Systematic Theology II - Lesson 22

The Doctrine of the Church (Part 4)

New Testament passages give specific instructions about the functions of elders in local congregations. There are also lists qualifications for elders that emphasize character qualities. The roles and qualifications for deacons are also given.

Bruce Ware
Systematic Theology II
Lesson 22
Watching Now
The Doctrine of the Church (Part 4)

The Doctrine of the Church (Part 4)

2) The functions of elders

     a. Able to teach

     b. Rulership

2) Qualifications

     a. Character qualities

     b. Fulfill functions already mentioned

     c. Deacon (diakonos) “a servant”

          1) The functions of deacons

               a. Able to serve the needs of people

               b. Without the ability to teach and rule

          2) Qualifications (almost identical)

               a. Character qualities

               b. Do not need to be able to teach and rule

  • Both the Old and New Testaments teach that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully human. The Old Testament contains specific references to His pre-incarnate existence. The New Testament teaches that the incarnation is an historical event that was prophesied in the Old Testament. Christ fulfills the roles of prophet, priest and king. His deity is emphasized by the names of God that are ascribed to Him.

  • The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ had attributes belonging solely to God, and did works that were done by God alone. Christ was worshipped and accepted worship. He Himself claimed to be God.

  • Christ was fully human, as well as fully God. The Old Testament prophesied it and His historical life demonstrated it. Philippians 2: 6-8 uses the word kenosis to explain the relationship between Christ's human and divine natures.

  • The "impeccability" of Christ deals with the question of whether or not Christ could have sinned. The answer to this question has implications for both His life and ministry. (At the 51 minute mark, the reference to "John the Baptist," Dr. Ware meant to say, "John the Apostle.")

  • Delegates at the Council of Chalcedon tried to explain the hypostatic union of Christ's natures. The theological bases for the work of Christ on the cross focus on the sin of humanity and God's holiness and mercy. The atonement is God's self-satisfaction through self-substitution

  • Christ's atoning sacrifice was comprehensive. The different aspects of the atonement may be compared to light refracting through a diamond – you can see different colors, but they are all light. Three aspects of the atonement are sacrifice, substitution and redemption.

  • Three more aspects of the atonement are propitiation, expiation, and reconciliation. Christ's resurrection is a ratification of the efficacy of the atonement.

  • The most significant aspect of the past work of Christ is the atonement. Some people teach that the extent of the atonement is limited, while others teach that it is unlimited. Christ's present work is mediator and Lord. His future work is coming judge and reigning king.

  • Throughout Scripture, the Holy Spirit is referred to as having the attributes and performing the actions of a person. He is also shown to have the attributes of God, and is declared to be God. Both the Old and New Testaments cite examples of the work of the Holy Spirit in empowering people.

  • The work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament is characterized by the empowerment of selective individuals for a temporary period of time, for the purpose accomplishing a specific task. The Old Testament prophets record a vision of the role of the Holy Spirit in the latter days.

  • The Holy Spirit had a central role in the life and ministry of Jesus. Many Old Testament passages prophesied the coming of a Spirit empowered Messiah. The New Testament records specific examples of the involvement of the Spirit in Jesus' life and ministry. Jesus also promises the future coming of the Holy Spirit and describes what he will do.

  • At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came into the world and filled the lives of every believer. The first great work of the Holy Spirit is bringing people to Christ. He also empowers believers for service in the Church where we are remade and conformed to the image of Christ. The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is for us to serve one another.

  • The Holy Spirit has come to glorify Christ and bring attention to Jesus. He does this by empowering believers in the areas of evangelism and discipleship. There are specific gifts of the Spirit and He gives specific gifts to each believer. There is a question about whether all the gifts are still active today. There is also a distinction between people having a certain gift and God performing mighty acts.

  • The Holy Spirit accomplishes the work of regeneration in a person by bringing them new life. The Spirit also indwells and fills a believer, produces fruit and gives us the freedom to become what God created us to be. The Holy Spirit is also the guarantee of the hope of our eternal future in God's presence.

  • Rob Lister, a Garret Fellow, introduces concepts that are basic to the Biblical doctrine of salvation. Salvation is both physical and spiritual, includes all of creation, it is "already, but not yet," and the goal is the glory of God. Election is a key concept in Scripture. Some people think that there is a conditional aspect to election.

  • Rob Lister continues by reviewing the Arminian position (conditional election), then explains the Calvinist view. The Calvinist position is based on God's sovereign rulership over everything, salvation by grace alone, and God's love and justice. There are major differences between the ideas of conditional and unconditional election.

  • Among those who hold to the view of unconditional election, there are those who believe in single predestination, and those who believe in double predestination. There is also a difference between a "general call," and a "special" or "effectual call."

  • Continuing in the logical order of salvation, Rob Lister examines regeneration, conversion, justification, adoption and sanctification.

  • Christ is Lord of the Church and it is formed by the Spirit. As a community, we testify to what God has done in our lives through the ordinances, the proclamation of the word and the testimony of our lives. We worship God together, and Jews and Gentiles are united in one community, testifying to the preeminence of our identity in Christ.

  • The "mystery" of the Church refers to the truth that was formerly concealed, but now revealed. Another aspect of the "mystery" is the inclusion of Jews and Gentiles in one community of faith. There is some debate about whether or not Israel and the Church are the same. The "Body of Christ" and "Bride of Christ" are two metaphors used in the New Testament that refer to the Church.

  • An additional New Testament metaphor for the Church is a "Building," which is made up of the "Cornerstone," "Foundation" and the "Living Stones." "Christ's Flock" is also a metaphor for the Church and relates to Jesus as the "Good Shepherd." There are also passages in the New Testament that give us insight into local congregations by referring to elders as the leaders.

