20 May 2009

His Children [1]

by Frank Turk

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you - if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

Yes: welcome back to Titus.

I think what I enjoy about this letter from Paul so much is that from Paul's perspective, this is simply a brief letter (~900 words in English -- about 2 pages single-spaced in WORD), and he writes it to Titus as if it's just the way things are or ought to be.

But when we read it here at the blog -- and think about this now: we're allegedly the conservative watch-bloggers, the ones that are all literalist, inerrantist, high-on-holiness, serious Christian men and women (especially pastors) -- it's full of controversy for us.

What? "Establish Elders"?

"Blameless"? You can't mean that Paul means "blameless" -- who but Christ is truly "blameless"?

"Husband"? But Timothy and Paul weren't themselves married -- you can't mean "husband".

I think reading this letter really dispels from us the idea that we're really all that biblically literate or full of the expectations Paul was full of -- because as we walk through what he wanted from Titus and for the Cretans, we find out that maybe we forgot to want these things for ourselves.

So we get to this clause here -- and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination -- and I think it's going to be a deal-breaker for many of you, for a variety of reasons. Because in the first place, Timothy and Paul didn't have any children, right? Because they didn't have children, and Paul tells Timothy not to let anyone despise him for his youth, what Paul says to Titus here must be mitigated in some way -- we think.

But here's the problem: there's a big difference between Paul, the messenger from Jesus to the Gentiles, who personally learned the Gospel from Jesus and who wrote inerrant Scripture, and us -- who are, well, just look at us. We're more like the church at Galatia and Corinth than we are like even Jonah or Peter.

So we have to admit something: Paul's ability to choose disciples and leaders in the church is probably different in a better way than our ability to do so. While he might be able to choose a Titus or a Timothy, our ability to do so is probably lacking in some way. If that’s the case, we should follow his instructions for us first before we start fishing for loopholes.

And in this particular instance, Mark Driscoll does say something useful for us to consider which is a practical example of what Paul is talking about here: his schtick is that a young guy who wants to argue about paedocommunion ought to be more concerned with getting a job, loving a wife, and having kids than he should be about whether a baby gets a sip of wine during worship.

That is: you need to be a little more informed about the world God made than a bookish knowledge of how the family works if you want to be an elder/pastor in God's church. You need to have lived the faith before you start theorizing about the faith.

Voddie Baucham makes a far more bold statement about this qualification for the elder: if your family is not in order, you should get out of the ministry. You are not qualified.

But Paul actually goes farther than that: he says that if one's children are "open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination", one is not qualified. That's the rub, isn't it? That Paul actually goes farther than we are comfortable with in his qualification of a man for leading the church than we do.



And again, some will say, "well, Paul didn't have any children." Yes: Paul was chosen by Christ. Unless you have had the Damascus road experience, abiding by the normal standards presented by Scripture seems like a more prudent course than being a closet continualist by suggesting that anyone today was "called" in the way Paul was "called". God uses all manner of men in His plan to redeem the world -- but for the leadership of the church, He (through Paul) has listed specifically that having children who are themselves believers is a criterion to be qualified.

But why? See: I know these posts have been brief in the beginning, but it's critical to see why Paul is handing Titus qualifications for elders here. In a culture like the Cretan culture (that is, like our culture), the church needs more than a good feeling about somebody.

Paul wants someone who understands this:
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
and this:
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
In short, Paul sees the role of elders to be fathers in the faith in the same way husbands and fathers ought to behave in the family. Men who have already demonstrated the key attributed of pastoral ministry ought to be the ones teaching others.

And if you don’t get the implication here, let me say it plainly: the pastorate/eldership is not for guys who are still working out their issues. And by that I mean this: it’s one thing to put someone in charge of a little to see if he can be trusted with more, and another to entrust the spiritual well-being of a flock of believers to someone who, himself, cannot be trusted with his own charge in his family. It’s ironic that ultimately the Bible says that the family is where we test men to see if they are suitable pastors and elders – because in our way of thinking, the family is more precious than the assembled believers. But in God’s economy, the church is where you put experienced men, and the family is where they gain that experience. The family is the lesser thing where men are tested, and the church is the greater thing where those who are qualified should go.

Now, the last objection to this is a sensitive one: "cent: as a Dad, I did all that -- and my son (or daughter) decided to do what was right in his own eyes. I thought he was a Timothy, and he's a Demas -- or worse. It kills me -- I can't express what it is to be a father with a child who has fallen out of the faith. But as I read what you say Paul is saying here, should I step down as an elder? Are you saying my child has disqualified me?"

That's a great question, and I will take it up next week.





129 comments:

Daryl said...

Frank,

That's a tough line you're holding to.

Thank you for holding it.

As in everything Scripture touches on, the only valid objections to this should be Scripture, not experience. No?

Strawberry said...

Thanks ¢ for the great article.. looking forward to reading the sequels

DJP said...

...about 2 pages single-spaced in WORD....

Paul used Word?

Excellent!

David said...

As with any commandment of the Lord, it seems harsh, impossible, burdensome and unreasonable. Until you walk in it for a while and you realize how much grace is packed in it.

As a man not qualified, I want to raise my kids qualified.

Aric said...

Thank you for the challenging words. Your posts on Titus (and previously on the Church) have really caused me to wrestle with my position on Church, membership, and Elders.

With this clause from Titus, I am struggling to wrap my head around the “and his children are believers” statement. As a father of young children, I find it difficult to know for certain my children are believers (in the sense of truly converted). Any chance for elaboration? If you’ll hit on it more in the disqualification post tomorrow, I can wait.

witness said...

Frank have you read what John Piper said about this?

Should a pastor continue in ministry if one of his children proves to be an unbeliever?

witness said...

Justin Taylor also dove into this subject...

Unbelief in an Elder's Children

Frank Turk said...

Witness:

I have read both. I have admiration for both. I have sympathy for their position.

I'll take it up next week.

David said...

We live in a culture that has the expectation that children are going to rebel at a certain age (that keeps getting lower), and that expectation has come to pervade the church. We also have the expectation that time will bring them back from their rebellion, rather than the gospel.

The only way to turn this around is to obey the gospel, and to live it out in our homes with the expectation that it will bear fruit.

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
(Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV)

Rick Frueh said...

I cannot see the logic, within the context of a Calvinist theology, that says a pastor cannot have an unbelieving child. Is not that election completely up to God? And if a minister cannot continue with an unbelieving child, does that mean God will not call a man whose compelete set of offspring are already elected?

And as it pertains to salvation, and not just obedience, how do a parent's actions undermine that? Does Adam mean God was culpable and responsible?

