

It is the nature of the flock to grow without one sheep judging the quality of another; it is the nature of the fisherman to cast out his net and leave the fish sorting to later; and it the nature of the farmer to plant his seed and leave the tares alone for fear of uprooting the wheat.  When the church seeks sheep, casts out its nets, and plants its seed, looking to God to give the increase then the church will be a manifester of the manifold wisdom of God before the watching world.

            Entire Body

            Servants of the flock    

            Evangelists

            New Elders

    Duty to guard the flock.  

        The nature of the opposition.

FOES OF SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP

Truth is always bipolar.  For every true fact there is of necessity an  equal and opposite false fact.  ONE of the determinants of true Christian  Doctrine is the nature of the opposition to that doctrine.  If there was no  true doctrine there would be no false and we can gain insight into the true  by looking at the other pole of false teachings.    The Bible is emphatic that God and His institution on earth—the church— is compassed about with antagonistic foes and that the singular Christian can be a victim of apostasy.  "This charge I commit unto thee, my child Timothy,  according to the prophecies which led the way to thee, that by them thou mayest  war the good warfare; holding faith and a good conscience; which some having  thrust from made shipwreck concerning the faith..." ( 1 Tim 1:18-20).  "Ye  therefore, beloved, knowing these things beforehand, beware lest, being carried  away with the error of the wicked, ye fall from our stedfastness.  But grow in  the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.."(2 Pet.3:17-18).  

THE PLACE OF OPPOSITION

Internal

Legalists

Secularists

Traditionalists

Anti-church

External  (see eldership)

Fairness and true Christian love demands that we make a distinction  between levels of error.  There is a temptation on the one hand to go to war against anyone who differs from our creed and on the other hand—the other side of the coin if you will—there is a strong urge to want to judge everyone to be sincere and if he is not agressively anti-God he must be  pronounced as acceptable.  But lying between the extremes of just honest  differences and outright hostility to God lies the middle ground—the neutral  or lukewarm—of non-hostile, yet defined by Jesus as the VAIN ground; the  vain religion, vain worship or vain lifestyle.  

1.  Much of the Church's energy is spent attempting to reconcile honest  differences of opinion among those who substantially agree.  But to  demand perfect conformity of understanding of the Scripture may be self- defeating.  This does not demand that we reject the task of honestly and  lovingly attempting to correct those things we consider wrong nor does  it prevent teaching those values which we hold dear.  Indeed, we could   not be honest without doing so.  At the same time there is a demand that  we do not lump honest seekers along with vain teachers and false teachers.  

2.  Lying between honest seekers who may be hostile foes of the Gospel lies  the area called VAIN religion or teaching.  It may not of itself be evil  or malicious; it may be totally sincere but the observance of it has no  redeeming value.  The word vain comes from the Greek MATAIOS and means   empty or profitless.  It is evil only to the extent that vain religion prevents the exercise of true religion.  

Jesus said, "but in VAIN do they worship me, teaching for DOCTRINES the commandments of men" (Matt.  15:9).   

We have said that vain teaching of itself is not evil but the effect  may be.  The doctor who gives a placebo does not feed the patient poison  or destructive medicine but he witholds the true medicine which could save  his patient.  The medicine was not evil but the patient died.  The medicine   was given in vain.   

Jesus was so repulsed by lukewarm religion that he spewed it out of His mouth; not because it was good nor because it was bad but because it was incidious and dangerous.  

Paul said that, "if Christ is not risen then is our preaching in VAIN (1 Cor.  15:14).  If there is no resurrection Paul's preaching of it would not be evil but the preaching would have no value.  

There exists among all of us the spirit which says that if people are honest and sincere they should not be opposed.  One could not doubt that Peter was honest but Paul withstood him to his face (the only Scriptural method) and corrected his teaching and his actions.  

The following passages show how important the Scripture considers those who teach a VAIN, yet not evil, message: (Matt.  6:7; 15:9; Acts 4:25; Rom.  1:21; 13:4; 1 Cor.  3:20; 15:2,10,14,17,58; 2 Cor.  6:1; 9:3; Gal.  2:2, 21; 3:4; 4:11; 5:26; Eph.  5:6; Php 2:16; Col.  2:8; 1 Th.  2:1; 3:5; 1 Tim.  1:6; 6:20; Tit.  1:10; 3:9; Jas.  1:26; 2:20; 4:5; 1 Pet 1:18).

 3.  The existence of evangelistic, antagonistic foes to the Christian faith  is self evident to the casual student of the Bible.  Perhaps the best way to  place these foes in the focus of enlightened examination is to look at the  classes of foes as outlined in the New Testament.  Before examining the  various natures of opposition to Christianity in detail it may be useful to  list some of the marks of the opposition as outlined in four major scriptures:

In addition Rom.  16:17-18 defines the false teacher as one who causes "division and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned.  The do not serve Jesus but their own belly and they are eloquent speakers who are able to deceive the simple.  

2 Tim 3:8-9 says they resist the truth, are corrupt of mind, and are reprobate concerning the faith.  

Tit.  3:11 shows that the false and heretical person knows that he is  teaching false doctrine and is self deceived.  They know that they are false teachers and simply do not care.  

2 Tim.  2:16 talks of those engaged in "godless chatter" and Jude 4 brands then as "ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into  licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Chst."

Mark of Opposers        II Tim    2 Peter    Jude      Col.       I Tim.  

===================================================================

Anamalistic                        2P2:22       J1:10

Angel Worshippers                                      C2:18

Apostates                          2P2:21       J1:4

Arrogant                 2T3:2       2P2:18       J1:16

Ascetic                                                           1T4:1,3

Authority haters                   2P2:10       J1:8

Boastful                 2T3:2

Blighting Society                  2P2:13

Blind leaders                      2P2:19

Brutal                   2T3:3

Closed minded                      2P3:5

Conceited                2T3:4                         

Contentless                        2P2:17

Defile Flesh                                  J1:8

Deny Christ                        2P2:1        J1:4

Deny power of God        2T3:5

Destructive                        2P2:1

Disobedient to parents   2T3:2         

Distort Grace                                 J1:4

Doctrines of devils                                               1P4:1,3

Empty                              2P2:17

Exploiters of others               2P2:3      

Faultfinders                                  J1:16

Flatterers                                    J1:16

Fleshly-Sensuous                   2P2:2,10,14  J1:8

Form of Religion         2T3:5

Greedy                             2P2:3    

Haters of God            2T3:4

Heretical                          2P2:1

Ignorant                           2P2:12       J1:10

Immoral                                       J1:16

Irreconcilable           2T3:3

Legalistic                                             CO2:16

Liars                              2P2:3                   

Lovers of Money          2T3:2

Lustful                            2P2:14

Malicious gossipers      2T3:3         

Man made rules                                         CO2:20-23

Mercinary                                                         1T6:5

Misuse law                                                        1T1:7-10

No self-control          2T3:3                                        

Persuasive                                             CO2:4

Phylosophical                                          CO2:8

Pleasure seekers         2T3:4

Pretenders of Revelation                               C2:18

Promote their Doctrine                                            1T1:4,6; 4:7

Rabble Rousers                     2P2:18                             

Recksless                2T3:4         

Revilers                 2T3:2       2P2:12

Seared conscience                                                 1T4:2

Self-Abasers                                           CO2:18, 23    

Self-Lovers              2T3:1-9                           

Self-willed                        2P2:10

Scoffers                           2P3:3,4

Strife promoters                                                  1T6:4,5

Teach false science                                               1T6:20,21

Traditional                                            CO2:8          

Treacherous              2T3:4                           

Truth haters                       2P2:2        

UnGodly                                       J1:4

Ungrateful               2T3:2                   

Unholy                   2T3:2

Unloving 2T3:3

Unreasoning                        2P2:12       J1:10

UnSpiritual                                   J1:19

Worldly                            2P2:13       J1:19

Vain Deceit                                            CO2:8

HONEST SEEKERS AS FOES

Those who were honest seekers are described as "for the time wil come  when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lust shal they  heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall tun away  their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Tim.  4:3,4) Hymenaeus and Alexander refused to "hold faith, and a good conscience" (1 Tim.  1:19:20)

HUMAN PHYLOSOPHY AND HUMAN THEOLOGY AS FOES

It has been said that "if a leader does not understand his culture he cannot effectively lead."  The elder does not operate in a neutral world but attempts to teach in a world overwhelmingly influenced by the impact of secular teachers.  Most theology is a blend of Bible and phylosophy.  

Throughout history there has been a band of people who have an honest, religious nature but who through their studies and the influence of others do  not believe in the supernatural including the inspiration of scripture.  These  people have built a superstructure of belief which is destructive to the faith  of Christians.  This influence permeates our total culture.  

The Elder must know that he works in an environment permeated by the influence of Secular Existentialism promulgated by Kierkegaard, Sartre, Camus, Heidegger and Jaspers.  Theological existentialism is promoted by people like Karl Barth.  Neo-orthodox existentialism has been promoted by Tillich and Bultmann and the preacher next door.  

All of these influences have infiltrated Christian Theology and are opposed to those who believe in the revelation of propositional truth.  If the elder does not understand the influence of art, music and even architecture he cannot meet the enemy face to face.  He must clearly understand that he has put himself in the ring with olympic quality foes.  The flock is at stake.  

ANTI INTELLECTUALISM

Part of the influence of religious phylisophy is the belief that the use of  the mind in an honest quest for religious knowledge is somehow evil.  This is a  very complicated issue and will be discussed under the heading of A SYNOPTIC  APPROACH.  

NATURAL OPPOSITION

It is important to know that many influences contribute to a natural reject- ion and opposition to Christian education.   

REJECTION OF AUTHORITY.

The first of these natural obstacles to education is a rejection of author- ity which is a product of being immature and searching for personal autonomy.  Unfortunately, for the Church, this rejection of authority sometimes continues  into adulthood.  Paul recognized the danger of misdirecting this natural quest- ioning when he said "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but  nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord." (Eph.  6:4).  Later  in life will come the rejection of religious authority.  Much of this rebellion  stems from a sense of contempt for authority figures who have failed to give  them the stability which God demands of parents and the Church.  When the Church allows this to happen, the student suffers, family suffers,  the church suffers, and society suffers.   

FAILURE OF OTHERS

One of the greatest obstacles to Christian education is the "cult of person- ality."  For some reason many focus upon an individual rather than Jesus  Christ.  Sooner or later the holiest of people will stumble and will leave his  followers crippled.  Lack of Biblical education is the ultimate cause of this  failure.  "Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in  love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himselup for us, an offering and  a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell."  (Eph.  5:1-2).  Church  leaders must never allow the failures of one person to be a valid excuse for  the failure of another.  The failure or perceived failure of others can produce a spirit of bitter- ness in those who do not set their mind upon Jesus.  

CARES OF THE WORLD

It is natural and automatic that all of the competing interests in the world will detract from Christian living and education.  "But he that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful." (Matt.  13:22; Lk.  8:14).  This is a picture of religious education which does not help prepare the soil and weed out the thorns.  "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man loe world, the love of the Father is not in him...." (1 Jno.  2:15-17)

NEGATIVISM

Every innovator is confronted with a weak person who feels threatened by any suggestion.  "I have already thought of that."  "We tried that and it did not work."  "Why are you such a troublemaker?"  "Nothing that we can do will make any difference."

FAILURE TO REMEMBER

A study of the book of Judges and much of the Old Testament reveals that apostasy occured when people refused to remember, through education, what God had done for the people when they were faithful and what He allowed to be done  to them by way of correction when they rejected Him.

NEGLECT

"Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which were heard, lest haply we drift away from them.  For if the word spoken through angels proved stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if neglect so great a salvation?"  (Heb.  2:1-3).  A boat, left to its own devices, will drift off course and head in the opposite direction.  The study of God's word is the only guarantee that we stay on course.  

IGNORING THE BASICS

Almost universally when a team quits winning the coach confesses, "we need to get back to the basics."  And he takes the team away and teaches them again "the first principles of the faith."  When aircraft are involved in "near misses" the air traffic controllers are rehearsed on the basics.  Recently Lisa Minelli was asked if she was afraid of appearing in Carnegie Hall.  "No," she said, "I just go over and over what I want to do and then when it suddenly occurs to me that I am in Carnegie Hall, I just operate on automatic."

LOSS OF FOCUS

The athlete who cannot concentrate, cannot win.  In all sports the athletes often blame their loss to a failure to concentrate.  "There let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of wesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with paitence the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfecof our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb.  12:12).  

UNBELIEF

At bed rock of any failure to proper educate God's children rests a spirit  of unbelief.  How can one who really believes God and loves His word, neglect  the study and agressive teaching of it.  "Take heed, brethen, lest haply there  shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the  living God: But exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called today;  lest any one of you be harde by the deceitfulness of sin...." (Heb.  3:12-15).  Any lack of unbelief will reflect itself in a loss of day-by-day exhortation  and this will resust in matured or hardened unbelief.  This cycle continues.  

REACTION

A reactionary spirit is a powerful foe to objective Christian education.  This reaction is a product of several influences is the life of those who  reject Christian education:

LACK OF LOVE

How can a lack of love lead to a failure to educate?  In the family setting  we can easily see where failure to teach our children shows a lack of concern.  The book of First John is a total test of our relationships with others.  We  cannot hold others in contempt and have fellowship with God.  The major  responsibility of the elders is to teach, tend, and guard the flock.  One of  the major qualifiers for the eldership is the ability to manage a family.  Unfortunately, the idea that the teaching of factual Biblical knowledge is a sure sign of legalism and a lack of acceptance and love of others, is the coinage of many who oppose Christian education today.  This attitude stems from a  reaction to scriptural teaching.  

LACK OF SECURITY

Frequently, Christians have no sense of personal salvation and security in their faith.  This personal lack of security can be imposed upon others; demanding that no person can be so sure of scripture that he can set himself up as a teacher of those who may disagree.  This insecurity manifests itself in a squemish belief that to teach what one believes regarding baptism is to  surely condemn all of the people in the entire history of mankind who did not  so understand baptism.  Karl Barth taught that one cannot hold a body of  thought without demanding "rigid unity of thought."

This weird idea would destroy all teaching since all who set themselves up as  teachers believe that they have something of value to teach others.  Teaching  that the earth is round does not personally condemn those who believe that it  is flat.  Neither does it demand that the "flat earth" society conform.  Yet,  one who believes the earth to be round has an obligation to teach.  He does so  freely and the student freely accepts or rejects the ideas.  

This insecurity can also manifest itself in a quest for the "least-common-  denominator" of what is critical to believe - thus judgementally condemning those who have a broader view of what is critical.  The "Kerygmaists" insist that the entire Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  All other knowledge is doctrine, to be rejected like the plague, and never taught to others as something of importance.

This reaction stems from the common and correct view that none of us are  perfect and therefore to teach more than "I" can grasp is evil.  The accept- ance of the Grace of God would allow these people to believe in and teach the "whole counsel of God" without believing that to do so is a sure sign of what they judgementally call "legalism."   

ANTAGONISTIC FOES

In addition to the natural tendancy of honest seekers to be diverted from true Christianity because of the failure of leadership, there are many antagonistic foes.

The first class of foe is the militant, antagonistic, and evangelistically  zealous promoter of trauma for God's people.  He operates in the following  areas:

THE WORLD

PERSECUTION    

The measure of the effectiveness of persecution on the Christian is eviden- ced by the warnings submitted.  The signal flag that persecution has worked is that God's people hate each other.  "Many stumble, and shall deliver up one another, and shall hate one another." (Matt.  24:9-10).  There is no virtue and no success unless the Christian resists.  "But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflic- tion;  Partly, whilst ye were made a gazing stock both by reproaches and aff- lictions..." (Heb.  10:32-33).  Christ resisted unto death - we have not.  

EVIL

"And because iniquity shall be multiplied, the love of many shall wax cold.  But he that endureth to  end, the same shall be saved." (Matt.  24:12-13).  Timothy was warned that "evil men and IMPOSTERS shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived."  (2 Tim.  3:13)  

Solution:

2 Tim.  4:1-5  preach the word

2 Tim.  3:14   "continue in what you learned and have first believed..."

Intrusive Foes"

It is not the nature of sheep to conspire, attack, and consume other flocks.  Paul's warning is therefore not to the flock but to the shepherds.  (Acts 20:30) The motive of internal foes is self promotion.  Their method is perverted doct- rine.  The defense against these foes is to be alert, rely upon God and His worThe elder must be prepared to "give instruction in sound doctrine and confute those who contradict it.."  (Tit.  1:9).  

"Fierce wolves will come in " (Acts 20:29)

These wolves DRESS like sheep, LOOK LIKE sheep, CLAIM to be sheep, but are wolves bone and sinew.  Christians must not be naive.

There ARE forces bent on the total destruction of the flock.   They oppose the teaching of SOUND DOCTRINE (Tit.  1:9) and paul says they MUST be silenced.            

Internal Destructive Foes

Paul warns against false teachers within the flock.  Wolves who have gained standing and influence and look like sheep have infinitely more power to destroy the unity of the Spirit than external forces.  (Acts 20:30)    

Their motive:  SELF promotion (Acts 20:30)

Their method:  Teaching PERVERTED DOCTRINE .  NOTE:  Outright error  is much easier to detect than PERVERTED DOCTRINE.  Prevention  :  Be alert = rely on God and His word.  Select trustworthy, able teachers.  

Those who promote unity must be prepared

as a SOLDIER (2 Tim.  2:4; 4:7; 1 Tim.  6:12) and

to wage both a DEFENSIVE and OFFENSIVE battle against secular,  religious, and supernaturnal opposition.

The function of an army is not to fight battles but to give the nation the freedom to grow and develop.  And the church cannot achieve the unity of  the Spirit without defending itself against its foes.   

SATANIC POWERS AS FOE

The church does not wrestle with flesh and blood enemies in the athletic arena, but we wrestle against supernatural enemies.  "We wrestle not with flesh and blood..."  (Eph.  6:12  See Rom.  8:38-)

Satanic approach:

There is no God

There is no absolute truth

Changing the message

Thou shalt not die

Throw yourself off pinnacle

No law that says "Thou shall NOT throw thyself off the pinnacle"

Therefore it is ok to do it

Legal argument/ Christianity is not Thou shalt/thou shalt not

Not only conservatives argue from silence

Everyone is doing it

Elijah-only prophet left

Rom.  11:1-5

1 Pet.  2:9

You have plenty of time

Rich fool eat drink and be merry

The Need For Spiritual Weapons

SPIRITUAL FOES DEMAND SPIRITUAL WEAPONS (See Eph.  6:10-18)

"beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out among you." 1 Jno.  4:1

 Paul begins the Ephesian letter by demanding that they maintain the faith and unity of the Spirit.  Later in Eph.  6:10-18 he shows that spiritual warfare is necessary because the forces which destroy the  unity unity established by the Spirit are themselves supernatural foes: attempting to destroy this unity.  He sums up the whole book devoted to the unity of the Spirit by saying,

"Finally,

Be strong    in  the  LORD  and

(be strong)   in  the  POWER OF HIS MIGHT

Put on the            WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD

THAT ye may be        ABLE TO STAND

against the           WILES OF THE DEVIL.

FOR we                WRESTLE not against FLESH and BLOOD

BUT against           PRINCIPALITIES

against           POWERS

against           RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD

against           SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS IN HIGH PLACES

WHEREFORE Take..  the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD,

THAT you may be     ABLE TO WITHSTAND.........

Having your     LOINS GIRT ABOUT WITH TRUTH,

Having on the   BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS; and

Having your     FEET SHOD WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL.

Taking the      SHIELD OF FAITH, (to quench fiery darts)

Take   the      HELMET OF SALVATION, and

(Take)  the      SWORD OF THE SPIRIT (which is the Word of God);

PRAYING ALWAYS IN THE SPIRIT,

WATCHING WITH ALL PERSERVERANCE and

SUPPLICATION FOR THE SAINTS."

Paul describes a Roman soldier on the battle line, those brave ones who preserved the unity of the empire.  The image is that of the commander yelling, "Put it on, put it on, defend yourselves."  This is the image of the heavily armed legionary, and not the bowman who fought offensively only.  The weapons are all defensive except one, the Word of God or the utterances of  God.  The soldier of God who maintains the integrity of the group then must  first be prepared to withstand error and only then can he use his sword in a  way which extends spiritual unity to the world.  

We conclude then that unity of the Spirit is not passive, but active.       It was established in a supernatural way as an answer to the prayer of Jesus that we might all be one, it is enabled by gifts of the Spirit to enable the inspired Word and the establishment of the church throughout the world.  In the modern world unity of the Spirit is planted like a seed by evangelists who understand the great commission and it is maintained in the local congre- gation by pastor-teachers who guard, tend, and feed the flock.  

How to wage war:

Rom 16 not be simple

2 Tim 3:10-

2 tim 4

Preparation

Warfare  1 Tim 1:18

Lk.  3:14   

1 Cor.  9:2

2 Tim.  2:4

Weapons of warfare

Eph:6:12 sw of spirit

2 Cor.  10:4-6 not worldly

1 Cor 2:7

1 Cor 1:21

Rom.  13:4

Strategies

1 Tim.  1:18

2 Tim.  2:3

Jas.  4:1

1 Pet 2:4

Athletic contest

1 Cor.  9:24

1 Tim.  6:12

2 Tim.  4:7

Heb 12:1

Duty-Ministry to sick.

In some Greek writing, the classical sense of EPISKOPOS is that of an  anxious mother brooding over the bed of a sick child.  In some cases some    early elders were equiped with gifts of healing and thus could minister  to a sick person in a miraculous way.  The fact that the supernaturally endowed elders prayed for the sick person in order to affect the healing was no different from other miracle workers in the supernatural period.  Jesus said that some healing occurs only as a result of fasting and prayer as contrasted to His healing which often occurred by Him simply saying, "get up, you are well in accordance with your faith."

Attempting to extend supernatural powers down to the present time leads to the belief not only that the elders are rulers of the flock but that  they are priests, interceding between man and God.  The following quote emphasizes this:

"These men (elders)...will cover you in prayer and what I trust will be  the spirit of Jesus, as we together and I in particular seek the face of  our Lord..." (Belmont paper, p.  5).  

I am not sure what it means to "cover one in prayer and with the spirit of  Jesus" but there is no demand for another to stand between each believer as a  priest and His God.  

The priest in the Old Testament and in contemporary catholicism is  required to offer up prayers on behalf of those who could not approach God.   Paul declares that we now have a great high priest accessible to every  believer and there is no need for any one to "cover" him other than through the prayers of any fellow believer.  Paul says.  

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb.  4:16).  

And Peter says,

 "You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual haouse for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Pet.  2:4).  

As a bishop the elder may have no more power than any other believer but he may take the leadership in praying for spiritual illness and in other cases the meaning of the word indicates that all that he may be able to do is to watch and pray, believing that God will honor His promises.  Ministry  to the weak is implied in the following:    

1.  "I was sick and in prison ..." (Mt.  25:36,37)

2.  "Pure religion...  is " (Jas 1:27)

3.  It was used of the visitation of God to His people.  (Lk.  1:68, 78;  Acts 7:23; 15:14, 36;         Heb.  2:16).  

 Those who are in prison because of their faith, widows, orphans, and others who cannot fend for themselves are the responsibility of the church  under the direction of the eldership.  The eldership should never promote a sense of guilt that the local body cannot solve all of the social problems of the world.      

Duty to discipline

The Elder as Ruler.

Negative models

Secular Rulership

 Next to the wrong notion of the Pastorate as an "office" is that he  is the church "ruler" who is "over you in the lord" to direct your affairs  and spend your money.  With the coming of well-trained and falsely-motivated   leaders, this understanding has led to the development of the cult of   "shepherding" or "discipling" as a system which demands that he who is "over   you in the lord" directs all of your spiritual and secular affairs.  

On the other extreme, perhaps the greatest tragedy which has befallen the   contemporary restoration movement is the increasing growth of elderships   populated by business, finance, and other corporate leaders and the disap-  pearance of elders who are trained as Bible teachers equipped to carry out the   only clear mandate of the eldership within the Church of Christ: that is, to   be the pastor-teachers of the flock, to oversee the flock in order to teach   true doctrine, to refute false doctrine, and equip each member to assume his   rightful place in the working and worshipping body of Christ.    

Why have we digressed from the New Testament plan which envisions the love   of the sheep for their shepherd and the willingness to follow him through   dangerous territory to a situation where battle lines are drawn in the sand   between the shepherd and his flock and between the minister and elders?   

Secular rulership condemned by Jesus

  The guiding principle of this writer's research has always been that   stated by Socrates regarding education—that to become educated one must:  

Dispel error andc

Discover the truth.

  Consistent with this thesis, we will try to determine what the elder is  NOT before we attempt to understand his true role in the church.  This under-  standing can be gained by looking at several models.     