  • New Testament passages give specific instructions about the functions of elders in local congregations. There are also lists qualifications for elders that emphasize character qualities. The roles and qualifications for deacons are also given.

  • The question of the role of men and women in ministry is a significant issue. The main question is, "According to Scripture, is gender particularly and uniquely relevant in assessing whether or not a person is qualified for a given ministry in a church or home?"

    You can download the Roles Handout by right-clicking on the link and selecting the "Save Link As" option. 

  • Different denominations have chosen different models of hierarchy and leadership based on their understanding of Scripture. The two ordinances of the Church are Baptism and the Lord's Supper. They are ordained by Christ, point to the Cross, and are to be done in remembrance of what He has done for us.

  • There is value in studying eschatology besides curiosity about what will happen in the future. The three most common views of the millennium that can be supported by Scripture are postmillennialism, amillennialism and premillennialism. Also related to eschatology is the Scriptural teaching regarding physical death and the intermediate state.

  • Within the premillennial position, there is a difference of opinion on whether the rapture will be pretrib, midtrib or posttrib. Regardless of your position on the millennium, there is clear teaching in Scripture about the final judgment and our eternal state. There will be a final judgment and everyone will spend eternity either in heaven or hell.

The second of a two semester class on Systematic Theology.

Dr. Bruce Ware
Systematic Theology II
The Doctrine of the Church (Part 4)
Lesson Transcript


Good. Let's have a word of prayer and we'll continue where we left off last term. Lord, as we come together this afternoon, we are grateful for Your Grace. I imagine, Lord, that students in this room right now are grateful to you, Lord, for sustaining them in writing these papers, helping them to find materials and give them insight as they wrote. And Lord, for all those blessings from your hand, we do give you thanks, and we are grateful for the privilege it is to be able to work on things that matter so much, including the topics that were taken up in these papers. And we pray now as we continue our discussion of these offices in the church and then move through in other areas that you would bless this time and help us, Lord, to understand your word with greater clarity and the beauty and glory of your design of the church in better ways. We pray in Christ name Amen. All right. We left off last time in our discussion of elders with one letter, a two terms single office. I had mentioned there are a number of passages that indicate that the terms Episcopacy and Press cross these two Greek terms that have for English translations. Remember what they were presbyter as is translated as what presbyter or elder, and Episcopacy is translated as bishop or overseer. I think it is pretty clear from these usages of those two terms that they function synonymously, or at least they refer to one office in the church. Okay. I'm just going to use the term elders. We could say presbyters.


We could call them by different names, overseers. But I'll just use the term elders to to make this uniform. Next question. That is the function of elders. What is it that they are to do? Well, it is interesting when you look in first Timothy three, our elders and deacons that are mentioned there, that Paul makes a couple of references to elders or qualifications of elders that indicate functions of theirs that are not said of deacons. When you look at the two lists of qualifications, they're very, very similar. And yet in verse two, first Timothy three, verse two. Among the character qualities he lists. Then he says, Able to teach. Oh, well, that's not in the deacon list, able to teach. And then when you come down a little bit further, it's very clear that the Office of Elder has RULERSHIP responsibilities. In fact, he spends a fair bit of time on this. He says in verse four, He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity. But if a man doesn't know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the Church of God? So obviously it is another responsibility of what might be called rulership. So it looks to me when you look at Elder, that the two defining functions of an elder are a teaching function and a rulership function, and that's confirmed by other indicators in the book of First Timothy, for example, back in chapter two, when he has said in verse 11, A woman must quietly receive instruction with submissiveness, then verse 12. Notice the two things he brings up that a woman ought not do in light of what we just said about Elder. I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man.


In other words, I don't allow a woman to be an elder. That's essentially what he's saying. There are those responsibilities that are given to elders to do, to teach and bear responsibility for the authority of the flock. And then look again in chapter five. First Timothy 517. First Timothy 517. Elders who rule well. So here we have first one hour to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. So and I don't think this endorses, by the way, what Presbyterians and some have wanted, and that is that there are ruling elders and teaching elders. I don't think that's the point of the verse. I think the point is that all are responsible for both ruling and teaching, but some are given special assignment or responsibility in one of those areas and another. So especially those who work hard at their preaching and teaching. Again, the point is not, yeah, there's other elders and don't teach. That's not the point. But some work hard at it. That is, that's their major responsibility that they do this well. They should be considered worthy of double honor if that is the case. So again, you have boy, you have in chapter two, in chapter three and chapter five, then a first Timothy, this indication of ruling and teaching as well. But it's not only here. Yeah, I'm sorry. Here's Bryce. Did you say that these are words are different or what's the word? Well, the ruling one, I know that in regard to deacons, there is another requirement there of of their children and the like. So that analogy carries forward in terms of being responsible as a father in your home, but he doesn't develop it in the same way for Deacon as he does.


He doesn't say because you deacons need to manage the Church of God, but he does do for elders. So the comparison of the two may be alike. Namely, both are responsible fathers in their homes and raising their children well. But elders in particular, this is important because that role of managing your children needs to carry over into managing the household of God is clear about why women are prohibited from being another. I think so, although we'll come to this question later. So if I could just bracket that for another time. Yeah. Okay. Also in Titus, listen to what we read in Titus. Chapter one for this reason, I left you in Crete in order to appoint elders in every city as I directed you. Namely, if a man be above reproach, the husband of one wife having children who believe not accused of dissipation, the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick tempered, not addicted to wine, pugnacious, not fond of sort of game, but hospitable, loving. What is good, sensible, just devout, self-controlled. Now look at verse nine, holding fast the faithful word, which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict that is a really powerful statement on the responsibility that elders have to guard the faith of their people to guard the doctrine of their people. So they exhort in sound doctrine and they refute those who contradict. So elders have that responsibility, that function they bear in providing that kind of teaching. Look next at first Peter five. First Peter five. And here you see the emphasis on the ruling. Part of things seems to be more emphasized. First, Peter five, he says in verse, to shepherd the flock of God among you exercising oversight.