Frank Turk said...

Oh Rick -- settle down.

You see the [1] in the subject line?

So settle down.

Frank Turk said...

DJP: Paul used BibleWorks and WORD. And he was a Baptist. And he liked Coke, not Pepsi.

DJP said...

You are two for three on that.

Sir Brass said...

Frank,

Of course Paul wasn't a baptist, that'd be an anachronism :). But calvinistic baptists are Pauline ;).

David said...

Rick,

In a nutshell, faithful fathers are one of the means God uses in the matter of election, among many others.

Election is an organic reality, worked out in this world, in real life, not some lever God pulls in heaven arbitrarily.

DJP said...

Good heavens, what is THAT supposed to mean?

David said...

It means that God has a plan and a purpose, and that He uses people to carry it out.

I mean, God uses preachers to preach the word, right? They are (supposed to be) an instrument of His. He uses them to bring people to Himself. He does the same thing with faithful husbands, faithful fathers, faithful wives, obedient children.

Sorry, Dan, it's a covenant idea.

DJP said...

Ah, so salvation is inherited by blood, pace John 1:13. That must mean, by now, that everyone of European descent is saved! Cool!

(It's a silly idea.)

Gary said...

So, moving on to application...

Suppose there is a young gent, fairly newly married, no children. He has a gift for teaching (it's his job afterall!) is theologically solid and has no obvious major dysfunction between him and his bride. But he's not proven. He doesn't even have the illusion that he feels that he is proven.

Does he even begin to pursue eldership? By that I mean, elder-oriented discipleship and training, maybe teaching in a small group, even if he knows it might be years (or never) till he becomes any sort of full-time elder.

Missy said...

When you mentioned Mark Driscoll, did you mean Mark Dever? I'm sorry, perhaps I have missed something.

Mark B. Hanson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

Dan, is that even close to what I said?

I said that God uses people in His long term plans to carry things out. Got a problem with that?

DJP said...

That?

Oh no. Okay, so it doesn't have any necessary direct connection with whether or not one's children are elect, and therefore saved — any more than with anyone else to whom we tell the Gospel.

That makes perfect Biblical sense.

David said...

Good heavens, what is THAT supposed to mean?

Frank Turk said...

I pictured Mark Dever because he's the very model of a modern version of what Paul's talking about. I quoted Mark Drsicoll becuase he's right.

They are not the same person.

DJP said...

If you're reacting to my comment, David, I honestly can't imagine what could be unclear in it. So you'll have to explicate.

DJP said...

Frankt: They're not the same person.

True, dat.

(c:0

Rick Frueh said...

Frank - my point was I do not believe that a minister must step down, absent any parental deglect, when a child is rebelluous.

In full disclosure I had two. My oldest son was on drugs and very violent. God gripped his heart when he was 23 and today he is finishing his 4th year at Bible College with his wife and daughter.

OK, I'm settled.

Roberto G said...

David, I think your previous post probably meant that fathers are one of the means God uses in the matter of conversion and not election. The organic reality you allude to working itself out in this world is not election.

David said...

I'll get back to you later on this, Dan. I've got to go be a dad to my kids.

Roberto G said...

Rick, as far as logic is concerned with regards to the requirements to elders in the church, there is nothing inconsistent with holding to unconditional election and at the same time holding to the requirements for the office of elder. Being called to that office will have both inward and outward signs. Among the outward signs will be if he has indeed been used by God to convert his children.

Rick Frueh said...

"Among the outward signs will be if he has indeed been used by God to convert his children."

And voilà, my question. What if none of the pastor's children are elect?

DJP said...

Wow. So if God has not sovereignly elected every one of a man's children by grace in eternity past, the man's (presumably God-given, otbe) aspirations and preparations and fitness of character are overruled by an eventuality over which he has not the slightest control nor influence?

Wow. Thirty-six years, never heard such a bizarre thought.

Sir Brass said...

Dan, he's simply saying that our God is a God who uses MEANS. One of those means is the family. Doesn't mean that that is always the means, but it certainly is one of the ones.

It doesn't mean that all who are children of believers are elect, but one of the means God often likes to use to draw elect who happen to be children of elect to Himself is through faithful parents.

Make sense? :)

DJP said...

I just asked him if that's what he meant, Sir B, and he gablitzed. So I'm waiting to see.

If that's all he meant, of course no, no problem, makes perfect Biblical sense.

But in that case I don't get why he didn't say that, instead of saying "Sorry, Dan, it's a covenant idea," which would normally be code for a "one-Christian-parent-and-you're-IN" position.

If I misread, I will cheerfully do an Emily Litella.

And now, I shall stop Franking Frank's meta.

David said...

*kids safe again*

Cheez whiz, Dan. Thanks for filling me in on "covenant code." You know it better than I do, because I've never heard of that idea.

And yes, that's all I meant. And it is a covenant idea.

stratagem said...

I think it would be GREAT for the church if all that Paul wrote about Elder qualifications were adhered to. That would pretty much prevent any 25-year-old coming out of Bible school from being a pastor. Nothing against 25 year olds (I was one, once), but they are generally filled with idealistic nonsense, notions that the latest heresy-filled "christian" books are worth reading, and so on. Adhering to Paul's qualification list would do away with all of these problems, and more. Of course, it would also present a considerable challenge to the present "system", but I am more concerned about the Church than the system.
Thanks for taking a hard line on this chapter, Frank.

DJP said...

I have no idea what you mean by that, David. What covenant does God have with person B because of B's blood-relation with person A, with whom God does have a covenant? Or do you mean something else? Please explain in plain English, Greek, Hebrew or Spanish.

Sir Brass said...

Dan,
He's glabitzing (sp?) like a paedobaptist, you'll have to forgive him :).

I've heard the same language and ideas (though we weren't talking about elder qualification) used in other discussions where the baptism debate came up.

There ARE covanental aspects towards the Fathers being used in conversion of their children who are elect. But where David is slipping up is in the giving with one hand that election is unconditional and taking away by saying that there are covenant promises that one's children will be elect.

And that's why I turned baptist: it's biblical (it's therefore pauline) :).

This discussion seems to be following lines similar to the ones followed in the Wilson/White debate which turned into a sort of paedobaptism debate. Dan, I suggest you find it (DrO has it up on his website's store), it was SUPPOSED to be about "Are Roman Catholics our Brothers" (or some such). But, it was indeed over "Grab them by their baptism."

Hayden said...

Strategem,

You mean like Spurgeon and Edwards, etc???

:--)

Frank Turk said...

