Keith Hunt - Church Government - Page Five   Restitution of All Things

  Home Previous Page Next Page

Church Government

What the New Testament teaches on how churches should be governed

                                     
                          APPENDIX
                          Continued


      All scripture quotes are from the NKJV unless otherwise
stated.

     Because of certain things written and spoken on this topic
of late, it is needful I write more and give my answers to
arguments not addressed in the body of this work.



HIERARCHY IN THE MILLENNIUM

     Some may argue that God's government in the age to come (the
millennium) will be hierarchical(Christ over everyone, David over
Israel, the 12 apostles under David, each ruling a tribe of
Israel - Ezek.37; Jer.30; Mat.l9), so the NT church and its
physical ministry should follow that example.

     This idea is faulty and weak with a number of flaws.

1) It fails to see that the persons mentioned (Christ, David, the
12 apostles) in the context of the millennium, are ALL in the God
Family - the very God-head, at that time. And as we have before
proved, the Godhead has always been hierarchical in government.
In this age of the church we are dealing with physical flesh and
blood people, whether elders or deacons or saints, they are not
perfect, holy, sinless spirit beings.

2) The argument fails to ask the question: What instructions has
the Lord given in the NT scriptures as to HOW the NT church is to
be governed, regardless as to how God did things BEFORE, or as to
how He may do things in the FUTURE, in the age to come?
     As we have proved, the Lord does do things differently as He
chooses from time to time, or age to age.

3) Leading from above, it fails to see that God CHANGES His
dealings and approach to some things at times, as He works out
His UN-changing purpose and plan. His holy righteous character
and purpose never changes, it remains the same, but His
administrative dealings with people may, if He so desires. As we
have stated before in the millennium a physical temple, with a
physical priesthood, with physical animal sacrifices, will again
be part of God's administration and economy as He deals with
physical people during that age. Such is NOT part of His
administration today under the present age.

THE CHOOSING OF ELDERS AND GOVERNING THE CHURCH

     We have covered this somewhat in the body of this study, but
a little more space is need here also.

     One writer(GCN - Sept/Oct 95, p.5,6) can see (from such
passages as Luke 6:12-13; 1 Tim.3:1-13; 5:22; Titus 1:5-9;
Eph.4:11-13; and let me add Acts 1; 13:1-3; 14:19-23) that the
clear example ALL through the word of God, is that called and
chosen Elders of the church and work of the Lord, are chosen in
TWO ways:

1) By God Himself - i.e. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Samuel,
John the Baptist, Paul.

2) By other Elders - Acts 14:19-23; 1 Tim.3:1-13; 5:22; Titus
1:5-9 etc.

     There is NO instruction nor ANY example in the NT to show
that any "church boards" or "church committees" of saints, EVER
chose or voted men into the office of ordained/appointed elder.
Never, in the NT can you find any group of saints/members of
a church LAYING HANDS on a man to appoint him to the eldership
ministry.
     There is no instruction or example in the NT where LAY
persons(as a whole or as a board/committee) gave orders or told
the elders of a church HOW to RUN and GOVERN/GUIDE the church.
The clear teaching of the NT is that the Elders guide and govern
the church, as I have before proved in the body of this work(even
more specific proof is presented in part two and three of this
book).

     Yet, the elders ruling the Church of God is not as little
vain dictators in some military army. This I have also proved
before, and will so show again later.

     Does the lay person have ANY responsibility then? Yes
indeed! Very much so. They are not to be so "broad minded" that
their brains fall out! They are not to leave their minds at the
door when entering the church.
     The examples and instructions for all of God's children are
MANY, i.e. Mat.24:4,5; Acts 20:17-30; 17:10-12; 2 Tim.2:15;
3:15-17; Titus 1:9,10; 3:9-11; 2 Pet.2; 1 John 2:18-29; 4:1-6; 2
John 4-11; 3 John 9-11; Jude.

     As before shown ALL in the church have a duty to follow
Mat.18 in relation to problems within the membership of the
church, regardless of office and function. Then if a serious
problem arises with a minister, two or three or more can take
their case to other ministers for justice (1 Tim.5:19-21).
     The saints member must always remember Acts 20; 2 Pet.2.
Some Elders MAY go off into apostasy and heresy. After all the
above actions are taken, the congregational
member must reject those elders who will not repent, and leave to
find ministers who are faithful to God's word.