While we have attempted to show that the pastor-teacher is the God-ordained overseer of the local flock, we need to show again and again that to see either the evangelist or elders as command rulers is to totally miss the teachings of Jesus.  He said that anyone could aspire to rulership.  All that one has to do is to out sacrifice himself and he is ruling in the Biblical sense as modelled by the very life of God-Incarnate.

The best example of a false model of rule is shown by one who wished to  promote her sons even to the right hand of Deity on the highest thrones of  power—and it is not unusual to want our children to aspire to high office  even when they are not qualified.  

The mother of James and John understood that one way to satisfy ego was to place her children in positions of power and influence.  Jesus used this negative model to teach what authority is not:  

"...And whosoever will be great among you, let him be your servant even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and  to give his life a ransom for many" (Matt.  20:25-28).  

Jesus says that the eldership is work and sacrifice and not power,  prestige, and a place at the head of the table.  And he stooped and washed  His disciples feet to teach that they too should be "foot washers" and not rulers.  

There can be little doubt that the elders are given as overseers (superintendents), or shepherds  to take the oversight of a flock or church because of their age, dignity, and Biblical skills.  However, as with many Biblical areas, God has left us with a paradox.  That is, the elder has been given the responsibility for the local flock and one of the measures of his success is his ability to develop the members of the body as Biblical Christians while, at the same time, depriving him of the command leadership of the secular world.  Perhaps it is proof of inspiration that only in the last few years corporate leadership has evolved from command leadership to leadership by examples and by gaining the cooperation of the flock.

1.  The secular rulers in all ages rule as "despotes" even within democratic   societies.  Even as Jesus was teaching and modelling correct leadership  through service, His disciples were quarelling over "who is going to be in  charge."  Jesus knew that this would be the model if He did not correct the   disciples through teaching and by example.  We have this model on the highest  authority of God Himself and anyone who "hears voices" suggesting that he  take charge may simply be "hearing voices."  

"Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise    lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority over them."  (Mark 10:42).   

Jesus says that this is NOT the model for the church:

  "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 the servant of all.  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered  to but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Mk.  10:43- 45)  

Jesus in effect says "whatever you understand to be the nature of authority   in a secular sense, the kingdom of God will be just the opposite."  He says    that if the secular ruler commands, the spiritual ruler serves.  If the    president of a corporation sits in a teak-covered office, the elder sweeps the   floors.  Paul well may be the very best example to evangelists and elders in    that he gave up his secular position and authority "to bind believers and    deliver them into prison" and after his conversion risked his life to model    what a minister (servant) of God should be.  The entirety of 2 Corinthians    shows the serving nature of this ministry.    

Dominant Rulership

Diotrephes.

  While it is understood that John condemns Diotrephes for attempting to  "rule" the flock, it is nevertheless claimed that this gives authority for  a one-man-rule.  While many groups demand that there be a "key" or leading  bishop, this often happens within restoration churches through default and   occurs because an authoritarian eldership is accepted.  This "rulership" over   the flock by the collective eldership gives opportunity for one man to   exercise rulership over the eldership.  This in effect allows a one man   eldership.   

But Diotrephes stands with Judas, Ananias, and others as models of what   God did not tolerate.  He is the negative model and stands in judgment against   any who would usurp the headship position occupied by Christ:  

"I wrote unto the CHURCH: but Diotrephes, who loved to have the preemi-  nence among them, received us not...neither doth he himself receive the   brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the    church."  (3 John 9)

  One who presumes to decide who will be accepted and who will be cast out  of the church falls under the condemnation of Diotrephes.  

Diotrephes apparently had the authority to refuse to accept those who           traveled as evangelists on their way from John to other areas.  Not only   that, he could put out of the church anyone who ignored his orders and   supported the missionaries.  The previous letter is written to the "church"   and it is said that Diotrephes took preeminence among "them"—meaning among   the members of the church and other possible leaders.     

"The presumption from the phrase, 'who loveth to have the pre-eminence,'   would rather seem to be that he was an aspiring man, arrogating rights   which he had not, and assuming authority to which he was not entitled by   virtue of any office." (Albert Barnes, commenting on 3 John 9, p 374)     

The sin of Diotrephes is that he loved to "be in charge" and he ignored  the will of the congregation and he ejected those who would not comply with   his demands.  Sometimes this "pre-eminence which ejects" may be more subtle  by denying one the right to function as a full member of the body until, in   dispair, he moves on to another church.  In other extremes he "casteth out"  entire elderships by force or psychological force exerted by others.  

The clear implication is that this church would have obeyed John if they  had been allowed congregational autonomy.  However, they were prevented from   aiding legitimate missionary efforts and today many may be prevented from   aiding proper mission and educational efforts because it is not consistent  with the pre-eminent leader.  

The Modern Diotrophes.

While most modern churches have a plurality of elders, there is a danger   that a dominate elder can become the "lead" elder whose authority can only   be questioned at the expense of a very uncomfortable existence as a co-elder.  Sometimes the lead elder ejects the eldership and assumes a mono-episcopacy.  

The modern corporate committee system can also have the same effect with   one elder being the sole authority over a particular department or with small  select committees making decisions such as the selection of ministers or   determining how "we" will spend "your" money in those areas where the entire   congregation should be involved.    

There can be no more dangerous use of authority than desiding for the    entire church what it will hear, whom it will hear, and what it will read.   It says "this is the version which I read and you will read it or get out."   It says "these are the works which I support and you will not support any   which I have not approved."  It says "I have decided how we will spend your   money and you must not ask about a detailed accounting of funds."  It says   "I know what is good for the entire body and because I am the leader I will   decide what we will do."  This is always done without Biblical authority, and   is self-defeating to the pastor and to the ever-shrinking church over which he   presides.    

Those who lord it over the flock

We will show later in this materail that the term for authority is never   used of the elder.  Authority is Greek EXOUSIA and is defined as "The power of   one whose will and commands must be obeyed by others.  cf.  Matt.  28:18" (Vine)  

The words for authority are used "for God, the devil, Jesus, the earthly   rulers, the apostles, an evangelist, and even for ordinary Christians,   they are NEVER once used in connection with either the discharge of the   functions of an elder or with the attitude the Christian is to have toward   the elders" (Dr.  Jack P.  Lewis, Harding Graduate School of Religion   Bulletin, June, 1978)  

"The word for 'lording it over' (from katakurieuo, to rule over others   high-handedly and autocratically) suggests an arrogant, domineering   spirit, and is here positively forbidden to those who would serve   acceptably as elders or bishops" (Guy N.  Woods, Commentary on the New   Testament Epistles of Peter, John, and Jude, p.  125)  

While this quote is correct, it may imply that "lording it over" must  be accompanied by autocracy, arrogance, and a domineering spirit.  However,  the affectation of a sweet, non-arrogant disposition or the absence of a high-  handed control does not free the elder from the guilt of "lording it over" if   he makes decisions which rightfully belong to the body of Christ.  He may be   guilty of this serious charge if he fails to listen to the lowest of his   flock.  He may exercise psychological lordship by claiming to have been given  Divine authority.  It is amazing how easy it is for fairly educated people to  bow down even at the suggestion of superior power.  For instance, one only   has to claim to have the power to "discern spirits" to cast a shadow of fear  and subservience over those who want to be part of the "in" group.  

BUT WHILE WE WAIT!

  "The church may well be waiting for the emergence of a leadership that    prays over the sick, that counsels the families that are breaking up, that    comforts the broken-hearted, that girds itself with a towel and cleans up    the ground after the parade is over." (Reuel Lemmons, Firm Foundation,   Nov.  7, 1978, p.  2).   

It is significant that all of the key Biblical figures were servants:   Moses, DanieL, Ahijah, Elijah, Jonah, Hezekiah, Abraham, Paul, James, John,   Jesus.  One who desires to have "authority" in the church can gain no aid  and comfort from any approved example in the entire Old and New Testaments.  He stands alone or he stands with Diotrephes, totally condemned.        

Sources of Misunderstanding

Influence of contemporary writers.

  Not most but a dangerous few modern leaders usurp the position of Christ    and His body—the church—by lording it over the flock.  Perhaps they do this    because their understanding of the eldership is gained from contemporary   writers rather than from an understanding of the Biblical message.  Many    writers have defended the notion of an authoritarian leadership by teaching   that failure to follow the elder is failure to follow God and Christ.  In    this model, the elder, like the pope, is the vicar or earthly representative   of Christ with much the same authority.  

  "The authority of the eldership in the church is the authority of Christ.    To rebel against the scriptural eldership is to rebel against Christ."    (H.E.Phillips in Scriptural Elders and Deacons, Cogdill Publications,    1959, p.  45)    

"Let us be exceedingly careful that we do not find ourselves in the     unenviable position of rebellion against God and his servants.  Elders,     when functioning properly, are engaged in a work divinely authorized, and     to oppose them is to oppose God." (Guy N.  Woods, Questions & Answers—Open   Forum, p.  245)   

The qualification here is that the elder is indeed God's servant and that   he is engaged in a "work divinely authorized."  Brother Woods also opens the   process slightly by urging "exceeding care" implying that one might oppose  the elders under certain conditions.  Of course "exceeding care" must be  followed when opposing any fellow believer.  

  "This means that if members rebel against these decisions (made by God's     designated leaders) then they, in fact, rebel against God.  Let it be     emphasized: to rebel aginst God's designated leaders is to rebel against     God himself." (Spiritual Sword, April 1978)     

Because the elder has total responsibility for making very crucial,   spiritual decisions which may affect the very life of the flock, it is vital   that he not dissipate his authority by demanding that none "rebel against   these decisions" when the dicisions are not central to the work of the church  and may not be more significant than deciding the color of the soap dish.  

While this last writer is expressing the opion of authoritarianism, which   he undoubtably understands to be the Scriptural position, he supports the   exact position of the Roman Catholic Church whose influence has undoubtably   spilled over into modern churches within the last few years.  We understand,   incidentally, that some restoration churches are "restoring the apostleship"   which will give them authority to make decisions not covered by Scripture.    Undoubtedly these men have never objectively read the qualifications for  the apostleship nor have they understood the differences between the word  "apostle" as a generic word for "ambassador" and its specific use by Jesus  of His esspecially selected, trained, and Holy Spirit equipped disciples who  were "selected TO BE" witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus and the con-  firmers of inspiration.   

Perhaps these men have been trained within elderships who see themselves   as having authority which Christ never gave.  Any honest differences of   opinion (differing from mine) are seen as opposition to God Himself.  

"But the supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff.  Union of      mind, therefore, requires together with a perfect accord in the one faith,    complete submission and obedieence of the will to the Church and to the     Roman Pontiff as to God Himself." (Pope Leo XIII, Great Encyclical     Letters)  

  While this view of the pastor as "papa" of the church rather than as   pastor-teacher is universally rejected by most restoration writers, it   along with many other slow accretions, has gained more control along with   the growth of the corporate structure of the church—"church plants"—as an   easy substitute for evangelism and ministry.     

"It has only been in the past quarter-century that men, seemingly filled      with a lust for power, have assumed prerogatives that God never intended     men to have.  The result has been strife and turmoil.  Practically every     congregation in the brotherhood has been split at least once, and many     more than once.  Why?  Because free men will not be in bondage to any.    We believe that a little research would establish that practically all     congregational troubles, and most of our preacher firings and quittings,     are the result of power struggles, and that most of them are precipitated     by 'ruling' elders." (Reuel Lemmons, Firm Foundation, Nov.  7, 1978, p.  2)    

As we will develop more fully later in this material from Biblical and   scholarly quotes, it is almost universally agreed by older denominational   and restoration scholars that "elder rule" or "evangelist rule" is quite   modern and totally out of harmony with the Scriptural models of Old Testament   prophets and elders, the model of Christ, the model of Paul and the other   apostles, and the model enjoined upon all believers who are to submit to each   other.  

"Hence elders and deacons, whatever may be meant by these words, can do     nothing by what is called official authority into which they are to be     installed by something called ordination.  Whatever is done by them must   be done by the word of God, and not by official authority to them.  

"The word of God, not their personal decisions by their own wisdom, must    be the rule, the law, in all things pertaining to the service of God.    

"It is the business of elders to take the oversight of the churches,     lead them by the word of God, and induce them as far as possible to live   in harmony with the will of God." (E.G.Sewell, The Gospel Advocate, 1897,   p.  292)     

Influence of Charismatic movement

Following close-on the authoritarian eldership, and perhaps motivated by   it, is the belief that modern leaders are not just ministers of the body but   are apostles and prophets in the sense that Paul outlines their tasks in   Ephesians the 4th.  The belief in the possession of supernatural gifts of  miracles such as speaking in tongues calls for and ultimately demands the  restoration of the "apostleship" to become the super-elite of the super-  elite.

Perhaps theis movement has always existed in embryo form as evidenced by  the arguement that in Acts 6 the men selected to do the secular work of the  church are equivalent to modern deacons and the apostles who must be freed to   perform the "spiritual" work of the church are equivalent to the modern   elder.  

Positive examples of rulership

The term "overseer of the flock" is never used of any person or worker   in the NT other than the man who is also called elder, steward, or shepherd.  It simply is not possible to be the shepherd of a flock without in some way  having the authority to guide, feed, and protect the flock.  Only the elder   is charged with "feeding" the flock and only he is charged with "protecting"  the flock and only he is to "give account" when the Chief-Shepherd appears.   

The overseer who has no authority cannot "superintend" the church following   the rules laid down by the Holy Spirit.  The shepherd with no authority can   only say to the wolf "we think it would be better for all concerned if you   quit running with the sheep."  The teaching of healthy doctrine and the   preventer of false doctrine cannot be accomplished if others usurp his area   of work.   

And yet, we are led to believe that he is NOT the "ruler" of the flock nor

does he occupy an "office" in the sense that office gives him authority which   he would not otherwise have.  If the rule of the eldership is not through   "office" and not through the negative models of "rulership" which Jesus   condemns, then if the elder is to RULE, how is he to accomplish his tasks?  

First, let us see some of the passages from the KJV which lead some to  believe that the Holy Spirit has made them rulers over the flock:  

"Let the elders that RULE WELL be counted of double honor, especially they   that LABOR in the WORD and DOCTRINE" (1 Tim.  5:17).           

"Remember them which have the RULE over you, who have spoken unto you the word   of God; whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation." (Heb.   13:7)   

"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 mayu do it with joy,   and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you" (Heb.  13:17).  

The passages from Hebrews is subject to controversy in that some evange-   lists, because they have "spoken to them the word of God" should be the rulers   of the flock.  Later in this section we will show why we believe that this   applies to the elders who are the pastor-teachers of the flock whereas the   evangelist is never a "located evangelist" any more than one can be a "located   travelling salesman."   

In the initial sense, before there are elders, this might be the evangelist–not because of any authority but because the one doing the teaching is the one doing the ruling in the Scriptural sense.  However, this would be for  only a short time because the evangelist is never a "located evangelist" any more than one can be a "located travelling salesman."

MOST Biblical models and all of the scholarly comment show that the elder is the local Pastor-Teacher in the settled church.  

THE WORD "RULE" IS NOT IN THE TEXT

It may be significant that the claim to be a ruler seems to accompany the exclusive use of the KJV but the word rule is inserted into some translations whereas it never occurs in the texts as applied to spiritual leadership in the church.  

Scripture gives no aid and comfort to "the elder who rules."  However, it reserves double honor to "the elder who rules WELL."  The elder has at his command the most powerful "ruling" weapon ever devised–the Sword of the  Spirit, the Word of God and if he cannot wield that sword he cannot be a NT "ruler" who is the primary teacher of the flock.

Another false translation is the insertion of the word "office" which creates confusion.  When we use the modern word "office" we imply that the officeholder, as soon as he is appointed, acquires powers vested in the  office which he does not naturally have.  Thus, one can be elected to the office of Sheriff in which he instantly acquires powers resident within the office.  However, one cannot be elected as the "local brain surgeon" by popular vote.  If he does not have intrinsic surgeon skills he does not  acquire any by virtue of his election.  Only those who have demonstrated their skills in surgery and are “ordained” are  brain surgeons.

"Hence elders and deacons, whatever may be meant by these words, can do nothing by what is called official authority into which they are to be installed by something called ordination.  Whatever is done by them must  be done by the word of God, and not by official authority to them."  (E.G.Sewell, The Gospel Advocate, 1897, p.  292)    

But the word "Rule" is not in the text and violates Christ's example.

Scripture gives no aid and comfort to "the elder who rules."  However, it   reserves double honor to "the elder who rules WELL."  Out of a congregation of   a few hundreds or a few thousands, the elder has—even if it is self- assumed—  only a few people whom he can control by command and can "hire and fire" and   these simply cannot do the work mandated for the entire body.  The elder does   not even own the church in the sense that being a "shepherd" might imply.    Therefore, if he is going to achieve what God absolutely demands of any who   would put on the armor of a shepherd-warrior, he must depend totally upon   volunteer labor to help him do the work.     

Even in the modern world of the factory, the foreman can no longer, as he   did for thousands of years, depend upon using his strong-arm techniques but   must mobilize (or get out of the way of) his team.  The Japanese model of   leadership (learned from Americans unheeded in their own land) is rapidly   converting our workers from technical producers of durable goods into   hamburger cookers and producers of paperwork.  This unhappy loss of industrial   and financial control can be traced almost totally to a top-heavy, authori-  tarian style of management.  This same phenomenon is occuring within the   modern church whose influence has been lost to well-trained secularists and   eastern religions.  

The day when the Jesuit and their protestant counterparts could follow the   conquering army and make disciples by the edge of the sword is over and the   churches are rapidly diminishing because it has not learned how to teach and   persuade as the model of shepherd-rule demands.  The Bible says of itself   that the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit—the offensive and defensive   weapon by which the world must be converted.

Rather than going into all the world with the gospel message and equipping  the flock for the ministry as demanded by the Biblical message, the eldership  which focusses upon its "authority" is seen by many (right or wrong makes no   difference, it is the perception which counts) as the source of fractionating  influences which are dimininshig the witness of the church.  

"...We believe that a little research would establish that practically all   congregational troubles, and most of our preacher firings and quittings,   are the result of power struggles, and that most of them are precipitated     by 'ruling' elders." (Reuel Lemmons, Firm Foundation, Nov.  7, 1978, p.  2)    

The other side of the coin is a minister who assumes the role of pastor  and demands that he has the right to control the elders over whom God has  set him with authority to rule.    

"Hence elders and deacons, whatever may be meant by these words, can do   nothing by what is called officail authority into which they are to be   instally by something called ordination.  Whatever is done by them must be     done by the word of God, and not by official authority to them."   (E.G.Sewell, The Gospel Advocate, 1897, p.  292)      

Rule by example.

It seems clear that the pastor-teacher has the only authority to oversee the flock for the express purpose of feeding through teaching.  If he has no authority other than his exemplary life then he has no more authority than every other member of the church.  However, because of the nature of people, if  he is going to exercise any influence, he must do it primarily through his  example and teaching.  When giving the Biblical duties for the leadership of the church, the writers restrict their comments to the authority for making meaningful changes in the lives of people as they are taught to conform to the image of Christ.  And there is no change which can be achieved through command authority.  We can keep our children safe through commands but we cannot cause them to grow by commanding them to grow.  The only weapon in our hands is education.

The Christian model of leadership is leadership by example.  It is anti-  Christian and therefore totally ineffective to rule by autocratic command.  The leader does not command that a task be done, he says "Here, this is the  way we will do this job."  And he will be found in the vanguard of the group  and not in central headquarters just as surely as Jesus was found on the    floor washing feet and not at the banquet table and Paul was risking his  life as an evangelist rather than remaining as a ruler of the Sanhedrin.  

The elder cannot rule as a secular lord because he is prohibited by the   example of Christ, by Scriptural mandate, and by the fact that the gentle   lambs have a nasty habit of turning into pit bulls when pushed around.    

Not only is this the model of the early church confirmed by the apostles,  it was the exemplary model shown by Jesus and commanded to his disciples:  

"Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise   lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority over 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" (Mark 10:42-45).  

One can imagine no more repulsive picture than one who believes that   Christ has appeared to him commanding him to take "authority" over the flock.  

Rule by teaching..

It has well been said that "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the  world" and while autocratic rule may temporarily "get its way" the teachers   of the world are ultimately its rulers.    

Paul, in first Timothy, has an interesting connection between two Greek  words.  He describes the elder (PRESBUTEROS) who rules (PROISTEMI) well:     

(1 Tim.  5:17)   

NIV "The Elders who DIRECT THE AFFAIRS of the Church are...worthy...  

especially those who WORK at PREACHING and TEACHING.        

KJV "Let the    elders that RULE WELL be counted of double honor,    

especially  they   that LABOR     in the WORD and DOCTRINE.   

While all older men are elders or PRESBUTEROS in one sense, there is a  class of older man (PRESBUTEROS) who are "doubly honored" because they do  double duty.  He is both an older, mature, leading man and also one who   RULES WELL (PROISTEMI) by being a Pastor-Teacher.  He is due double respect   and possibly financial support.    

"'Especially those toiling in connection with the Word and teaching' does not mean that SOME elders DID NOT teach, for all were required to have (and thus to use) this ability (3:2).  Naturally, however, some would manifest especial zeal in this part of the work, actually toil in it to the point of fatigue and weariness" (Lenski on 1 Tim., pp 681-682).

The senior member who is afforded "double honor" then is not the one who can muster enough votes to be elected or can survive any effort to "prove that he is NOT suitable" but it is the elder (older man) who ALREADY "LABORS in the WORD and DOCTRINE."    

Because the official work is designated as "pastor-teacher," only those   older men who were qualified to be community leaders, had gained the   respect of the church, and were trained in the doctrines of Christ and the   apostles, and were willing and competent teachers were worthy of being   honored both for his position of age and for his work.  His appointment was   not election or selection, but recognition.  His qualifications involve   what he is able to do but even more with what he is.  

The duties of this person are:

He is a respected elder of the church

He directs the affairs of the church

He works (labors to exhaustion) at preaching the Word and teaching  its doctrine.  

This is consistent with the office of the apostleship because "The function of the apostles was not to exercise authority, but to give testimony." (Fred Fisher, Commentary on 1 & 2 Corinthians, p.  207)   

To aspire to the apostleship because one assumes that it carries honor  and authority as opposed to suffering and opposition is total failure to  understand the model of Christ and that of the apostles.  

"Above all else one who rules in the first century church must have a personal knowledge of the Word of God.  The elder must be able to rightly    divide the word (2 Tim.  2:15) and make relevant applications to modern    situations.  You must exercise the utmost in courage and creativity to    execute your prime responsibility of imparting knowledge of the word of    God which is the spiritual food that every member of the congregation    needs if the church is to grow and prosper." (F.  Dale Simpson, Leading   the First-Century Church in the Space Age, p.  13).  

"This is always true, and true alone of those who speak the Savior's word.   To apply the terms to support ecclesiastical authority, is to sacrifice the   truth for the sake of party." (J.S.Lamar, Commentary on Luke, 1877, p.   154)  

"The authority of this verse is that of the Word of God itself, not that   of either an evangelist or elder as such." (Rubel Shelly, Commenting on   Titus 2:15, The Spiritual Sword, April 1978, p.  27)  

"The Word of God, not their personal decisions by their own wisdom, must   be the rule, the law, in all things pertaining to the service of God...The   leading purpose of the elders in being placed as overseers of the flock is   that they shall FEED the church.  Feed them how? With the WORD OF GOD, is   the only answer.  And this word of God is the RULING POWER.  But when the   elders rule by their own wisdom, by their own enactments, they become   lords over God's heritage, which the word of God, the very thing the   elders are to each and enforce, forbids." (E.  G.  Sewell, The Gospel   Advocate, 1892, p.  444)

To aspire to being recognized as having authority in order to direct the  affairs of the church rather than in order to teach is to lord it over God's  heritage.  Here, Sewell supports our thesis which we develop further under the   Elders Duty to Teach, that:    he is placed "as overseers of the flock" in order that  "they shall feed the flock."

He is an elder (senior member)

He "LABORS in the WORD and DOCTRINE"

He is placed "as overseers of the flock"

In order that "they shall feed the flock."

What is rule..

erhaps the KJV by its use of the word "RULE" gives some the excuse to  lord it over the church (making all decisions without advice and consent of   the body) but the context absolutely denies this authority.  Romans 12:8 in  three different versions defines the idea of rule:  

KJV   "he that RULETH, with diligence..."

NIV   "if it is leadership, let him govern..."

NASB  "he that LEADS with diligence..." Margin "or GIVES AID"

Paul's demand that the elder to be able to rule or lead his family (1 Tim.   3:4, 13) was that this would qualify him to take care of the church (1 Tim.   5:17).    

"For if     a man  know not how to  RULE      his own  house,

how shall  he                      TAKE CARE of the   church of God?"

He rules the church as he rules his family.  He loves it, supports it, teaches it, protects, acts as model.  He does not lord it over his family and expect love and respect in return.  Every thing that he does for the church is bound up in EQUIPPING him/her to survive the traumas of life and be a productive citizen—it is TEACHING from beginning to end.