So here you have that responsibility of being an Episcopal, an overseer in the church, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily according to the will of God, and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness not is lording it over those who are allotted to your charge, but proving yourselves to be examples to the flock. So you have in Titus one an emphasis clearly adverse nine on the teaching side of the responsibility of elders in first Peter five. Clearly an emphasis on the rightful use of your authority in ruling the church, not lording it over people, not abusing them, not using them for sordid gain or personal gain, but for purposes of building them up in Christ. Probably the strongest statement in Scripture for the authority that elders have is in Hebrews 1317, where we read that. Church people. 13. 17. Church people need to have this frame of mind in regard to their leadership. Obey your leaders and submit to them. Those are the two words that you find, you know, in relation to wife submitting to her husband or children obeying their parents. You have both stated your back to back obey or leaders submit to them for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. I have had opportunity to preach at churches for ordination services, where I preach to the congregation, and I usually preach from this text when I'm given that opportunity, because, number one, they need to hear this is a person coming with God invested authority and they ought to listen. I mean, you don't take what your pastor says and just say, well, you know, I'll think about that if I want to.


I'll do that. You know, it's sort of like a parent when your pastor, your elders speak up, you listen and follow what they say. Unless conscience tells you it's wrong, if your conscience directs you otherwise, and then you ought to confront them about it. If that's the case, you know, my goodness. But you ought to listen and obey. But the other thing that this verse indicates is if you buck their leadership, you only bring harm to yourself. Now, of course, you bring harm to them, too. You know, it's very difficult. I've spoken with pastors in settings where, oh, my, you know, such difficult times they have had with church people and and sometimes people in leadership or people of influence who can make life miserable for them. My brother in law is one of the best pastors I know is just everything about him. Just. Exudes what a wonderful man he is and has a wonderful ministry. But he had a church, his previous church, where one person in the church, he happened to be the wealthiest man. He was a medical doctor. And of course, that has respect attached to it right away. Unlike lawyer, unlike pastor. But he caused my brother in law enormous grief difficulty because this guy was very bright, he was manipulative and he basically bought anybody who he wanted to. And that's what he did in the church. He systematically bought people by building in addition to their home. Why? You know, because we're friends. I'd be happy to pay five or $6,000 over here. It's no problem for him. So and while my brother in law left that church finally and they have since learned what he's really like. Anyway, it took my brother in law close to three years.


To quit having nightmares. This is the truth. This is how deeply hurtful this was about a five year process. It can hurt pastors. You can hurt elders. There's no question about that. But the point of this text is it will bring grief to you. It will not be profitable for you if you make their life miserable. How can they go about the work they're called to do and feed you care for you care for your souls? I think I saw a hand up. Was there? Yes. How does that apply in the case? With, like the ordained pastor, whoever it is is trying to shepherd rid of. But then his parents, his own parents are going against what he's doing. They are with the situation. I'm not sure are the parents in the church. Like they say, if they go to the church, they knew the Christians, but they're just like they are living the public life and they're not listening to government. You know, it sounds like you've got a situation where a son might need to confront and maybe, I mean, depending upon the situation, bring church discipline upon his parents. I mean, goodness, you know, it's not a happy thought, but yeah, it needs to happen. You know, John Piper, I admire him for this. It would have been so difficult. They have four sons and one of their sons until just before Thanksgiving of this past year, had left the faith. He was still very warm toward his parents, but clearly he was not following the Lord and was living in sin in a variety of different ways. And he was a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. So at the service where the excommunication take place took place, the son, John Piper, said, I need to read the letter that indicates he's being dropped from the membership.


And why? And they all begged him, No, that's too much. And he said, no, it's my responsibility. And so he did for his own son. And that was about five years ago. But his son has come back. It's a marvelous story. What? What happened? Really? Praise the Lord for that. Yeah, that's what I was going to ask is elders, what do they do in a situation like that where a child has rebelled? I mean, considering what we've read in chapter Oh, the next thing is going to be qualification. Let's just wait a second till we get there and we'll talk about that. Yes, sir. So I'm going to foster I have this master form of that punishment so that. Compared first Timothy three with the Council of Ministers. I don't see the parallel there personally that all the qualities that one must possess as an elder, also the Minister of Evangelism also possess the quality of difficult for a government that is not very. Is there a distinction there that maybe I don't see? I don't think there is a distinction in the New Testament between elder and pastor. For example, in First Peter five, Peter addresses these people. He's a shepherd. The flock among you under which God has made you overseer shepherd. And of course, that's the word for Pastor. Pastor, the church. I think we are supposed to read the qualifications of elders in first Timothy three, Titus one as qualifications of a pastor of a church. And which means there is a lot of expected of a pastor. It also means that there needs to be some degree of growth and maturity. I mean, I think that's probably why the word elder is used. I don't know if it's a great idea to have an 18 to 20 year old pastoring a church.