Rick:

re-read my post, and you'll notice the naked lack of one word which is necessary for your objection.

Can you figure out which word that is?

NoLongerBlind said...

Although a spiritual young man - in the 1 John 2 sense - I'd like to put in my (unqualified) $.02 worth:

If God sovereignly "works all things according to the counsel of His will" (Eph. 1:11), what's wrong with the idea, gleaned from the plain, straight-forward reading of this text, that He may choose to disqualify someone through the "non-election", debauchery or insubordination of one or more of his children?

I'm not trying to be argumentative - just an honest question, from someone with a yet-to-return home prodigal (yet professing believer?) daughter.

Tom

Frank Turk said...

Hayden:

In your column, you have a handful of notable exceptions.

In Strategem's column, there are literally armies of men who perhaps were called to minister to God's people by gift and inclination, but because neither they nor their churches discipled them biblically into a lifetime of ministry, they have failed spectacularly -- most of them bitter about it and distrustful of the church and the Gospel if not flat out apostates.

If we were careful to note and accept the exceptions, the rule would be obvious: if you're not Paul, and not a Spurgeon, then you have the obligation to do what the normal reading and receiving of Scripture indicates.

Everyone wants to be Paul. The problem is that none of us is Paul.

Frank Turk said...

Before this gets too far out of hand, where do either me or Paul say "elect children"?

How does election enter into this? Which word or phrase launches you into that orbit?

This is not about the election of children. This is about the qualification of men as elders, which is about observable characteristics. There's no way to make this passage an acid test for Calvinism or any other soteriology: it's about how the church, when there are no apostles around, can select and establish elders.

Rick Frueh said...

I did not object to your post, Frank. I thought I was agreeing with especially your last point.

Roberto G said...

Rick, perhaps it will be relevant to have in mind the status of the children at the time the man is a candidate for eldership (or an elder already). The text mentions, not election, but belief. And belief will display itself in different ways in a a young child through adolescence.

David said...

Whatever covenant we have is through the blood of person (A), Jesus Christ. His is the blood of the new covenant, and that's the only bloodline that matters. If I've got that blood in me, applied by grace through faith, there will be an overflow which points directly to Christ. And that is going to have an outworking in my family, among other places, even as an imperfect picture of a perfect heavenly reality.

I am not talking, in any way, about God having grandchildren, guarantees about the salvation of the children of Christians, passing Christianity through infant baptism, or anything else you're thinking that I'm saying.

Rick Frueh said...

Frank - how the election issue becomes relevant in the ordaining of elders is if you desire to ordain a faithful man who has three saved children and one unsaved and disobedient child, how can you hold that man accountable for his one child's salvation?

In summary, you cannot.

NoLongerBlind said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NoLongerBlind said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NoLongerBlind said...

Sorry, Frank!

I'll rewrite part of my previous comment:

"If God sovereignly "works all things according to the counsel of His will" (Eph. 1:11), what's wrong with the idea, gleaned from the plain, straight-forward reading of this text, that He may choose to disqualify someone - temporarily, or permanently - through the "as-yet unbelieving", debauchery or insubordination of one or more of his children?

Tom

David said...

Rick,

It's not a punishment, keeping this guy that you're talking about from being an elder. It's a blessing. God wants us to do it, and He told us so. Who knows? God may have a promise attached to it.

David said...

In other words, it's a blessing to my church, as I've been amply able to demonstrate even this morning, that I'm not an elder.

Frank Turk said...

Rick:

Who said anything about "election"?

donsands said...

"and his children are believers"

You know, I never noticed that before.

That's a difficult requirement to really find out I would think. Depends on the age of the children I suppose as well.

Look forward to your next post.

I have seen good elders, who really were qualified under all the requirements, and yet, over a few years Satan, with his perpetual wrestling upon the elder, and his family, slowly and subtlely brings shipwreck.

Elders need to be steadfast, even the ones that are ordained with all the qualifications, let me tell ya. So if you're an elder, put the armour of the Lord on, and don't take it off, ever.

(So how much more for a man who is not qualified.)

stratagem said...

Hayden

Yep - just like Spurgeon and Edwards. Is there something about them that leads you to believe that God's qualifications wouldn't apply to them? Or, are you saying that Paul's writing on this subject was not God-inspired? I'm not following your point.

Rachael Starke said...

As a former "closeted" rebel child of a pastor and now wife of a man with lots of years of teaching and ministry experience but only a few years experience with raising children, this topic is always a "chewy" one for me.

That's why I'm intrigued by the Dever shout out. If I'm not mistaken, at the recent DG Pastor's conference, I thought I heard him talk very specifically and matter of factly about his having an young adult son who is unsaved.

Am I mistaken? It wouldn't be the first time. :)

Dave Sherrill said...

"But here's the problem: there's a big difference between Paul, the messenger from Jesus to the Gentiles, who personally learned the Gospel from Jesus and who wrote inerrant Scripture, and us -- who are, well, just look at us. "

Frank, I see your points. Paul was a messenger from Jesus to the nations. When I look at you and me, what do I see? You and I obviously are not messengers from Jesus to the nations. After all, what would the purpose of drawing such a contrast be, if not to bring into stark relief the reality of Jesus sending Paul with the fact that you and I (and by extension all of the readers here) are not sent by Jesus to the nations? That is what you had in mind, right?

In addition, Paul learned the gospel directly from Jesus, whereas the message you and I have received is derivative, remote, and only a powerless shadow of the life-changing, life-giving message that Paul learned. Paul received real gospel but we've only received a muted, powerless imitation. What other purpose would exist for drawing such an obvious contrast between Paul and us? Obviously, it's all so obvious now.


Finally, Paul wrote inerrant Scripture and what you and I write is filled with error, this post and this meta included. I hear echoes of Paul's repeated proclamation, "I am the foremost of preachers."

I have benefitted greatly from many things posted here, but the tone and content at Pyro is becoming increasingly harsh and heading towards unbiblical. Unbiblical, you say?

"So we have to admit something: Paul's ability to choose disciples and leaders in the church is probably different in a better way than our ability to do so."

Frank, Christians are disciples. Paul did NOT choose disciples in the church. Disciples ARE the church.

Was Paul choosing the church? Should you be? Should I be? (Hint: no)

It is not a flame to exhort you to turn down the heat a little, especially when that heat is turning a biblical message into a charred lump of coal.

John said...

PAUL DID NOT PREFER COKE. He was a Dr. Pepper guy.

Gary said...

"Paul received real gospel but we've only received a muted, powerless imitation."


The gospel is NEVER powerless...

Daryl said...

