Christians are to desire, seek, and encourage healthy local church bodies to serve in and biblically qualified elders to oversee them, submitting to those elders when God provides them. The perfect, sufficient Word of God lovingly makes this much very plain. (See Hebrews 13:17; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Acts 20:17-28; 1 Peter 5:1-4; and Titus 1:5 as some example reference points.)

This is the biblical norm. This is the rule, though, as with many rules, there may be exceptions for a particular season or in particular circumstances. These seasons and circumstances notwithstanding, it is the biblically prescribed norm nonetheless, and we should thank God for its clear presentation in His Word.

God has chosen such service and submission as means by which He purifies the Bride of Christ and prepares her for battle.

Yet there are those who simply cannot abide the simple, clear pronouncements of Scripture on the matter. They have itching ears to hear of another way; of a workaround – any workaround – that might justify their aversion to personal accountability to elders in a particular body of believers.

They have much more “practical” ways of pursuing maturity and waging war for the Kingdom of God, they say.

They lunge and point everywhere but to where Scripture speaks most plainly and directly on the subjects in question.

They point to every exception to biblically prescribed norms that they can find in order to argue against the legitimacy of the biblically prescribed norms that bother them. Time and again they aim to make the exceptions the rule so that the rule itself might be somehow tainted by association.

Where others dismiss Christ and Christianity by pointing to false gods and dead religions, many Lone Ranger Christians take the same route in response to the simple, clear biblical facts of church eldership, submission, and church discipline in order to rationalize their dismissal.

They point to abuses of authority to argue against submission to elders.

They point to abuses of church discipline to argue against church discipline.

They point to dysfunctional local churches as justification for dismissing their serving and submitting in a local church body, often while flamboyantly (and ironically) epitomizing the height of dysfunction themselves.

They grab at this, that, and every other extra-biblical reference point that they deem potentially useful.

They point to personal experiences, accommodating spins on history, and anything else that they can find in order to distract from and avoid the crystal clear Word of God on the subjects of elders, submission and church discipline.

Yet the Word of God stands.

Christians are to desire, seek, and encourage healthy local church bodies to serve in and biblically qualified elders to oversee them, submitting to those elders when God provides them.

When a stand for this simple, clear truth persists in the face of efforts made to undermine it, those doing the undermining often feel compelled to introduce new rabbits to chase and issue convenient new “requirements” for consideration of the subjects at hand.

This is when you know they’re pretty much done.

“You can’t argue that Christians are to desire, seek, and encourage healthy local church bodies to serve in and biblically qualified elders to oversee them, UNLESS you FIRST define in detail what exactly a healthy local church body looks like. In detail. Lots of detail. And did I mention detail?”

Which, of course, is absurd.

It’s just one more last-ditch attempt at hawking yet another rabbit-trail in order to avoid dealing with the simple, clear truth of Scripture.

The basic fact of biblical eldership is a first step to understanding the details of biblical eldership. Not the last.

The basic fact of biblical church discipline is a first step to understanding biblical church discipline in detail. Not the last.

Denying the basic fact (or even one’s ability properly discuss the basic fact) of eldership UNLESS the vivid details of eldership are FIRST made clear is just plain silly. It’s nonsense.

Yet as with so many things, many Lone Ranger Christian advocates turn these basic realities on their head, undermining the clarity of Scripture to prop up their particular “Just Me & Jesus” spin on things, which, in reality, is much more of a “Just Me & My Mood Ring” worldview in practice.

Beware of such people.

And love them.

Love them enough to confront and correct them with all the patience and grace that you can muster while praying for more of that patience and grace every day. (For more on this, please read: Never forget that apart from God’s grace you and I are complete morons.)

Love them enough to help them embrace and promote, rather than undermine and ridicule, such beautiful (and challenging) truths of Scripture as those pertaining to church elders and church discipline.

Love the Lord enough to love them this way. Love the Lord enough to stand as He has commanded and equipped His people to stand for the advance of His Kingdom on His terms as revealed in His Word.

Christians are to desire, seek, and encourage healthy local church bodies to serve in and biblically qualified elders to oversee them, submitting to those elders when God provides them.

The perfect, sufficient Word of God lovingly makes this much very plain.

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

~ Hebrews 13:17

This is the standard by which His people will build His church, all by His grace and all for His glory.