I know it's been done and sometimes God has prospered those ministries, but it seems to me that both the combination of life experience and just learning and maturity are necessary for pastoring. Now, I don't want to put an age on it, you know, because I know even from my own children, I've got two daughters and boy, they have grown up at different stages. It's very evident. I mean, so one person might be just enormously mature and very knowledgeable and able to handle a responsibility like that much younger than someone else might. So but pastor and elder are the same in the New Testament. I mean, try to find a reference to pastors. It's elder. Usually the verb form is use of shepherding pastoring, which means we need to do some rethinking in Southern Baptist churches about this, because somehow I don't know what had happened. Some of you may know somehow it happened that we adopted a single pastor model for our churches. That was not the case earlier in the going in Southern Baptist life and clearly in much other ecclesial life. This has not been the case. Plurality of elders seems pretty clear from the New Testament. When Paul writes to the church at Philippi, he addresses the overseers and deacons, both plural. So you assume there are both there. When Paul calls for those to come to him, this is an next 10 to 20 calls for the elders from Ephesus to come. Well, plural, the elders come. It does look like plurality of elders is the norm in the New Testament. And so we probably ought to move away from a single pastor who is the elder of the church. Well, I would not go along with that because I'm almost at the Church of Christ and we have our elders and pastors, and I'm not considered a pastor, but nor an evangelist.


So my qualifications to me would be different than the qualifications for the pastor. Elder Yeah, I think evangelist is different. For example, in Ephesians four, he gave gifts to the church, some as apostles of prophets, evangelists, pastor teachers. You know, I take it that those last two were together and two evangelists is not pastor. Here's one thing though is that is instructive deacons in first Timothy three have the same list of character qualities true for them as elders. And so I think there's a point to be made from that. If you are recognized in any kind of leadership position functioning in representing Christ to a constituency, you need to be a person of character before the Lord. I assume that would have to be the same for Evangelist as well. Okay. Just a couple of the questions and then we'll move ahead. Yes, I did a paper on the leadership and differentiation between deacons and how it should be set up, the converse and even more later today and make room in 90 to get an on paper that it's made it in the systematic. But he said a strong in his just met ology worked or he leaned toward a single elder. I guess you pull that out of revelation when the Jesus did say this to the elder and he says the Baptist Church grabbed hold of that understanding of the church leadership. We'll never one that's Northern Baptists strong. I don't know how that would have had that big of an impact on the early Southern Baptists in the 19th century. They might have. I don't know. That's an interesting point. I'd have to look at that in strong and see if that's the case. Did you see Deacon board ruling as well as.


Well, it was that was turned into. He didn't. That's what it says. Turn it. Yes. What has happened functionally in our Baptist churches is deacon boards end up being functional elder boards in that. You know, who's the pastor talk is he going to talk to about plans and decisions to be made when all you have is a deacon board? Well, that's who he's going to talk to. So what you ought to have in a church is just what first Timothy three says you ought to have elders and Deacon ought to have an elder board and a deacon board both. And they really serve two different purposes. We'll get to that other part of the qualifications, just just to observe with you that the qualifications of elders are really character qualities. That's what the amount to besides obviously the functional qualifications that we've already mentioned, they need to be able to teach. They need to manage the Church of God. Those are also qualifications for elders, but beyond those they are character qualities. I mean, listen again first Timothy three and overseer must be above reproach. Husband of one wife. Now, I take it that should not be read that you cannot have a single man as a pastor or elder. Paul himself was unmarried, Jesus was unmarried. I think his point with that is that one wife part, not you have to be a husband, but you can't have many wives or serial wives, serial polygamy. But you are married to one woman. My own view is I shouldn't even say this. I suppose that opens up a can of worms. Is that divorce? In my judgment, which is legitimate for one reason and one only, and that is adultery can not rightly be followed by remarriage, in my own view.


And I don't think the New Testament warrants this. And so I do think a remarried man, divorced and remarried is disqualified to be a pastor, in my judgment. And I know this is very controversial, a zillion positions and nuances out there, but a husband of one wife, he is committed, loyal to his fidelity to one woman. Temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable. Here's the able to teach. We talked about that. Not addicted to wine. Pugnacious but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. Boy, that's a key characteristic for a pastor, isn't it? Because there's such. Oh, such a lure to do things for the sake of money. If you have that built into your heart, you are vulnerable to all kinds of temptation that will kill you and your family and your church. You can't be bought, manages his own household well, keeps his children under control, not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. He must have a good reputation with those who are outside the church so that he'll not fall into the reproach in the stare of the devil. So as you can see in most of these, it's character qualities, maturity, godliness, faithfulness, someone of high integrity. That's what's being called for in the elders of the church. Yes. Just wondering. If you have a pastor like Piper who has a son. Yes. Where do you draw the line when an elder is qualified? Yes, that's a good question. I do think that it makes a difference if you're talking about younger children who are very definitely, as it were, in the supervision of your home and grown children who are grown and gone and they're living their own lives, making their own decisions.


This was the case with John Piper, son. He was in college or maybe out of college, I don't know. But he had several years before he left home. I think that's a different issue than having children in your roof, really, in your charge who are not exhibiting respect for Christ and his authority. Respect for you as parents. And in Titus, it actually puts it children who believe. As the requirement, which I take it. The way I interpret that is. God honors. Faithful. Diligent. Child rearing in a way that is honoring to him, that seeks to build into children the fear of the Lord and love for the Lord God honors that kind of child raising. By, in most cases, bringing those people to faith in Christ as children. In most cases, if you have a grown child in your home, I mean someone who's grown up in your home and has never believed you can't help but ask the question why? What happened early in the going. And again, there's no guarantees. The Book of Proverbs helps us with these either principles, general principles. But I think this principle is true. God honors parents who raise their children in the fear of the admonition of the Lord. Otherwise, why do it? Why do it? Well, because in most of those cases, God, God will bring those children to saving faith. On the one hand, you could qualify this thing to death so that it means nothing in the church. You could do that. On the other hand, you could enforce a kind of rigid ness to its application that, you know, I think would just be wrong to do to pastors. Actually, in this case, John Piper himself submitted himself to the elder board of the church and said when his son left at that point and said, I will accept your judgment on the matter of whether or not I no longer am qualified according to the criteria of first Timothy three to be an elder in this church and I will resign.


