Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Elder Qualification

There is a great article and discussion within the comments section at the Gospel Coalition on whether or not an elder's children must be believers in order to be qualified. [1 Tim 3:4-5, Titus 1:6]

I think Justin Taylor did a good job with his exegesis. According to the explanation of Scripture, I would agree that having unbelieving children does not automatically disqualify an elder. But I wouldn't leave the evaluation at that. A man with a house full of well-mannered pagans may not be the best choice for leading a congregation.

So I would add that the affirming body should evaluate the household management of a candidate more carefully if many or most of his children are not believers. While the responsibility of conversion does not lay on the shoulders of a father, discernment should be used to see if his neglect encouraged his children to reject Christ. Is the gospel central in his home, or is Christianity an extracurricular/add-on? If his children stray despite his daily pleading with tears, he's probably qualified. If his children model his lackadaisical attitude toward church, then he's probably not qualified. How he manages his household is how he will manage the flock, and his children are a reasonable gauge to evaluate the preeminence of Christ in the home.

With well-time providence, D.A. Carson wrote a November 2 entry in his devotional book For the Love of God which studies Titus 1 and the belief of an elder's children. 

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