Lord willing, much more will be coming on this subject in coming months. Thank you for your time and interest in these things.


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6 Responses

  1. Some elders believe they are the only ones who can administer discipline which is nonsense. Some elders think they are the only ones who can baptize which is also nonsense. Deacon Phillip blows that nonsensical idea out of the water. The power to evangelize and disciple is the same power to baptize. There are elders who arrogantly add to God's requirements for membership in an attempt to control the body with smothering oversight in the name of purity, but in reality it is the same desire of control the Roman Catholics and Presbyterians lusted after. These same elders could not handle 3000 or 5000 converts on one day as happened with the move of God in Acts. Nay, it would take some elders a year to "process" these people by meeting with them, running them through "new member" classes, having them take extra Biblical vows, etc… Once someone believes and confesses, God gives them a gift which they immediately exercise in the body to the shagrin of paranoid elders. 2 Corinthians clearly tells us God places each member within the body, so it is arrogant indeed for elders to add extra hoops or "requirements" for "membership". One is a member of the body immediately upon the quickening of the Holy Spirit whether the elders approve or accept it or not. Would an elder refuse a member of the body admittance to fellowship with the body just because they don't agree with them or don't like them. Such a thought is odious to the Lord, yet pompous elders practice this all the time out of laziness and poor stewardship but in the name of purity and unity. Rather than take the time to teach and train the new Christian, Lazy Elders would rather make them uncomfortable and unwelcome until they leave which is un loving. I am for elders, discipline, and everything in the Scriptures, but many elders cherry pick what they want. Most do not allow anyone else to speak when assembled when the Scriptures clearly say everyone has a song and a word, but in the name of orderliness and unity and purity it is not allowed… neither do these same elders allow for charges to be brought against elders in front of the entire body by two witnesses because of the eisegesis of equating "elders" with "assembly" (and a gross eisegesis from Deut it is…. one for control just like the Catholics and Protestants) Membership vows are extra Biblical. God's Church should be spreading like a wild fire but the oppressive control freaks can't handle it. Elders should teach, disciple and equip the laypeople to go out and spread the "Way". Yes, there are sinners who don't want to repent or be held accountable, but we should be ready with an answer and be prepared to take the time to teach.

  2. If you are inferring that Hebrews 13:17 should be taken literally, I believe you are mistaken. Hebrews 13:17 is frequently misused by authoritarian pastors and elders to abuse and "lord it over" by "compulsion". "Obey" does not mean "obey" as in a military rule. Look up the greek word in Nave's and you will find it more accurately means "be persuaded by". Hebrews 13:7 clearly sets the context as Elders leading by example and one to be imitated. Matt 20:26 clearly says that rule will not be by "lording over" another. Paul emphasized many times that he should be imitated by the Church. Elders are servants of the people and should serve and submit to them. Every Christian should submit to every other Christian as the Bible allows. Everyone should submit to Scripture and its precepts, so a four year old could apply "discipline" and reprove another with Scripture. (I don't know what you believe, so please don't think I am accusing or imputing anything to you.)

  3. Drinking in the Word of GOD … that is the righteous – only way to submit.
    Too many people are confused, even still.

    When I speak, share, people are still hearing the words from the pulpit instead of reading from The FATHER's words … the Bible.
    Many don't understand what they have read, don't want to get out of their fog; as if it's a comfort zone for them.
    It's not judgment — not my place.
    Just a realization how sad the hearts of some people are.
    As I used to be.
    Until …HE taught me different; then I understood … HE is still teaching me, and will be till I am called home.
    That is the same for you too, poster.
    No one is born with HIS wisdom, knowledge and / or understanding.

    Tell me, please, how many 'pastors' should a person try listening to before they are kicked out of their church?

  4. Jim Jones would totally agree ! The only path to God is through THE CHURCH !

    "Submit to the church and drink the Kool Aid kiddies…"

    1. Actually, Jim Jones seemed to take the lordship and Word of Jesus Christ just about as seriously as you do. You both seem equally uninterested in submitting to Him in detail. You both pitch Statism. You both hate the lordship of Christ. There's a whole lot of similarity there.

      You have your Statism-pitching cult (Colorado GOP) and he had his.

      Thanks again for representing your wing of the Colorado GOP perspective.

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