I know he would have. Good. I mean, John Piper isn't a man of enormous integrity. He would have had a letter of resignation on the desk an hour later if they had said, We think so, but they voted unanimously in consultation with him out of the room that he was not in violation. So he accepted that judgment by them. But anyway, yes, Kyle, the qualification one was that he had resigned that permanently. No, I don't think so. Yeah, I don't think it would, because a number of these things that are here, for example, hospitable, you know, there might have been a time in your life when you weren't very hospitable, but you have learned you've grown in grace, you become hospitable or anger. There may be improvements that can be made that would indicate now you are I mean, that's really what maturity is. And it says in chapter three, verse one, it is a trustworthy statement. If any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. So now he lists the qualifications. I think the point of it is, well, maybe you need to do some work on some of these so that what you desire to do, you're fit for. Here's where the bar is set. Can you get over it or not? So work on it too. Yes, we are maturing process and I know there's not an age limit, but one that encourage like elders to be fathers of older children to have proven that. Well, yeah, I heard he refers to the children with a yes it is tough and you know if they grow up to be unbelievers, the time of testing hasn't been proven. Yeah, right. Well, I suppose in terms of a norm, it would be better for both.


A little bit older, maybe. Older children may for a variety of reasons. One is being just maturity and experience in life that can help with dealing with situations. A lot of young ministers ruin themselves and their ministries. They don't know it at the time, but it's their youthfulness. They just don't know how they're acting and what offense it can be or whatever. And you can ruin your families early by giving yourself wholly to ministry and forgetting responsibilities at home. Huge problem. So probably, yes, it would be better if younger guys were under the care of a more senior minister for a period of time and let some years go by. But this is God's call. It's one thing to say, well, this would be sort of the best is the norm, but it's a you know, I don't want to absolutes this. So I don't think we have learned from scripture to do so. But okay. Yes, one more and then we'll move ahead. Yes. In the early church today, because the role of the ministry is to kind of build the Wall Street elders, ask for it. I don't think we have evidence for that. But when you look at what the two are, I don't believe that would be appropriate to do. No, an elder is too old and a deacon is too dick, and they're really not the same thing. In fact, let's move on. Deacons, the term deacon us from which we get this. I mean, boy, just imagine the difference it would make in our churches if we had the the offices of elder and servant. Elder and servant. What if we translated instead of transliterated? The term Diakite us because this is what it means. It means servant or darkening the verb for means to serve.


And of course, there is a sense in which all of us are called to serve in the church. That's the responsibility of all of the people in the church. But there is a special responsibility for serving the needs. And I think as we see this developed in the New Testament, these are practical, everyday physical health, food needs of people serving the needs of people. Kind of think of it this way, the distribution of labor, than in a church that elders are primarily responsible for the spiritual well-being, spiritual growth. They're the ones who have. What did it say in Hebrews who have charge of your souls? They are the sole care providers. Sole care providers in the church. The elders. Deacons are the physical care providers. Physical needs deacons ought to be the people who check with the elderly and see if they need a screen door fixed. They've got a plumbing problem. Get some help for them. If there's practical needs that are true. Deacons ought to be caring for those things. This is one of the problems with a deacon board and a pastor in a church is number one. The pastor is a lone ranger in providing for those that sole care for the church. And the deacon board doesn't know whether it's a deacon board or an elder board. At one hand, it's called upon to meet together with the pastor and make long range decisions and plans and all that kind of thing. Well, that's what elders ought to do. On the other hand, they're responsible for, you name it, maintenance and service projects and all kinds of things. And what an elder board in a deacon board can do is give real coherence to a ministry of a church. Clearly delineated lines of responsibility.


The function of deacons. Most commentators agree that Acts Chapter six is, in all likelihood the beginning of what became the deacon. Office in the early church. You remember this account? Ex Chapter six, verse one. Now, at this time, while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of the food. So the 12 summoned the Congregation of the Disciples and said, Now noticed these are the apostles, the 12. But I think the application to elders is huge, is so relevant. They said it is not desirable for us to neglect the Word of God in order to serve tables. Now serving tables is an altogether honorable thing to do. There's nothing wrong with serving tables, but if they in this case the apostles was translated into elders. If they serve tables well, who is going to administer the word of God to the people? Who is going to do the praying, the studying, the preparing to bring the word of God to the people? And the answer is well known. Yes. So they ought not do that. We will not. They said neglect the word of God in order to serve table. So they said, select from among you seven men. Now notice of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit, full of wisdom. You catch that with first Timothy three elders and deacons, both men. When you look at character qualities, qualifications of deacons is almost identical. It's just that it doesn't have the able to teach and it doesn't have the ruling the church. But character qualities are identical. So good reputation for the spirit full of wisdom that we may put in charge of this task, but we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.


The statement found approval with the congregation. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, Philip and these others that they list. And these were brought before the Apostles and after praying, they lay their hands on them. So here were the first servants of the church. Notice the term deacon is not used of them, but we will not neglect the Word of God to serve tables, to serve food. So the notion is that others need to serve in those capacities. And likely this is where the name came from to be used for this office in the church as those then who would serve the everyday felt needs of people in the church. When you think about it, what a wonderful holistic ministry then is designed by the Lord. When you have elders that. Elden Deacons would. You have elders who really do take responsibility for what elders are called to do, and they are serious about this soul care. Responsibility that they bear for their people. And you have deacons who realize how important it is that people have their physical needs attended to in ways that can help them. When you've got both. Wow. Your people will just rise up and call you Blessed. For providing for them. So. Well, now qualifications. I mentioned this already, but it's very clear that the qualifications of deacons and elders are almost identical of deacons. First Timothy three, beginning at verse eight, First Timothy three eight deacons. Likewise must be men of dignity, not double tongued, not addicted to much wine or fond of sort of gain, holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. So notice the difference here. Not able to teach, but holding to the faith with a clear conscience.


