Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 6, 1952

Concerning Elders

Floyd Embree, Artesia, New Mexico

Many times, when the church gets ready to select men for the eldership, the full number of qualifications laid down in the New Testament are not taken into consideration. As a result, the church suffers, and is sometimes torn up as a result.

But there is one qualification that I believe is seldom overlooked, but nevertheless, I sometimes wonder if we think through that qualification? Paul said concerning men for the eldership, that he should be "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity." (1 Tim. 3:4) Then, to Titus, Paul said, "If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly." (Titus 1:6) When we go to select a man, we look for a man who is the husband of one wife, and one who has believing children. When we find such a man, we sometimes make an elder of him. But, when Paul said that he should be blameless and have faithful children, what was the purpose in his having faithful children? We say, because it shows that he is capable of leading his household.

But brethren, did you ever think, Why are this man's children Christians? Is it because of his life, example and teaching that they are believers, or is it occasionally in spite of that? Was this father responsible for leading these children, or was his wife, or the preacher, or some elder or teacher responsible? If someone else was responsible for leading these children to the Lord, then is this man qualified for the eldership? I can show you a few infidels today who have faithful children, but I do not believe it was because of the examples and leadership of that father that they are such. I believe that Paul was going just a little deeper than we sometimes go on that point and that the end desired was that the man be a leader that was capable of leading. If he could lead his own family, then likely he could lead others. But if he could not lead his own family, then all doubt is removed as to whether he could lead others. He could not.

What about the leading ability of the men that are selected as elders today? Are they not to be leaders of the flock? If so, what of the ability of this man, of whom we are considering making an elder, as a leader? Can he lead? If he cannot, then can he be an elder like the Lord would have in his church?