The Ruling Elder: What to Look for
By Stephen Unthank - Posted at Place for Truth:
In God’s wisdom, ministry in a local church is to be led by faithful men, a plurality of godly elders who through the ministry of the word lead every member to partake in and do the work of ministry. It has frequently been noted that the requirements for elders are requirements common to all believers, the only exception really being that they are capable of rightly handling and teaching God’s word. Of course this is because their ability to rightly teach the word is how they will rightly enable and build-up every other member to rightly do the work of ministry. “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Being able to rightly teach God’s word presupposes that they themselves have been taught by God’s word; that they are men who are controlled by and in submission to God’s word. In what follows, I want to lay out three ways this evidences itself. I want to do so precisely because judging a man on his “ability to teach” alone can be deceptive and even detrimental. Even Paul himself warns us that there “are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-14). So, what are some things that demonstrate an ability to articulate and desire to live out the Gospel on the part of potential elders?