So you've got people who are integral Christians. They know what they believe. They hold it with conviction. Without duplicity. These men are to be first tested and then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. Verse 11. I'll come back to this in a moment, but it says Women likewise should be diligent, not malicious gossips, but temperate faithful in all things. Deacons must be husbands of one wife, good managers of their own children and their households. For those who have served well as deacons, obtain themselves a high standing and a great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. So very similar qualifications. And yet here for the purpose of serving everyday needs of the people. I think it's important to see that because whether your ministry is up front preaching Sunday morning or on an elder board teaching leading the church forward, or whether your ministry is meeting specific physical needs of people, you are representing Christ. I mean, I think the office of Deacon ought to be elevated at the very same time it is separated from Elder in our churches. We ought not think we shouldn't convey to our people that if we come to into a typical Baptist church and they've got just a single deacon board, that's all they've got. What we want is an elder board and a deacon board. The now we've got the important people and the not important people. We ought not convey that. We ought to convey. We have two sets of very important people carrying out two very important but different responsibilities. Okay, Now just a word on verse 11 that I mentioned to verse 11 women. It says, What are some of your other translations say, if you have it, open verse 11.


Their wives. Their wives. It is good, Coy. It is women. What translation is that? This is their wives. Good news. Good news. Bible. Does anybody have an Nivi? Yes, but no. I know they put a footnote in, but what does the text say or why? The text says wives. Okay. Well, it's good echo. And really, you have to choose between one of two options. He means either women deacons or he means wives of the deacons of whom I am speaking. So it's not clear cut. I am more persuaded by the notion that this is women deacons, then wives of deacons for one reason. If this were wives of deacons. And Paul cared enough to talk about their wives. Why in the world wouldn't he bring up the wives of elders? Goodness. You're talking you're talking about both sets of these that have a very, very critical role in the church. And it might be arguable that even more important than the family life and the integrity of the marriage and so on. Deacons and their wives would be elders and their wives, but he doesn't talk about elders wives. So it just doesn't make sense to me to think that that is the case. Secondly, it does make sense that women, because this is not a position of teaching or exercising authority over man. There's no conflict here with first Timothy 212 that women can serve in practical need, meeting ministries along with men, in practical need, meeting ministries that can be of even greater benefit to the whole body of Christ. To ask yourself the question who do you want putting the potluck dinner together? Men or women. To get a pretty quick answer to the question, can women help in ways that men are inept? Yes.


So it does both in terms of context and in terms of content of what is being stated here. It makes sense to me to think that that would be the case. But please hear me now. Here's a problem I hold to women deacons, my own church, where I go Clifton Baptist Church. We have, in principle, women deacons. I don't think we have any actual ones now because we just had a constitution change recently and voted for a new constitution where now we have elders and deacons and the deacons could be both men and women. So this just happened. We don't have any elders yet or deacons yet, all in process, but in principle we have women deacons. Now, here's the problem, though, is some of you might, in hearing this, go out and tell other people, are you a professor? Where goes to church where they have women deacons? Well in their church where they hear that they have a single deacon board that is a functional elder board. Well, then you know what? If that's what you have and that's what you're going to have. You ought not have women on that deacon board. Why? Because it's a functional elder board. It really is the board that the pastor looks to and the people look to as the strategizing, vision casting, decision making body in the church. And if that's what it is, then it ought to be all qualified men because it's functioning as a as an elder board, essentially. So, again, by God's grace, maybe in time we'll see more of what is just right here on the page of the Bible. First, Timothy three elders and deacons both doing their respective responsibilities with integrity before the Lord and what benefit this can be to our churches, if that were to be the case.


Okay. Any questions on this before we take up the next area, which I'll launch into? David, the commercial application of this is going back to the husband of one wife. Yes, that's the one man. Yeah, but I don't know if you heard that. Yes. Yeah, I do think it means something like that that you should not be married to or have commitments to more than one woman. So, I mean, one woman man, I suppose, would be a way to put that phrase. The whole question of divorce and remarriage is controversial. I already told you my opinion on that. But I think he's just talking about he's not meaning to rule out singles, but he is meaning to rule out polygamists and ruling out people who have not had a lifetime commitment to one person. And why this? Well, what does marriage symbolize? Ephesians five. Christ in the church. I mean, so here we have as an elder in the church, someone who is, by his own example, making a mockery of the relationship of Christ in the church. Christ has one bright. To whom he is committed with all of his heart. And that bright is the church. And the church has one husband and there is no divorce. In this relationship. It is for eternity. You know, so a marriage commitment is for life. Whether you divorce or not, you still have made a marriage commitment for life. This is why remarriage is not an option for those whose spouses continue to live. Now, this doesn't justify murdering the divorced ex. No, it does not. But it does mean that if your ex is alive and well, whether she or he is married or not is irrelevant. You have made a lifetime commitment to that one person.


