What Are Common Misconceptions About Who Should Be An Elder?
- A biblical elder is not simply an older male. Life experience alone is no guarantee that a man meets the biblical qualifications for an elder (1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9).
- A biblical elder is not simply a successful professional. In fact, the very traits that get some professionals to the top of the corporate, industry, or political ladder may actually put them on the bottom rung of the church leadership ladder. Leadership in the church is fundamentally different from leadership in the world (Mark 10:34-35; John 13:1-17 . While successful professionals may also be gifted spiritual leaders, the two are by no means identical.
- A biblical elder is not simply a “good ol’ boy.” Living in the same place and being a member of the same church for three decades doesn’t make a man an elder.
- A biblical elder is not simply a nice guy. A man can be as sweet as sugar and not meet the biblical qualifications for an elder. Being an elder requires wisdom, integrity, discernment, and the ability to teach Scripture, not just friendliness. No man should be made an elder simply because he’s likeable.
- A biblical elder is not a theological genius with no pastoral heart. An elder must love the sheep by caring for them personally. Theological brilliance is no guarantee that a man can shepherd the flock of God (Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5:2).
- A biblical elder is not a politician. The biblical office of elder is an elected office. But the man who fills it should not be one who campaigns for it, or who is willing to divide the church in order to further himself.
- A biblical elder is not a female. Elders lead the church by authoritatively teaching the Word, a role the apostle Paul restricts to men (1 Timothy 2:12).
(Some of this material has been adapted from The Deliberate Church by Mark Dever and Paul
Alexander, pages 138-140)
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