Just reading through the meta brings me to a common conclusion...

While there may be (but really isn't I suspect) a biblical rebuttal for what Frank said in his post, no one has presented it.

All I'm reading is, "C'mon man, you can't be serious, that's, like, really hard. And besides I have a friend who..."

Which leads me to believe that, as I first suspected when I read his post, Frank is onto something here.

David Sherrill, on the other hand, would do well to re-read (or just read) the original post, think a little, and maybe rewrite his comment.

Daryl said...

Oh, and John, you're just wrong. No only did Paul prefer Coke, but so did all the other apostles.

W. said...

I have been wondering about this issue as of late. If we radicalize the argument a bit and say that a 65 year old pastor has a son, who at 45 years of age, decides to leave the faith and become a scientologist, does the son's act disqualify the Pastor from his leadership role.

My historical guess is that the patriarchal structure of Paul's day had the father as the "head" of the household and family until he died or his heir took over; accordingly, I would venture that my scenario above would definitely have disqualified a 1st century Elder. Should we look at the verse differently today where sons legally "leave" their father's household at eighteen years of age.

I don't care for reinterpreting God's word to fit the times, though the scenario would seem to be differently set today.

Rick Frueh said...

"Paul learned the gospel directly from Jesus, whereas the message you and I have received is derivative, remote, and only a powerless shadow of the life-changing, life-giving message that Paul learned."

That maybe the most profoundly inaccurate statement I have ever read on this blog.

Daryl said...

Rick,

But Paul got the Secret Message of Jesus, didn't he? We just got the ol' repent and believe line that some 15th century German monk came up with.

stratagem said...

Dave Sherrill is using saracasm, obviously, to make a point. That much I know.
What I don't know is, what is the point he's trying to make?
Is it that Paul is just the same as us, as in, his writings are no more trustworthy than any modern-day disciple? That's what it sounds like to me. But maybe I'm wrong.
Dave, in what way(s) is Paul different from the rest of us, in your opinion?

~Mark said...

Frank,

thanks for approaching this topic. I've been wrestling with this one for a while due to a real life local example. A pastor who had truly been a powerful preacher in the hands of God until the last few years as he took a turn toward a more social, feel-good Gospel.

One of his daughters plays a sport professionally that should only be the realm of men, and seems to many to have chosen lesbianism.

I've been wondering which came first, his softer teaching or his daughter's rebellion. I have begun thinking (after speaking with both) that his softer teaching is at least partially in response to her rebellion.

Roberto G said...

"It’s ironic that ultimately the Bible says that the family is where we test men to see if they are suitable pastors and elders – because in our way of thinking, the family is more precious than the assembled believers. But in God’s economy, the church is where you put experienced men, and the family is where they gain that experience. The family is the lesser thing where men are tested, and the church is the greater thing where those who are qualified should go."
I'm still chewing on whether it would be Biblically accurate to regard one as greater or lesser than the other. Hmm...

Jesus Is Coming Soon said...

Thanks for having the courage to read it out loud no matter how many have cut that chapter out.

timeintheword said...

What about single men? Or pastors who have no children?

Gary said...

"I'm still chewing on whether it would be Biblically accurate to regard one as greater or lesser than the other. Hmm..."

All husbands should be a pastor over their family. All elders are both a pastor over their family AND a pastor over their church.

So the second, in terms of responsibility, has to be greater than the first. Unless of course, eldership is somehow negative responsibility... (!?)

Hayden said...

stratagem & Frank,

Sorry my sarcasm wasn't a little more obvious.

Strat,
All I was saying is that your statement 'That would pretty much prevent any 25-year-old coming out of Bible school from being a pastor.' would have disqualified Spurgeon and Edwards and many others in the Puritan tradition.(Bunyan comes to mind as well) Let's not despise people for their youth (1 Tim. 4:12) but their youthful lusts (2 Tim. 2:22).

Roberto G said...

Gary, thank you for the help. Still chewing. In terms of responsibility, it would seem obvious that being an elder encompasses a greater responsibility for the reasons you mentioned (and included in the original post). However, as institutions, should we regard the church as greater than the family? Perhaps so...Maybe the paragraph I quoted wasn't meant to be understood as the family and church as institutions as greater or lesser, but the responsibilities of leading in each.

Tim Bertolet said...

"Some of you will say 'I am of Pepsi,' 'I am of Coke,' still others 'I am of Dr. Pepper.' Is soda divided? You weren't baptized in any of it were you?" --The Apostle Paul

Gary said...

I would think that for a man, leading his wife and children is the most important. This very qualification, that men who have trouble leading their families should not lead a church, could also be God's providence in protecting that same man. If his plate is full already, he doesn't need added responsibility in the church to distract him from what's most important.

Jugulum said...

"I am of Fresca." -- Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Brian McClaren

stratagem said...

Hayden

Yes I think everyone understood what you meant - but, so what if the Biblically-mandated requirements would have disqualified Spurgeon, Edwards, and Bunyan? That is the question you need to answer. As far as I can see, there is nothing about those men that would refute the qualifications for an Elder laid out in the Word.

Frank Turk said...

This was said:

Paul learned the gospel directly from Jesus, whereas the message you and I have received is derivative, remote, and only a powerless shadow of the life-changing, life-giving message that Paul learned. Paul received real gospel but we've only received a muted, powerless imitation. What other purpose would exist for drawing such an obvious contrast between Paul and us? Obviously, it's all so obvious now.I reputiate it completely, and it in no way reflects what I meant when I wrote in today's post.

What I would say is this:

We receive from Paul, and the other human writers of the NT, the fully-orbed Gospel of jesus Christ, which they learned from Him. When we decide that we would rather do what we want rather than what they therefore command us, we forget the Lord of All and put ourselves in His place.When I actually said this:

But here's the problem: there's a big difference between Paul, the messenger from Jesus to the Gentiles, who personally learned the Gospel from Jesus and who wrote inerrant Scripture, and us -- who are, well, just look at us. We're more like the church at Galatia and Corinth than we are like even Jonah or Peter.There's no way to interpret that (except through intransigence and a willingness to mis-state what was written) as saying, "we don't have the Gospel or God's word". What we have is what we have -- which is God's word as it is given to us and not as we would rather it be rewritten.

That is wholly my point, and I am encourged that most people reading here got that the first time.

Rick Frueh said...

Whether it is received as helpful, I completely agree with Frank's last comment. To thing that any writer here would suggest a subservient and incomplete gospel is without merrit and in fact ludicrous.

Hayden said...

Strat,

Did you see the Scriptures I quoted to you? The whole point that I was trying to make is that young does not equal disqualified.