A lifetime commitment is a lifetime commitment. Hence the disciples in Matthew 19. Well, if that's the case, then maybe it's better not to marry. I mean, this is what was so shocking when you have to account for the disciples response to Jesus in Matthew 19, which I don't think the prevailing evangelical view does, which is, yeah, you can divorce. And if the divorce is justified, then you can remarry. Well, why would the disciples be shocked at that? That was done at the time. That was common. Makes no sense whatsoever. Yes. So you're saying in your view, though, an elder or a person could get divorced and then say their wife goes off and remarries, but they stay unmarried? They could become an elder and then it depends on why. Yes, it depends on why the divorce took place. I mean, if the divorce. So yes, divorce itself doesn't disqualify, in my view. Does not. Necessarily by itself have to add all these qualifications to it does not necessarily by itself disqualify a man from being an elder in a church. There are situations, I think they're probably rare in which what led to the divorce is 99% her, 1% him in terms of the aggravation and problems, if he was a man of integrity, sought to serve the Lord, sought to love his wife, sought to keep the marriage together, did everything he could to love his wife as Christ, loved the church. And she said, Fool with you, you're not making any money. I need a husband that can buy me some clothes and give me a car. So here's this guy over here who's attracted to me. And boy, what a difference in income, I mean. So if that happens and she takes off.


Well, my own view would be, at least in principle, it's possible that that man would still be qualified to be an elder and a pastor because he had been faithful to his church. What if what could a man be an elder, in your view? If the guy had never been married and he married a woman who had been inappropriately divorced? Yeah, this is difficult because in 1618, everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery. There you have it. So you divorce. Now, why do you commit adultery if you've divorced? Because divorce does not end lifetime commitment to your partner. It does not end it. It makes a legal break. But before God, you have made a lifetime commitment to your wife or husband. So you divorce and remarry. You commit adultery. And he who marries one who is divorced. Commits adultery. So I'd have to think about that. I do think there's a difference between. Yourself marrying, making a lifetime commitment, and then making another lifetime commitment. So essentially, you are a two woman man. Whether the world recognizes it as that or not, God does. You have made lifetime commitments of pledging your fidelity alone to woman and woman. B That's different than making a lifetime commitment to one woman who is herself divorced. This text says When you marry, you commit adultery. Why? Because she. You see why she being divorced has made a lifetime commitment to another man. You marry her. What are you making her do when you marry her? Commit adultery. I think that's the lesser problem. But I do think it's still a significant problem. And I don't know what I would do if I were faced with a person like that. Yes, ma'am. In the instance where a spouse dies.


Yeah. Then it's over. It's a lifetime commitment. So both first Corinthians seven and Roman seven both indicate that when your spouse dies, then you are free to remarry. Yeah, that's why I said earlier, I joked, That doesn't give you justification to kill your divorced ex. Right. But I'll show you first Corinthians seven. It's at the very end of the chapter. This is verse 39. A wife is bound as long as her husband lives. But if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes only in the Lord. In other words, marry a Christian just like you, hopefully did the first time, married a Christian and then Roman seven the beginning of that chapter he likens us and the law to. Dying in a marriage. So you're freed up to remarry the married woman. Verse two is bound by law to her husband while he is living. But if her husband. Dies. She is released from the law concerning the husband. So then if while her husband is living. Notice he says nothing here about whether divorce is taking place or not. I think pastors have been pressured by people sitting across the table from them for so many decades that we have given up the Bible's view on divorce and remarriage because we've heard too many sad accounts, we've heard too many stories of. But God let us together. And so we're going to remarry. Let me tell you the story. So what are we going to go on? Experience or Bible? If while her husband is living, she's joint to another man, she'll be called an adulterous. Wow. I did hear that. If she remarries while her husband is living, she will be called an adulterous. But if her husband dies, she is freed from the law so that she's not an adulterous, though she's joined to another man.


Okay. Well, I really didn't intend to get on to marriage and divorce, but it does relate to these qualifications. Portland area. I had a quick question about do you think there's any capacity in the church for a woman to teach? Yes. Like a Sunday school or thing like that. We're going to take that up next in terms of an issue. But my answer is yes, the woman is not allowed to teach or exercise authority over a man. So she shouldn't preach Sunday morning. She shouldn't teach a mixed adult Sunday school class. But can she teach children? Yes. Can she teach women? Yes. Some of the most effective classes in a church for women can be women's Bible study classes, where there is a gifted woman and a real connection on issues that a man wouldn't identify with as well. So, yes, definitely. Yes. Jason, a question. It's in my mind that this but the importance of marriage and yeah. Between church. Uh huh. Because, you know, I look at Paul and he was a murderer. Christian. Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Mm hmm. Yeah. Here we have someone that's already married. Here's the difference. The difference is that you cannot put behind you as you can with murder. The act that has happened when divorce and then remarriage takes place. Because you are today, just as you were yesterday, just as you were from the day you were remarried, you have become committed to two women. So in God's sight, you live today with the same reality. You are no longer a one woman man. So this is the problem is not true with murder. It's not true with lying. It's not true with any other sin, as it were, that is committed. But it is true here that it it continues to be the case as well, let's say.


Why would you assume that? Did those texts we just read say, Oh, by the way, if if this happened before, you were a believer, it doesn't matter. Does it ever say that? No, it doesn't. Do not. Don't we hold? Do we hold that marriage is done in God's sight Whether or not people don't don't we believe the vows are made in God's sight, whether or not people acknowledge that or not? Otherwise. Goodness gracious. Just think of what marriage would mean in our culture from a Christian vantage point. We could tell people, Hey, you know what? In God's sight, you're not married. Get rid of the bum. Start your life over again. No, Marriage is marriage. When? What is marriage? A vow to one another. And physical consummation. So it's not just it's not just sex. That's not marriage, which doesn't justify. Shacking up before you get married. That's a sin, too. But that is not the same as marriage. Because marriage is a vow, a covenant. And the consummation of that covenant in physical sexual relations. Yeah. So. Well, we just have a little bit of time left, so maybe a couple more questions. Yes or no? Known. So is it right for a woman to perform a baptism? And also what is what constitutes a at what point is a boy become a man? Yes. Both unanswerable questions. Thank you. Uh, let me take the second one first. The boy, man, I honestly, I we all know it's like, when did you go bald? One is a boy. A man? Well, everybody knows what a fully haired man is and what a bald man is. I mean, we've got those two things pretty well in mind, but when did you go bald? Well, you know, that's hard to pin down, isn't it? So when you have a boy, when you have a man, I mean, we know what a boy is.


