Who Selected Elders?

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James K's picture

So Kevin opted to argue from silence in the same way that a Presbyterian would infant baptism.  He has no verse to support his assertion, he merely tries to find that verses don't rule it out.  Personally I would like to thank Kevin for reinterating what I have repeatedly been saying, that what voting is to congregationalists, baptism is to presbyterians.

There is no verse in the Bible that states that my children must clean their room.  I have read it cover to cover and can't find that command.  However, the Bible does say that a) I am the authority because God said so, and b) they must obey me.

For the sake of this discussion, I will even grant Kevin's assertions about congregational election that the NT doesn't forbid it.  I do agree about the apostolic authority not still being around except for in the Scripture.  So I could consult the Scripture the same way a 1st century person could consult Paul or Peter.  Did any NT writer ever say that that pastors/elders/bishops had the authority to rule and that the people were to obey them?  Was that ever laid out anywhere?  (Spoiler alert: YES!)

So if the NT doesn't demand a particular method, but the NT does demand obedience to the elders and charges them with ruling, what would be the natural conclusion for who picks the elders?  (Spoiler alert 2: THE ELDERS!)

See now?  That wasn't so hard.  We can do away with the nonsense that the sheep don't like the shepherd and can just fire him (see Mark Dever on bizarre idea).

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

James,

I am the oldest of seven children, five girls. The oldest of the girls is two years younger than myself, and we grew up playing together. When she was small, my sister believed that if she couldn't see me, I couldn't see her. So, when we played hide and seek, she would hide her head under a pillow on the couch. Of course, she was obviously sitting on the couch to every who looked for her, but she was completely invisible in her own mind. Reminds me a lot of your approach to this topic. Kevin does more than simply find verses that don't rule out voting on elders. Furthermore, he demonstrates instances of congregational voting in other issues. You can hide your eyes if you choose, but that doesn't make the argument any less obvious to others looking on.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Dave Gilbert's picture

James, I've interspersed some replies in with your post:

 

James K wrote:

So Kevin opted to argue from silence in the same way that a Presbyterian would infant baptism.  He has no verse to support his assertion, he merely tries to find that verses don't rule it out.  Personally I would like to thank Kevin for reinterating what I have repeatedly been saying, that what voting is to congregationalists, baptism is to presbyterians. ( Interesting correlation...I tend to agree. )

There is no verse in the Bible that states that my children must clean their room.  I have read it cover to cover and can't find that command.  However, the Bible does say that a) I am the authority because God said so, and b) they must obey me. ( Excellent way to describe it...agreed +1000 )

For the sake of this discussion, I will even grant Kevin's assertions about congregational election that the NT doesn't forbid it.  I do agree about the apostolic authority not still being around except for in the Scripture.  So I could consult the Scripture the same way a 1st century person could consult Paul or Peter.  Did any NT writer ever say that that pastors/elders/bishops had the authority to rule and that the people were to obey them?  Was that ever laid out anywhere?  (Spoiler alert: YES!) ( Yes, but IMO not in the traditional, worldly sense...it's not liKe the military. The Spirit of God leads, and those that are not tasked with the incredible responsibility of overseeing the church's operation, are to let the elders do what God has called them to do...wouldn't you say? )

So if the NT doesn't demand a particular method, but the NT does demand obedience to the elders and charges them with ruling, what would be the natural conclusion for who picks the elders?  (Spoiler alert 2: THE ELDERS!) ( To the natural mind, I suppose you are correct. I would submit that the Spirit picks the elders, so long as everyone is submitted to the will of God in the matter. )

See now?  That wasn't so hard.  We can do away with the nonsense that the sheep don't like the shepherd and can just fire him (see Mark Dever on bizarre idea). ( Unfortunately, I've seen this far too often, and I really have to wonder who is leading whom in the churches...at least in the visible, denominational ones. )

 

True believers are indwelt and led by the Holy Spirit, who ( in my way of thinking ) if left to lead instead of being quenched, would mark out those among us that would best be qualified as elders...similar to what He did in Acts 13:2 with Paul and Barnabas.

