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Elders? Yes Or No?

November 29, 2016

Greetings,

“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed.  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 Peter 5: 1-3  Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament

Yes, there are such people as true elders within the Body of Christ.  However, please notice that they are AMONG us and NOT over us.  In my over 40 years of serving the Body of Christ I have noticed that true elders do not accept titles or pay for their service.  No, they serve gladly and give of themselves continually without compensation or reward.  These mature folk help us find safe pasture where we are able to grow and learn directly from The Master.  They help make sure we are safe in all matters of faith and practice.

The Lord never meant for these gifts to become offices to be filled.  This is not about positions within the Body, because there are really no positions in the true Body of Christ.  Because we are all equal siblings peers and Priests in God’s true Church.  There is no positional Leadership in the Body of Christ, except that Jesus is King and we are not.  The only way to effectively lead in Christ’s Body is by example.  We are not to stand over and above others in the church and tell them what to do or believe.  We will not Lord over others in the Body.  What we will do is live upright lives worthy of the callings we have received.  We will be the same person in public or in private.  We will love others by laying our lives down for them.  The greatest calling any of us can receive is that of being a servant to all, just like Christ Jesus.

I have witnessed the church function gloriously without professional, positional, paid leadership for over 40 years.  It can and does work extremely well.  The church does not need those with titles or positions to be effective in its ministry.  The church I am speaking of makes disciples and cares for others extremely well; and it spends all its resources on direct ministry to widows, orphans, and those in Spiritual and natural need; instead of on Clergy salaries, buildings and institutional maintenance.   Any human hierarchy within the church hinders the church.  I know it is a very simple way that I follow and in that way Jesus is the One and ONLY Head and Leader.  I will bow down to Him and no other.  Who do you follow?  I certainly don’t want anyone to follow me.  I am just glad when folks choose to stand alongside me.

Love and …..

Kirk Out !

 

 

 

 

 

 

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12 Comments
  1. "BK" permalink

    Amen, Christopher. I was just telling Ken tonite that I think it was you who even pointed out the when Jesus said “Take My yoke upon you….” He was positioning Himself BESIDE us. When you are yoked with someone you are BESIDE them. I am still deeply moved at this. What an example!
    Love, “BK”

    • Yes BK, even the Holy Spirit is referred to as being the paraclete in Greek..meaning the one called alongside us. If God Himself chooses a place beside us “man” should NEVER choose a place above us.

  2. Sue heumann permalink

    Wow, that’s a wonderful truth! Alongside……..of course!! New amazement again! And Christopher, these body thoughts are extremely foundational. How we’ve messed things up. Thanking then!ord for his goodness in leading us out of bondage Into freedom and His Way. Praying for you.👍 Thanks for prayers on our behalf, too.

    • Sue, thank you for confirmation of my thoughts and for your prayers. We need one another in the Body of Christ.

  3. Sue heumann permalink

    More than ever……

  4. Sue heumann permalink

    Incredible! Thanks,! Here I am for u too…..and those who post here…..the underground!e

  5. Jim Oyster permalink

    Designation of Elders

    I see the term elder, in the context of the New Testament church, as a designation of spiritual maturity as opposed to ecclesiastical authority.

    In contrast to the designation of elders as men of spiritual maturity, the title of “elder” in the church hierarchy systems of today is often bestowed without consideration of true spiritual maturity. That is clearly not an appropriate use of the term elder and is contrary to the intention of the apostle Paul when he instructed Titus to designate elders in every city.

    While no analogy is perfect, I suspect we could all better understand the role of elders in the church if we better understood the role of elders in our families. Read in the light of the analogy of the family, the following Scripture takes on a new light:

    Heb_13:17 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 may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

    In the family analogy, this Scripture applies to those believers who have not yet reached maturity. However, there is another principle that applies to those who have achieved sufficient maturity that they know how to be led by the Holy Spirit:

    1Pe_5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

    There is clearly a place in Scripture, as seen here, for younger believers to submit to their elders. That is part of the maturing process. There is also a place for submitting “one to another.” That is part of coming to maturity. There is no place in Scripture for a hierarchy of believers in which there is one person at the top who is over all others and need not submit “one to another.” All means all.

    To be truly mature, we must be overcomers; we are born with everything we need to become mature but the maturing process must be completed before we are actually overcomers. As in any family, the process begins when we are young by submitting to our elders but is completed when we have learned to submit to one another so that the covering of Christ covers all assembled together as His Body.

    For more on the importance of “one another” relationships as being the “will of the Lord,” I recommend reading Eph 5:17-21 with the understanding that “speaking to one another” and “submitting to one another” are essential elements in being filled with the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ. See also Malachi 3:16 and Colossians 3:16. Malachi addresses this subject as an aspect of having our names written in the book of life.

    There are also a number of Scriptures pertaining to being “clothed” with Christ, and I recommend meditating on these as well. However, I don’t want to go too long in your blog.

    Love in Christ,

    Jim Oyster
    joyster@crosslink.net

    • Thanks for sharing Jim. I hope to get back to this and respond in depth at that time. Hebrews 13 is one of the worst translated passages in the New Testament. True elders don’t rule they serve and we are to obey Christ and NOT “men”.

    • "BK" permalink

      Hi, Jim. I hope you don’t mind that I jump in with a couple of thoughts before Christopher gets back to you. I appreciate your carefulness, and your reference to scriptures. I looked up the scripture again that you referenced in I Pet and found it pertinent to look at the first 5 verses to get the context of verse 5 (actually a few chapters back 🙂 ) . “1] The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
      [2] Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
      [3] Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
      [4] And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
      [5] Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

      What I especially found relevant to context was how the ‘oversight’ was to be accomplished i.e. by being ‘ensamples’ to the flock. Then verse 5 begins with LIKEWISE or ‘in the same way’, submit yourselves to the elder. Because the admonition to the elder precedes this it would seem evident that they must have been showing an example of ‘submitting’ and Peter is telling the younger to follow this example. It is to the anointing we submit, to Christ, and He is present in every member great and small.

      Hebrews 13:7 is indeed a mistranslation as Christopher says It would be better written, “Consent to the evidence [i.e. example, experience ] of the leaders [or guides] considering the origin of their conversation [walk].” Amen, Paul was not talking domination here. We are hearing good admonishment to take a look at the FRUIT, or EVIDENCE, in someone’s walk that’s been at it a long time and if it bears witness to the “origin” [Christ], then give assent. Follow them as they follow HIM.

      I have a little different take on being an ‘overcomer’ as I don’t see it as an end to be arrived at in a time called maturity, but it is a progressive experience in the Christian walk. Every day, every time I am in a battle and win it in Him I have ‘overcome’. Again and again and again.

      So while I see your point about maturity and agree the walk of those who have proven themselves faithful to Him, I think we sometimes hold those things to a distant time when people need to know from their beginning in Him they can hear Him and follow Him wherever He appears.

      Probably didn’t do a really good job explaining my thoughts. Love in Jesus, “BK”

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