My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

13 June 2006

Your Elders

Last Saturday morning, I began a six (or seven) week program to train the men of the church plant in being an elder. The idea isn't that each man would be an elder immediately, but that (1) some would be prepared for that work when the church is established, (2) the rest would know what an elder looks like and does in order to vote well and (3) that all the men of our church would be well-prepared in leading their families, since much of that work is similar to the work of an elder.

On Saturday we studied the lists of qualifications for the elders. While we were all sufficiently humbled by these lists, we were also encouraged by these two quotes from the church's past:

Regarding what it means to "desire" the position of elder (1 Tim. 3:1), Patrick Fairbairn:

It is not merely a post of honour, or a position of influence; not that primarily at least, or in its more direct aspect, but a work of active service, and one that from its very nature brings one into living fellowship with the pure and good. The seeking here intended, therefore, after such an office, must be of the proper kind, not the prompting of a carnal ambition, but the aspiration of a heart which has itself experienced the grace of God, and which longs to see others coming to participate in the heavenly gift.

Regarding what it means for elders to be blameless (1 Tim. 3:2), John Calvin:

He wishes a bishop to be blameless…that he must not be marked by any infamy that would lessen his authority. There will be no one found among men that is free from every vice; but it is one thing to be blemished with ordinary vices, which do not hurt the reputation, because they are found in men of the highest excellence, and another thing to have a disgraceful name, or to be stained with any baseness. In order, therefore, that a bishop may not be without authority, he enjoins that there shall be made a selection of one who has a good and honorable reputation, and not chargeable with any remarkable vice. Besides, he does not merely lay down a rule for Timothy what sort of person he must select, but likewise reminds every one of those who aspire to that rank, to institute a careful examination of himself and of his life.

So, if in my last post I could be so bold as to ask you to pray for your preachers, may I now ask you to pray for your elders; pray that their desire would be for God's glory and your good. Pray that they would indeed be blameless, that God would keep them from such sins that would lessen their authority and ability to guide you in His grace.

1 comment:

Barry York said...

Thanks for the article and reminder from Calvin about blamelessness. This quote should be kept in mind as we are sadly having to consider the fate of officers of the church who have been "stained with baseness." They may repent and be restored to Christ and His church, but being restored to their office is a whole other question.