Friday, April 29, 2011

I Timothy and Plurality of Elders - Notes from Macarthur

Some quick notes I took from a sermon by John Macarthur on the issue of eldership.  In I Timothy we read the Apostle Paul writing to Timothy at the church in Ephesus and giving instructions about restoring Biblical eldership.  Macarthur describes how the Bibles speaks of elders as a plurality of men, and not a "lone wolf" pastor in charge.  Paul's letters teach of elders in a plural sense, and say nothing of a pyramid layout or pecking order to this - no ruling man or board of men in charge.  The idea of a "senior pastor" is not in Scripture.

Coming from a Presbyterian background, I've long had struggles with the concept of "lay eldership", or elders who are full-time lawyers or pediatricians during the week, giving their trades full-time focus, but then along comes Sunday and then they are somehow qualified to serve as officers of the church?  And what happens in a situation where someone in the congregation needs immediate crisis counciling?  "Sorry, I have a busy work day at the office and can't help you."  The office of elder should be a full-time, dedicated role held by men with a seminary education.  Its one of the things I love about Oak Ridge Reformed Baptist, in that there isn't a "senior pastor" but rather two men who take on the eldership responsibilities together.  I'm fairly certain this is consistent with how the Bible described it should be.

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