The definition of two Greek words also shows that to rule is to lead,   protect, and care for a flock.   

HEGEOMAI to lead, go before, be a leader, rule, command, exercise      authority (Heb 13:7,17,24) and lead by serving (Lk 22:26).       This is a picture of a fearless guide and not an overlord.      He is the point man on an expedition into grizzly bear country.     He must be out front in teaching and correcting and "being out     front" means that he is qualified technically and morally.         

He is the point-man on an expedition into grizzly bear country.  He must be out front in teaching and correcting and "being out front" means that he is qualified technically and morally.  PROISTEMI (I Tim.  5:17): To rule, put before, set over, preside, govern,   protect, care.  Here, the word describes both "rule" and "take   care of," showing that the REASON an elder must know how to   "rule over" is that he can "take care of."  This closely   identifies PROISTEMI with EPISKEPTOMAI.      

Earlier in verse 14, Paul says:

"I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide  (rule) the house..."  

In this verse he uses the word oikodespotes which clearly means the power  to rule or control the house.  In verse 17, of elders, he uses the word  which means "take the lead of" and not "rule."  It is the wife who has the  authority to rule her house because she is dealing with children who some-  times have to be corrected.  The elder cannot rule because his "children"  are free to "take him or leave him."  Thus, if he is to exercise oversight  he must be out front as the leader rather than behind with a switch as   might the mother.   

In 1 Tim.  3:6 Paul warned Timothy to assure that the eler be "Not a   novice, lest being puffed up he fall into the condemnation of the devil."  What is there about being an elder which might "puff up" one who is not   mature?  It could only be that he assumes authority which God has not given  him.  There is nothing so attractive as a very young person who gains a  position of authority.  

The word "rule" is such a supercharged word because the word for elder has  slowly (all digression comes slowly) evolved from being an adjective to a   noun—from being a WORK to being an OFFICE.  

Scholars comments on Rule

Even though Paul was an inspired apostle, he went up to Jerusalem to to check his doctrine against what the other apostles taught "lest he run in vain."  For this reason even a firmly-held view of a Biblical doctrine should be checked against writers who have stood the test of scholarship –not as proof but as confirmation.  For this reason we have liberally sprinkled this paper with the views of others.

E.G.Sewell says:

  "...The church is God's heritage, and Christ is its Head, and any man that   claims to have AUTHORITY over the Church is a USURPER, from the Pope on   down to the lowest official claiming authority in the church." (Gospel   Advocate, 1897, p.  252)    

"And this word of God is the ruling power.  But when elders rule by their   own wisdom, by their own enactmets, they become lords over God's heritage,   which thw Word of God, the very thing the elders are to teach and enforce,   forbids." (E.G.Sewell, The Gospel Advocate, 1892, p.  444)   

"It is the business of elders to take the oversight of the churches, lead   them by the word of God, and induce them as far as possible to live in   harmony with the will of God.  An elder therfore, that thinks he is an   official, an arbitrary ruler in the church, knows nothing yet as he ought  to know." (Gospel Advocate, 1898, p.  280)  

David Lipscomb wrote:  

  "It is the right of every member of a congregation to know and be heard   in every work taken by that congregation...The elders are not to rule by   arbitrary authority, as lords over God's heritage but in all matters it is   their duty to let every act of the congregation be known to all and to   satisfy every one of the congregtion of the rightness of the proposed   action, and to hear every man's objection and seek to remove them and so   lead them as examples to the flock." (Quoted by Waymon Miller, p.  29)  

We are sure that Lipscomb had in mind the normal corporate affairs of the church and not spiritual matters.  The elders should, must, consider  the views of those who have banded together to corporately hold real  property and he should constantly seek advice about spiritual affairs but he should not put doctrinal issues to the vote.  Nor should he betray confidences.  Jack Lewis writes:

We recognize that certain knowledge gained through counseling cannot be  shared with the congregation.  And while it might be argued that certain  information concerning the operation of the church must be confidential, we   reject the notion for the simple and well-accepted reason that there are no   "secrets."   

Jack Lewis writes:

"The Greek terms we've considered from the viewpoint of the elder   emphasized images of sacrifice and service that he is to discharge rather   than images of authority.  From the viewpoint of the people, the elder is   an example that is to be followed, a teacher from whom to learn, a   shepherd whose voice one hears, a protector from the wolves, a leader to   whom one submits in humility because he is God's steward, and he is an   older man to whom respect is gladly given." (Harding College Bulletin,   April, 1979, p.  5)  

While Lewis shows that the elder does not exercise authority in the secular sense, he is still the only member of the body who is called: Example, Teacher, Shepherd, Protector, Leader, Elder.

W.R.Smith writes:

"Without controversy, shepherds of the church are leaders who have been  authorized to use every opportunity to render a specilized service; that   of overseeing the flock.  This is Christian leadership, which differs from   command leadership as much as the heavens are higher than the earth."  (Authority of Elders, Firm Foundation, June 25, 1963,p.  403)  

Robert Milligan says:

"Or more literally, Remember your leaders who spoke to you the word of   God; carefully considering the issues of their manner of life; imitate   their faith." (Commentary on Hebrews, p.  875)   

Dr.  Raymond C.  Kelcy:

"Elders wield their greatest influence for good by living exemplary lives,   models after which the flock may pattern." (The Letters of Peter and Jude,   R.  B.  Sweet Co., p.  100)  

J.  W.  Roberts:

"The elders 'rule' in the sense of being over the church, just as the   father is over the family (1 Tim.  3:4f - same Greek word), but they are   never said to have 'authority' (eksousia) or 'power' (dunamis) over the  church" (The Rulership of Elders, Firm Foundation, April 1, 1958, p.  170)        

In a sense this is a Catch-22 situation over which the existing elders often   have little immediate control.  That is, because of prior failure to properly   prepare either elder-candidates or the congregation, there is a legitimate   sense of mistrust-how can one trust the congregation to select new elders or   help administer the work of the church when the body has not been "equipped   for the ministry"?   

The solution to this is obvious from common sense and from the Biblical   message, that in order to be trustworthy as co-administrators of the church   there must be a long tradition of teaching and preparing.    

H.  Leo Boles:

"There are elders who think themselves clothed or invested with all authority.  They do not regard the wishes of the congregation, but impose their own dictatorial authority on the church.  They never  attempt to get the wishes of the church; and when the wishes are known, they do as they please.  They 'boss' the affairs of the church.  They usurp the authority from Christ, and are dictators over the Church."   (Gospel Advocate, Feb.  1, 1944, p.  2)

This does not mean that the elders are not the fundamental overseers of  every aspect of the work of the assembly but God has wisely limited the  tools of their authority to their own lives as a model, to their knowledge of the word, their teaching-persuading power, and their skill at guarding  the flock by, in the words of Paul to Titus, "gagging" false teachers-stopping their mouths.

Waymon D.  Miller:

"One brother, arguing in support of the authoritarian view, presents an    extensive study of the Greek word for 'authority' (exousia).  In this    study he cited that authority has been delegated by the Lord to the twelve    (Mark 13:34), the Lord's servants (Luke 4:6; Acts 26:18), to believers    (John 1:12), to husband and wife (1 Cor.  7:4), to Paul, the apostle       (2 Thess.  3:9, and to triumphant saints (Rev.  2:26; 22:14).  The only   thing lacking in the catalog is the elders!" (The Rule of Elders in the   New Testament Church, p.  37).     

Testimony of Scripture..

We could summon Barnes, Elam, Fanning, Lenski, Lipscomb, Sewell, Lemmons,  and a host of witnesses to prove that leadership is not rulership but to what   avail?  The issue is whether we accept the translation of "oversee" as "rule   over you" where scholars claim that there is no Greek evidence for the word  "rule" or whether we take the entire context of the passages which imply   leadership and determine, from the context, what the writers intended.  

Perhaps the best way to understand the word "rule" is to see how it is   used within the context of several passages.  These passages explicitly speak   of rule or describe the function of the elders in such a fashion the "lording   it over" the flock is excluded (1 Tim.  5:17; Heb.  13:7, 17; Tit.  1:9; 1 Pet.   5:1-4; 1 Thess.  5:12).  

 Book          Title                    Desecrator                   Task One:            Task two:                Task three:

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Tim.         Elder                                                                Rule Well             Teach Word        Teach Doctrine

Tit.            Bishop                                                             Teach                        Hold to                      Convince

                                                                                                                                         Message                  Gainsayer

Thess.                                     Laborers                                                              Admonish              Displays life

Heb.                                         Rule Over                     Taught Word      Model Life              Prevent False

                                                                                                                                                                                 Doctrine

Heb.                                         Rule Over                                                                                                   Watch Souls

Pet.            Elder                  Overseer                         Feed Flock          Model Life         

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In the letter to Timothy, the elder who "rules well" is the elder who   teaches the word and doctrine.  In Titus, the bishop holds to the message,  teaches it, and convinces the gainsayer.  In Thess., to "labor" means that he   admonishes those who do not follow the principles of Christianity.   

"In 1 Thess.  5:12, it is used in relation to ministers in general...In 1  Tim.  3:4, 5, 12, it is applied to the head of a family, or one who dili-  gently and faithfully performs the duty of a father...1 Tim.  5:17, it is   applied to elders in the church" (Albert Barnes, commenting on Heb.  8:7,  p.  278)  

The "ruler" (Hegeomai), in the book of Hebrews teaches the word, models  the word, and prevents the teaching of false doctrine.     

"The word here used means properly leaders, duides, directors" (Barnes)

In Peter, the elder "takes the oversight" and this means that he feeds  (teaches) the flock and models the Christian life.     

The duty of the elder is to rule, labor among, take the oversight, in   order that he can (1) teach true or healthy doctrine, (2) model the Christian  life, and (3) correct error and prevent the teaching of false doctrine.  

Rule modelled by Pastor-Provider.

1 Tim.  3:5 has a revealing connection of words which amplify the task of   RULING to show that it is "taking care of" the church.  The understanding of   parallelism demands that we do not take the term "rule" out of context and   destroy its meaning.  Notice that Paul does not say "A man should know how to   RULE in his own house so that he can RULE the church."  

"If a man know not how to RULE       his own house, how can

he TAKE CARE of the house of God

The word RULE is Gr.  PROISTEMI   =  stand before, to lead

The word CARE is Gr.  EPIMELEOMAI =  Make provision for, as modelled

by the good Samaritan.

The father does not rule his own family as a tyrant but he works to   provide food, clothing, shelter, and education.  He teaches both secular   and spiritual knowledge.  He corrects or admonishes in order to protect them    against dangerous influences.  The duty of the elder then is to lead and make   provision for the flock and not to rule in the secular sense.       

"Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the     word of God; whose faith follow, considering the end of their conver-   sation." (Heb.  13:7)     

Contrary to all spiritual understanding of the model of Jesus, this   passage has become the bone of contention for those carnal minds who argue  who has the "authority" in the local church.  As has been pointed out, the  word "authority" in the sense of "ruling the flock" is never applied to God's  true spiritual servants.  One who seeks this authority lacks the most  fundamental requirement for its exercise.  

It is often assumed that "them which have the rule over you" is the  minister because it is they who "have spoken unto you the word of God."    But if our thesis is correct that the primary pastor-teacher in the local   assembly is the elder then he could just as easily be the one who did the   teaching.  This understanding is consistent with the idea that the primary   duties of the elder is to teach (have spoken unto you) and to model the   faith (whose faith follow).  However, whether it is the preacher, the   evangelist, or the elder, there is no room in this passage for command rule.  Rather, he is to rule by teaching.   

"In 1 Thes.  5:12, it is used in relation to ministers in general...In 1    Tim.  3:4, 5, 12, it is applied to the head of a family, or one who dili-   genty and faithfully performs the duty of a father...1 Tim.  5:17, it is    applied to elders in the church." (Albert Barnes commenting on Heb.  8:7,   p.  278)   

It would appear from all Biblical and scholarly comment that if one aspires to the rulership of the church he will be found laboring in the Word and doctrine such that the church will bestow "double honor" upon the one who is both an older man and as a primary Pastor-Teacher.

The Elder who is Over you

What is the meaning of "Over you

In the KJV where the word "rule" is used in Heb.  13:7, a somewhat parallel passage in 1 Tim.  5:17 shows that the ruler is the elder in the set in order church.  There are no parallel passages which show that an evangelist is to "rule" the  church.  This is true because the evangelist is never a permanent fixture in the local assembly.  After he has prepared or set in order the flock he moves on to new work.  Even Titus who was to ordain elders on Crete was  never understood to be this kind of ruler because he had as many as one  hundred churches to teach.  

"Remember them which have the RULE over you, who have spoken unto  you the word of God; whose faith follow, considering the end of  their conversation" (Heb.  13:7 KJV).  

We have previously discussed two key words, neither of which conveys authoritarian rulership.  The English "over" comes from the Greek PROISTEMI, meaning to "Stand before, hence to lead, to direct, attend to" (Vine).  Matt.  20:25 and 1 Pet.  5:2-3 absolutely refutes the notion of one who has the power to command.  

The plan of God is that the elder who LABORS in PREACHING and TEACHING be afforded "double honor" and recognized as Pastor-Teacher.  He is the superintendent of the local assembly that  his ability as a teacher might be exercised.

Undoubtedly the eldership has significant power and influence but as has been quoted "the scepter of his rule is the Word of God."  If the elder is to ever assume this power he must be a competent student of himself, the secular society within which he lives, and the Bible and its doctrinal content.  He must have the ability to teach "healthy doctrine" and he must have the courage to "refute false doctrine."  

Who is "Over you in the Lord".

  We have previously discussed two key words, neither of which conveys  authoritarian rulership.  The English "over" comes from the Greek PROISTEMI,   meaning to "Stand before, hence to lead, to direct, attend to" (Vine).  Matt.   20:25 and 1 Pet.  5:2-3 absolutely refutes the notion of one who has the power   to command.   

Undoubtably the eldership has significant power and influence but as has  been quoted "the sceptre of his rule is the Word of God."  If the elder is    to ever assume this power he must be a competent student of himself, the   secular society within which he lives, and the Bible and its doctrinal content.  He must have the ability to teach "healthy doctrine" and he must have the  courage to "refute false doctrine."  If he is to maintain any semblance of  authority, he must never lord it over the flock as a "ruler."  

The argument that it is the Evangelist

Foundation

The false claim that the full work of the church demands apostles:

"We began to see that biblically there was not only an eldership in a local   church, but there were apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and   teachers (Eph.  4:11) in the body of Christ and that the full work of God  could not be realized until this five fold gifting was recognized,  whatever that meant" (Unpublished paper, June 26, 1988, Belmont Church).  

Beyond the scope of this material is almost two thousand year old belief  that these supernaturally gifted men (Eph.  4:8) were temporary "until we all   come to the unity of THE faith" (v.  13).  The article "the" does not mean  just belief but what Paul often calls "the faith" as opposed to "the law."  If these gifts were to last until the coming of Christ then there would be  no value to discussing their time limitation.  And if apostles did exist in  the contemporary church and thereby restored the kind of unity sought by the   above paper (that we all agree on where to put the building) as soon as that  unity was restored then the work of the apostle would cease.  

This entire passage in Ephesians almost perfectly parallels 1 Cor.  12-14  where Paul says "when that which is perfect (or complete) is come that which  is in part (partial supernatural knowledge by apostles and prophecy) would  cease.  Again why warn a people almost two thousand years ago that the gift   of tongues as a judicial sign was being abused within the church and it would  cease if it still has not ceased and will not cease for perhaps another   hundred thousand years.  

This concept is too important to be lifted out of context as a pretext to  lord it over the eldership and it is too complex to fully discuss in this  short paper.  #

The false claim that there were more than 12 apostles:

"We began to realize that there were many 'apostles' in the New Testament  other than the 12.  Paul, Silas, Timothy, Andronicus, Junias, and others  were called apostles." (Ibid)   

Certainly there were thousands of "apostles," tens of thousands "elders,"  perhaps hundreds of thousands "deacons" including many thousand "woman   deacons."  This is true because the words apostle, elder, and deacon are   generic words which were used in the Greek of Paul's day, both of religious  and secular people.  There were pagan "apostles" and heathen "elders" and  idolatrous "deacons."  This writer has heard this new "revelation" expressed  several times by preachers who have built their career upon preaching out-  lines produced by others.  Then one day they read the Bible, discover that  Phoebe was a "deaconess" and conclude that there should be women deacons.  

However, the Greek Diakonos simply means a servant or minister.  All who  are servants of the church are servants but they are not all designated  deacons in the sense that Paul describes the work.  All old men are "elders"  but not are all qualified and selected "Pastor-teachers."  All messengers  of the church in the first century would have been called Apostolos but  only twelve were "ambassadors sent from Christ."  All the others were sent  from churches.  

The word apostle is from the Greek APOSTOLOS and simply means "one sent  forth."  One "sent forth" might be an ambassador with portfolio or he (she)  might be a sales agent selling purple dye.  An elder might be any old man  and a "deacon" could be any servant or minister, either male, female, old,  young, married, or unmarried, Christian or pagan.  

Again beyond the scope of this material is the well acknowledged (except  by catholics, mormons, and latter day charismatics) fact that Jesus only  chose 12 of his disciples, taught and equipped, made promise of the baptism  of the Holy Spirit, baptized, empowered them to bestow supernatural gifts,  and gave them the power to reveal inspired Scripture.  When one of those  "chosen TO BE witnesses" of the resurrection sinned, the number twelve was  restored—not eleven and not thirteen.  

All of the above named people who were called "apostles" were simply  ambassadors in the sense that they were sent out by the church for some  specific purpose.  For instance, Barnabas was not sent out by Christ but by    the local church and that he was "sent out" he was called an ambassador.  NONE of these people are equated by any Biblical writer to the original   twelve plus Paul and he acknowledged that he "was born out of due season"  by a special act of God allowing him to be given his mission directly by  the risen Christ.  None of these men revealed any divine truth and what they  had they were given by the hands of another.  Timothy, for example, had been  given his power by the hands of Paul.  Titus was allowed to finish the work  begun by Paul and ordained elders but DID NOT select them.  

The claim that the local church is "built upon" apostles and prophets:

"Paul says that the church is founded upon the apostles and prophets,    with Christ being the cornerstone." (Ibid).  

After assuming the role of an apostle, the next logical step is to gain  the preeminence among the apostles and become the pope.  It is significant  that there are several groups moving in this direction.  The above paper has  the statement:

"What I am saying to you is that even though there is a plurality of   leaders, I AM the leader..." (Ibid p.  2)  

"I believe that two recognized apostles are in the Belmont church (Bevis  and Finto) and that God has called us to walk together." (Ibid p.  3).  

"I see my role of apostolic/pastoral leader much as the husban/wife  relationship" (Ibid.  p.  4).  

While the writer softens this amazing statement by stating that he is  continuing to "get clarity" on the issue, the initial statement is signifi-  cant.  First, the apostles sustained a father/child relationship and NOT  a husband/wife relationship.  It was CHRIST in the context which this paper  is discussing who sustains the husband relation to the church as the bride.  (Eph.  5:25-32).  The church was under obligation to obey the husband (v.  24).  

While it may be reading too much into this paper, the revelation that   the church could not be complete until the apostleship was restored with the  apostle being THE leader over a plurality of elders, seems motivated by the  not so unusual problem of not having perfect, blemish-free unity concerning  the business affairs of the congregation.  And here Paul says "That he might  present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle or any   such thing: but that it should be holy and without blemish" (v.  27)  

"Brothers, I dare to tell you that I believe a big part of the disunity of   the eldership at Bellmont is the INSUBORDINATION to the authority of Jesus   Christ that GOD HAS PLACED IN ME in this church, this pastorate, this  apostolic ministry, as a fellow elder, but also as your LEADER" (p.  4).  

This seems to say that not only do certain people have the authority of  the first century apostle but the "authority of Jesus Christ."  

The misuse of this passage is not unlike that of Matt.  16:18 which forms  the basis for the Pope's ability to finally wrestle the ultimate power from  the other bishops (who were sometimes considered as fellow elders).  

Matt.  16:18    

KJV "...thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.  

The dangerous method of syllogism can be used to prove the case for the  pope:   

Major premise:  The church is built upon the foundation of the apostles   

Minor premise:  Peter was an apostle    

Conclusion   :  The church is built upon Peter.   

The foundation passage for the establishment of the apostleship in order  that the full work of the church be done is as follows:  

"Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ    himself being the chief corner stone." (Eph.  2:20)      

However, Jesus did not say that He was going to build the church upon the    Apostles, but that He was going to build upon "the FOUNDATION of the Apostles    and prophets."  The word is not subjective; meaning that the fundation    CONSISTS of the apostles, but objective, meaning that the foundation was    completed by the apostles and prophets as their building work was LAID UPON    Jesus as the guide and corner stone.    

"Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a ested stone, A costly cornerstone   for the foundation, firmly placed.  He who believes in it will not be  disturbed" (Isa.  28:16b).  (See also 1 Pet.  2:4-8).   

"For other foundation can NO MAN lay than IS LAID, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man build upon this foundation..." (1 Cor.  3:11, 12).  

If even the supernaturally selected, trained, and equipped apostles who  were eyewitnesses to the resurrected Christ were NOT the foundation but built  upon that foundation, then how can a modern man be so presumptious as to   believe that he is the husband of the bride, the foundation upon which the  local church is built, and possesses the "authority of Christ"?  

The sequence then is this: The church has only ONE foundation—Jesus    Christ.  Not ancient apostles and certainly not contemporary "apostles."   That foundation HAS BEEN LAID and it cannot ever be laid again.  To believe  that it can is to claim the inadaquacy of the first foundation.  The church   has been build or formulated upon that one foundation by the apostles.  It   can not—need not—ever be built again.  In the established church individual  members come in only one class which Peter calls living stones.  By virtue  of being a part of the spiritual house we can offer our own prayers to God.  

We believe that the demand for authoratarian rulers such as ruling elders  or apostles stems from the implications of premillenialism.  That is, that    Christ came to establish the kingdom, was defeated by the Jews, and will  come again very soon to give it another try.  Because the signs which were  to surround the establishment of the kingdom have not fully occurred (the  latter rains are needed) people believe in the re-establishment of the  apostleship with attendant miracles.  Note the following:  

"Genuine miracles have only been wrought as an ocular demonstration of     the commission of a divine messenger or teacher:  They have in all     instances been resorted to solely in personal attestation of sacred     truth.  Just here, if anywhere, may doubtless be discovered the reason why  miracles have not been perpetuated.  There remains no longer any fresh     revelation of God's will to man; no new dispensation or even agencies are   to be established on the divine part; and therefore no such special     credentials are issued from the court of heaven.  Its ambassadores have     only the common of the gospel—the fruits of their ministry." (James E.     Denton, Topical illustrations, p.  239 quoting McClintock T.  Strong)     

"When sufficient attestations were provided these miraculous gifts ceased;    for those recorded in Scripture were sufficient and stand today as SIGNS      and credentials for us, just as if they had been wrought before our eyes.     To call for an endless line of signs declares only that the original signs    were not enough.  But the Lord does not discredit himself and his promised    signs in such a foolish way." (Ibid.  p.  771)        

Let us hear it again: "To call for an endless line of signs declares only    that the original signs were not enough."    

The claim that those selected by the "apostle" function as priests:

  "These men...will cover you in prayer and what I trust will be the spirit  of Jesus, as we together and I in particular seek the face of our Lord..."   (Belmont paper, p.  5).    

I am not sure what.......NEG/RULE/2/NEW  of Jesus" but there is no demand for another to stand between each believer  as a priest and His God.  

The priest in the Old Testament and in contemporary catholicism is  required to offer up prayer on behalf of those who could not approach God.    Paul declares that we have a great hight high priest accessible to every  believer and there is no need for any to have one "cover" for him.  He says:  

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain   mercy, and fid grace to help in time of need" (Heb.  4:16).   

Peter said that we as stones are built up into a spiritual house in order   that we can offer our own prayers.   

"you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a   holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God   through Jesus Christ" (1 Pet.  2:4).  

Influence of Shepherding/Discipling movements

Influence of friends

 More often than not, those who occupy positions of "authority" within the   church are the product of others who themselves are incapable of being "in   control" or have no desire to sacrifice their lives for the work but are able   to put others into positions of prestige.  This often results from these  powerless and insecure members promoting the authority of one over those whom  he does not personally agree with.  When immature people are "lifted up with"  pride by flattering speech to the point that they believe that they are   uniquely God's authority on earth then tragedy has struck the church.  

The key doctrinal statement by Jesus on authoritarianism was precipitated        by one who wished to promote her sons even to the right hand of Diety on the  highest thrones of power.  The mother of James and John understood that one   way to satisfy ego was to place her children in positions of power and   influence.  Jesus used this negative model to teach what authority is not:   

"...And whosoever will be great among you, let him be your servant even   as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and   to give his life a ransom for many." (Matt.  20:25-28).    

