“The New Testament offers more instruction regarding elders than on such important church subjects as the Lord’s Supper, baptism, and spiritual gifts. Since the pastoral care of the local church is of the utmost importance to God, He has plainly stated His will on this matter.”
That’s an observation by Alexander Strauch in his book on biblical elders and deacons. I love observations like this because they bring perspective: if God speaks more on elders than on communion, baptism and spiritual gifts, then we ought to be clear on what and who elders are as much as we are on all of those other topics.
For a long time, the idea of communion and baptism was always simple to me – a remembrance and a public confession. Simple. Now I realize that while my understanding was “simple”, it was also “surface”. There’s so much more to the idea of communion and baptism.
When it comes to spiritual gifts I would like to think I’ve done better, put forth better effort. I have read numerous books from all kinds of persuasions of understanding – from John MacArthur’s cessionist point, to Jim Cymbala’s Fresh Wind Fresh Fire pentecostal understanding, to more nuanced middle-of – the – road views like J. I. Packer, John Scott, John Piper, Chuck Smith. I’m not an expert on spiritual gifts, but I’ve tried to put forth an honest effort to understand the issue.
When it comes to elders and the church, up till a few years ago, I had put forth almost no effort to understand the issue, the office, the responsibility of an elder – which is crazy in light of how much the bible speaks to this topic.
LESSON: There’s probably a lot of sense to measure the amount of time and effort in understanding something with the amount of verbage God speaks about it in His divine word.
So let me ask you: Do you know who the elders of your church are? Do you know what their job, calling, role is in the life of the church?