There are lots of things that young pastors should learn and need to learn but just because someone comes out of seminary at 25 does not make them disqualified.

I know of some great guys that left seminary at the age that you have chosen and have some great ministry going.

There is no actual age attached to the qualifications in Titus but they are all character qualities. Many of these character qualities come with age but age is in no way a positive or negative qualifier. (I know many men that are old in age but in no way wise)

That was my point. Let us not despise young pastors for their youth. Let those who are further along come alongside of them.

(Ps I am 36, I do not know if that makes me old or young ;--)

Hayden said...

Frank,

Next time, are you going to address the word translated as 'believing' in the (NAS, ESV) and 'faithful' in the (NKJV, NIV)? I'm not making any assertions, just honestly asking.

stratagem said...

Hayden

That's exactly the point, isn't it? If someone at 25 actually is blameless, the husband of one wife, and all the other things Paul wrote, then they are qualified. But, few are these things at 25, right? So, why do so many churches hire these types right out of school? - because they don't take Paul's qualifiers as seriously as Frank does. They are looking for a Bible degree, something Paul didn't identify as a qualifier. And that's a shame.

Hayden said...

Strategem,
I get your point but I would have said it a little differently. I would say that for any man to be qualified he must meet these qualifications.

I really do not see too many churches hiring pastors out of seminary that are 25 to lead them. Maybe not in my circles but it could happen.

Frank Turk said...

|| "But here's the problem: there's a big
|| difference between Paul, the
|| messenger from Jesus to the
|| Gentiles, who personally learned the
|| Gospel from Jesus and who wrote
|| inerrant Scripture, and us -- who are,
|| well, just look at us. "
||
|| Frank, I see your points. ...
|| ... it's all so obvious now.

I’ve addressed this part already, above. The problem, Dave, is that you’re not really thinking about what you’re saying. Paul (among other writers of the NT, and among the Apostles; this would be true of all of them) was certainly not a perfect man. But our belief as Christians – and someone correct me if I’m wrong here – is that Paul was actually taught by Jesus the Gospel, and that churches that received Paul’s teaching were churches established by Apostolic authority and teaching. Those churches might not follow what Paul taught them (a la Corinth and Galatia), but they were taught what Paul knew by Paul.

And in that, we have what Paul taught in the Bible, but we are not ourselves Paul: we are like the folks at Galatia and Corinth. We cannot write Scripture. We might ignore vast tracks of Scripture, and we cannot author Scripture.

That was particularly my point

|| Finally, Paul wrote inerrant Scripture
|| and what you and I write is filled
|| with error, this post and this meta
|| included. I hear echoes of Paul's
|| repeated proclamation, "I am the
|| foremost of preachers."
||
|| I have benefitted greatly from many
|| things posted here, but the tone and
|| content at Pyro is becoming
|| increasingly harsh and heading
|| towards unbiblical. Unbiblical, you
|| say?

No, you say. There are implications of the Apostolic mission which, frankly, you do not account for in your interpretation. That is what is not Biblical: overlooking what Scripture must imply by saying what it says.

Think about this: this letter to Titus is Paul’s instruction to Titus for establishing churches. In that, we have to assume at least two things:

[1] This is what Paul actually meant to teach.

[2] This is what Paul consistently taught.

[-more-]

Frank Turk said...

[-cont-]

It’s somewhat inane to think that Paul was teaching this to Titus at the end of his life, but that at some point earlier he was teaching something different, which was fallible and in fact false.

That’s how I can say this:

|| "So we have to admit something:
|| Paul's ability to choose disciples
|| and leaders in the church is probably
|| different in a better way than our
|| ability to do so."
||
|| Frank, Christians are disciples. Paul
|| did NOT choose disciples in the
|| church. Disciples ARE the church.

That in itself is, frankly, uninformed. Why did Paul call Titus and Timothy “my true child in the faith”, Dave? What was the relationship between Paul and Titus, or Paul and Timothy? Was it teacher to student, or merely a bond among equals?

The pastoral letters identify one answer to these questions, and it’s not the one you’re advocating here. Paul was seeking to make men from among the general disciples of Christ in the church into leaders. These were his students, and the word the Bible used to indicate this kind of relationship is “disciples”.

And in that, Paul didn’t have a perfect batting record. Demas, among others, was not a good disciple to him. But you have to think for a moment about the paradigm you’re setting up. You’re saying that Paul, who learned the Gospel from Jesus, and wrote most of the NT inerrantly for God, did not know or understand the matters at hand better than, for example, John MacArthur or John Piper – let alone a more-average example of pasturing and discernment as we have today in the church at large. And in that, you are advocating that Paul would not be better equipped than the average pastor or Piper or MacArthur to choose men for pastoral ministry.

It’s important to see that I wrote “better” and not “perfect” – because “perfect” would be an unbiblical exaggeration. But Paul had to be better at these things because God intended him to better at these things.

Not one of us today can say we are God’s “apostle”; Paul can. That distinction has to have meaningful application in the real world. You are saying it doesn’t, and you are, I am sorry to say, wrong.

|| Was Paul choosing the church? Should
|| you be? Should I be? (Hint: no)

That’s simply hyperbole – and missing the point I was making for some other point which is not in question. Paul was training certain men to lead the church – this is an indisputable point. In that respect, these men were his disciples. He chose them for that purpose. I’m not sure why that’s such a deal-breaker for you.

|| It is not a flame to exhort you to turn
|| down the heat a little, especially
|| when that heat is turning a biblical
|| message into a charred lump of coal.

Well, I think you need to reconsider some of your passion here about what is and is not true about what Paul was doing, how he was equipped to do such a thing, and whether or not there is anyone today who is his equal in that respect.

Frank Turk said...

Hayden:

yes I am going to address that.

Jugulum said...

"I get your point but I would have said it a little differently. I would say that for any man to be qualified he must meet these qualifications.

I really do not see too many churches hiring pastors out of seminary that are 25 to lead them. Maybe not in my circles but it could happen.
"

Hmm, interesting...

There's an immediate easy suggestion that comes to my mind. We could say, "Right, a church shouldn't generally select a single fresh-out-of-seminary 25-year-old to be the pastor. But they could select him as a junior/associate pastor, or youth pastor. Then, as he proves himself, they can give him more responsibility. So, we can hold junior pastors to a lower standard."

But we can't use the phrase "junior pastor" to lower the qualifications for elders below Paul's instructions.

So... I'm looking forward to reading you address that, Frank.

Frank Turk said...