Jesus says that the eldership is work and sacrifice and not power,   prestige, and a place at the head of the table.  And he stooped and washed   His disciples feet to teach that they too should be "foot washers" and not  rulers.  Those who promote ill-prepared men for the eldership often do so out   of friendship and often do not understand the true character of the candidate   nor the qualifications for the work.  This results in many being promoted by   special interest groups to what they consider prestigious positions of   authority where the elder candidate himself may understand that he neither   aspires to nor is qualified to be pastor-teacher.  

The power of the modern eldership has become so distorted that we are told  that one man was promoted as an elder who was a known drunkard and who lived  loose with women not his wife.  We are repelled (but not surprised) by having   a well-known elder die and having two families at the funeral.  And another  elder spent considerable time in prison for fraud.  And still others get   dangerously close to the eldership who do not subscribe to the theology of   his own church.  

The argument that it is the elder

because he is:

The Elder as Teacher—Model

  "Remember them which have the RULE over you, who have spoken unto      you the word of God; whose faith follow, considering the end of      their conversation" (Heb.  13:7 KJV).     

"Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and   considering the outcome of their way of life, imitate their faith"  (Heb.  13:7 NASB)  

The elder has this teaching responsibility in the local church:

"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and the 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" (Acts 20:28).     

Elders as overseers of the flock were not immediately set over the flock  until they had been firmly established by the evangelists who established  the church.  

When John wrote of Diotrephes taking the pre-eminence it is very likely  that there were no elders in the church.  When Paul went out preaching the  gospel, he returned in about two years and appointed elders.  So we conclude   that churches existed without elders for about two years.  Those who "rule  over you" in Hebrews are never defined by a 'title.'  Here in this reference,   we do not know that these are elders in a formal sense and there is no   evidence elsewhere to show that the Thessalonian church ever had elders.  

Albert Barnes agrees that generally this term is not often used of elders  (see quote above).  

David Lipscomb says, "...

Those who labor are not necessarily elders or   deacons; for some of the best workers in he church are not elders or   deacons." (A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles, p.  68).  

Robert Milligan, a respected restoration scholar says:

"Or more literally, remember your leaders who spoke to you the word of     God; carefully considering the issues of their manner of life; imitate    their faith." (Robert Milligan, Commentary on Hebrews, p 875)    

If "rulership" is seen as command authority to force the local church   to believe or behave in a certain way then the struggle to determine who  is "the king of the mountain" will persist while the flock scatters.  If  however, in the light of all of the examples which we can find, the "ruler"  is the "teacher" of the flock then the collective leadership will get on  with the teaching task and the flock will multiply.  

The Elder as Ruler.

In the KJV where the word "rule" is used in Heb.  13:7, a somewhat   parallel passage in 1 Tim.  5:17 shows that the ruler is the elder.  There  are no parallel passages which show that an evangelist is to "rule" the  church.  This is true because the evangelist is never a permanent fixture  in the local church.  After he has prepared or set in order the flock he  moves on to new work.  Even Titus who was to ordain elders on Crete was never   understood to be this kind of ruler.  

Paul who probably wrote Hebrews and did write 1 Timothy puts this in a parallel form and defines the rulers as the elders.  

"Let the elders that RULE WELL be counted of double honor, especially     they that LABOR in the WORD and DOCTRINE" (1 Tim.  5:17).            

"Remember them which have the RULE over you, who have spoken unto     you the word of God; whose faith follow, considering the end of     their conversation" (Heb.  13:7 KJV).    

"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they   watch for your souls, as they that lmust give account, that theymayu do it   wil joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you" (Heb.   13:17).  

The Elder as Watcher

Only the elders or shepherds are called watchers.

  "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they  watch for your souls, as they that lmust give account, that theymayu do it    wil joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you" (Heb.     13:17).    

"Elders...Shepherd the flock among you...And when the Chief Shepherd     appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory" (1 Pet.  5:1-4)    

The Elder as the One Accountable

  "Elders...Shepherd the flock among you...And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory" (1 Pet.  5:1-4)    

Those who shepherd the flock have been entrusted with that which the  Chief Shepherd has purchased with His own life.  

"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and the 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" (Acts 20:28).    

The Elder as Over You in the Lord

"And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and    are OVER YOU IN THE LORD, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly    in love for their work's sake" (1 Thess.  5:12-13).   

The NASB uses the phrase "have charge over you in the Lord and give you instructions"

This is somewhat parallel with Heb.  13:17 where the elder is clearly  meant once the church is set in order.  If the evangelist is giving instructions to the new flock then it is the evangelist who should be  esteemed and loved.  In either case the thing which brings esteem and love is the teaching and admonition to a good life.  One obeys but does not esteem another who rules by command authority.

If the elder is going to claim the authority to be "over you in the Lord"  he must be equiped to "give instruction."  

The "default" overseers:

There are always two church organizations—the Biblical model and the default model.  If the Biblical model is not followed there will be a default or "fall back" model.  If the elders are not the primary pastor-teachers then someone else will, by default, assume this responsibility.

The one who "teaches" is the one who "rules" in the New Testament sense.  If the preacher teaches and admonishes and the elder does not then the preacher is the Pastor-Teacher of the flock and the "elected elders" become stumbling blocks rather than stepping stones.  If the elder never becomes a teacher then he may be "elected" but he is never a Pastor-teacher because the descriptors of the work describe what the elder IS and what he DOES and not an office.

Elders as overseers of the flock were not immediately set over the flock until they had been firmly established through the instruction of the evangelists who established the church.  The evangelist then moved on to other works.  If the elder is not equipped for his ministry then he should be trained by the evangelist and he should seek training from every source until he is able to assume the pastor-teacher role.

When John wrote of Diotrephes taking the pre-eminence it is very likely that there were no elders in the church.  When Paul went out preaching the gospel, he returned in about two years and appointed elders.  So we conclude that churches existed without elders for about two years.  Those who "rule over you" in Hebrews are never defined by a 'title.'  Because the person ruled through teaching, he might be an evangelist at one time and the pastor-teacher at a later time.  

CONCLUSION TO RULERSHIP   

  We have looked at negative models of church rulership and are repelled  that they always reject the clear teaching of Jesus that true leaders do  not lord it over the flock.  And in looking at positive examples of rulership   we have seen that the ruler is the teacher of the flock.    

Duty of the flock

        Esteem as a parent

        Submit and obey.

            What submission is not.

            What submission is

            How does the flock submit.

        Follow example

        Do not accept accusations

Duty of Flock to Submit

Without a doubt the view of authoritarian evangelists or elders is not a view gained from the Bible but from two thousand years of abusive treatment of the flock by its "papa."

The authority of the elder is the authority of Christ.  "To rebel against the scriptural eldership is to rebel against Christ." (H.E.Phillips in Scriptural Elders and Deacons, Cogdill Publications,    1959, p.  45)

"But the supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff.  Union of mind, therefore, requires together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of the will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff as to God Himself." (Pope Leo XIII, Great Encyclical   Letters)

“What I am saying to you is that even though there is a plurality of elders, I AM the leader” (Belmont paper, p.  2)

It is possible to understand authority and the use of the word "rule" by understanding what it means to submit to that authority.  

One of the most blatant grabs for power in the contemporary church is the charismatic claim to be an apostle with the "authority of Christ," and the claim to be a discerner of spirits whereby one is judged by some super- natural process and is under pressure to please the overlord lest he be put out of the church or prevented from full participation.  

In an age when words such as rule and submit are treated with contempt, it  is easy for servants within the church to assume the literal role of "ruler"  and also easy for the flock to rebel at the literal meaning of the word  "submit."  However, we saw that Jesus gained His power from the authority of His word and the power of His life.  And Paul in 2 Cor.  shows the servant nature of the apostles.  If these levels of servants refused to be rulers then no self-styled apostle or "chief elder" has the right.  

What Submission is Not

Undoubtably this view has not been gained from the Bible but from two  thousand years of abusive treatment of the flock by its "papa." We repeat the  following, quoted by Waymon D.  Miller, to show how strongly this view is  held.  While the non-institutional churches once promoted an authoritarian eldership many have now switched to the "authoritarian evangelist" who has power not over his congregation but an area.  

"The authority of the eldership in the church is the authority of Christ.  To rebel against the scriptural eldership is to rebel against Christ." (H.E.Phillips in Scriptural Elders and Deacons, Cogdill Publications, 1959, p.  45)

"But the supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff.  Union of  mind, therefore, requires together with a perfect accord in the one faith,  complete submission and obedieence of the will to the Church and to the  Roman Pontiff as to God Himself." (Pope Leo XIII, Great Encyclical  Letters)

We suggest that the claim to being an apostle flows from this false understanding rather than misreading the Bible.  

What Submission Is

While the meaning of submission and obedience can best be understood by looking at the Biblical context, we can learn something from the definition of the Greek word.  Submit is the Greek HUPEIKO meaning "to retire, withdraw,  hence to yield, submit is used metaphorically in Heb.  13:17, of submitting to  spiritual guides in the church." (Vine, p 1110)

This term is not exclusively reserved for spiritual leaders or teachers but all Christians are to "yield or submit" to one another:

"Submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of God" (Eph.  5:21; 1 Pet.  5:5)  "that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in  the work and labors" (1 Cor.  16:16)

"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor  preferring one another" (Rom.  12:10)

⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠"The word used here means evidently that you would show them proper  deference and regard; that you would treat them with distinguished respect  and honour for what they have done." (Albert Barnes, commenting on 1 Cor.,  p.  333)  

Any power grab may temporarily gain followers by those who fall for any  claim to supernatural power, the long-term impact of any authoritarianism will result in the body retiring from the scene allowing the rulers to do the work which they would willingly do if allowed to be a part of the body.  

It is significant that whatever our understanding of "rule" and "submit"  the mass of literature is on the side that it is the eldership (plural) who are the principle pastor-teachers of the flock.  These writers never apply these passages to the self-appointed "apostle" in the church.  

In our description of the elder as "point man in grizzly bear country," we understand the need to have total regard as he attempts to lead us through danger and into safe territory.  We submit because he is competent and  because we trust his leadership.  He has demonstrated by his total life that he loves the flock and will not do anything destructive.  He has the same regard for the flock as a father or mother has for each of their children.  

How does one Submit

Notice:  We are not aware that any of these obligations are enjoined with respect to apostles or evangelists.  

⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠⎠These are men who "diligently labor among you, and have charge over  you in the Lord and give you instructions."  The interrelationship of 1 Thess., 1 Cor.  and Heb.  13 indicate strongly that these are by this time the Pastor-teachers.  Initially they were to submit to the teaching of the travelling evangelist.  

It has been suggested by Keese in A Re-Evaluation of the Eldership, p.  48 that there is a need to know them in three ways:  

a)      Know them as persons.  They are elders because they are Godly men who are honorable and have a good reputation.  Therefore, respect is due because of their righteous life.  

b)      Know them as responsible leaders.  Examine their life from the  standpoint of their labor and demands placed upon their time.  Knowing their work creates a greater toleration for problems

c)      Know them as workers in need of assistance.  The definition of the work "know" means that we take an interest in whatever area they have need.  

To this list, we would add:

e)     "know them as equippers" because they have the responsibility to equip me to function within the body of Christ and to withstand the onslaughts of Satan.  

2)  Esteem the elders.  "And esteem them very highly in love for their  work's sake" (1 Thes.  5:12).  This idea of "know" is followed through   by the word esteem which means that they deserve our love and apprecia- tion.   We do not esteem them because they occupy an "office" but  because we can readily see by their work that they are worthy of our esteem.  

3)  Give them "double honor."  That is, pay their support.  Thayer says "a valuing by which the price is fixed; hence, the price itself: of  the price paid or received for a person or thing bought or sold."

Perhaps it is because of the lack of understanding of the nature of the  elder as pastor-teacher that we cringe at the notion of the elder as a paid  shepherd of the flock.  Churches pay preachers, teachers, evangelists,  counselors, financial advisers, medical workers, and even janitors, but  neglect the most important work of the church, that of shepherding the flock.   Of the elder who is the pastor-teacher of the entire flock we say that he  should "labor with his own hands" to support himself.  Only then, after he has  put in his eight to twelve hours, is he to perform the work of oversight and  teaching.  A man might run a business and still oversee the corporate work of  the church but there is serious doubt that he can shepherd the flock as a  teacher in his spare time.   

Why is this view so pervasive?  Perhaps it is because the "local minister," who is no where mentioned as a separate class of worker, goes to college and gets a degree in "Bible" and "preaching" and often is the only person within the congregation who is equiped as "pastor-teacher" and the elders are often ill-prepared and sometimes chosen even when Biblically inadequate.   

This problem might be resolved if the elder has enough desire for the  office that he prepares to the same extent that the preacher prepares.  If his  total duty is bound up in his ability to teach the Word, model the life, and  refute false doctrine and he is not qualified for this work then he neither  deserves the honor due an elder and certainly not the pay.   

4)  Be subject to the elders and obey them:

 The passages of 1 Tim.  5:17; Heb.  13:7; Heb.  13:17; Tit.  1:9; 1 Pet.  5:1- 4; and 1 Thess.  5:12 convey some level of submission and obedience.   

Book     Title                          Work                         How one submits and obeys

————————————————————————————————————————————————————

 Tim.    ELDER                    RULE WELL        Learn true doctrine

 Tit.       BISHOP                                                           Be exhorted and corrected doctrinally

 Thes.                                          LABORERS           Know and esteem them—accept admonition

Heb         TEACHERS         RULE OVER         Follow teaching and imitate faith

Heb.      TEACHERS          RULE OVER         Obey and submit to their teaching

Pet.         ELDER                     OVERSEER           Accept teaching and obey elder's example

————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

 "REMEMBER those who LEAD you, who SPOKE the words of God to you, and who   have a life-style WORTHY of imitation—imitate THEIR faith" (Heb.  13:7).  

There is no definition or title assigned to the leaders in the book of Hebrews.  It might have been the initial teaching of the apostles, a travell- ing evangelist, or it might be the elders among the flock.  These passages  with only those in Hebrews being sometimes disputed all apply to the eldership  and not to a "ruling elder" and certainly not to the "apostle of the church."   

The parallel message of 1 Tim.  5:17 and Hebrews 13:17 while not supporting  the notion of rulership, nevertheless show that these men are the elders.  

It was usual for people to perceive the one doing the speaking as the  "leader."  "And they called...Paul, Mercury, because he was the chief speaker"  (Acts 14:12).  Titles, however, are not important but the one doing the gospel  preaching is the one to heed and emulate.  It might be the contemporary  "located preacher" or it might be the elder if the elder is a Biblical pastor- teacher.  

The idea of "obey" (Gr.  PEITHO) means "to persuade, to win over, to listen  to, to obey" (Vine).  It means to have faith and trust in the one doing the  persuading.  This occurs at several levels and is consistent with the elder's task to teach the Word, model the life, and correct error.    

If one aspires to be "THE" leader of a congregation he can have the entire congregation submit to his "rule" if he is spiritually competent as shown by the following admotions:

a)  Follow their faith, listen to what they say and stand in awe of  both their faith and their faithfulness.  Believe their Christian  doctrine of faith and practice.  If the elder is not teaching then  there is no way to follow.  If the elder is not persuading then  there is no way to "obey" by being persuaded.   

b)  Consider the outcome of their life, see where they have been and  make judgments about where they are going both spiritually and  otherwise.  It is always a pleasure to follow one who knows where   he is going.   

c)  Imitate their lifestyle (Heb.  13:7, 17).  The duty of the elder is  to model Christian lifestyle and to the extent this is true they  serves as exemplary models for the flock.  The sheep have no  responsibility to follow an elder into questionable lifestyles.  

The younger must submit to the elder because there is a demand for mutual   submission among all believers and because submission is consistent with being  "clothed with humility" (1 Pet.  5:5).  The congregation is to know the elders,  evangelists, and deacons and to esteem them for their work's sake (1 Thes.   5:12, 13).  One who aspires to being an apostle by his very nature cannot  submit to others.  If one objects to his opinions he sees "division within the eldership."  If one suggests some idea he will see this as a threat to his authority.  

If the elders are under God's mandate to teach and feed the flock then the flock is under a mandate to listen to and obey the teaching and modelling of the elder as it conforms to the Biblical model.  His responsibility to  discipline also demands that the flock submit to honest and Scriptural rebuke.   

5)  Refuse to participate in "elder bashing."  Paul in 2 Tim.  5:19  demands that we not accept an accusation against an elder unless  there are several witnesses present who have the qualifications to judge guilt or innocence.  

6)  Appropriate their help.  The passage in James 5:14-16 may have to do with calling upon the early elders who had the supernatural ability to heal illness.  However, if the supernaturally-charged environment under which the eldership was instituted no longer exists, and if we insist that the office of the elder continues even today, then there may still exist a work of the elder to aid and comfort those who are physically ill and to pray for spiritual recovery to the weak.  Because he is an elder (meaning mature and experienced having gone through the same troubles), he is competent to guide the younger  members in child-rearing and other marital-related problems.  

If one looks at the entire scope of the eldership he will see a ministry and not a rulership.  He will see servants and not masters.  He will see a body of godly men who "condescend to men of low esteem" who will listen to the smallest lamb in the flock.  He will see a flock who submits because the elder is a spiritual teacher of correct doctrine, competent to refute false doctrine, and a visible model of what a Christian should be.

One who wants to be the "apostle" with supreme authority over the flock  and over the eldership should be prepared to "out serve," "out teach," and "out model" the entire eldership.  Only then can he have the preeminence which Jesus modelled.  

CONCLUSION TO SUBMIT

 As all of the passages which discuss the rule of "rule" we have seen that the elder rules by guiding and instructing the flock.  By looking at the same passages it can be seen that the flock "submits" by following the example and teachings of the elder.      

Selection of Elders

Introduction.

The questions of selection, appointment, and tenure of an elder usually flows from misconceptions about the nature of the church and a misunder-  standing of the work of the eldership.  The church is almost always seen in   its modern corporate sense rather than in the context of the early church   which had no lands, buildings, nor bank accounts; one that largely rejected   social acceptablity, had not been swamped by humanism and secularism, and   which had utter contempt for affluence.   

One set of criteria is to be followed if the eldership is seen as  providing "for the regular and fixed instruction" of the churches.  If the  church is seen as the body of Christ with the elder taking oversight as the   pastor-teacher then appointment is based upon endorsing what has been firmly   established in the minds of the entire body—that the candidate is ALREADY a   spiritual leader.      

After the early churches had been established by Paul and firmly instructed by messangers of Paul or older churches, the evangelist doing the  establishment taught the qualifications of the eldership, probably allowed  the assembly to seek out those who already met those qualifications and were  certain kinds of men, and then the evangelist ordained or set the eldership  over the work prior to his moving on to the next work.  This group of elders  were to pastor the church by giving it "regular and fixed instruction."  

"...provision was to be made plainly for the regular and fixed instruction   and conduct of the rapidly multiplying churches.  The historical pattern   for it was presented in the Jewish synagogue, namely, in the college or   bench of elders." (Thological Dictionary of the NT, p.  116)    

However, an entirely different (and today a very common) procedure is to   be followed if the elder is seen as a corporate leader.  If the elder is seen   as a member of the board of a corporation which we call a "church" then   appointment is legal, technical, and political—and destructive.    

To the extent that the church is seen in the corporate sense it is with-  out Scriptural warrant and historical perspective.  And the selection of  a board of trustees for its management is defacto proof that the church,  in its spiritual sense, has NOT been restored in that place.  Jesus made it   plain that worship was a matter of truth and spirit and not of place.  And  if it is not a matter of place than it cannot be a part of human organi-  zational structures selected to manage that place.  

Perhaps there is a lesson in God's allowing the temple to be destroyed  three times and having Jesus repudiate a special location for worship in  John 4:21-24; having Jesus and the apostles meet in a rented upper-room;  having the early church meet in rented places or in private homes; and in   having Paul rent an already existing school in which to teach.  During the  early years, when there were no fixed locations, the church spread into the  entire known world—from Great Britian to Japan and from northern Europe to  Africa.  It was the religion which was accused of "turning the world upside  down."  And we all know how difficult it is to "turn the world upside down"  

from within a church building.  The selection and appointment of elders then  was not to manage a "church plant" but was in the context of a "scattered"  flock over which spiritual leaders were to take the oversight through   teaching.  

Until the fourth century when the church had been captured by the secular   state there were no "church plants."  While the king of England is thought to   have built a church building earlier than in Rome, the Old Saint Peters was   built by the secular rulers as a way to tame the church and to bring it under   control by localizing it where it could be observed and used to promote   secular rule.  This of course resulted in the almost total corruption of the   church with its emphasis upon "who is in charge" and the misuse of human  resources in constructing the great buildings as monuments to themselves.  

In the beginning of the church, God selected apostles and prophets who  in turn were able to "point out" those who obviously had pastoral qualifi-  cations who could be left in place in the local assembly while the apostles,  prophets and evangelists went into all the world making disciples.  If it is   assumed that apostles such as Paul and persons such as Titus who was   instructed both by Paul and the eldership are no longer within the local    church and we are left with no clear selection process then how are we to   proceed?   

The Meaning of Selection

  The modern conception of the eldership is that by some means the church  selects several candidates and then gives itself two weeks to charge and prove  that the candidate is NOT fit to be installed.  Almost no effort is expended   to instruct future elders and the assembly how to work with elders nor to  prove that the candidate is a competent pastor-teacher.  If no charges are   raised or if charges are dismissed then the unfounded assumption is made that  silence is accent.  Silence is never concent in a situation where opinions   are seen as "trouble-making" and at times the silence votes a man into the  work who has not one spiritual qualification for the work.  The elder is   ordained by some kind of ceremony and thereafter, the corporate authority of   the body passes to the elder, often to the exclusion of other capable leaders.  

The Apostles were selected to be "guided into all truth" by the Holy   Spirit and having been guided, they initially revealed this knowledge by  the actions which they took.  If this selection is seen as an example of the   apostles "being guided into all truth" then no single evangelist nor the   modern eldership should usurp this authority.  We need to note that neither   Stephen nor Philip are recorded as having fed the widows.  Their qualifica-  tions of being full of the Holy Spirit (having demonstrated the fact before   all), being duly selected by their peers, ordained by the apostles, and given   power through the hands of the apostles pushed them out as evangelists and   there is no hint that they represent the model for the modern deacon.  

  In Crete, Titus was to appoint (Kathistemi) elders in every city (Titus   1:5) and we do not know how they were selected—it was probably by the mature  members of the local church.  It might have been by some balloting procedure   but it is more likely that those so ordained were simply the natural leaders   who would be obvious to a visiting, supernaturally equipped, evangelist or any   other observer of the church at work.  While Titus finished the work which   Paul had begun the word "kathistemi" does not give him the authority to choose   who would serve as elders.   

EKLEGO = to pick out, select, means, in the Middle voice, to choose for     oneself, not necessarily implying the rejection of what is not chosen, but    choosing with the subsidiary idea of kindness or favor or love." (Vine)    (Acts 6:5)      

HISTEMI = to make to stand.  "In Acts 1:23, with reference to Joseph and  Barnabas...were not appointed in the accepted sense of the term, but   simply singled out, in order that it might be made known which of them   the Lord had chosen" (Vine).  

KATHISTEMI = to appoint a person to a position (Vine)   (Titus 1:5)    "Not a formal ecclesiastical ordination is in view, but the appointment,    for the recognition of the churches, of those who had already been raised   up and qualified by the Holy Spirit, and had been given evidence of this   in their life and service."   

TITHEMI = to appoint to any form of service.  "as those appointed by the  Holy Ghost, to tend the church of God" (Acts 20:28)—elders and not  apostles or evangelists.  

CHEIROSTONEO = primarily used of voting in the Athenian legislative    assembly and meaning to stretch forth the hands, is not to be taken in a    literal sense...since it is said of God and He does not hold elections.  (Acts 10:41).   

"had appointed," i.e, by the recognition of those who had been   manifesting themselves as gifted of God to discharge the function   of elders." (Vine, p.  21, on Acts 14:23)   

This recognition by publicaly pointing one’s hand toward or laying one’s hands upon another was not the selection of that person:

Certain people believe that it was the evangelist Titus (or in his capacity as an "apostle" of the church and of Paul) who had the supreme authority to appoint elders because Paul wrote TO Titus:

Acknowledgment of Competence

We believe, on the other hand, that appointment or ordination is simply  the public acknowledgement by the congregation that a certain leading member   of the church is now to be recognized formally as a pastor-teacher because he   has demonstrated his pastoring-teaching competence and has been selected by   the process of successful experience.    

This process by which the "cream rises to the top" is successfully defeated   where authoritarian elders see themselves as "officers" and rulers and effect-  ively restrict the normal interplay between members of the entire church in   teaching, preaching (as was practiced in the open synagogues), involvement in   the "business affairs" of the church and other activities which both mold    and reveal those with leadership qualities.  