We know what a man is. But that transition. So I do think there are clear ministries women can have with boys, clearly grade school and younger, probably into the early, early adolescent years in all likelihood. But I think what happens in high school in particular, so my own judgment, if I were forced to draw the line, I would probably draw the line between middle school and high school. On this, what happens at high school is you begin a process. Now, granted, it's slow, especially for guys. It's really slow, but you begin a process of beginning to think more like a man. Begin to think of yourself more as having responsibility, as you become more interested in girls. And and that develops. And so you begin to think of your identity as male, not just hoodlum before. It's just what is this? You know, just just have fun. I mean, that's all it is. Male females are hardly relevant to the matter. It's just. But at some point you think of yourself as male versus female. You see females. Differently than you did before and you and you're looking for, as it were, role models for what it is to grow into manhood and womanhood, respectively. So I think at that point it is wise, if not mandated by the Bible wise, to have elder qualified people serving in those capacities. High school up. Was there another? Yes. Sorry. Okay. Oh, let me let you come back. The baptism one can women baptize? I'll give you my opinion, but I do know there is a great deal of disagreement. Not that this question comes up that much, but. But sort of. What's behind this question comes up, and what's behind it really is whether or not baptism ought to be performed only by clergy, ordained official representatives of the church in that way.


My own view is that's not the case. I don't see in the New Testament that baptism must be performed only by ordained individuals, you know, by an apostle or by an elder. In fact, Paul even sort of minimizes it, doesn't he, when he says, you know, when I came, I didn't come to baptize you. I came to preach the gospel. I didn't baptize any of you. Oh, that's right. I did. I did so and so. And Ed Yeah, I did that. But honestly, that's not why I came. You would think if the mindset were preach the gospel, have them come to Christ, get them baptized. And that's the job of the ordained clergy to do that, that Paul would have been very concerned to do that. But I don't see that. So my general view is. I do think baptism as a church function ought to be done as part of a local church. But I think it would be appropriate for a dad to baptize one of his children or a mom to do so. Now, that would just be looked at as I'm not sure what. But crossing the line. But I want to know why. I want some answer other than we don't like this or it's cultural. I want to know why. I don't. Because it doesn't violate the two things women are said not to do in. First Timothy Do 12. I don't allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over men. I don't think baptizing one of your children or someone you brought to the Lord. That's my own view. And I used to be the president of CBW, so they're not anymore. Yes. The one moving thing. What about a guy with a girl gets pregnant? Yeah.


And later on in history. And a guy who is six foot many girls and gets married. Yeah, well. Okay. Here you go. Sounds like the Pharisees with Jesus. That's what it sounds like. Let's trap him in this one. Yeah, that's going to sound weird, but honestly, before God, sex with one or 50 women is not marriage. But when you make vows and commit yourself and that's followed by consummation, that is understood as now between this one man and one woman for life. When you make those vows and consummated, that's when marriage takes place. So I would say the first case, the guy could still. In fact, he did the only thing he could do at that point, which really was to marry the girl and assuming that things went well after that. Obviously, in the second case. Oh, and then divorce, did you say. Oh, it was easier than I thought before and then married. Okay. Yeah. So could be eligible. And in the first case. Second case. Likewise. Also, that is the guy who shacked up with a lot of women. And that could be the same case with someone who committed lots of crimes or someone someone who was involved in all kinds of illegal activities or murders. But they come to the Lord and they are transformed. And yes, the difference between that and the sin of. Divorce and remarriage is that the remarriage establishes a covenant commitment with a second woman, and you already have a covenant commitment to one woman. That's the difference. And marriage is significant. Ephesians five indicates from the Garden of Eden on Guess what marriage has pictured. Did you know this pictured Christ in the church? It's partly the covenant nature of marriage that matches the covenant nature of God and His people.


Elevates the importance of marriage. Yeah. I'm just wondering, in a in a situation where you were in a member of a Sunday school at your church. Yeah. And you, the Sunday school teacher, was going to be out that day. And so you're sitting in your class and in walks the substitute teacher for the day, and it's a woman. Uh huh. You feel compelled. And I don't know. It's hard to say. If I felt that there was underhanded going on, I might up and leave if I felt as though this was an honest mistake as I viewed it. A mistake, but an honest mistake. It's one of these things where you have to evaluate whether your the response you make is going to help correct the problem in the long run, not just the protest made at the moment. Honest, I would have to know more about the circumstances and then decide. But I could see doing either one of those. Yeah. Last question and then work on. Yes. As a the woman man or a man is being married or woman for that matter. Yes. Repent of their sin. Oh, well, I think what you do is you acknowledge if you are remarried or you're counseling someone who has remarried and then you present this view and they go, Yikes, You mean every day of my life I am committing adultery. And the answer to that is yes. Now, are you then to divorce your current spouse in order to correct things? And the answer is no. So what you do is you move forward. You acknowledge before God that you made a decision that you cannot change before God. You What if you could, but you cannot change it and you will, from this point, endeavor to live within the framework of marriage as he designed it to be, which is a lifetime covenant commitment and seek the Lord's forgiveness and go forward from there and become a no, no, no, cannot become an elder.


In my view, he cannot if he is still married, if he's married, remarried, and his first wife lives, he cannot and she dies. Can you go in that sense? Yeah. Yeah, that's right. But is that it does change it. I mean, all of a sudden, if your spouse is gone, then you can remarry. So it does change it.