One of the things I didn't expect in this thread -- and I must be getting old because you people are starting to surprise me more and more -- is the kibbitzing about how old a pastor/elder can be.

Listen: I don't care how old he is.

He should be blameless, the husband of one wife, with faithful children who are not insubordinate, and he should be someone who must not be arrogant, tempramental, drunk, violent, greedy, but someone sho is hospitable, loving what is good, self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.

I think someone who is 21 could meet those requirements -- it'd be quite a trick, but he could do it.

The problem, as I see it, is that seminary is seen as trade school or college, and that all those who come out of it are thereby suited for ministry vocation in the same way that everyone who comes out of the vo-tech is qualified to be a welder or a mechanic or whatever. I think that's a problem, and pastors themselves need to review it and think about how they can fix it because they are the only ones who can.

This is a series for pastors, to pastors, remember?

Frank Turk said...

BTW, if I can name 5 churches which have pastor/elders hired straight out of seminary, will anyone feel like that's a problem?

The Squirrel said...

Tim Bertolet said...

"Some of you will say 'I am of Pepsi,' 'I am of Coke,' still others 'I am of Dr. Pepper.' Is soda divided? You weren't baptized in any of it were you?" --The Apostle Paul

Tim, I only know of lemon soda being used for baptisms...

~Squirrel

The Squirrel said...

"The problem, as I see it, is that seminary is seen as trade school or college, and that all those who come out of it are thereby suited for ministry vocation in the same way that everyone who comes out of the vo-tech is qualified to be a welder or a mechanic or whatever."

This right here was worth wading through all 90-whatever comments. Bullseye, Frank!

~Squirrel

stratagem said...

I really do not see too many churches hiring pastors out of seminary that are 25 to lead them. Maybe not in my circles but it could happen.

I do see them hiring people right out of seminary that don't fit the qualifications, into leadership roles. They attend Elders' meetings, help set doctrine for the church, preach, and so are acting in the role of de facto Elders, even if the title is not used. Older people who meet all the requirements that Paul set forth, but don't have a Bible degree, are often bypassed not only for the office of Elder, but are not listened to as much as the youngster out of seminary is. Maybe the youngster's age per se is not an issue (setting aside the word "Elder" itself), but prior to modern times a person wouldn't have assumed in any way the pastorate without working their way up.
Now, our system is that those without seminary degrees fight an uphill battle for the role of pastor. That is a modern invention, not a Biblical one.

Tim Bertolet said...

Let's not forget what Paul says to elder Timothy: Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. (1 Tim. 4:12).

This issue is not age, or whether or not they are fresh out of seminary. The issue is are they still working on issues in the Christian walk? Obviously we all are growing in sanctification, but the elder is to be, humanly speaking, blameless in his conduct.

I'm interested to see where Frank goes with this about believing/faithful kids in part 2. But in this part and in the meta, Frank are you saying an elder must have kids and must be married or he is disqualified?

Boerseuntjie said...

"But in God’s economy, the church is where you put experienced men, and the family is where they gain that experience. The family is the lesser thing where men are tested, and the church is the greater thing where those who are qualified should go."

AMEN!

We ought to be humble enough in heart to be in the wisdom and fear of the LORD.

And be challenged to be sanctified by the Spirit of grace and truth - througH His Abiding Word in the Scriptures Alone,
W

stratagem said...

Tim, none of us knows how old Timothy was. Maybe he was 40, and Paul was concerned about those who were 70 putting him down.
But that's beside the point. My disagreement isn't with someone young being in a leadership position simply because they are young. It's with the present system where degrees are (generally) elevated over the Biblical qualifications. Some of the qualifications would seem to greatly correlate with age.
The reason I have passion about this isn't sour grapes (I have a MBA and have no interest in being an Elder myself). It's that I see newly-minted "leaders" coming into the church with ascribed rather than earned status. Hence, where a pastor or de facto Elder should be able to (for instance) spot a theologically-unsound book like The Shack from a mile away and immediately understand what is wrong with it, often the recent seminarian may actually be inclined to be "pro" this sort of thing. That is partly because they are inexperienced, and partly because many seminaries teach compromised hogwash, these days. But it is all two sides of the same coin, elevating a degree above the Biblical qualifications.

Sing-Along Steve said...

I think we need to be more conservative in our application of Pauline ideas like "blameless" and "children who are believers...".

It saves us from the ugly, ugly reality of men like my former boss who rant and rave from the pulpit about all the evil in the world and how everyone needs to go and "give out the gospel plan of salvation" while they refuse to confront the rebellion, apostasy and even never-was-saved-ness (my word, I called it!) of their own children.

My boss even used his publicly atheist/agnostic son as a sermon example many times, referring to him (by career, not by name) as a fool.

Gutless and unqualified, both.

Dave Sherrill said...

Frank,
I sincerely thank you for your efforts in responding to my post. In studying Paul's life and letters, I have been deeply challenged by his abject humility. He does not trumpet himself as the foremost of preachers, but rather assesses himself as the chief of sinners. He boasts in Christ alone. The influence of my own personal studies on Paul, and this specific aspect of his life, form some of the roots of my original meta post.

We must not make an idol of the man. I am not saying that you are attempting to do so, and you've clarified this repeatedly in your responses here. I am again thankful for the comments you've made in this regard. Some may think this interaction of ours was superfluous. Unnecessary. But the human heart loves idolatry. If nothing else has been served, I have been helped.

You have explained that your use of 'disciple' here is to be distinguished from its use of the general church (Acts 11:26). This is helpful and relieves my concern of dancing on the abyss of unbiblical teaching.

We all come here and read this through our own eyes. Our brains, experiences, teachers, and churches all have an impact on why we read things the way we do.

I am thankful for the kindness of a reply.

Tim Bertolet said...

Stratagem,
I agree that degrees don't equal qualification to be an elder/pastor. A degree can be part of one's training to rightly divide God's Word, but one cannot assume that one meets Biblical qualifications because of degree.

Another modern day "qualification" is often success. Men who are successful in the business world (and are leaders) are often given leadership in the church as if the two are equatable.

I think it is a danger to just appoint guys to church because they have degree but they've never been involved with the church (serving, teaching SS, VBS, etc. etc.) and suddenly not only are they on the board of elders they are given the keys to the church. I just wanted to bring balance that (via 1 Tim 4:12) that there can be young guys who do set an example and have served the church and (degree or no degree) they are ready. That's the issue: are they ready according to the Biblical qualifications.

As an aside, I have seen lay elders who were "blue collar" (in some cases much older) but had incredible depth and insight in their teaching because they were diligent in God's Word both in study and walking in it. Sadly though, too often this is a rarity even worse when we measure by degrees as you pointed out.