Example of Selecting “deacons”"

The Hellenistic Jews, in order that their people got their share of food,  were asked to select (Eklego) seven qualified men and the apostles appointed   (Kathistemi) them over the work to be done.  It is clear that the people did    the selecting and the apostles appointed or assigned them to the task.  We  need to notice that no single apostle presumed to select these spiritual  leaders; not even the collective apostleship so presumed.    

    No models of selection

    The selecting process

        Training the flock

        Training prospective Pastor-Teachers

        Using those selected

        Recognition or ordination of those already functioning

    Definition of appoint.

Who is to select

The issue of who does the selecting of elders lies at the heart of either  success or failure of pastoral leadership because the quality of those   selected is inevitably a reflection of the spiritual standing of the electors.   If materialistic men and women do the selecting then those chosen will   probably be materialistic.  If competent Bible students do the selecting then   the elders will be lovers of and students of the truth.  

The following material explores all possible participators in the selecting   process with the intuitive assumption that no clear answer can be found with-  out clearly defining the nature of the work.   

The Involvement of The Assembly

That the church selects elders because of the following:

The failure to involve of the entire church in the selection of elders  is often based upon the rejection of "majority rule."  But if the only   alternative is "minority rule" then perhaps it is not the worst method.    However, this objection betrays the most common misunderstanding of the nature   of the church as a Christian community or body where the word "rule" or the   question of "who is in charge" is totally out of place.  Erecting barriers  based upon which sector of the assembly is to exercise "rule"—either the   majority or the minority—absolutely prevents reaching a Biblical answer.  

Without a clear legalistic statement that "the collective assembly is to   select its elders" the best we can do is to make inferences bases upon   Biblical examples and based upon logic.  Of course such inferred "proof" has  no binding power on those who cannot see the inference.  There are several  Biblical justifications for allowing the church to select its pastor-  teachers—with, we might add, some limitations.   

When we say "majority rule" of course we do not mean every man, woman, and  child whatever their standing within the church.  One charter examined by   this writer demands that one voting for the elders or deacons must be in good   standing and must attend 3 out of every 5 meetings of the group.  Often this  would narrow the electors to twenty-five percent of the congregation.  There   must be some standards based upon continuing with a congregation long enough   to be considered more than a "floater."  There are differences between the   maturity level where a young adult may be more mature than one who has been a   member for sixty years.  

Even where the entire assembly is involved at some level there is always   the danger that the most popular and least spiritual will be elected.  It is  even possible to select functional or even totally illiterate elders who may  be highly spiritual but incompetent to be pastor-teachers.  If the selection  is done by voting then even one who gets 95% of the vote will be perpetually  crippled by the 5% who actively voted against him.  

While there are reasons to believe that the entire church selects its   leaders, there are other examples which probably are inserted within Scripture   to prevent dogmatism.  Therefore, we will list the following evidences without   proposing that they constitute proof:  

Its right to choose ministers.

  One of the arguments for the church doing the selecting is based upon the   sixth chapter of Acts where certain ministers are selected to attend to the   Grecians who had extended their stay in Jerusalem beyond their financial   means.  It is not certain to this writer that this example can be extended to   the pastor-teachers but the quality and work of those selected more closely  resembles the elder than the deacon.   

If one can draw an analogy between the apostles and elders and between  servants and deacons the image of the elder as the minister of the word is  enhanced.        

"If, then, the disciples chose their own deacons; if the whole congre-  gation at Jerusalem convened with the apostles and elders chose men from   among themselves, and sent them to Antioch for a specific purpose; if Paul   recognized the right of the Corinthians to choose their own almoners; and   if an evangelist, of high reputation, was actually chosen by the   Macedonian congregation, to attend to their contributions made in behalf   of the poor saints at Jerusalem, can anyone assign a good reason why each   congregation should not elect her own elders according to the standard of   fitness prescribed by the Holy Spirit?" (Alexander Campbell, Millennial   Harbinger Abridged, B.  L.  Smith, Vol.  II, p.  291f)   

It should be noted that in all of the examples, which proves to Campbell   that the elders should be elected, the tast to be done is temporary and having   to do with the benevolent work of the church.  One might be elected to get   food to the hungry but it is not as sure that one can be elected to be a   qualified pastor-teacher any more than one can be elected to be a brain   surgeon.  The real issue, however, is that someone in some way decides that   a man is a qualified pastor-teacher and the church should be involved.   

While these examples cannot be boosted to the level of "proof," it is  significant that while we have no examples of elders selecting additional   elders we do find these examples of the church's involvement.  

"But, as all the citizens of the kingdom are free men under Christ, they   all have a voice in the selection of the persons whom the Apostles appoint   to the office.  The Apostles still appoint all persons so elected,   possessing the qualifications which they by the Holy Spirit prescribed.    And if a congregation will not elect to these offices the persons possess-  ing these qualifications; or if, by a waywardness and selfishness of their   own, they should elect those unqualified, and thus disparage those marked   out by the possession of those gifted; in either case, they despise the   authority of the Ambassadors of Christ and must suffer for it."  (Alexander Campbell, The Christian System, p.  148)  

"It seemed good to the apostles and the Holy Spirit that the whole   'multitude of the disciples' should take part in the selection of these    officers, the APOSTLES doing NO MORE in the matter than TO PRESCRIBE their   qualifications.  No ingenuity of argument can evade the conclusion that   this gives the authority of apostolic precedent for the popular election of   church officers.  In what way the choice was made by the multitude,   whether by balloting, or by a viva voce vote and whether with or without   nominations, we are not informed; and consequently, in reference to these   points, every congregation is left to its own judgment." (J.  W.McGarvey,   Acts of the Apostles, 1892, pp.  104-105, emph.  kls).   

If a modern "apostle" can prescribe where neither the apostles nor the   Holy Spirit saw fit to prescribe then we must question his authority.  Any  person pressing for recognition of his authority rather than demonstrating   his "foot washing" servitude must be questioned.  

"It was the community as a whole, that selected these seven men and   presented them to the apotles for their approbation; it was the apostles   who appointed them to their office." (F.F.Bruce, The Book of Acts, p.  130)  

"The power of elders in the church is small.  They cannot make a single   rule or enact a principle to impose on the church that's not found in New   Testament teaching.  They have no power save that which is granted them by   the New Testament.  They canot add a single command; neither can they   give any promise of blessing.  They cannot lord it over God's people...  When churches begin to delegate their own inherent powers and rights to  elders, the day of their degradation has set in; that moment they depart   from the New Testament pattern." (H.Leo Boles, How Elders Are Appointed,  The Gospel Advocate, Feb.  2, 1941).  

And it might be added that if delegation of their own inherent powers to  a group is a departure from the NT pattern then even more so is the abdica-  tion to one person as pastor, pope, president, or "apostle."  

The apostles had knowledge and authority to select these men but they  did not.  The purpose of their work was to equip the church for the ministry   and the only way to train people is to give them power to gain experience  for themselves.  Each member is to be a living stone in the Temple or house  of God and he must function at a level higher than just doing the bidding  of others.  

Even during the period of supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, all of  the ministers of the church are to be servants (1 Pet.  5:2; 2 Cor.  4:5).  Choosing ministers then must be based upon the recognition of those who  are already servants of the entire body.  

In the case of Timothy, the churches at Lystra and Iconium were instru-  mental in his work.  Even though Paul desired to have Timothy join him as   fellow-worker to do the work of an Evangelist (always moving on to new territory) he trusted the recommendations of the churches who knew of his  character and his Biblical training (Acts 16: 1-3).  

Based upon the very nature of the church.

  Other arguments advanced for the church's right to select its own leaders   are related to the very nature of the government of the church, that it is  congregational.   

a.  Selecting new Apostles.

"And they put forward two...and they gave lots for them" (Act 1:23).

In the case of selecting a new apostle to replace Judas, the qualifica-  tions were given and probably the entire 120 (Acts 1:15) put forward two   candidates for the apostleship and they cast lots to decide which of the   equally qualified men would be selected.  We believe of course that God did   the actual selection but wasn't He wise to the human condition in that He   allowed his people to help in the process?    

"And they put forward two...and they gave lots for them." (Acts 1:23)

Based upon the church's authority to select the first elders.

In the early years a church was often founded because the evangelist went   out, did the teaching, made the converts, established the local congregation,   and put it in order.  Under those circumstances, the evangelist would normally   have a great part in the qualifiying and selection of elders.  As all evange-  lists did, he then moved on and did not exercise administrative authority over   the eldership.    

However, many modern churches are formed when a group of members in a   given locality decide that it is expedient to establish a new congregation in   their neighborhood.  Often, the congregation functions for many years without   officially selecting elders and when they do it is recognized that they have   the authority to select certain leaders out of their midst.  After the selec-  tion of those to be pastor-teachers (not rulers or overlords) the authority of   the local church does not suddenly pass from the body to its teachers because    the church is not a republic but the organic body of Christ, a family.  And   later, when an elder is guilty of sin, it is the corporate body which has the   authority to dismiss the elder.  He does not suddenly, like a sponge, absorb   all of the authority of the group with a life-long tenure.  We repeat:  

"...When churches begin to delegate their own inherent powers and rights   to elders, the day of their degradation has set in; that moment they   depart from the New Testament pattern." (H.  Leo Boles, The Gospel   Advocate, Feb.  2, 1941)  

Because the Assembly must Maintain the Unity

It is the corporate body which has the duty to preserve   unity: "Be of the same mind one toward another" (Rom.  12:16); "Now I beseech   you...that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among   you" (1 Cor.  1:10); "be of the same mind" (2 Cor.  13:11); "giving dilligence   to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph.  4:3); "that ye   stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel"   (Phil.  1:27).  

Rather than being addressed to the eldership or a local evangelist (if  that is not a contradiction of terms), admonitions are addressed to the entire   body.  The body is not advised to be passive but to be active in maintaining   this unity because Christ dwells within the corporate body by dwelling within   each individual member.  The member is not to be docile, but must be ready to   present his arguments about a course of action and just as ready, when a   concensus is reached, to support the concensus if it is Scriptural.  

If the body is excluded from the selection of its own teachers, the   selection of paid ministry, the purchase and control of property, and etc.,    it cannot function to maintain the unity.  This power has been usurped and  taken from it by force.  

Because the Assembly is Responsible for Pure Doctrine

From the argument that the whole church has responsibility to maintain pure doctrine and worship practices: "the church of the living God,   the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim.  3:15); "exhorting you to contend   earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude   3)   

Notice that it is the entire church and not its leaders which have   been given and must not abdicate the responsibility for correct doctrine,  although the elders have a heavy responsibility to teach new converts such   that they will be able to stand up against false doctrine (Eph.  4:11f).  The object of equipping for the ministry is that one then exercises that  ministry of withstanding false teachers.  

Because of the Mandate of the Great Commission

From the argument that the entire church is given the charge of the Great commission: "Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations"   (Matt.  28:19,20)   

The entire church has the responsibility to conduct the Lord's supper   properly.  "For I receive of the Lord that which I delivered unto you, that   the Lord Jesus...." (1 Cor.  11:23,24)  

Because the Assembly selected its own officers

From the selection of the whole church of its own officers.  In Titus 1:5, Strong, in Systematic Theology, says, "when Paul empowers Titus to  set presiding officers over the communities, this circumstance decides nothing  as to the mode of choice, nor is the choice by the community itself necessarily excluded."  We will list further evidence elsewhere that Titus was not  given the selecting authority but rather that he was to instruct the church   and then ordain the selected elders.   

Because the Assembly Selected its Own Evangelist

 From the reference to the supposed "deacons," it can be seen that an immediate task was to look out for the needs of the Grecians in Jerusalem.  From their qualifications and from their subsequent history we understand that the apostles were giving the church community the right to participate in the selection of their own teachers.  

 What God-inspired foresight that some of those who would move out into the Jewish and Greek world would be cross-trained in alien cultures and would meet influential people whom they would call upon later as evangelists.  By figuratively "washing the disciples feed," as did Jesus, in that they looked out for the physical well-being of the flock, they gained the standing to speak the word of God convincingly as evangelists.

If the work of the first church was that of the deacon then we have the model of a work assignment which lasted just as long as there was a need for the work.  There was no standing committee of deacons or DEACONSHIP as there was a “college of elders” called the PRESBYTERY.

Just as the “noble women” of certain cities were very important to Paul’s missionary work, many of those widows caught in Jerusalem without funds were probably women of means in their own community and could be valuable contacts when the “deacons” completed their work and became “evangelists.”

"And as they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them..."   (Acts 13:2, 3).  

It was the entire church which sent them out (and then it is said that the Holy Spirit sent them) and it is to the entire church they report after their missionary journey.  When the church is Scripturally organized it will hear the delivered word of the Holy Spirit to send out evangelists as missionaries, far and wide.

From the selection of evangelists by the church.  From the  reference to the supposed "deacons" below, it can be seen that an immediate   task was to look out for the needs of the Grecians in Jerusalem.  From their  qualifications and from their subsequent history we understand that the  apostles were giving the church community the right to participate in the  selection of their own teachers.  What God-inspired foresight that some of  those who would move out into the Jewish and Greek world would be cross-trained  in alien cultures and would meet influential people whom they would call upon  later as evangelists.  By figuratively "washing the disciples feed" as did  Jesus in that they looked out for the physical well-being of the flock they  gained the standing to speak the word of God convincingly.  

"Look ye out therefore, brethren, from among you seven men of good report and they chose Stephen...and Philp..." (Acts 6:3-5)  

These seven are often called the first deacons but this is true only in  the sense that they "ministered" to the needs of their people.  Even Paul  the Apostle and evangelist modelled the idea that service must go hand in hand   with preaching.  We have no example of the "deacons" seen dishing out food to   the needy Greeks but, on the other, hand do see their true roles as   evangelists.  They were all men "full of the Holy Spirit" and were never   called deacons but we do see Philip being called an EVANGELIST.  The inspired   message choses to amplify their preaching rather than their benevolent work   which helped qualify them for their evangelistic task.   

Stephen:

"And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and   signs among the people..." (Acts 6:8)  

And beginning in the seventh chapter we see Stephen preaching the Gospel.

Philip:

"And Philip went down to the ciy of Samaria and he began proclaiming   Christ to them" (Acts 8:5).  

"And on the next day we departed and came to Caesarea; and entered the   house of Philip the EVANGELIST, who was one of the seven, we stayed with him" (Acts 21:8).

By selecting "deacons" who have the confidence of the congregation and men  who are "full of the Holy Spirit" the church is preparing men to be effective  evangelists either in connection with their benevolent work or as dedicated  evangelists who move out into the mission field.  In either case it was the  congregation which selected some of the early evangelists.  

Later under the notion that the evangelist selects the elders we will see   that Timothy and others were actually ordained for their preaching ministry  by the presbytery.  

 "Philip (who is often thought of as a deacon but is called an evangelist in Acts 21:8).  had begone everywhere 'preaching" the word (Acts 8:4), now  in one city, now in another (8:40); but...he exercises apparently no   pastoral superintendency over any portion of the flock"    

Philip was one of the seven what?  Seven deacons?  No, we have evidence that he was a minister of the needs of others but NO evidence that he was part of some imagined DEACONSHIP.  Because he was a minister to the physical needs of others and because  the spiritual side of his work was preaching, this defined him as an evangelist, not a deacon.  The deacon is often seen in the early historical churches ministering to the needs of an individual or a church and, consistent with the pattern of the synagogue, he probably looked out for the poor, widow or otherwise needy of the church community.  He is never defined Biblically as an evangelist or preacher and we conclude that the seven of note more nearly measured up to the duties of the evangelist  than our modern perception of the deacon.

Because the Assembly’s Sending out Missionaries

The church was instrumental in sending out missionaries.

  "And as they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said,   Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them..."  (Acts 13:2, 3).    

It was the entire church which sent them out (and then it is said that the   Holy Spirit sent them) and it is to the entire church they report after their   missionary journey.  When the church is Scripturally organized it will hear  the delivered word of the Holy Spirit to send out missionaries.  

Because the Assembly sought out Theological Answers

From the selection of those to seek out theological answers,  or "ambassadors" in the generic sense.  When a question needed to be answered   by the apostles in Jerusalem:     

1).  "The BRETHREN appointed Paul and Barnabas and certain others to go  to Jerusalem...  If Paul, an inspired apostle, refrained from   "lording it over the brethren," then how can uninspired men usurp  the rightful privilege of the body of believers.  Paul did not seek  revelation from God but from those to whom the Holy Spirit had  already supplied many answers.  

2).  A decision was made in the presence of the CHURCH at Jerusalem  "...Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole   CHURCH, to choose men out of their company, and send them to Antioch   with Paul and Barnabas...  While the theological decisions were not  made by popular vote of the whole church, they were allowed to meet  with the apostles and elders and see and approve the decision making  process.

One of the ways Scripture teaches is by approved examples.  This is not an  example of decisions made in a corner and then later communicated to the   whole church.  

3).  The answer was not delivered to the leadership in Antioch but the  entire CHURCH,  

"...and when they had gathered the MULTITUDE together they delivered   the epistle..." (See Acts 15:2-30).   

Because the Assembly is involved in Discipline

The entire church, and not just its leadership, had the authority to exercise discipline:

"And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the   church..." (Matt.  18:17); "ye being gathered together...to deliver such a one   unto Satan...Put away the wicked man from among yourselves" (1 Cor.  5:4, 5,   13); "Sufficient to such a one is this punishemnt which was inflicted by the    many..." (2 Cor.  2:6, 7).   

Since the selection of pastor-teachers is not the church abdicating its  God-given responsibilities to organize a church, administer baptism and the  Lord's Supper, and exercise discipline—including the disciplining of an  elder who has sinned,—the elder is not selected as an overlord to "run the  church."  The elder "rules" by being servant, he inspires without driving.  "The sceptre of his rule is the Word of God."  

"He is like the trusty mountain guide, who carres a load thrice as heavy   as that of the man he serves, who leads in safe paths and points out   dangers, but who neither shouts nor compels obedience" (Strong).   

It must then be the elders ambition, not to rule the church but to equip   the church so that it is mature enough to conduct its own affairs and make  its own decisions.  

Because the Assembly controls its own Finances

From the Church's ability to select those who supervise the  financial resources of the church (1 Cor.  16:3).  While there is authority  to take up collections for the care of the poor, the collective church may  choose to join in doing other good works.  It needs no authority to do good as   it sees the need.  However, even in this authorized collection Paul did not  usurp the local congregation's authority to chose those whom it trusted to  deliver the funds to the poor in Jerusalem.  

l.  In 2 Cor.  8:18, 19 Titus was "chosen by the churches to travel   with Paul in delivering individually saved up donations to the poor in   Jerusalem.  As far as we can determine the funds were never in the hands of  the Corinthian "treasurer."  

Because of Open Membership

Based upon the concept of open membership.  

The concept of open membership is a double-edged sword, arguing both for   total democracy in the selection of elders and also arguing for some limits to   selection rights.  First, the grudging acceptance by the modern church that   membership is not limited to the geographic "parish" but is open—meaning that   one may choose his own congregation—says that people can and do wander from   church to church, never establishing roots.  This argues for restricting these   vagabonds from controlling a congregation which they may later abandon.  Too,   the membership is composed of people with varying degrees of spiritual   maturity forcefully arguing for some restrictions on exercising the fundamen-   tal spiritual oversight of choosing those who are the ultimate overseers.  If   the selection of an elder is by popular vote then another vote can put him out   of "office" unless, once selected, the elder is vested with supernatural power   by the Holy Spirit.     

Second, it is generally accepted that people can and do vote with their   purse and with their feet.  The exclusion of people from some level of the   decision process means, to them, that the elders have violated the fundamental   prohibition against lording it over the church and they cast the only vote  available to them against the eldership by moving on.  The exodus of a large  sector of a congregation should signal something drastically wrong.

As we have already pointed out, only the poor and possibly the travelling   evangelist have a claim of debt against the purse of the congregation.  He  (the elders or evangelist) is totally devoid of any authority to command that  the congregation give to a common treasury for unspecified projects.  Because  the profoundest control is gained by controlling the purse and if the elder is   going to shepherd the funds—as we believe that he should—as well as the   flock he must gain the willing cooperation of the contributors.  

The elder is leading only if he can look back and see a following flock.    How tragic to select one to be shepherd of the flock if the flock will not   follow.  One way to assure that this does not happen is to expose, not just   friends but many mature members of the congregation to teaching, preaching,   and other leadership responsibilities to allow the flock to judge their merits   years before it will be asked to endorse him for leadership.  The result will   be a congregation which does not need a continual dose of "spiritual rollaids"   to digest unpopular oversight.         

move headers up

        Based upon the nature of the church.

            Presence in Selecting new Apostles..

            Authority to select first elders.

            Body to preserve unity.

            Body to preserve doctrine and worship.

            Charge of the Great Commission.

            Scriptural evidence of selecting officers.

            That the church selected evangelists..

            Church sent out missionaries.

            Church sought theological answers.

            Church to exercise discipline.

            Church to select financial missionary or temporary "treasurer"

            Based upon open membership.

        Not democratic election but recognition

            Problem of determining who is a member

            Problem of spiritual maturity

            Election often ignores demonstrated experience

        Selection by the Holy Spirit.

Selected by the Holy Spirit

We have elsewhere established the fact that much of what we know about   the eldership is extrapolated from examples of supernaturally selected and  gifted apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers.  We must use  care when applying these examples to the contemporary church.  It is only  by logical extension that we conclude that any of these works continue in  the contemporary church.  

"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in the which   the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops, to feed the church of the Lord  which he purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28 ASV).   

In some sense we must see that the Holy Spirit is involved in selecting  those who are to stand as "watchmen of the night" over His flock which was  purchased with the Blood of Christ.  Just as certain is the fact that the  Holy Spirit has circumscribed the duty and authority of the elder through  Scriptural evidences.   

During the Supernatural Period

In the Primary sense:

  In the early church we see the direct operation of the Spirit of God in  selecting certain men.  For instance in selecting an apostle the use of  lots was used: "And they put forward two...and they gave lots for them"   (Acts 1:26).  That is, two apparently equally qualified men were selected  by the disciples and by the process equivalent to "drawing straws" God make  the final selection.  

In Acts 14:23, Paul and Barnabas had powers of discernment which we do not   have: "Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with   prayer and fasting committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their    trust."

But not even apostles usurped the involvement of the Holy Spirit as it was  exercised through the assembly's involvement.  Many writers point out that  the Holy Spirit is active in the appointment of elders when those who show  evidence of being pastor-teachers are simply acknowledged as leaders.  

"had appointed," i.e, by the recognition of those who had been   manifesting themselves as gifted of God to discharge the function   of elders." (Vine, p 21)    

In Acts 6:6, even though the people chosen to minister food to the   hungry were said to be "full of the Spirit," the apostles laid their hands   upon them and they go forth exhibiting special powers.  This example is   consistent with Acts 8:17 and 13:1f where special gifts were given by the   laying on of the apostle's hands.  Timothy had hands laid upon him by Paul  (1 Tim.  4:14 and II Tim.  1:6) by which he had a spiritual gift.  

It takes a magnificent ignoring of the Biblical record and a superabundance   of pride to suppose that anyone living today has this apostolic power.  

In the secondary sense:

Many times when a prophecy written out in the Old Testament is quoted, it   is said that "the Holy Spirit said."  This means that whatever the Holy Spirit   has put into the minds of inspired men is continuously available today.  When   we follow the qualifications and processes involved in the acknowledgment of   one who is already a pastor-teacher, this selection can be attributed to the   Holy Spirit.  When we fail to follow these guidelines and select those   incapable of teaching then we quench the Holy Spirit and reject Him.   

Alexander Campbell opens the veil slightly and gives insight into the  fact that it is the Holy Spirit which does the selecting and, in reality, if   the congregation, the elders, or the minister allows themselves to get in the   way, the Holy Spirit cannot do His work.  

"It is the Holy Spirit, and not he congregation, which creates Bishops and   Deacons.  The Spirit gives the qualifications, both natural and acquired;   and, speaking to the congregation in the written oracles, commands their   ordination or appointment to the work" (Alexander Campbell, The Christian   System, p.  148)  

"...The Holy Spirit had made them bishops by describing the qualifications   and through the church had called them to be bishops." (H.  Leo Boles, Acts   of the Apostles, Gospel Advocate Co., 1954, p.  326)  

"How had the Holy Spirit made those men bishops?  The Spirit had given the   qualifications for men to meet in order to qualify for the office and had   commanded that they should be appointed." (James Burton Coffman,   Commentary on Acts, Firm Foundation Publishing House, 1976, p.  394)  

If the congregation does not follow the qualifications established by the  Holy Spirit through the Apostles, then the person is "elected to an office  in a non-restored congregation" but he is NOT a pastor-teacher because one  cannot be elected to an office which does not exist apart from the perfor-  mance of certain kinds of work.   

