Thankful for elders

December 18, 2006

Yesterday morning we had a wonderful time together as a congregation.  One of the high points was a moment that is fairly rare in our church’s life–all our elders came up front in the service.  Our new elders were taking vows, as was the congregation, and we were praying for them.  Having the elders there together, with the congregation pledging their prayers and support was moving.  A number of members commented to me afterwards about how much they appreciated the ministry of the elders in our congregation.  They were encouraged to see all these men standing there, from diverse backgrounds, committed to Christ and to our congregation.

Some readers may think this is strange stuff for a Baptist to write, but here’s what the faithful London pastor John Gill wrote in his commentary on III John 10:  “the pastor, and though there is a pre-eminence, which of right belongs to such an officer, as to preside over the church, to govern, guide, and direct, according to the laws of Christ, he being set over the church, as a ruler, governor, and guide; yet this may be carried too far, as it was by this man, who coveted more than was his due, and lorded it over God’s heritage, ruled the flock with force and cruelty, and usurped a tyrannical power over them; whereas every thing in a church ought to be done, by pastor and people, in love, meekness, and with mutual consent. And it may be also, that he sought to have the pre-eminence over the rest of the elders of the church, for in those large churches there were oftentimes more elders and pastors than one (see Acts 20:17, 28; Phil. 1:1)."