PAUL IN AUTHORITY OVER TITUS?

     Now I must answer in depth the argument put forth that Paul
had some "authority" and as one stated it "especially in
administrative matters" OVER Titus.

     Some use a Bible translation that renders Titus 1:5 this
way: "For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in
order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every
city AS I COMMANDED YOU...."

Now to the English reader the words "I commanded you" or "as I
command you" will trigger a certain mind set - DICTATORIAL
AUTHORITY power, a "thou shalt" as if God was speaking.

     It is interesting to look up this word in STRONG'S
concordance. It is number 1299 from 1223 and 5021 "to arrange
thoroughly, i.e.(spec)INSTITUTE, PRESCRIBE, etc.:- appoint,
command, give(set in) order, ordain."

     If we have Paul as saying to Titus:  "you should set in
order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every
city as I thoroughly arranged with you...." our English
mind takes a different view, that Paul was not acting as some
overbearing dictator funnelling out commands to those beneath his
superior rank. It is more conciliatory, kind, and affectionate
towards Titus.

     Yes, there is a sense of spiritual INSTRUCTION and
leadership with Paul over Titus in these words and letter. So
also as Paul wrote to Timothy and instructed him on how to govern
the church.

     Does this contradict what I have written and expounded in
the body of this work? No! Not at all. The very words and life of
Paul PROVE he taught no such doctrine as a "ministerial authority
rank" within the NT Church of God.

     Turn to the book of Philippians. The letter is from both
Paul and Timothy and it is to ALL three levels of the ministry -
SAINTS, DEACONS, BISHOPS(elders) - verse 1. Please keep that
clearly in mind.

     Chapter 2 verses 3,4 are POWERFUL in relation to this
subject of Church Government. "Let NOTHING be done through
selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind LET EACH
ESTEEM OTHERS BETTER THAN HIMSELF. Let each of you look out not
only for his own interests, but also for the INTERESTS OF
OTHERS."

     Paul instructs - under INSPIRATION - that everyone in the
body of Christ, all in the church at Philippi (elders, deacons,
saints) - have HUMILITY to look upon others better than
themselves.

     WOW!! What teaching from Paul.

     How then do you think he treated Timothy and Titus? What
attitude of mind do you think he had towards them or anyone in
the Church of God? What was Paul's spiritual relationship with
Timothy and Titus? How did HE HIMSELF explain it? As a
hierarchical rank relationship? As a,  "I'm over you in authority
and don't you forget it" attitude?

     He himself tells us about his relationship with these
younger ministers.

     "But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you
shortly........you know his proven character, that AS A SON WITH
HIS FATHER he SERVED WITH me in the gospel" (verses 19,22).

     Notice, Timothy served WITH Paul, not under Paul, and that
in Paul's own words. He followed his own inspired writings of
verses 3,4.
     It was a spiritual father/son relationship that Paul had
with Timothy and Titus. A loving, warm, honorable, and mutually
respectful relationship.
     There is not one word from Paul to Timothy or Titus about
any RANK authority he held over them. nothing about him reminding
them of his superior position in the ministerial "pecking order"
of church hierarchy. Nothing even about church administrational
authority so they had better obey.

     There is plenty of INSTRUCTIONAL TEACHING, WISE ADVICE,
SOUND INSIGHTS, HELPFUL POINTS, REMINDER OF THINGS,
ENCOURAGEMENT, REQUESTS,  and all done in a spiritual father/son
relationship.

     Here were two younger men in age and length of service in
the ministry, and here was Paul older in both areas, who had
spent time helping, guiding, teaching Timothy and Titus the "ins
and outs" of being an effective Elder. They had worked WITH -
along side - Paul in the work of the gospel. There had grown a
mutually loving BOND between them, as a father to son, and son to
father. No "authority" statement was needed on the part of
anyone.
     Here we find a perfect example of Peter's inspired words of
his first letter chapter five, verses one to six. The younger
elders were to submit and respect the older elders, and ALL were
to submit/respect each other in clothes of humility.

     Paul and Peter spoke the same language, the same truths, the
same doctrines, and they followed and obeyed what God inspired
them to write, as I have before shown.

     Paul's humility is profoundly evidenced - 1 Cor.15:9. What a
contrast with Paul and some dominating "authority" ego ministers
that have risen in this 20th century, within the very Church of
God.

