Saturday, April 15, 2006

more thoughts on eldership

Since there are qualifications for one to be an elder, it is possible for one to be unqualified or disqualified for service as an elder (pastor, missionary, etc). We can see that since there are qualifications in both 1 Tim 3 and Titus, but we also have Paul's comments about his own ministry, “Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” (1 Cor 9:26,27 NASU)

A Christian who is known as a thief, murderer, adulterer, or drunkard is not qualified to be an elder. Likewise, a Christian in the ministry who is guilty of these, especially while holding the office of an elder, is also disqualified. Moreover, not only would I (or anyone) be disqualified from this office, but the primary damage here is done to the name of Christ, and it is immense.


When the topic of “televangelists” is brought up, people who were alive and who knew what was going on in western culture during the latter part of the last century think of Jim Baker, and the scandal that surrounded and brought down his ministry. Now, I have heard stories that Jim Baker has been cleaned up by God. I actually have heard that he got saved in prison…wow! Whether or not Jim Baker (or another pastor/elder) was saved during the exposure of his sinful lifestyle or not is not my main concern now. I truly hope that Mr. Baker is soundly saved and is growing in the LORD. However, no matter what growth he has nor his natural and God-given abilities and talents…he is no longer qualified to be a pastor/elder because he, in mans eyes, is not above reproach.

I think that standard holds for Jim as it does for me and any other man who wants to be in ministry in the position of an elder. Furthermore, it would be foolish if Mr. Baker were to go back to the same ministry again because, if nothing else, he would be in the same environment where he so publicly fell into and lavished in sin. It would be foolish from purely a temptation standpoint.

Just as robbing a bank, speeding, or doing drugs have real life consequences…so does adultery by an elder. We can, and have been, forgiven by God through Christ for all of these things if we are truly saved, but the consequences of these actions by a Christian leader is that this same leader is no longer qualified to be an elder.

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