-Tim

PuritanReformed said...

I for one do not see how Mr. Turk exegeted Driscoll's unbiblical advice from the text of Titus.

Darrin said...

Those kids in space suits are awesome!

Kirby L. Wallace said...

Sorry for being off topic, but what is a "meta" and the one being talked about that happened lately: where can I read it?

Sir Aaron said...

Frank:

IF I understand your post correctly, you are saying that a man must be married and must have children (who are believers, no less). I was just thinking that if this is your point, this is another area where Protestant belief stands in complete opposition to Roman Catholicism. OF course, the RCC believes it is the direct apostolic authority and lineage, so perhaps the comparison isn't quite fair...but still, it certainly stands in stark contrast to the celibate demands of priesthood.

Frank Turk said...

Kirby - the "meta" is the comments.
__________

Aaron: that's just grand-standing.
__________

P.R.- then I'm not sure what you're reading, exactly. Should all Christians have a love of Scripture and a love of God's truth? Yes, of course. But the word "must" in this text indicates more than mere suggestion, more than mere guidance. It's a command.

So the elder "must" be all of these things. And to MD's point, those who want to be elders in the final sense of this passage from Paul to Titus need to be elders in the first sense of this passage from Paul to Titus.

I hope that helps you.
__________

Thanks all.

stratagem said...

Tim

Amen, amen, and amen.
I hadn't thought of the "successful businessman" error in a while, but I agree it's another common example of ignoring God's qualifications. Also an example of an Elders' Board knuckling under to large dollar contributors (that's what I've experienced, and its truly sickening when it happens).

Hayden said...

Frank,

At TMS the qualifications of being a pastor were emphasized and examined for each graduate. Is TMS an exception or part of the problem?

PS I did pray that some guys would not go to local churches not because of their character but because of their lack of preaching ability, but that is a different story.
;--)

Frank Turk said...

Hayden:

Since you ask, seminary is a blessing -- for a man qualified to be an elder. Seminary does not qualify anyone to be an elder -- TMS, TEDS, Southern, WTS or whatever. It is conspicuously absent from the criteria for being an elder, in fact.

The other true fact is that many men who are otherwise qualified to be an elder could use seminary to round out their ability to rightly handle the word, therefore helping to qualify them.

So seminary is not the problem, per se. How we use what is available at seminary, and how we see that resource, is the problem.

PuritanReformed said...

Frank:

I agree that elders have to have such qualifications. However, Driscoll in his Confessions was rudely dismissing a member of his congregation who asked him the question of pedocommunion. Is this how pastors/elders are to dismiss the doctrinal questions of others? Along a parallel line, would you recommend an elder do the same if the question was on pedobaptism - the enquirer should get married first and have his first child before even considering the topic?

Admin2 said...

1 Corinthians 7:1-9 seems to say that it's better to be single than married, marriage being a antidote, so to speak, for the sin of lust.

One might argue that we're all guilty of the sin of lust, and thus marriage is the response required before becoming an elder.

But if that were universally true across the board for all mankind, why would Paul say twice that it's good to not be married?

While it's logical that someone who cannot lead a family cannot lead a church, it seems a little whacky that only lustful men, where lust is the root cause of marriage in those cases, can become elders.

It's disheartening to turn on the news and find yet another church leader exposed for lust of one kind or another. Perhaps we could use a little less lust and a little more celibacy in church leadership.

Or contrast a 30 year old man who had to get married at 17 because he got his girlfriend pregnant vs. a man who is still celibate at age 30 because he worked hard at a holy scriptural life.

Is the first man an automatically, scripturally commanded, better elder?

Daryl said...

Admin2,

You find me a man, less than 80, who has no issue with lust and I'll show you a man who either has a medical problem or is dead.

The leap to saying that only men who struggle with lust can be elders is just nuts.
And it's not as if Scripture mandates marriage to prevent lust.

Daryl said...

And, BTW, how on earth does living a celibate life equate to trying to live a holy life?

stratagem said...

Frank - so well put, that last comment of yours. I know a man who went to seminary in his late 40s and became a pastor for the first time in his early 50s. Seminary didn't hurt him, because he had judgement, something that is often lacking in a 20 year old.

Admin2 - that's quite a list of hypothetical conundrums you've dreamed up there. I could only add "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? to that.

Admin2 said...

What??? 1 Corinthians is pretty clear at least to me.

You guys are all married, I suppose :)

Can you clue me in on how to discern what Paul is scripture and what is hypothetical and dancing on a pin?

That seems like an easy way to explain away difficult scriptural "inconsistencies."

I still am wondering how if it is better to be single why only married men can be elders.

The answer that 100% of men suffer from lust doesn't get it for me.

Admin2 said...

Perhaps I'm trolling, and I'll go away now.

The answer is easy for me. I'm a Methodist and we use our reason, tradition and experience to interpret scripture. We even ordain women!

If someone is called to be an elder and cannot shed that calling (and when God calls, it is not good to ignore Him, as we all know), and the church prayerfully comes to the same conclusion, then he (or she) becomes an elder.

You cannot ignore inconsistencies by defining them as hypotheticals or turning logic on its head to resolve them.

Jesus is the Word of God and the Holy Spirit still works in our lives daily. God is the highest authority and will not fit into a book.

But in all practicality I'm not nor will I ever be a scholar on par with anyone here.

I'm simply not convinced by any of the 100+ comments that you have addressed the entirety of scripture.

stratagem said...

Admin2

Nowhere does Paul say that being married is wrong. He observes rightly that if a man is married, he will have distractions in his life coming from his married responsibilities.

In the passage we have been talking about, he says that an Elder must be the husband of one wife.

I don't see any conflict there. Therefore what you are objecting to is a false dichotomy.

Perhaps the real issue is that in order to ordain women, one must find some way to de-authorize Paul? And you are trying to find some way of doing that, because you can't tolerate what he wrote here and elsewhere, under direction of the Lord.

Frank Turk said...

.

Frank Turk said...

PR --

If you want a one-word answer, I'd say, "yes".

If you want a paraphrase of MD's answer, I'd say, "Since you aren't an infant, and don't have an infant, I think you probably ought to think about things which concern you rather than looking for a fight where, in our credobaptistic church, we don't even have a boxing ring."

And if you want more than that, you're going to have to come across as somewhat more serious about the question rather than trying to paint it in gossimer white and abysmal black.

Frank Turk said...

Admin2:

Your questions demonstrate and abject ignornace of the Bible, and specifically of 1 Corinthians.