In the Contemporary Church

In addition to being a friend or relative, exhibiting "good business   sense," and being popular, the congregation must understand that none of this  counts if the candidate is not already functioning as defacto pastor-teacher  and being followed by the flock.  The flock has already examined the   Scriptures and the life and practices of the elder candidate and understands  his doctrinal stance before he is "pointed out" as having pastoral qualities.  

If the congregation waits until it needs "two more elders to make a  quorum" then it does not have the ability to select elders.  

It should never be supposed by one who is not qualified and yet finds   himself selected as an elder that the Holy Spirit is going to exercise some  validation process to make him something which he is not.  If this process is  followed then the Holy Spirit has been deliberately quenched and not even a  unanamous vote can change His qualifications and standards.        

That They are Selected by the Evangelist?

Those who once called themselves sometimes change their title to  "Evangelist" even if they never leave the home office because of the new  notion that the evangelist is the primary ruler of the flock and the "board   of elders" are the spiritual shepherds under his direction.  This often  leads to the claim that they have the authority to hire and fire elders.  

Nothing so disturbed Jesus as apostles who aspired to positions of  authority.  It is not likely that He would be less tolerant of evangelists  who attempt to usurp the power of the  collective will of the local church.  Jesus clearly shows that  a leader rules by teaching and serving, Paul shows in the entirety of 2   Corinthians that his apostolic ministry is based upon service.  And the idea   that elders function by command authority is foreign to the Bible and   repulsive to any Bible student.      

But granting all of that, there are those who believe that they are the  indispensable ruler of the flock.  

"Lord, Belmont needs more than me, but I am ALL that they have  and I accept it"...at the next full elders' meeting I asked  for a confirmation of this leadership, and though reluctantly on the  part of some (none of us really knew what all this meant), I was   confirmed" (Belmont Church Paper, p.  2).  

"Two weeks ago the Lord moved in a strong way in this church,     launching a new prayer assault on the enemy" (the elders who do  not support him seem to be the enemy in this entire paper).  

This writer has advanced from being an evangelist to being an apostle:

  "By this time I had seen that in the New Testament, elders were  appointed by apostles (...In Titus 1:5 by Titus)." (p.  2)  

As we will show shortly, Titus is a messanger (Gr.  Apostolos of a church)   and not from Christ.  Rather, Titus and Timothy are Paul's helpers in the  task of evangelism.  And too, an elementary study of the word "appoint" shows  that neither Paul, Barnabas, nor Titus did the "selecting" but when the  elders were selected by the assembly, they "ordained" them to their task.   

1.      There are indeed many "apostolos" or messangers in the NT but there are   not more than twelve (and possibley 13 if the original 12 are all alive  when Paul is selected "out of due season") who were "chosen to be  witnesses" of the resurrection of Christ.  

2.      The Church is NOT founded upon the apostles and prophets but the  apostles and prophets laid the foundation with Christ as the chief  corner stone.  (consult any good commentary)

3.      Elders are the overseers of the flock in the local sense and deacons  are ministers to the flock.  Apostles functioned "at large" until their  task was completed.  No apostle, evangelist, nor prophet is ever said  to be the overseers of the local flock.  A "located evangelist" is  a contradiction of terms.

4.      Supernaturally selected and empowered Apostles "ordained" elders and  never appointed them.  Titus was NOT an elder in the restricted meaning  of the word.  He was a messanger of Paul and of the church.   

The Work of the Evangelist

Titus was a messanger of the church and not an apostle in the eye-witness  sense and he functioned as an evangelist.  So too did Timothy.  Just what  is the evangelist to do?  

Much of the work of the evangelist (or preacher) and the Pastor (or   teacher) is shown to overlap as would the efforts of a team with the same   objectives.  Neither seeing himself as superior to the other but with  duties which are different in respect to time.  The following quotations  from the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, pps.  370, 371 repre-  sents the general concensus that the evangelist goes out and founds churches,     "sets them in order," and then turns the local work over to the pastors and  teachers who oversee the work in a local sense.  The evangelist, by its very  definition, is never the administrator of a local flock.  

"The name of an order or body of men included in the constitution of the   Apostolic clhurch."  

"The term is applied in the New Testament to a certain class of Christian   teachers who were not fixed to any particular spot, but travelled either   independently, or under the directions of one or other of the apostles,   for the purpose of propagating the Gospel."  

This passage, accordingly, would lead us to think of them as standing   between the two other groups—sent forth as missionary preachers of the   Gospel by and as such preparing the way for the labors of the second."    

That is, the evangelist has the fundamental duty of evangelizing the  world.  He takes precidence in time over the pastor-teachers who follow up  by overseeing the local flock by teaching it while the evangelist goes on  to his next work.     

"Philip (who is often thought of as a deacon but is called an evangelist    in Acts 21:8)...had gone everywhere 'preaching" the word (Acts 8:4), now   in one city, now in another (8:40); but...he exercises apparently no   pastoral superintendence over any portion of the flock"      

"It follows, from what has been said, that the calling of the evangelist  is expressed by the word 'preach,' rather than 'teach,' or 'exhort'; it is   the proclamation of the glad tidings to those who have not known them,   rather than the instruction and pastoral care of those who have believe   and been baptized."  

"This is what we gather from 2 Tim.  4:2, 5.  Timotheus is 'to preach the   word;' in doing this he is to fulfil 'the work of an evangelist.'  It   follows, also, that the name denotes a work rather than an order."  

"Theodoret (on Eph.  4,11) describes the evangesist as travelling missionaries.  Chrysostom, as men who preached the Gospel, but without   going everywhere; by which he probably denotes a restricted sphere to   their labors, in contrast with the world-wide commission of the apostles.  

"Eusebius...gives prominence to the idea of itinerant missionary preaching.   Referring to the state of the Church in the time of Trajan, he says, "Many   of the disciples of that time, whose souls the divine word had inspired   with an ardent love of philosophy, first fulfilled our Saviour's precept   by distributing their substance among the poor.  Then travelling abroad,   they performed the work of evangelists, being ambitious to preach Christ,   and deliver the Scriptures of the divine Gospels."       

Having laid the foundation of the faith in foreign nations, they appointed   pastors to whom they intrusted the cultivation of the parts they had recently   occupied, while they proceeded to other countries and nations.    

After summing up the Old and New Testament nature of the pastor and quoting   Jesus who said "feed my lambs" and "feed my sheep," The Theological Dictionary   of the NT, p.  752 says:   

"The foregoing injunctions, taken in connection with the great commission,  'Go teach all nations,' show at once the nature and importance of the   pastoral office in Christianity."

  "Preaching is the initial work...

Pastoral care feeds the flock of Christ,   nourishes and cherishes the lambs of his fold, gives milk to babes, and   strong meat to them that are of full age.  

"Preaching introduces the Gospel,

    Pastoral care establishes and   perpetuates the institutions of Christianity.  

"Preaching enlarges the area of Christian influence.  

    Pastoral care  individualizes the application and consolidates the results of pulpit      labor.  

"Preaching attracts hearers within the circle of pastoral influence,  and

    Pastoral care waters the seed sown in their hearts.  

"Preaching attacks error in its various forms, and unfolds and defends the  truth of God.  

    Pastoral care folds, watches, and guards the gathered   flock."  

"Pastors die, but the church is immortal.  Nevertheless, each true pastor, by faithful service, contributes not only to the perpetuation, but to the wider extension of the Church.  A Christian shepherd takes the oversight of souls.  Aggregately they form a single flock.  But the flock is   designed to increase in numbers, and with its growth to become divisible,   forming additional flocks and founding other churches, each of which will   have expansive and self-multiplying power.  Individuals in the original   flock and in every Church that may grow out of it may, under pastoral   influence, be themselves called to the ministry, and become, in due time     the founders and pastors of other churches which shall go on multiplying."  (Ibid.  p.  754)  

Contrary to the almost universal belief that the evangelist was one who  travelled and preached in new territory and was not a "located evantelist"  —a contradiction of terms—there are several reasons why some believe that  the evangelist is the local ruler of the flock.   

Thus we see that the evangelist does not increase the flock by "sitting and hatching" but by "going and bestowing" the gospel message.  The term "located evangelist" is a gross contradiction of terms.

The “located preacher” or evangelist is a fairly recent movement within the restoration movement, with many of us growing up without such a worker and many still living who can recount that division over introducing a new “officer” within the church was as pronounced in some quarters as the introduction of the instrument.  Many of the early reformers were evangelists in the true sense and even when employed by a given congregation spend most of their efforts in local or remote communities finding disciples and helping local congregations become self-sufficient.

Two Model Evangelists

  Because Paul directed Titus to appoint elders in all of the cities of  Crete, it is assumed by some that the evangelist has preeminence over those whom he appoints.  This authority is seen by some evangelists to mean that   they select and ordain elders and have the authority to fire them.  

Because Titus is called an apostle (messenger) some have even jumped from claiming to be a ruling evangelist to being an apostle.   This has the effect of blunting the effectiveness of the evangelist as he "arm-wrestles" the elders to the ground do decide who is THE LEADER.  

"By this time I had seen that in the New Testament, elders were  appointed by apostles...by Paul and Barnabas...by Titus" (Belmont p.  2).  

"The books of Timothy were written so that Timothy would know how to set  elders in order in the churches.  God has used me to do that in other  churches" (Ibid.  p.  2)  

First, let us hear what Paul told Timothy:

1).  "As I urged you....that you may warn and admonish...certain  individuals not to teach any different doctrine...Nor to occupy themselves with endless...speculations and questionings, rather than acceptance in faith of God's administration and the divine training in the faith" (1 Tim.  1:3-4 AMP).  

Timothy was to teach the church how to conduct their own business because as we see from the separate discussion of Timothy's role, he was reluctant to continue in Ephesus, wanted to leave, and certainly never saw himself as THE leader.  

2).  The writer probably was remembering what Paul told Titus.  He did NOT say "set elders in order" but that he was to do the following:

a.      First, he was to set the church in order by correcting defects

b.      He was to finish Paul's work and ordain elders.  (Tit.  1:5)

c.      It is generally recognized that he ordained the elders and did not "select" them.  Not even the apostles usurped the church's right to select their own ministers.  

 The example of Titus   

Let us   look at the passage in two versions  

Tit.  1:5

NIV "...I left you...to straighten out what was...unfinished...as I directed."  

KJV "...I left you...to set in order the things are wanting....as I appointed"  

"For this cause left I thee in Crete,

-"that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting,

-"and ordain elders in every city,

-"as I had appointed thee" (Tit.  1:5 KJV).

 It is interesting that we have two quite parallel letters from which to gain a better insight into the position of and the need for elders in each congregation:   

a.      Paul, in First Timothy lays out an indictment against those who  disturb the order of the local flock and then prescribes the qualifi-  cations for the eldership which work is given to prevent the destruction  of the local body.   

b.      In Titus, he reverses the order and lists the qualifications (1:5-9) and  then describes the disturbers of the flock (v.  10-16).    

This is significant because in Titus Paul specifically describes the two  terminal duties of the eldership: that of teaching healthy doctrine and  preventing the teaching of false doctrine.  

Because of the heavy burden placed upon the elders of the flock as the shepherds and teachers (pastor-teachers) it is important to "set in order"  the church by teaching what the church should, how to recognize false  teachers, and to ordain elders to maintain this order.  

There were over 100 cities on Crete and it is evident that Titus did not  see himself as the overseer of any of these many city flocks because Paul  has to write a letter authorizing and admonishing him to "get on with the  work" for which Paul left him on Crete.  

The evangelist has a short time in which to set the new church in order  with dozens of churches to instruct.  It was therefore absolutely mandatory  that he perform his work speedily and with power.  The order which Paul gives  runs counter to the pastoral care of the eldership and carries the image of  one who was to go to a church and teach the order of the church with  authority.  Titus is told: "These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with  all authority" (Titus 2:15).  There is no time for Titus to be a diplomat.  

Crete had over a hundred cities and Paul directs Titus to ALL of them to  evangelize, teach the qualifications of the eldership, allow the congregations  to select the elders, and then he set them over the work.  Because of the  magnitude of his work, Titus could not have been a "located evangelist."  

As we will discuss further, seeing the "election" of elders by the flock  is a product of seeing the eldership as "corporate managers" of the  business affairs of the church.   

In the Biblical sense, the elders would already be senior, respected members of the community and therefore elders in the secular sense or in the Jewish sense.  They lacked only Biblical knowledge in order to qualify.  Therefore, there is no need to "hold an election" or "repunch their ticket"  every year.  On the contrary, it would be presumptious for Titus (not even the  apostles did it) to decide whom the elders should be.  He simply ordained  those who are both "elders" and ALSO qualified "teachers" and set them over  the work as the TERMINAL duty of the evangelist before he "hits the road" for  the next area of work.  

In Timothy we will see that the elders due double honor are already at work "laboring in preaching and teaching" and thus they are recognized for their past and present performance rather than looking to an "election" to bestow what they did not have.  

This ordination is:

 "Not a formal ecclesiastical ordination is in view, but the appointment,   for the recognition of the churches, of those who had ALREADY been raised   up and qualified by the Holy Spirit, and had BEEN GIVEN EVIDENCE of this   in their life and service." (Vine).  

 "Did Paul mean that Titus had the authority to select and appoint elders  and that these elders must meet with his approval?  Any authority which Timothy had regarding the appointing of elders was limited to the truth he  preached relative to their qualifications and work.  The word ordain is  from the Greek verb 'kathistemi' and means to apoint.  Too much should not  be read into Paul's instructions to Titus concerning the appointment of  elders.  There is no indication that Titus selected the elders himself.   He ordained them in the sense of installing them into office" (The Church  and its Elders, J.  B.  Myers, Star Bible, p.  57).  

Not even the apostles did the selecting in Jerusalem but "ordained" or appointed those whom the church recognized as impartial.  It would be total  arrogance to suppose that one of the flock, perhaps with no more spiritual   ualifications than many of the congregation, has authority which even the  apostles did not assume.   

Because it is understood that one who becomes an overseer by the Holy  Spirit in the contemporary sense become so because he meets the qualifica- tions revealed by the Holy Spirit, the evangelist—or the "located minister"  in the modern church—has the responsibility to preach Biblical standards of  the eldership, aid the elders in "equipping for the ministry," encourage and use members in preaching and teaching tasks such that when there is a  "vacancy" in the eldership there will be no need to "preach on eldership" and begin looking out for qualified men.  

Such a scheme sees the elders as corporate leaders of the flock  and is no more legitimate than to spend a few weeks teaching brain surgery and then hold an election to elect our resident brain surgeon.

Certain people believe that it was the evangelist Titus (or in his  capacity as an "apostle" of the church and of Paul) who had the supreme authority to appoint elders because Paul wrote TO Titus:

"Why were the qualifications specifically given to an evangelist rather  than to one of the congregation" (asks Raymond Keesee, in A Re-Evaluation  of the Eldership, p.  45)

1.      First, we know that the writers wrote FOR us but none of them wrote TO  us.  When Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus he wrote for all posterity.   It is easy to see from Paul's writings that he believed that the  Apostles and Prophets wrote as the final and ultimate revelation of  God's will.  

2.      Second, Paul wrote to Titus because he had assigned him to complete the work which he had begun but had not finished.  Titus was  charged with teaching these qualifications to the churches (2:1).   3.  By defining the qualifications along with the regular indoctrination  of Christian principles the congregation would be competent to  select their own leaders.  

4.      If the congregation was not involved then there would be no point in teaching them.  Titus was to "set in order" the church and then "appoint"—not select—elders.  Titus was working under the direction and authority of an inspired apostle and cannot be used as proof that a contemporary "evangelist" has the same authority.

"By this time I had seen that in the New Testament, elders were   appointed by apostles...by Paul and Barnabas...by Titus" (Belmont p.  2).  

The following passage with inserted words has been employed by cults to  prove that the evangelist is over the flock as "bishop" while the elders  are simply the "board of presbyters or shepherds over spiritual affairs":  

"For though you have ten thousand GUARDIANS (elders) in Christ, you do  not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I (the EVANGELIST) became your  father through the gospel.  Therefore I urge you to imitate me"  (I Cor.  4:15).  

The Greek word for "Guardian" is PAIDAGOGOS:

Strong says   : a boy-leader, a servant to take the child to school

Abbot-Smith   : guide, GUARDIAN, and TUTOR—opposite to 'pater' (father)

Arndt-Gingrich: Attendant, custodian, guide.

The Paidagogos was a servant to lead the child to his tutor and he served as tutor only in the sense that he GUARDED the child against evil and immoral  influences.  He was the strict disciplinarian noted for his sour, strict,  harsh control.  Paul says that you have ten thousand who would dominate you but only one who cared enough to teach.  Paul was their "father" only in  the sense that he taught them the saving message of th

Titus was to ordain them to their work but because of the definition of   the word "ordain" we not believe that he selected them.  Crete was popular   in that day for having so many cities and Paul directs Titus to all of them   to evangelize, teach the qualifications of the eldership and perhaps allow the   congregations to select the elders, and then he set them over the work.    Because of the magnitude of his work, Titus could not have been a "located   evangelist" because such is a contradiction of terms.  He taught the duties  and qualifications of the eldership, supervised their selection by the entire  mature congregation, and ordained or set them over the work, then moved on  perhaps never to return again.  

Not even the apostles did the selecting in Jerusalem but "ordained" or  appointed those whom the church had selected over their work.  It would be  total arrogance to suppose that one of the flock, perhaps with no more  spiritual qualifications than many of the congregation, today has authority  which the apostles did not assume.  

Because it is understood that one who becomes an overseer by the Holy   Spirit in the contemporary sense become so because he meets the qualifica-  tions revealed by the Holy Spirit, the evangelist—or the "located minister"   in the modern church—has the responsibility to preach Biblical standards of   the eldership, aid the elders in "equipping for the ministry," encourage and  use members in preaching and teaching tasks such that when there is a   "vacancy" in the eldership there will be no need to "preach on eldership"  and begin looking out for qualified men.

"Why were the qualifications specifically given to an evangelist rather   than to one of the congregation" (asks Raymond Keesee, in A Re-Evaluation   of the Eldership, p.  45)  

We believe that the instructions were sent to Titus because he was the one  charged with teaching these qualifications to the churches (2:1).  By defining   the qualifications along with the regular indoctrination of Christian   principles the congregation would be competent to select their own leaders.    If the congregation was not involved then there would be no point in teaching   them.  Titus was to "set in order" the church and then "appoint"—not select—  elders.   

1.    First, we know that the writers wrote FOR us but none of them wrote TO us.  When Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus he wrote for all posterity.  It is easy to see from Paul's writings that he believed that the  Apostles and Prophets wrote as the final and ultimate revelation of God's will.  

2.    Second, Paul wrote to Titus because he had assigned him to complete the work which he had begun but had not finished.  Titus was charged with teaching these qualifications to the churches (2:1).   He had over a hundred cities to set in order and he needed to teach the qualifications.  The record of this instruction from Paul to Titus when published becomes the ongoing inspired record of how the modern church is to proceed.

3.    By defining the qualifications along with the regular indoctrination of Christian principles the congregation would be competent to recognize their own leaders.  

4.    Titus was working under the direction and authority of an inspired apostle and cannot be used as proof that a contemporary "evangelist" has the same authority.

"As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow-worker among you; as for our   brethren, they are messengers (apostles) of the churches, a glory to   Christ" (2 Cor.  8:23)  

It is not Titus but the other "messengers" whom Paul dubs as delegates or  apostles of the church.  This was true because they are chosen by the   churches to act as ambassadors to honestly convey the contribution to the  poor in Jerusalem.  Of Titus, Paul calls him a fellow-worker (not fellow-  ruler).  Verse 22 clearly shows that Titus was a "piece-worker" to accomplish      certain tasks as assigned by a supernaturally inspired Apostle.  

Rotherham translates this passage, "Our brehtren, apostles of assemblies,   and Christ's glory."  

This use of the word "apostle," meaning messenger, is better understood   when used by Paul of Epaphroditus:  

"But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and   fellow-worker and fellow-soldier, who is also your messenger and minister   to my need" (Phil.  2:25).  

Paul uses the same term "fellow-worker" as he applies to Timothy showing  that he was a minister and not a ruler.  In this case Paul has a need of   financial help and the church selects and sends Epaphroditus as an ambassador   of the church.  He is not an ambassador sent by Christ.   

While Paul was an "Apostle of Christ" or one selected, prepared, and send  directly from Christ, he was also an apostle or ambassador of the church in  Antioch: "separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called  them...when they had fasted andprayed and laid their hands on them thy sent  them away" (Acts 13:2-4).  When this commission was fulfilled they were no  longer ambassadors send by the direction of the Holy Spirit but by the hands  of the church at Antioch: they "sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been   committed to the grace of God for the work which they had fulfilled" (Acts   14:26).  

Evangelist Extra Material

If the evangelist, or other elders, select this man as elder based upon his  willingness to "give up those things which previously disqualified him," the   man is no different today than he was yesterday and the watching flock will   have utter contempt for both the elder and those who selected him.  They will   not seek him as a pastor-teacher.       

We repeat Vine's definition of the word "appoint" to show that Titus was only to recognize what already existed and was not to select men:  

"Not a formal ecclesiastical ordination is in view, but the appointment,   for the recognition of the churches, of those who had already been raised   up and qualified by the Holy Spirit, and had been given evidence of this   in their life and service."  

One is raised up and qualified by the Holy Spirit as one has already  conformed his life to the standards mandated by the Holy Spirit in the books   of Timothy and Titus as well as the collective teachings of Christ and the   Apostles.  He is appointed upon the basis of who and what he is rather than  his willingness to conform to a list of qualifications in some legalistic  way.  

2.  The NIV especially, by its use of the term "guardian" as sub-  serveant to the "evangelist," is sometimes falsely used by some  and accused by others as teaching that the evangelist is superior  to others and therefore has the right to select the elders.  

The following passage is read by inserting certain words into the text to   put the evangelist over the flock as "bishop" while the elders are simply  the board of presbyters:  

"For though you have ten thousand GUARDIANS (elders) in Christ, you do not   have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I (the EVANGELIST) became your   father through the gospel.  Therefore I urge you to imitate me"   (I Cor.  4:15).   

The claim is that the use (or misuse) of the word GUARDIANS in the NIV   authorizes putting the "spiritual father," or pastor, OVER a convert in place  of parents or elders to direct his ever-waking effort.  We believe that this   would be a gross misunderstanding of the NIV which is erroneously used to    prove the view of both cults and authoritarian leaderships.  Let us look at   several versions:  

1 Cor.  4:15

NIV  "...you have ten thousand GUARDIANS..."

KJV  "...you have ten thousand INSTRUCTORS..."

ASV  "...you have ten thousand TUTORS..."

NASB "...you have countless    TUTORS..."

The Greek word for "Guardian" is PAIDAGOGOS:

Strong says   : a boy-leader, a servant to take the child to school

Abbot-Smith   : guide, GUARDIAN, and TUTOR—opposite to 'pater' (father)

Vine          : defines it as GUARDIAN, INSTRUCTOR and TUTOR

Arndt-Gingrich: Attendant, custodian, guide.

The Paidagogos was a servant to lead the child to his tutor and he served  as tutor only in the sense that he GUARDED the child against evil and immoral   influences.  He was the strict disciplinarian noted for his sour, strict,   harsh control.  Paul here is making a clear distinction between the SERVANT   (LAW) and the caring FATHER; he is not discussing "who has the power." The law   was the harsh servant who kept us in line, but Paul is the loving, careing   mother or father—their servant—and never saw himself as a master.  

The contrast is between the whip of the master and the elder, minister,   evangelist, or other person who assumes the right to direct the affairs of   the one whom he "shepherds" by teaching him the principles of Christ as   opposed to organizing his life.  Biblical teachers, leaders, or elders are   always seen as servants and never as masters.  And it is the authoritarian  view of the ministry and the eldership which gives tacit approval for new   cults to arise and take this view to the extreme.  

Paul beautifully contrasts the place of the Law (the pedagogue) which  demanded that it be served, with a father who serves the child.  "The child   does not support the parent but the parent the child," Paul would say.    

3.  Because the "leader" in Hebrews is assumed to be the evangelist

Heb.  13:7,17,24

NIV  "Remembers your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you..."

KJV  "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken..."

ASV  "Remember them that had the rule over you, men that spoke..the word.."