     This father/son - brother/sister/mother - relationship was
very important in the mind of Paul(hence God's mind, as he
inspired Paul) as he instructed ministers on how to function in
their office within the church, how to relate to the brethren of
the church. Note carefully what the Lord wrote through him in 1
Timothy 5:1-2.

     "Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father,
younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as
sisters, with all purity."

     This has been God's instruction all along for the elders, it
has been in the word for nearly 2,000 years, yet many ministers
in the Church of God have fragrantly rejected or conducted
themselves in complete antithesis to these words of the Lord, in
this 20th century. Many elders have brought dishonor upon the
name of the Church of God by the way they talked to, corrected,
instructed, guided, and just plainly conducted themselves towards
the children of the Highest, for whom Christ died. I pray that
those who acted less than what these verses instruct will deeply
repent and seek the forgiveness of the Lord, and turn about to
get in harmony with God on how to conduct their relationship with
the brethren of the church.

     Now consider all this with one more light added - a HUGE
flood-light indeed!

     Who was this man Paul and what did God do through him?

     He was converted on the road to Damascus by Christ
PERSONALLY appearing and talking to him (Acts 9).

     Who since Paul has had that experience?

     Paul's calling and commission by God was revealed to another
man and recorded (Acts 9).

     Who since Paul can claim that revelation?

     He was personally TAUGHT by Christ (Gal.1).

     Who since Paul(and maybe John - with the book of Revelation)
has been given that honor? Find such a person who claims it and
you have found a conceited liar.

     Paul was given visions and revelations WAY BEYOND most
others (2 Cor.12; Acts 16).

     Who in this 20th century can claim such phenomenon?

     He was given the gift of TONGUES and HEALINGS (1 Cor.14;
Acts 19:11-12).

     Who in this 20th century was given such gifts for the work
of the Lord?

     Paul physically suffered unbelievable hardships, pain,
troubles, and persecutions for the gospel (Acts 9:16; read the
rest of Acts; ~ Cor.11: 16-28).

     Who in this century can boast of such things in the flesh?

     He was finally put to death as a Christian martyr 
(2 Tim.4:6).

     Who in the Church of God in this century can claim such a
death?

     Finally, Paul was used by the Lord to write DIVINE
INFALLIBLE SCRIPTURE - God breathed scripture - 14 books of the
NT that are directly INSPIRED of God (2 Pet.3:15-17).

     Who since the apostle John and the book of Revelation can
claim that accomplishment? Find such a person and you have found
a pompous fool.

     Now with all that under Paul's belt, do you not suppose he
had just a little tiny bit of '"authority" to instruct others in
how to "behave yourself in the house of God" (1 Tim.3:15)?  You
bet your bottom dollar he did!

     Yet Paul said his relationship with Timothy (and so Titus
also) was not built upon an authority rank system, but one of a
father with a son, and that Timothy served WITH him in the work
of the gospel.

     Now if that was Paul's attitude, example and way of life, as
it was, a man so mightily used and inspired of God, then can ANY
other man to follow him in the ministry be any different?
     Not if they are following Paul as he followed Christ (1
Cor.11:1).
     Nobody in this century or before has come CLOSE TO BEING A
Paul, anyone thinking or claiming so has never clearly read the
NT, but has been blinded by their own vanity.

     So what right do they have to speak about "authority" over
other ministers when one of the greatest inspired elders of God
never spoke about his "authority"' over other true ministers of
God. Yet those who knew and worked with him would have given him
deep respect and honor because of how God was using him. But he
never used an "authority line" with any minister. He did not
believe James, Peter, or John had authority over him (Gal.2), nor
did he teach that he had authority over them. God used them all,
HOW, WHEN, and WHERE as He decided and willed.

     Paul instructing Titus to "ordain elders in every city" is
FAR MORE than purely "administrative." Being an elder in the
church is far more than deciding which photo copying machine to
buy, or what hall to rent for Sabbath services, or what PA system
to purchase.

     Prayer and fasting are part of ordaining men to the
eldership (Acts 14: 23). No small undertaking, nothing to be
taken lightly at all. Certain standards and qualifications
are to be met by those who "desire the office of overseers" 
(1 Tim.3:1-7).

     Paul was TALKING ABOUT DOCTRINE in regards to this matter of
ordaining men in each city, not physical administration!