I think that before you start giving us suggestions about what Saint Paul Really Said, you have better read it more closely.

For those who think I have treated Admin2 unkindly here, I want you to consider this: my answer isn't any more terse or less graceful than his question. If his method of asking is valid, my method of answer is wholly valid.

Tim Bertolet said...

Frank,

Re: 1 Corinthians.

Several commentators I was looking at today (Mounce, Towner and Knight) all mention in discussion of 1 Tim 3:2 and/or Titus 1:7 that Paul's discussion does not mean one is disqualified from being an elder if one is unmarried. I believe all three commentators mention specific references from 1 Corinthians 7 where Paul commends the non-married as being able to be more fully devoted to the Lord. I believe Andrew Strauch's book on eldership also mentions 1 Cor. 7 on the this issue.

The question is why would Paul hold singleness so highly if at the same time he held that one must be married to be an elder?

While Admin2 didn't mention what passage he was referring to (perhaps he meant some other passage that truly is irrelevant), I think your "abject ignorance" remark was uncalled for, unless of course you are going to throw Mounce, Towner, Knight, and Strauch into that category as well.

Respectfully,
Tim

Frank Turk said...

Tim --

So you're saying that anony commentors get a pass for being strident and glib, but someone like me doesn't?

That's an interesting paradigm. I'll ponder it. As to 1 Cor 7, I'm interested where it says that the unmarried are qualified to be elders. You could spell that out for me before you call my comment "unwarranted".

Sir Aaron said...

"it seems a little whacky that only lustful men, where lust is the root cause of marriage in those cases, can become elders .

I'm not quite sure what he means, but Paul does say in 1 Corinthians 7:9 that if you cannot control yourself, you should get married and otherwise, should try to remain single.

Frank:

Aaron: that's just grand-standing. Perhaps. But it's exactly this point that many commentators make when expositing on Titus. I actually got the idea from reading Matthew Henry's commentary on Titus. (Wesley too). So its not like I just came out of left field.

I have been reading and researching to follow along with your series here. With regards to this particlar post, I can't find any commentator, including MacArthur, that believes this passage in Tutus indicates that a man must be married (as opposed to dedicating himself as a single man to God) in order to be qualified to be an elder. That's not to say you're wrong, but it is something that impressed upon me as I was studying what you had to say. I'm also looking forward to your exposition on the portion regarding children since a plain reading of that text indicates that a man must have children and they must believe. I'll wait patiently for that post and study what you say carefully. But this is the first time in this series that I've had to struggle with your point.

Tim Bertolet said...

I'll admit that comment was a drive by.

I'm just point out that a number of serious commentators do spell things out. Admittedly, 1 Cor 7 doesn't mention elders. But the point is that it does hold singleness for the sake of ministry in higher regard. For example, how can Paul wish that all be like him, if he knows this would eliminate elders in the church (7:7).

Obviously for Paul if one is unmarried one shouldn't seek marriage but remain where God has called him (7:17), but then how can one desire to be a teacher (cf. James). It is an issue of reconciling the two passages even though admittedly 1 Cor 7 doesn't mention elder in the same way Titus and Timothy don't mention the gift of singleness.

You also have 7:32-34, that a married person has divided interests that the unmarried doesn't. So how do you reconcile this with your interpretation of 1 Tim. 3:2 and Titus 1:6-7.

The commentators I checked bring this to bear and note that the focus is on the 'one' of 'one woman man' not necessarily that one must be married. The focus is not marital status but moral quality of fidelity. It goes to faithfulness, similar to the prescription about widows who are 'one-man-woman' (the English has to supply the 'has been') does rule out the widow to a second marriage.

Some of the commentators point out that Paul's focus may be in light of 1 Tim. 4:3 and false teachers forbidding marriage.

A couple things to consider is: is an elder disqualified if his wife dies? Does an elder have to have more than one child? (Paul's statements are plural). If it is status, than you have to say yes!

I know we don't exegete by what others say, but those that I checked out, don't hold that the prescriptions on family are absolute but only relative to whether or not one is married because the issue is character not status. Along with the previous mentions, MacArthur has a really thorough interaction here. His exegesis spells out what is meant my 'a one woman-man' (especially without the definite article). It also let's Scripture interpret Scripture. It spells out a line of argument with more detail than I would here on a blog meta.

You might not agree, but I'm just saying a thorough argument can be made. Blog trolls aside, I think your sarcasm got the better of you. Just my opinion.

-Tim

Sir Aaron said...

Tim:

My research led me to similar conclusions. I was hesistant to post my response because Frank's responses seemed a little terse even for him. I didn't want to get lumped in with the trolls, since I actually desire to learn. I'm struggling here because Frank's position is not aligned with the classical interpretation of this passage.

timeintheword said...

I'll ask again...

...is a man who meets every qualification given with the exception that he and his wife cannot have children disqualified?

Does an elder have to have children?

~pastorway

Daryl said...

timeintheword,

I think Framk is planning on addressing questions like these next week.

In the meantime, I'll give it a shot. The way I read it, I think the issue Frank is presenting is that the home is the place for an elder to learn how to shepherd.
Given that, it seems to me to be self-evident that a childless man, for any reason, becomes not disqualified, but untrained and thereby not ready.

If he's reading Titus right. I'm not sure, but I'm willing to believe that that's how Paul meant it.

Adoption seems to rule out the possiblity of anyone really being unable to have children to raise.

Sir Aaron said...

DAryl:

Frank did say he'd address the issue next week, but your responses are a little disingenuous. There isn't much difference between not yet qualified and disqualified. The bottom line is that the person is disqualified from holding the position until he has children and they show some evidence of belief. If you want to hold to that interpretation of Scripture, you have to hold to the entirety of it.

And not everybody can adopt especially since it is prohibitively expensive for many couples.

Daryl said...

I'm not sure how I was being disingenuous by trying to differentiate between terms. But I see your point.

I do agree, if you hold to it, you hold to all of it.

Sir Aaron said...

It's dingenuous because you are, in effect, saying the same thing. The guy's point was that if you don't have kids, you can't be an elder. You were quibbling over whether that meant you were disqualified or just ineligible.

Mark said...

I simply can't believe it!!!
I have NEVER heard ANYONE hold to that understanding and interpretation of this passage before, ever......other than myself :p
I have questioned myself many times over the years for holding to such a rigid interpretation of this, and other passages that lay out "qualifications" of an elder. Thank you for commenting on this, it makes me feel a little less crazy...lol.

Keep the fire burning!

Daryl said...

well...you may still be crazy Mark...