NASB "Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you..."

a)  The assumption is made that the LEADERS "who have spoken" to you are   the Evangelists.  Therefore, the critic says, the use of the word   "Leader," establishes the Evangelist as ruler.    

b)  The fact is that we do not know the job title of the teachers but  we do know what their function was not.  It was not to dominate but  was to teach, to model a pure faith, to watch for souls, and to give   account.  

c)  The leader or ruler, perhaps deliberately in this passage, does not      have a title or office.  We can only conclude from this passage that  the one who is doing the leading is the one who is doing the teaching.  

d.  One "submits" to the "ruler" by "following their faith and imitation   their way of life."  As we have already quoted "The scepter of their   rule is the WORD of God."  If it can be firmly established that the   ruler here is the evangelist, he gains no authority above teaching and   example and the elder loses nothing because he can also teach and be   an example.  

e.  While the evangelist must teach, establish new works, and confirm the   work, all of the qualifications of I Timothy and Titus show that the   elders are the primary pastor-teacher in the local church.  Being able   to teach truth and refute error are their terminal duties and if he   is "not apt to teach" he is not qualified in any sense.  The elder   meets all of the other situational qualifications primarily so that   he:       

a)  Can refute erroneous doctrinal teaching, and  

b)  Can teach correct doctrine.  

c)  Therefore the Elders are those who are to "rule or lead by  teaching you" in the local sense.   

The Model of Timothy

Timothy is used as a model of what the evangelist should be.  That is, he  is to be the Monarchial Bishop who is over the presbyters or elders in the   local church.  We believe that this is wrong.  

"And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build upon another man's foundation; but as it is written, 'They who had no news of Him shall see, and they who have not heard shall understand'" (Rom.  15:20, 21).

This is both a prophecy and an absolute command:  First, the Holy Spirit in looking down through the corridors of time, promised that those who had never heard the Gospel message would hear and understand the message.  If God made the promise and He uses evangelists or preachers to accomplish this task then it is more than just a suggestion—it is a command.  Second, Paul understood this passage and modelled as an approved example of the work of the evangelist.  Third, while the other apostles remained in Jerusalem until the church was well under way they all moved out as missionary evangelists.  Fourth, Paul, in instructing Titus, demanded that he set in order the newly-evangelized churches which Paul had established and then move on to the next one.  Fifth, Paul chided the Corinthians because they had not advanced beyond the stage of first principles.  That is they did not understand the settled nature of the church which had advanced beyond the child stage or “looking through a glass darkly” stage.

The term "pastoral Epistles" does NOT show that Timothy and others were the overseers or pastors of the local flock but they give the instructions which Timothy as an evangelist was to give to the local assemblies as they travelled about completing the work which Paul began.

"The term 'Pastoral Epistles' dates from the year 1753 and has become   current; yet it is not exact, for it leaves the impression that Paul is   coaching Timothy and Titus as 'pastors' of a congregation.  This is not   the case.  Timothy and Titus were not 'pastors,' either in the present  sense of the word (one pastor to a congregation) or in the older sense o   elders (each congregation having a number of them).  Nor were Timothy and   Titus 'head pastors,' each being a chief of the group of elders in the  congregation..."

Timothy and Titus were representatives of Paul for the guidnce of the   churches, the one being Paul's agent in Asia Minor, the other Paul's     agent in Crete." (Lenski, Commentary on 1 Tim.  p.  481).   

That Timothy was an ittenerant fellow preacher with Paul is seen from  the following:    

1.      In about A.D.  51 or 52 Timothy accompanied Paul on a preaching tour   through Asia Minor, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, and Corinth.  (Acts 16-18).   

2.      About A.D.  56 Timothy and Erastus was sent out as missionary business  from Ephesus to Corinth.  (Acts 19:22; 1 Cor.  4:17; 16:10) and shortly after-  ward joined Paul in Macedonia and and with Paul sent greetings to Corinth  and all Achaia.  (2.  Cor.  1:1).         

3.      In early A.D.  58 he was found with Paul in Corinth and saluted the church   in Rome.  (Rom.  16:21).  Paul calles him a fellow-worker as he calls Titus  a fellow-servant.  However, Paul remained for a while in Asia and he sent Timothy and Erastus on from Ephesus to Corinth (Acts 19:22) where Timothy was to "remind you of my ways which are in Christ" (1 Cor.  4:17).  Paul had to remind the  Corinthians not to despise Timothy because he is doing Paul's work (16:10).  

4.       In early A.D.  58 he was found with Paul in Corinth and saluted the church in Rome (Rom.  16:21).  Paul calls him a fellow-worker as he calls Titus a fellow-servant.   He went with Paul from Corinth to Jerusalem A.D.  58.  (Acts 20:4).  

5.      He was in Rome as Paul was a prisoner (Phil.  1:1; 2:19; Col.  1:1; Philem.   1).  Shortly afterward he is mentioned by Paul in Heb.  13:23.  

6.      In A.D.  65 Paul left Titus in Crete and Timothy in Ephesus to set the churches in order.

Paul says, "In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and the sound doctrine which you have been following" (1 Tim.  4:6).  In 4:13   Paul said,"Til I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortations, and to doctrine."   

Later when Paul wrote the second letter he urged Timothy to rejoin him (2 Tim.  4:9).  The Asian territory then was not Timothy's permanent area of work and he is never the pastor over a given church.  

Timothy had apparently been in Ephesus only a short time when Paul urged  him to remain there (1 Tim.  1:3).  In 4:13 Paul said "Til I come, give   attendance to reading, to exhortations, and to doctrine."  Later when Paul   wrote the second letter he urged Timothy to rejoin him (2 Tim.  4:9).  The  Asian territory then was not Timothy's permanent area of work and he is never  the pastor over a given church.  He never acts in a way that one would   assume that he was an apostle.  

In 5:1 the phrase "Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and   the younger men as brethren" does not give him authority over the presbytery  any more than to urge a youngster to be respectful to elderly people would  give them authority over their parents.  Not only is Timothy to treat elders   as one might a parent, later, in 5:19 he is told not to even listen to a  complaint against "ruling" (teaching) elders except before two or three  witnesses.  Comparable passages show that this is not a body of witnesses  to listen to a charge but a body of witnesses to the sin of an elder.    Because Timothy is Paul's fellow-worker with Paul's authority and with a  supernatural gift bestowed through Paul's hands he can refuke an elder who  persists in sinning.

The phrase "rebuke not an elder" is no more a proof of authority over  the eldership than the phrase "exhort servants to be obedient to masters"  is proof of authority over servants.  Nor does his charge to the rich or  charge for relatives to care for their own widows show authority over the  rich or the relatives.  Any one taught in the word is bound to entrust this  knowledge to other and so on and so a contemporary preacher of the gospel  has the right to exhort, teach, or even rebuke an elder just as does any  member of the body but this does not prove authority over them.  Timothy was   a teacher and not a ruler.  Why does he not send for Timothy and say that  God has made him "apostle," "evangelist," or "Bishop" over Ephesus?  

Later, when Paul needs to instruct the churches he does not send for the"pastor," or the "evangelist," but he sends for the elders and tells them in no uncertain terms that they are overseers of the flock "that you may be shepherds" to the church.

"From Miletus he (Paul) sent to Ephesus, and called the Elders of the   Church...and said to them...take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock   over which the Holy Spirit has made you Overseers, that you be Shepherds   to the Church of God which he has purchased with his own blood" (Acts   20:17, 18).  

This passage makes it clear that once the church has been set in order   through teaching, selecting, and ordination of officers that it is not the  Evangelist who is the "pastor" of the local congregation but the Elders who  are to oversee the church in order that they might shepherd the flock.  This  invovles teaching the flock how to resist false doctrine and to teach them  healthy doctrine.  

Timothy is the model for evangelism:

In the supernatural period, the Holy Spirit was instrumental as the appointing  agent who directed evangelists out where the gospel had never been preached but after churches were established it was the church which was the sending agent.  This was modelled by the Holy Spirit directing that the church send Paul and Barnabas as missionary preachers.  While  the Holy Spirit  no longer speaks directly to people, He does continue to speak through the examples which he commanded.

In keeping with this pattern, Timothy was supernaturally empowered but humanly commissioned to do the work of an evangelist, to teach, and to set the churches in order.  The second meaning to the model demanded by the Holy Spirit was fellowship between the evangelist and the sending church with no hint of dispute over who is in charge.  The dispute over "which officer is in charge" prompts one scholar to write:

"...such an objection always reminds me of the petty disputes which the Apostles themselves had in their infancy as to which of them should be the greatest.  See Matt.  20:20-28; Mark 9:33-37; Luke 9:46-48; 22:24-27.  It is founded on the false assumption that there are to be lords of different ranks and orders over God's heritage...The ruling principle of the Kingdom of heaven is love.  And from this it follows that the man who is greatest in authority is also the greatest servant." (Milligan, The Scheme of  Redemption, pps 310, 311).

First, let us hear what Paul told Timothy:

1).  "As I urged you.that you may warn and admonish.certain individuals not to teach any different doctrine...Nor to occupy themselves with endless speculations and questionings, rather than acceptance in faith of God's administration and the divine training in the faith" (1 Tim.  1:3-4 AMP).

Timothy was to teach the church how to conduct their own business  because as we see from the separate discussion of Timothy's role, he was reluctant to continue in Ephesus, wanted to leave, and certainly never saw himself as THE leader.

2).  The writer probably was remembering what Paul told Titus.  He did  NOT say "set elders in order" but that he was to do the following:

a.      First, he was to set the church in order by correcting defects.  This would involve                teaching the church how to recognize false teachers–a modern need.

b.      He was to finish Paul's work and ordain elders.  (Tit.  1:5)

c.      It is generally recognized that he ordained the elders and did not "select" them.  Now let us see what Paul told Titus:

(Tit.  1:5)

NIV "...I left you...to straighten out what was...unfinished...as I directed."  

KJV "...I left you...to set in order the things are wanting....as I appointed"  

"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting,  and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee" (Tit.  1:5 KJV).

“The verb does not mean to ordain (our version) although they were actually ordained by the laying on of hands; Paul speaks of placing then in office, having them elected by the congregations and then ordaining them; the former is the main things” (Lenski, on Titus, p.  396).

Ordination, or having the supernaturally inspired apostle of Paul point out those who were already functioning as pastor-teachers would be a public acknowledgement by the entire congregation that these men were demonstrating pastor-teaching qualities, had been thoroughly taught by Titus, and were publicaly taking the oversight of the congregation so that Titus could safely move on to the other cities.

Whatever else we can learn from the ordination of elders by Timothy and Titus, we are brought face to face with what Paul specifically describes as the two  terminal duties of the eldership: that of teaching healthy doctrine and  preventing the teaching of false doctrine.  These two terminal responsibilities of the elder is put in one order to Timothy and another to Titus:

1.    Paul, in First Timothy lays out an indictment against those who disturb the order of the local flock and then prescribes the qualifications for the eldership which work is given to prevent the destruction of the local body.  

2.    In Titus, he reverses the order and lists the qualifications (1:5-9) and then describes the disturbers of the flock (v.  10-16).   

Because of the heavy burden placed upon the elders of the flock as  superintendents as well as the shepherds and teachers (pastor-teachers) it is important to "set in order" the church by teaching what the church should be, how to recognize false teachers, and to ordain elders to maintain this order.

There were over 100 cities on Crete and it is evident that Titus did not see himself as the overseer of any of these many city flocks because Paul has to write a letter authorizing and admonishing him to "get on with the work" for which Paul left him on Crete.  

The evangelist has a short time in which to set the new church in order with dozens of churches to instruct.  It was therefore absolutely mandatory that he perform his work speedily and with power.  The order which Paul gives runs counter to the pastoral care of the eldership and carries the image of one who was to go to a church and teach the order of the church with authority.  Titus is told: "These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority" (Titus 2:15).  There is no time for Titus to be a diplomat and there is no personal presence for him to exhort the elders in the ongoing sense of being over them in the Lord.

Crete had over a hundred cities and Paul directs Titus to ALL of them to evangelize, teach the qualifications of the eldership, show the congregation how to recognize those who are already doing the oversight-teaching work, and then he set them over the work.  Because of the magnitude of his work, Titus could not have been a "located evangelist."  Because the Holy Spirit uses the Island of Crete with its large number of cities or churches, He totally eradicates Titus as an example of one who would be the located evangelist with authority over the eldership.

In the Biblical sense, the elders would already be senior, respected members of the community and therefore elders in the secular sense or in the Jewish sense.  They lacked only Biblical knowledge in order to qualify.  Therefore, there is no need to "hold an election" or "repunch their ticket" every year.  On the contrary, it would be presumptuous for Titus (not even the  apostles did it) to decide whom the elders should be.  He simply ordained those who are both "elders" and ALSO qualified "teachers" and set them over the work as the TERMINAL duty of the evangelist before he "hits the road" for the next area of work.  

In Timothy we will see that the elders (presbuteros) due double honor as Pastor-Teachers are already at work "laboring in preaching and teaching" and thus they are recognized for their past

Timothy Ordained by Elders

Timothy worked at two levels.  He was a supernaturaly gifted assistant to the apostle Paul and he was ordained by a local church to function to do the  work of an evangelist, to teach, and to set the churches in order.  This is considered by some evangelists to put the m "over" the elders and is  resented by carnal elders as "usurping the authority" of the eldership.  

"...such an objection always reminds me of the petty disputes which the   Apostles themselves had in their infancy as to which of them should be the   greatest.  See Matt.  20:20-28; Mark 9:33-37; Luke 9:46-48; 22:24-27.  It  is founded on the false assumption that there are to be lords of different   ranks and orders over God's heritage...The ruling principle of the Kingdom  of heaven is love.  And from this it follows that the man who is greatest   in authority is also the greatest servant." (Milligan, The Scheme of  Redemption, pps 310, 311).  

While Timothy had the supernatural power to perform his work, he was  ordained at the hands of the presbytery or commissioned to work in their  city.  This is no different than when Paul, a true apostle, and Barnabas an   apostle in the sense of "being sent out" were ordained at the hands of the  leaders in Antioch to go and teach.  While Paul had his authority from Christ  Himself, it was appropriate to be commissioned by a church for a mission   trip.  

It appears that while Timothy was instructed how to teach new churches the   qualifications of the eldership, and Titus was left in Crete to finish the   work begun by Paul, Timothy was ordained at the hands of the elders.  In 2   Tim.  1:2 Paul bestows the gift of God—the spirit of power and love and self-  control—"through the laying on of my hands."  However, in 1 Tim.  4:14 we see   the elders bestowing a gift in another way.  The phrase is "given you by   prophetic utterance, when the elders laid their hands upon you."    

"Evangelists from the beginning received their commission from the  Churches, and not directly from Christ, as did the Apostles and Prophets.  This may be illustrated by the case of Timothy, one of the most prominent   and efficient of all the primiitive Evangelists.  He was well reported of   by the brethren of both Lystra and Iconiun, and was ordained as an   Evangelist by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery.  Acts 14: 1-3;  and 1 Tim.  4:14) (Milligan, p.  314).  

Philip, as you may remember, was selected by his peers but he was ordained  by the apostles.  

We are forced to believe that someone other than the Apostles had the   power to bestow miraculous gifts or to see that this gift given by prophetic        utterance is a gift given through teaching and/or ordination.  It was not a   gift "prophecied" and it is a gift given through utterance.  Prophecy has   teaching as one of its main meanings in the New Testament and it is fitting   that the elders both teach Timothy and ordain him to his ministry through the   laying on of their hands.  

"God gave Timothy this charisma, not by a miraculous gift from heaven,   but 'by means of prophecy,' by a communication of the Word to him...  

"Timothy was not appointed as Paul's representative by an act of Paul   alone but by a joint act of Paul and of the mother church of the Asian   territory.  That is why the presbytery joined Paul in setting Timothy   apart for his important work and office.   

"Paul was not a hierarch who acted alone in this matter.  He mentions 'the   presbytery' in this letter and at this place because all that precedes   deals with Timothy's work in the Asian churches, with his relation to them." (Lenski, Commentary on 1 Tim., p.  646).    

"This seems to be explained by Acts 8:1-3 where Barnabas and Saul were  separated for their work by the laying on of the hands apparently by the  prophets and teachers at the express command of the Holy Spirit, spoken  doubtless by the mouth of one of the prophets..  

"Timothy.received the commission by a like laying on of hands by the   elders of the church" (Pulpit Commentary, p.  72).  

Notice that the elders are called Pastor-Teachers showing their dual  role.  He oversees (pastors) the flock in order that he might teach it.  These teachers in Antioch then could have been elders.  

The concept of "through prophetic utterance" means:

“Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed upon you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery” (1 Tim.  4:14)

While something was prophesied about Timothy (1 Tim.  1:18) this passage is not about Timothy but about the bestowal of a gift through “prophetic utterance.”  It is generally held that the presbytery—the eldership—completed the teaching of Timothy as they ordained him to be an evangelist.

"That is, the prophetic declarations and the hopes of pious friends in   regard to your future usefulness, have been among the means by which you   have been introduced to the ministry...The reference here is undoubtedly   to the act by which Timothy was set apart to the office of the ministry"     (Albert Barnes, commentary on I Timothy, p.  170).  

"God gave Timothy this charisma, not by a miraculous gift from heaven,  but 'by means of prophecy,' by a communication of the Word to him...

"Timothy was not appointed as Paul's representative by an act of Paul alone but by a joint act of Paul and of the mother church of the Asian territory.  That is why the presbytery joined Paul in setting Timothy apart for his important work and office.

 "Paul was not a hierarch who acted alone in this matter.  He mentions 'the  presbytery' in this letter and at this place because all that precedes deals with Timothy's work in the Asian churches, with his relation to them." (Lenski, Commentary on 1 Tim., p.  646).  

 "This seems to be explained by Acts 8:1-3 where Barnabas and Saul were separated for their work by the laying on of the hands apparently by the  prophets and teachers at the express command of the Holy Spirit, spoken doubtless by the mouth of one of the prophets..(Pulpit Commentary, p.  72).  

The elders are called stewards, shepherds, superintendents, but also "teachers."  In fact it is well documented that the elder in Eph.  4:11 is designated by the hyphenated term Pastor-Teacher.  The teachers in Antioch then probably would be the elders.  In this church we have clustered in one group an apostle, some prophets, and some teachers and when the church (or the prophets and teachers) ordained Paul and Barnabas at the direction of the Holy Spirit, the church sent evangelists out into the mission field.

"Timothy...received the commission by a like laying on of hands by the elders of the church" (Pulpit Commentary, p.  72).  

From Ephesians the 4th it can be seen that the elder is defined by a  hypenated word, Pastor-teacher.  We need to see in this passage the elders,   who had probably been taught by Paul, in turn helping to teach Timothy and   laying their hands on him in the sense of appointing or ordaining him for the   work of the ministry.  Thus, Timothy has the gift of education and the   approval to teach others.  The supernatural power had been bestowed through   the hands of Paul, however.  The fundamental task of the elder is to teach and   to equip others for the ministry.  How better to demonstrate this than having   them teach and send Timothy.  Given power by Paul and selected to be his  fellow-soldier in the field they both worked with the already established  eldership in the area to go forth, make or confirm disciples, show the new  churches how to select their own pastor-teachers, then ordain or point them   out to the congregation as being fit for the job.  Once this was established  there is no evidence for many years that the mother or sending church   exercised any administrative authority over the newly established elderships.  

The teaching chain is demonstrated where God taught Paul, Paul taught  the elders, the elders and Paul taught Timothy, Timothy goes out and teaches   others, the others who become the local leaders can teach others and so on  forever.  The teaching chain is based upon teaching one how to be a true  disciple and does not focus upon authority.

"In 1 Cor.  16:15, we find the house of Stephanas to have volunteered the   task of 'ministering to the saints;' and that this was a ministry of 'the   word' is evident from the apostle's urging the Church to 'submit them-  selves to such.  It would appear, then, that a formal investiture into the   office was not as yet regarded essential." (Theological Dictionary of the  NT, p.  819)  

In summary, we may say that Timothy (and probably Titus) had no training or ability to guide those who were probably older, more mature, and may have known more about the Bible.  In order then for them to function simultaneously as surrogate apostle and also an evangelist they needed byth power and commission:

Supernatural Gifts by the hands of an apostle:

It appears that while Timothy was instructed how to teach new churches the qualifications of the eldership, and Titus was left in Crete to finish the work begun by Paul,  However, Timothy was ordained at the hands of the elders.  In 2  Tim.  1:2 Paul bestows the gift of God—the spirit of power and love and self-control–through the laying on of my hands."  

Ordination at the hands of the Eldership:

In 1 Tim.  4:14 we see the elders bestowing a gift in another way."Evangelists from the beginning received their commission from the Churches, and not directly from Christ, as did the Apostles and Prophets.  This may be illustrated by the case of Timothy, one of the most prominent  and efficient of all the primitive Evangelists.  He was well reported of  by the brethren of both Lystra and Iconiun, and was ordained as an  Evangelist by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery.  Acts 14: 1-3;   and 1 Tim.  4:14) (Milligan, p.  314).

PAUL ESTABLISHES THE FINAL ORDER OF THE CHURCH

The work of Timothy and Titus was to set the church in order by teaching God's plan for the local assembly.  That order, evident even while Timothy remained in Ephesus, was for the eldership to oversee the church.  If Timothy as an evangelist or "apostle" was to "oversee" the flock then it would be strange that other overseers would be selected.  These men are not primarily called "shepherds" which might restrict their responsibility to spiritual affairs, but the are also called overseers or  superintendents.

"Let the elders that RULE WELL be counted of double honor, especially    they that LABOR in the WORD and DOCTRINE" (1 Tim.  5:17).           

NIV "The Elders who DIRECT THE AFFAIRS of the Church are...worthy...   especially those who WORK at PREACHING and TEACHING.        

KJV "Let the    elders that RULE WELL be counted of double honor,      especially  they   that LABOR     in the WORD and DOCTRINE.   

Neither preacher, deacon, nor evangelist has been assigned work descriptors  (not  titles) which assigns a certain level of responsibility and authority (we use the term authority with extreme care).  He is called the following:

STEWARD.  This is the Greek word  oikonomos and literally means “house-ruler or manager.”   It denotes the manager of a household or estate, a steward (such were usually slaves or freedmen)” (Vine”

“For the bishop must be blameless, as a STEWARD of God” (Tit.  1:17)

PASTOR OR SHEPHERD   This is the Greek poimaino and means to “tend, feed, lead the flock” (John 10:11).

ELDER OR PRESBYTER  This is the Greek presbuteros and denotes the age, dignity, and community status of the person.  The assumption is that  one with more age is more mature, stable, and less likely to lead the flock astray.

“When the context indicates that a comparison as to age is intended by the writer, we must give the term the primary sense of ‘elder’; but when the context shows the person spoken of sustains an official relation to the church, it must be understood in its official sense” (J.  W.  McGarvey, The Eldership, p.  14).

BISHOP OR OVERSEER  This is the Greek Episkopos  where Epi means over and skopeo means to see.  It is equivalent to the English word supervisor or superintendent.  It carries the idea of to look upon, inspect, observe, regard, visit, review, consider, and reflect.  The Elder oversees the flock by overseeing it and not in private meetings.

Paul shows an interesting connection between two Greek words.  He describes the elder (PRESBUTEROS) who rules (PROISTEMI) well:    

NIV "The Elders who DIRECT THE AFFAIRS of the Church are worthy especially those who WORK at PREACHING and TEACHING.        

KJV "Let the    elders that RULE WELL be counted of double honor, especially  they  that LABOR  in the WORD and DOCTRINE.   

When Paul said that "he gave some evangelists" we understand from the case of Timothy's instruction what is meant.  God set the evangelist in the  church to go out, make disciples, set the church in order by a thorough teaching program, ordain (not select) elders, and then move on to the next area of work.

Once set in order, the church is to be overseen through teaching by the Pastor-Teachers who are the sole overseers of the flock.

The elders could not possible "oversee" the flock if the evangelist  or apostle "rules" it.    While all older men are elders or PRESBUTEROS in one sense, there is a  class of older man (PRESBUTEROS) who is "doubly honored" because he does   double duty.  He is both an older, mature, leading man and one who RULES WELL   (PROISTEMI) by being a Pastor-Teacher.  He is due double respect and possibly   financial support.  Because the official work is designated as "pastor-   teacher," only those older men who were qualified to be community leaders, had   gained the respect of the church, and were trained in the doctrines of Christ    and the apostles, and were willing and competent teachers were worthy of    being honored both for his position and for his work.  His appointment was  not election or selection, but recognition.  His qualifications involve what  he is able to do but even more they have to do with who and what he is.        

            Only in Newly established Congregations

            The work of the evangelist

            The example of Titus

            The case of Timothy.

            Timothy ordained by elders.

                Paul establishes the permanent order

        Selected by existing elders.

        That elders are self-selected

        That he is neither selected or elected

            Those ordained already laborer in Preaching and Teaching

    The required number of elders.

        The model of the synagogue.

        The argument for a plurality.

        The argument for a singular pastor.  

        Dividing up the work - DeFacto Singular elders

The Number of Elders in an Eldership

As in so many of the questions surrounding the eldership, the number of elders which should be selected for one congregation depends upon Scripture, but it also depends upon the image one has of the church.  If the church is seen as a secular corporation which has as one of its incidentals tri-weekly  worship services then there should, we often say, be at least three elders so  that there will never be a tie vote.  This writer has heard it said "The  Bible says that there must be three, five, or seven elders.  Two elders would be unScriptural."  The reason that it was believed that the Bible makes this into a command is to prevent a log-jam when a controversial decision must be made.  