     When even in purely church administrative matters (not even
doctrine) Paul and Barnabas had a huge serious DIFFERENCE that
could not be reconciled at the time, and they parted company to
do separate works for the Lord, there was no "authority" line by
either man pulled from the holster and fired off (Acts 15:36-41),
or brought before some "higher in authority" minister.
     So even in administrative matters ministers must learn to
CO-OPERATE together as TEAM WORKERS - giving and taking, or they
must go their different ways to work the work of God as Paul and
Barnabas chose to do.

     We have seen Paul's attitude of mind and way of life towards
Timothy and Titus(notice the words in Titus 1:4), two younger
ministers who worked WITH him in the gospel. Then note also his
disposition towards EPAPHRODITUS in Phil.2:24-30. Again only,
love, affection, and humility, telling others to hold such in
"reputation."

     Turn to Romans 16:1-15 and see how Paul addressed many of
them. Once more appreciation, praise, thankfulness, honor, love,
and humility is shown. Some were FELLOW WORKERS/CO-WORKERS as the
Greek is for "helpers" in the KJV. Note Paul's humility and
respect and affection for the two WOMEN of verses 1-5. And this
is Paul whom some claim "put down" women or hated them or was a
racist towards them. What utter garbage! What utter falsehood and
perversion of the scriptures that God inspired him to write.

     One final word on this section. When Paul was writing to
instruct Timothy and Titus, he was writing INFALLIBLE INSPIRED
SCRIPTURE - GOD BREATHED WORDS DIRECTLY FROM THE MIND OF THE LORD
- A "THUS SAYS THE LORD." I guess he did have the right to use
some "authority" with it, for it was really God speaking, and God
does have some authority you know.

     No man's writing since the book of Revelation carries that
authority. Nothing I have written(and there is much) over the
last 17 years is God breathed. I hope there is lots of truth to
be found in it all, yet there may be error that needs correcting.
Nothing that HWA wrote can be said to be God breathed. There was
much truth in much of his writings, but there was also error and
incorrect understanding of verses of scripture at times, that
need to be corrected. This I can prove is the plain truth for
those who may believe otherwise.
     Nobody since the days of the apostle John has been used to
write inspired infallible scripture, let's get that clearly set
in our minds. No minister today can speak to another minister as
Paul spoke to Timothy and Titus, for no minister today is writing
God breathed scripture as Paul was doing when he was instructing
those two younger elders.

ONE MAN AT A TIME IDEA

     The next argument that needs to be answered is: "It should
also be very clear that the Living Christ has ALWAYS directed
major areas of His Work primarily through one man at a time" (GCN
Sept/Oct.95, p.6).

     The writer gives the example of Moses,  Joshua,  Samuel etc.

     Well okay - under the OC I can agree with that.  Under the
NC?

     The example of Peter and Paul over the circumcised and
uncircumcised (Gal.2:7-9) is given.

     Oh, I can agree that God did primarily use as PILLARS the
apostle Peter and the apostle Paul for those large areas of His
work. BUT those two men LIVED at the SAME time, and were part of
the SAME church, attended the SAME ministerial conference in
Jerusalem(Acts 15), visiting each other at times (Gal.l),
attending the SAME local congregation at times(Gal.2), and
acknowledging they were writing scripture(2 Pet.3:15-16).

     Who decided who would do what work in these large areas of
God's work? Was it the ministers themselves getting together to
decide? Was it a "board" of ministers? Or a committee of 
congregational persons giving out orders?

     No! It was God who decided (i.e. Acts 9; 10; 13).

     The responsibilities and FUNCTION of elders had really
nothing to do with "huge differences and antagonism between the
Gentiles and the Jewish people of the day, and also because of
geographical considerations and the fact that there was no
instant communication as we have in our time now" (GCN -Sept/Oct
1995, p.6).

     The reasoning of man to try to hold on to false concepts of
the idea of "one man at a time" under the NC age is wondrous to
behold.

     God had no trouble with geographical distance and instant
communication on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Nor in
scattering the church to preach the word in Acts 8. He had no
trouble with geography in sending Philip to Samaria and later
Peter and John (Acts 8).
     God had little problem in getting Philip to the Ethiopian
eunuch when necessary (Acts 8:26). He was also able to take him
away with little effort (verses 39,40).
     The church at Corinth had little trouble in communicating
with all their different languages. God just gave them the gift
of tongues (1 Cor.14).

     On and on I could go.