 

A novel idea I must admit, but there it is. How believers are organized in the churches is not just about Scripture, but about the Person who indwells us and leads us.

 

In truth, I'm not as much replying to you, James, but to the article itself. Smile

James K's picture

Dave, I would agree with you that the Spirit would indeed do what we might expect the Spirit to do based on the fact that the Bible (which He authored) says that very thing.

This is also why every church in the NT had a plurality of elders.  Arguing for a single pastor is an argument from silence and against the pattern.  That tends to offend people as there is just no way their church or seminary could be wrong all these years.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

James K's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

James,

I am the oldest of seven children, five girls. The oldest of the girls is two years younger than myself, and we grew up playing together. When she was small, my sister believed that if she couldn't see me, I couldn't see her. So, when we played hide and seek, she would hide her head under a pillow on the couch. Of course, she was obviously sitting on the couch to every who looked for her, but she was completely invisible in her own mind. Reminds me a lot of your approach to this topic. Kevin does more than simply find verses that don't rule out voting on elders. Furthermore, he demonstrates instances of congregational voting in other issues. You can hide your eyes if you choose, but that doesn't make the argument any less obvious to others looking on.

I can't tell if your argument is for paedobaptism or congregational voting.  Advocates of either would respond like you did.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

James K's picture

Consider Acts 6 then as well.

For the sake of this, let us assume that this is a pattern to be repeated.

The apostles told the church to select men to oversee this matter.  The church did not tell the apostles that more men were needed.  They took instruction by the apostles and made their choice.  The apostles then confirmed the men.  The men were not recognized as having any authority over the distribution prior to the apostles giving their stamp of approval.  How does this support a congregational voting trumping elder rule again?  Quite the opposite.

If the same thing happened in Acts 14, then the same thing would be true.

So really Chip, this is more like playing hide and seek with an invisible friend.  Only you can see him.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Argument from silence in the case of choosing elders vs. the case of infant baptism--there are important differences. One stands out.

  • We are actually told who was baptized (those who believe)
  • We are not told directly who chose elders

Due to this difference, silence has a different relationship to argument in each case. Because we are told those who believed were baptized, silence regarding any non-believers being baptized is not grounds for concluding that non-believers ever were. Since we are not told who selected elders, silence regarding congregations at least allows for that possibility.

But it's a bit moot anyway, because we do not really have "silence" on that question. An inference from other evidence is not the same thing as "argument from silence."

JamesK wrote:
The apostles then confirmed the men.  The men were not recognized as having any authority over the distribution prior to the apostles giving their stamp of approval.  How does this support a congregational voting trumping elder rule again?  Quite the opposite.

It is definitely not "quite the opposite." The answer to the "How does this support..." question depends on where one believes the role of apostle went. I think we'd all agree our situation is not precisely parallel, since we don't have apostles on hand. Where did their authority go? Wouldn't we say it went into the NT writings themselves? And who has the responsibility of reading and obeying the Scriptures? All of us.

Apostles appointing deacons does not parallel elders appointing ... well, anybody.

James K's picture

Aaron, Presbyterians don't deny that those who believe were baptized.  They argue from silence that babies must be baptized as well.  The difference you cited wasn't the same as what I was talking about.

By the way, it was Kevin who made Acts 6 part of his argument.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Pastork's picture

 

Although I do believe that the Bible presupposes an important role for the congregation in the selection of elders, I cannot fully agree with Bauder's arguments. For example, despite his citation of older commentators who make the point, I do not think that the Greek word cheirotonéō  indicates voting in Acts 14:23. The word refers, after all, to the actions of Paul and Barnabas, not the congregations, and this is why the word is regularly translated appointed rather than voted in English versions (e.g. ESV, KJV, NASB, NET, NIV, NKJV). True, the word literally refers to "stretching out the hand" and can thus denote voting, but it clearly refers to appointing when used of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 14:23, taking on that meaning most likely due to the laying on of hands that was associated with the appointment of men to ministry.