One elder should, it is said, be rejected because this is "denominational," two elders must be rejected because they cannot break a tie-vote, three  elders would be acceptable because it meets the legal demand of certain  passages which speak of "elders" in the plural.  Having every eligible man of the congregation function as pastor-teacher would be wrong because this would be "majority rule" and we are told that the church is not a democracy.  

If, on the other hand, the elder is seen as pastor-teacher then one man  might fulfil the requirements to oversee the flock by teaching it without  being elected to an "office."  If we saw the eldership in the Biblical sense we  would have no fear of "one man rule" because we would never see the elder's  task as ruling.  If we fail to see the eldership in the Biblical sense then we  have just as much to fear from "nine man rule" as "one man rule."  

While a one-man eldership would probably be an unscriptural extreme on one end, the other extreme may be that all mature men who are also qualified as  pastor-teachers can function as overseers of the flock if the congregation  accepts their leadership.  In fact, because the task is teaching rather than  ruling, we should probably focus more upon seeing that all mature men of the  congregation are qualified and appointed as elders rather than determining  how few we can get by with.  

The elders appear in Egypt beginning in Exod.  3:16 as representatives of the people whom Moses called and who went before the king of Egypt.  In 12:21  they prepare their house for the Passover to prevent the death of the first- born.  In Exod.  18:12 a delegation of seventy of the elders of Israel were to  go up to Mt.  Sinai.  In Deut 31:9 Moses delivered the law to the priests and  elders.  In Deut.  27:1 Moses along with the elders command the people to keep  the commandments and in Deut.  21:19-20 they were to exercise discipline.  

While every family had elders who were to guide and discipline, Seventy  out of perhaps thousands of elders were singled out to assist Moses in  teaching and governing the one to two million people in the wilderness.  

THE SYNAGOGUE

The synagogue had at least two officials:

1)  Always one ruler was selected, probably by the elders.  In larger groups more might be selected (Acts 13:15).  They were to:

a.  Oversee the buildings and property

b.  Oversee the order of worship (Lk.  13:14)

c.  Appoint persons to read Scriptures and pray

d.  Invite strangers to speak (Acts 13:15)  

They did not make unilateral dicisions about buildings, where benevolent  aid is to go and other corporate decisions.  

2)  A minister or attendant was selected (Lk.  4:20) and was paid to take care of the furniture, especially the rolls of Scripture.  During worship he brought forth the roll from the chest and gave  it to the appointed reader and then returned it.  (Luke 4:20) He also was the teacher of the children, exercised discipline,  and blew the trumpet to announce the beginning and end of the sabbath.  

Argument for Plural Elders

 In denominations where the bishop is seen as distinct from the presbyter  there often is one "pastor" and a "board of elders or presbyters" governing a  local group.  Even more extreme is one pastor, no elders, and a "board of  deacons" who work under the pastor.  But for those who do not make this  distinction it is generally assumed from Biblical evidence that there is  always a plurality of elders and we accept that conclusion.  However, while  many passages speak of a plurality of elders there are enough exceptions to  destroy dogmatism.  

The passages which discuss the eldership often speak in the plural.  "And  from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called to him the elders of the church"  (Acts 20:17).  "Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints  in Christ Jesus that are at Phillippi, with the bishops and deacons" (Phil.  1:1).  "For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order  the things that were wanting and appoint elders in every city, as I gave thee  charge" (Tit.  1:5).  (See also Acts 21:18; Gal.  1:19; 2:12).  

"After the pattern of the synagogues, as well as of the political adminis- tration of cities, which from of old was vested in the hands of a senate or  college of 'decuriones,' every church had a number of presbyters.  We meet  them everywhere in the plural and as a corporation" (Theo.  Dict.  of the NT,  p.  117)  

This same writer makes argument for two possibilities:

 1)  The idea of the "household congregation" (Rom.  16:4, 5, 14, 15; 1 Cor.  16:19; Col.  4:15; Philem.  2) would allow that a very small congre- gation meeting in a private home probably would not have a "college of  elders" or a presbytery, but would be taught by one man.  If he taught and presided over the meetings then he would be an elder (singular) with or without ordination.  

2)  To refute this logical conclusion, he continues and says that this:

 "indicates merely the fact that where the Christians had become very  numerous they were accustomed to meet for edification at different  places, and by no means exclude the idea of their orgainized union as  a whole, or of their being governed by a common body of of presbyters.  Hence, accordingly, the apostolic epistles also are never addressed to  a separate part, an ecclesiola in ecclesia, a conventicle, but always  to the whole body of Christians in Rome, at Corinth, at Ephesus, at Philippi, at Thessalonica, etc., treating them in such case as a moral unity (comp.  1 Thess.  1:1; 2 Thess.  1:1; 1 Cor.  1:2; 2 Cor.  1:1, 23,  Col.  4:16; Phil.  1:1, etc.) (Ibid.  p.  117)"  

The argument from the idea of elders of a flock:

 When taken literally, Acts 20 beginning with verse 28 speaks of flock  (singular) and overseers (plural).  Thus if this is seen as evidence for a  singular elder it would argue for a single eldership being over a flock   (singular) made up of many congregations.  

We do not know whether Paul is using the word flock in the collective  sense or means to imply a single congregation for the city of Ephesus.  From  1 Pet.  5:2 we understand that the word "flock" was a collective noun which  included Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (1 Pet.  1:1).  Peter  may have meant that the elders were to assume oversight over the "collective   flock" or he may have meant that each elder, where ever he might be, was to take oversight over that part of the collective flock which was in his midst.  If the term "elders" denotes one group of elders (plural) then we might be  arguing for a plurality of elders to oversee a large geographic region.  This  has lead some groups to have local elders and a bishop over an extended area.  

The passage in Titus 1:5 where Titus is to select elders in "every city" might imply that there was only one congregation.  If there were several congregations in some of the cities then the passage does not exclude the possibility that a plurality of churches would have a plurality of elders.  

"Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church and  let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord"  (James 5:14)  

This passage seems to argue for a plurality of elders in the local sense whom the sick could easily access.  It is far-fetched but not impossible to  assume that an elder from many congregations (the elders of the collective  church) would be called to the bedside of a sick member.  

∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝1 Tim.  5:17 speaks of "the elders who direct the affairs of the church."    This means a plurality of elders for a single local church.     

Argument for Singular Elders

1.  In the case of a very small church there might be only one person who is qualified to be pastor-teacher.  If he is seen in the sense of overseeing by teaching the flock rather than as a corporate boss then there would be no logical reason why one pastor-teacher might not guide and teach one flock.  Whether it is accepted intellectually or not, this is almost always the case where the elders see themselves as buildings and grounds keepers rather than as teachers and the local minister functions as a singular pastor dispensing spiritual knowledge to the flock because the eldership is not trained.  If the collective eldership is not competent pastor-teachers then this argues for and accepts a singular pastor-teacher because there is only one competent teacher in the group.  

2.  By the use of the term "shepherd," Scripture would not necessarily demand a plurality of shepherds for each flock, since a small flock would have only one shepherd.  In a larger flock, the chief shepherd might have assistants or  helpers.  

"As well might there be many heads to an army as many pastors for a single  flock.  The apostle James rebuked this error when he said, 'My brethren be not many masters.'  Rather should the energies of an entire flock be  guided by the wisdom ad zeal of a single responsible head.  In this view Christian churches should not be too large, so that individual talent will  be in danger of being overlooked or unemployed.  When, however, by  internal growth...it becomes too large for efficient superintendence or  practical work...preaching should come to its relief by going forth with  colonies to plant new centres of Church action." (Theological Dictionary     of the NT, p.  752)

 "Modern efforts for the propagation of Christianity, whether in pagan  nations or in nations nominally Christian, illustrate a similar necessity  for a preponderance of evangelical rather than pastoral effort up to the  time when a church becomes established.  After that, a single pastor can  take the oversight of a flock that has been gathered by multiplied labors,  of which preaching is usually the leading and principal agency." (Ibid, p.  753)

∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝3.  Even though one can argue that the passages which speak of a plurality  of elders cannot be used to absolutely prove that each church had several  elders, the sense of the passage seems to indicate a plurality.  However, the argument is not universally accepted because there are just enough passages to remove the absolute certainty.  

"And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them   determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in   Judea.  And this they did, sending it in the charge of Barnabas to the    elders" (Acts 11:29, 30).  

The plural term "elders" is used but the money is sent to a region—Judea.  However, Judea might stand for Jerusalem but the money may have been sent to one eldership for distribution to several churches.  

The singular term "elder" is used when naming the qualifications for the  elder but the deacons are spoken of as plural.  See 1 Tim.  3:2; Tit.  1:7  for singular elders and 1 Tim.  3:8, 10, 12 for instances of plural deacons.  

1 Tim.  3:1 begins to use singular terms of the elder: "if ANYONE," "sets   HIS heart," "the overseer," "He must manage HIS family," and etc.  Then in   verse 8 Paul shifts into the plural "Deacons" who likewise are to be "men,"   "THEY must," "let THEM serve as deacons."  The argument that this means that each singular elder must meet the qualifications loses its force when it is seen that each singular deacon must meet the qualifications and yet they are spoken of in the plural.  

4.  In defining the Greek word POIMEN as being translated as pastor but more   properly meaning shepherd, one writer says, "It (meaning Poimen) is used in  the plural in Ephesians 4:11 which might imply a plurality of shepherds in   the Ephesian church."  However, the same writer would never demand that there  be a plurality of apostles, or prophets, or evangelists, or teachers because of the plural form.  Most people would accept one teacher for a church even though this passage speaks of teachers (plural).  It says that he gave some  "evangelistS" and yet there is often just one evangelist for an entire city.  

"I wrote unto the CHURCH: but Diotrephes, who loved to have the preemi- nence among them, received us not...neither doth he himself receive the  brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the   church."  (3 John 9)  

Diotrephes apparently had the authority to refuse to accept those who          traveled as evangelists on their way from John to other areas.  Not only  that, he could eject anyone who supported the missionaries.  There is no hint  of a plural eldership within this church and the text does not say that  Diotrephes took control over the other elders.  The previous letter is written  to the "church" and it is said that Diotrephes took preeminence among "them"  meaning among the church.  Was he a singular elder or did he simply take the  oversight without the qualifications?  

Some scholars believe that Diotrephes is a monarchial bishop (elder, singular) but there is no evidence for this.  It is probably safe to conclude  that he could not have acquired such absolute power unless he was recognized as the leader of the church.  Whatever the case, John condemns him for his theological position and his domineering, lording it over the church.  If he is a singular bishop then he stands as a poor example.  

7.  Rev.  2:1, 8, 12 speaks of the "angel of the church" in the singular.  If  the conclusion of some scholars that this speaks of the elder or bishop of  the church is correct then this might argue for a singular elder.     

"The substantive.has the ordinary sense of work, service, making it almost certain that the 'angels of the churches' are nothing but a harsh Hebraism for 'ministers of the churches.'  We therefore here see a single  officer in these rather large Christian communities elevated into a  peculiar preminence which has been justly regarded as episcopal..."   (The Theological Dictionary of the NT, p.  819)

 If this is correct then the singular elder or "angel" is not a good example of one-man rule.  

∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝"To the angel, the one of the church in Ephesus."

It is very natural because of the nature of the early church as an  extension of the local community that there would be a plurality of elders.  If, however, there is a demand for three elders as preferable to two in order that they might not engage in a fight which cannot be resolved with a tie- breaker vote then the view of the eldership is wrong.  The eldership, if it sees itself as pastor-teacher, and if it measures up to the high standards of the office, will seek to operate on a concensus basis and will so involve the entire congregation (who has put them in 'power') that a tie-breaker will not be necessary.  And the eldership will see the vastness of the teaching task and will seek to equip many others for the teaching ministry.  

9.  The reading of Titus 1:5 and 1:7 have been seen by some as authority for one bishop and many elders:

Plural elders in every city:

"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thous sholdest set in order the  things that are wanting, and ordain ELDERS in every city, as I had  appointed thee" (Tit.  1:5)

Single Bishop:

∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝However, it is generally acknowledged that the bishop (as overseer) is  the same as the elder (1 Tim 1:5-7; 3:1-7; Phil.  1:1; 1 Peter 5:1, 2) where   elder denotes age and dignity and bishop designates his task.  It seems clear that verse 5 and verse 7 discuss the same persons.  

In Acts 20:17, Paul does not call for the elders (plural) from a single   church but elders from the city.  We do not know how many churches there  were in Ephesus, but it is logical to assume that the church was organized  into congregations which did not span a large area because of the lack of  buildings and transportation.  Thus, the call for the elders cannot exclude  the possibility that a single elder from several churches met with Paul.  Nor, if the above writer is correct, does it exclude the possibility that  the "college of elders" were the collective teachers of many small groups.   

Dividing Up the Work

Those who demand a plurality of elders often do so by arguing that the  elder cannot function and has no individual authority but that he can only  exercise authority as part of the "eldership."  If he has singular authority  then there remains no clear argument for plural members.  

While Scripture seems solidly on the side of a plurality of elders this is  not to establish a "college of elders" equivalent to the Hebrew eldership.  As  the elder's duty is to oversee, he might do this individually as he counsels  with a straying sheep.  Or, he might be called upon to share the most confi- dential information possible and offer some spiritual advice.  It would be  tragic to betray the confidence of another and bring each bit of information  before the "board of elders."   

On the other hand, it is important that many decisions be made by a concensus of all of the elders.  Those who argue most for a plurality of  elders often work within a congregational organization which negates the  effect of a plurality.  For instance, it is not uncommon to organize the  eldership into committees over which a given elder will preside.  Added to  this is the intrusion of the committee system from the world of business and  politics where committee decisions are often rubber-stamped.  If the elder  does not exercise independant judgment on committee decisions then he is not  a part of the plurality of elders.   

∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝∝It is popular to understand Ephesians the fourth chapter as teaching the  dividing up of the church into discrete ministries over which the elder sets  certain men who are simply to report to the elders on a periodic basis.  However, the duty of the eldership in this passage is to equip EACH member of  the body to function within that body and not to just prepare "department  heads."  If he "selects" ministers without "equiping" them then he is not performing his key task.  And if he trains "department heads" then he is not equiping the flock.  A close reading of this passage clearly shows that each member was equipped for the ministry if he knew healthy doctrine and could withstand false doctrine.  

In order that the dividing up of the work be accomplished without intro- ducing divisive factions the eldership should carefully look at the list of  ministries which should be performed and put them into two categories:  a)    Those duties which are corporate in nature and can easily be deligated with  little supervision, and b) those duties which are clearly spiritual in nature  and should not be directly delegated.  As examples, the selection of teachers,  the planning of curriculum, the organization of worship, much of the teach- ing, and evangelism should be in the hands of the eldership.  Decisions about buildings and budgets should not be presented to the congregation for sign that noone objected but the body should be involved in many of these  activities.  

Conclusion to Number of Elders

This writer has seen some of the best congregational work and involvement where there were only three elders where a much larger number served only  as obstacles to the will of the majority of the congregation.  

Many churches serve with a singular elder (even if not elected) for many years and as the church grows others are added to accomplish the shepherding task and not to meet the demands for a plurality of elders.  

The Biblical pattern seems to be strongly in favor of a plurality of elders but the number should not be too large.  The demand for additional  shepherding ability can and probably should be found in non-ordained members.        

The Ordination of Elders.

    Prayer, Fasting, Laying on of hands in Supernatural period

        Only by Apostles

        That prayer and laying on of hand is for supernatural gifts

        That fasting is not a legal act of worship

As in the case of qualifications, who does the selecting, and the duties  of the elder, the answer which we receive is based upon the question which  we pose.  If the elder is to be ordained as some way of "installing him into  his office" the clearly the ordination service perpetuates religious error and presents a false model of the eldership as an ecclesiastical office.  

There are at least ten Greek words which are translated in many versions as the word "ordain" and there are about twenty different Hebrew words and they all have slightly different meanings.  The word "ordain" is often ommitted from modern versions of the Bible and this is helpful in putting the appointment process in perspective.  Sometimes the word means to "select" but as we have shown in the case of elders it is always understood as to "appoint or charge one to do the work."

Making the ordination into an "installment service" with prayer, fasting, and ceremony may work three evils: First, it may send the wrong message about elders as God's servants and instill a sense of awe which builds barriers between "clergy" and "laity" which will last through and diminish the term of his service.  Second, it may be the appropriation of supernatural powers which were evident in all of the NT examples.  Third, it may make the  personal abstinence from food which an individual does so that he is not hindered from his devotion to God into a legalistic and therefore empty ceremony.  

There is only two unclear examples of any worker in the New Testament being "ordained" by the "laying on of hands" of people who did not or could not at the same time impart supernatural gifts and thus invalidating the other examples as a pattern for contemporary ordination.  

The first example is that of Paul in Antioch:

 "This seems to be explained by Acts 13:1-3 where Barnabas and Saul were  separated for their work by the laying on of the hands apparently by the  prophets and teachers at the express command of the Holy Spirit, spoken  doubtless by the mouth of one of the prophets." (Lenski).  

It is not clear exactly who does the ordination in this passage but it may have been the prophets and teachers along with the entire church.  They would, however, not by this process bestow supernatural gifts because they are ordaining Paul who is an apostle with the power to bestow the gifts on others.  While Paul had his authority from Christ Himself, it was appropriate  to be commissioned by a church for a mission trip.  It is also clear that they  were acting by the express command of the Holy Spirit who singled out Paul and  Barnabas and thus this cannot be a useful model for ordination in the  contemporary church.   

Notice that the elders are called Pastor-Teachers showing their dual  role.  He oversees (pastors) the flock in order that he might teach it.  These teachers in Antioch then could have been elders.  

While we do not understand fully the laying on of hands at Antioch it is not without significance that Paul immediately went out preaching with power and working miracles for the first time.  

The second example is that of Timothy:

 While Timothy had the supernatural power to perform his work, he was ordained at the hands of the presbytery or commissioned to work in their city.   

It appears that while Timothy was instructed how to teach new churches the  qualifications of the eldership, and Titus was left in Crete to finish the  work begun by Paul, Timothy was ordained at the hands of the elders.  In 2  Tim.  1:2 Paul bestows the gift of God—the spirit of power and love and self- control—"through the laying on of my hands."  However, in 1 Tim.  4:14 we see  the elders bestowing a gift in another way.  The phrase is "given you by  prophetic utterance, when the elders laid their hands upon you."   

"Evangelists from the beginning received their commission from the Churches, and not directly from Christ, as did the Apostles and Prophets.  This may be illustrated by the case of Timothy, one of the most prominent  and efficient of all the primiitive Evangelists.  He was well reported of  by the brethren of both Lystra and Iconiun, and was ordained as an  Evangelist by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery.  Acts 14: 1-3; and 1 Tim.  4:14) (Milligan, p.  314).  

"God gave Timothy this charisma, not by a miraculous gift from heaven,  but 'by means of prophecy,' by a communication of the Word to him...  

"Timothy was not appointed as Paul's representative by an act of Paul  alone but by a joint act of Paul and of the mother church of the Asian  territory.  That is why the presbytery joined Paul in setting Timothy  apart for his important work and office.  

"Paul was not a hierarch who acted alone in this matter.  He mentions 'the  presbytery' in this letter and at this place because all that precedes  deals with Timothy's work in the Asian churches, with his relation to  them." (Lenski, Commentary on 1 Tim., p.  646).   

"Timothy...received the commission by a like laying on of hands by the  elders of the church" (Pulpit Commentary, p.  72).  

The concept of "through prophetic utterance" means:

 "That is, the prophetic declarations and the hopes of pious friends in  regard to your future usefulness, have been among the means by which you  have been introduced to the ministry...The reference here is undoubtedly  to the act by which Timothy was set apart to the office of the ministry"    (Albert Barnes, commentary on I Timothy, p.  170).  

While Timothy was ordained by Paul "with" the hands of the presbytery, the supernatural power which he had was at the hands of Paul, an apostle.  Therefore, these two examples may not be exceptions to the rule that the laying on of hands was to bestow supernatural powers.  

Examples of supernatural ordination:

The Jerusalem-Seven:

Philip, as you may remember, was selected by his peers but he was ordained  by the apostles: "Look ye out amont you seven men full oif the Holy Spirit  and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business" (Acts 6:3).  Being "full of the Holy Spirit" did not mean that they could work miracles but that they  were under the influence of the teachings which the Holy Spirit had delivered  and in which the early church continued.  When the Greeks had made their  choice then the elders laid their hands upon them and they were commissioned  to their work and evidently received supernatural powers.  With the exception  of this example and that of Paul and Barnabas at Antioch it is clearly stated  that the laying on of hands was to bestow the Holy Spirit but in the case of  Phillip signs and wonders were performed.  

 The Greeks were neglected and the Apostles "set in order" the problem by having the congregation select their own ministers.  This is not unlike the example of Titus who was to "set in order the things that are wanting  [neglected], and ordain [set in proper place] elders in every city" (Tit.   1:5).  

These men were not "ordained to a permanent office" but when the need  arose men were selected to do the work and when the work was finished their charter to do the work was finished.  We later find that Stephen and Phillip are no longer "deacons" or ministers to the Grecian widows but have become evangelists preaching the word: Stephen at the cost of his life and Phillip with the power to work signs and wonders.  

What about an ordination process.

"And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, having  prayed WITH fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had  believed" (Acts 14:23 NASB).  

First, it should be noticed that there is no evidence that Paul and Barnabas laid their hands upon these people and therefore there is no evidence of supernatural powers.  And it was Paul and Barnabas with the supernatural powers who prayed and fasted and not the entire congregation.  

Second, the Bible properly puts fasting in its right place.  That is, fasting is not something which one DOES: it is not a religious ritual by which God's grace is bestowed or by which one gains some supernatural knowledge or by which God validates the decision of the church.  We know from experience that fasting does not seal the new elder or deacon against evil and therefore we must acknowledge that the fasting was not to earn God's approval of OUR selection.  If this is the goal then the process of selecting an new Apostle where a number of candidates are put forward and  we draw straws to hear God's choice.  

If done for a spiritual purpose as opposed to simply abstaining from food from intense involvement in prayer, Jesus would demand:

“And when you fast....

Fasting if properly understood is something which one does NOT do.  In this  case Paul and Barnabas were so preoccupied with their prayers over this matter that they DID NOT eat.  And often this is the case where people who are sad do not fast as a positive act of devotion but they fast which simply means that the DO NOT eat.  Fasting then might become a legalistic act especially if it is decided to fast until noon and then have a gluttonous potluck.  

"It is true that I have been studying the Bible a long time—about half a  century; but in all that time I have not been able to find any formula laid down for appointing men to do work in the church of God, and no one  else has been able to show it to me.  Any way that a congregation may give  an elder to understand they want his to act as overseer for them is an  appointment sufficient.if a man grows until he can fill the bill as an  overseer, and then fails to go on in the work, the congregation should  certainly urge upon him to persevere in doing his duty.  This would be appointment enough" (Questions and Answers, Lipscomb and Sewell, p.  203).  

"As to prayer and fasting, these may be voluntarily done at any time and  by any Christian who may in a very humble and earnest way implore God's  favor.  Hands cannot now be laid on by divine authority, as we understand  the New Testament.  Work, service, earnest devotion to God, is what we   need, and no sort of appointing or ordaining service can take its place"  (Ibid, p.  203)  

"Prayer and fasting are individual acts of devotion to God, and to reduce   them to a fixed formula or ceremony is to pervert them and take all the  life and meaning out of them.  Laying on of hands was always by men   miraculously endowed and for miraculous ends, and never an ordinance."  (Ibid.  202)

"The word 'diatasso' is defined as 'To arrange, make a precise arrangement, to prescribe, to direct, to charge, to command, to ordain.'  This word  occurs sixteen times in the Greek Testament, but it is rendered appoint only four times.  It is rendered command seven times; ordain three times, in the sense of direct or command; and once set in order; and there is not  a single instance of the use of this word that admits of a fixed ceremony"  (Questions and Answers, Lipscomb and Sewell, p.  201).  

"The word appoint, therefore, means to command, to direct, assign, or set,  or place a man over, or to do a certain work as in the case of the seven;  but the form of so placing or directing men to to do certain work is not  laid down, just as the matter of going to the place of assembling on the  first day of the week" (Ibid.  p.  202).  

CONCLUSION TO APPOINTMENT

This writer can think of no ceremony which will not put a totally wrong emphasis upon the appointment process.  Not only is it without Biblical precedence but it sends the wrong message about the power and authority of the elder which is not evident in the Scriptural patterns.   And it presumes that the “installing minister” has some super-natural power.

The duty to Discipline.elders

    Discipline in the brotherhood.

    Face to Face the Biblical demand

    Elders to be disciplined

    The Procedure of discipline

Relationship with paid servants of the flock

    Preaching ministers

    Travelling Evangelists

Elders.Shepherds.Pastor-Teacher


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