Dear Brother G. :
I am following The Forum with much interest. In many places very little is known regarding elders and their function in the assemblies of the saints. This fact caused me much concern; to the extent that I put these thoughts together and had several thousand copies printed.
You are free, if you see fit to use any part of them, or all.
Am enjoying the magazine very much. Indeed, its ministry is a Scriptural one unto edification, exhortation and consolation.
Yours in Christ, H.P.
My Dear Brother H. P. :
Many thanks for your letter of encouragement, and also for your thoughts relative to the subject under discussion in The Forum. I have selected some of these because they are pertinent to the part of the subject raised by correspondents.
Sincerely in Christ, J.G.
“Elders are not a board of legislators over an assembly, but labourers among the saints. There are various phases to their work:
Pastors: In Acts 20:28, they are told to ‘feed the Church of God,’ which means to pasture, to feed, to nourish, to support. A pastor’s duty is to tend and feed his flock. This involves instruction of the ignorant, visitation of the sick, consolation of those who have lost loved ones, admonition to the disorderly, and last but not least, the restoration of the overtaken ones.
Protectors: As watchmen, (Heb. 13:17) they are to guide and protect the flock from those without seeking to get in, and at times those within seeking to draw out disciples after them (Acts 20:29-30). Was there ever a day when the saints needed protection more than today!
Patterns: In 1 Thess. 5:12, Paul exhorts the Thessalonian believers to ‘know them which are over you in the Lord,’ literally this means, those who stand in front of you, your leaders in the Lord. Thus elders stand before us as patterns, examples to be followed, leading the flock and not lashing it, directing it and not driving it.
Presiders: The word ‘rule’ in 1 Tim. 5:17, has the thought of presiding over the flock according to Strong’s Concordance. While it is true that overseers have no human authority over the assembly, they have an authority delegated to them from on High. God has given wisdom and sound judgment to His elders, and, truly, if this be the case, they are able to judge among the saints.
Pilots: This word suggests itself from the meaning of the word ‘governments’ in 1 Cor. 11:28 according to Strong’s Concordance. It conveys the thought of steering, pilotage, and directorship in the church. As pilots overseers are to steer the assembly clear of hiding rocks which would surely cause it to shipwreck.
Performers: They are to be labouring brethren in the real sense of the word (1 Tim. 5:17), spending and being spent in this wearying work, always serving, but often getting very little credit.
Since it is true that Scripture teaches a plurality of elders, who would deny their coming together for prayer and consideration of the spiritual welfare of the assembly? It is all-important that they should be united in their judgment, for a divided oversight means a divided fellowship. Any undue individuality of action, regardless of the fellowship of other elders, will lead to the spirit of Diotrephes (3 John 9).
Our thanks be as fervent for mercies received, as our petitions for mercies sought.
Thanksgiving is a good thing; thanksliving is better.