Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What if we get it wrong?

This afternoon I've been doing some thinking. I've been thinking a lot about preaching, interpretation, and application. This is what I'm paid to do. As is typical for a Wednesday afternoon I am deep in exegesis preparing for Sunday's sermon. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term just think 'Bible study'.) This week we are in Titus 1:5-9 and the topic is church leadership, specifically the NT role of an elder/overseer.

Here's my issue. In this passage listing various qualifications for church elders there is much room for interpretation. This isn't the place to get into the details, but depending on one's interpretation a church may have a greater or lesser pool of potential men for leadership. That in itself isn't a problem, for, whatever qualifications we hold our leaders to ought to be taken directly from the text of Scripture regardless of the outcome.

The question I have is, what if were interpret incorrectly? Lord willing, under the direction of the Holy Spirit that won't happen. But let's say in our fallible state we get it wrong. That would mean we are either including men who should not serve, or we are excluding men who could bring leadership to the church. The latter is an especially troubling issue for those of us in smaller churches.

So is this a matter of being better safe than sorry? Again, hopefully when we come to a decision on a particular issue of biblical interpretation we've not only done the work, but we've been open to the Spirit's guidance along the way. I know myself and I can't imagine that I'm getting it right 100% of the time; I know there are always godly men and women out there who disagree with me.

Your thoughts? (comments welcome)

1 comment:

  1. It's wisest to color way inside the lines on this issue because - which it totally sounds like you and your team are doing.

    If God brings leaders to your congregation who may not fit the qualifications of elder, for example, there is nothing preventing you from releasing them to be used in other leadership capacities within your body.

    On the other hand, sticking somebody who "fits the bill" on paper (but is not gifted as a leader) into a leadership or elder role is a recipe for disaster. Big time.

    Praying today that God will bless your "equipper's heart" with the leaders your church needs.


Google Analytics

RefTagger from Logos