     The gospel was spread quite nicely and quickly thank you,
until the world was turned up-side down, and that without the aid
of TV, radio, or the computer Internet.

     As for the huge difference and antagonism between Jews and
Gentiles, I'm sure Paul could have managed very well with BOTH,
if it had been the will of God, after all Paul was a Jew and a
one time Pharisee. He also had good vibes with the Gentiles, and
FOR A TIME he DID work on BOTH fronts of the line.

     It was God who eventually decided to use Paul mainly in the
Gentile camp.

     The fact is ONE man like Paul could have worked in both
camps of Jews and Gentiles IF the Lord had willed so. It had
nothing to do with geography or instant communication, but SOLELY
with the WILL and DECISION of God as to WHO would do WHAT ,and
WHERE, and WHEN ,they would do it.

     And so it is to this very day!

     All this argument is to lead to one final belief.

"ONE" UNDER ONE INSPIRED LEADER

     "Today, such a division is NOT necessary since we have
almost instant communication around the world through telephones,
computers, fax machines, etc. These modern means of communication
enabled the vast majority of God's people to be 'one' under the
inspired leadership of God's servant, Herbert W. Armstrong.
Christ guided and BLESSED His Work in that way for over 50
years!" (GCN - Sept/Oct. 1995, p.6).

     Ah, reading between the lines, I see where this is leading,
to the false teaching that God is STILL leading the "vast
majority" of His people to be "one" under another organization
with another single man as leader, who will be BLESSED above all
others.

     It is a clever psychological "come on" based upon a
quick-sand foundation in order to get people to belong to the
"one" and really true extension of the - work built by HWA
- the Global Church of God.
     What men will do to get a following or to build their
"empire."

     If God has used in the NC age "one man at a time" to direct
major areas of His work, and for 50 years or more that ONE man
was HWA, then tell me WHO was the one man directing the major
area of God's work BEFORE HWA?
     Where was the "major" area of God's work being done, WHO was
the one man over it, what happened to him and how did HWA get to
take over his mantle?

     Then if you can answer that, tell me the name of the one man
over God's work before the man who was before HWA?
     Further still, how does all of that fit in with the present
state of things among the different branches and splits that have
come out of the WCG founded by HWA? Who is the "one man at a
time" NOW?

     If is it governed by literal numbers then at present it must
go to the "one man" (whoever he is) of the UNITED Church of God,
as they seem to be on top in number of members.

     Again, if they should fall behind in membership to say the
GLOBAL Church of God, will the "one man at a time" change to the
one man of Global?

     What if the CGI(Church of God, International) should in the
next 5 or 10 years surpass in number of members all other
branches, will their one man (if they have one) become the "one
man at a time" director over God's major area of work?

     And to yet add more fuel to the fire, what if the CGI only
held the record of membership for a year or two, and the
ministers of the present WCG all repented of their apostasy -
returned to full truth and became the largest branch in
membership etc. Would God transfer the "one man at a time" to the
WCG's one man?

     I speak with tongue in cheek. Pretty silly isn't it? Not
just silly - it is DUMB!! What
illogical ideas the heart of man ponders.

AN "INSPIRED" LEADER?

     I did not bring this up, I was not going to even mention it,
talk about it, or discuss it, in this study, but here it is again
in the quote previously given, "........God's people to be 'one'
under the INSPIRED leadership of God's servant, Herbert W.
Armstrong......"

     I didn't bring this up, yet it has been brought up within
the subject of Church Government. So it would be shirking my duty
as a minister and servant of the Eternal God to let this go
unanswered. Those who put men on pedestals had better have large
enough shoulders to carry the burden.

     Now I earlier used the word "inspire" for Paul and John the
apostles. I called them inspired - they truly were!

For any man to use that word in regards to another human being
since the death of John is danger,  d a n g e r , DANGEROUS!

     There is sometimes a very loose way in which we use the word
"inspire" today in the twentieth century, but I have personally
experienced some in the church using this word for HWA not in the
loose sense at all. Their mind and heart and emotions making
it very plain to me as to how they were using the word.

     The Jehovah Witnesses have their "inspired" man - William
Russell.

     The Mormons have their "inspired" leader - Joseph Smith
together with the book of Mormon.

     The Christian Science people have their "inspired" teacher -
Mary Baker Eddy.

     The Seventh Day Adventist church have their "inspired"
prophet - Ellen G. White.

     I have talked with, had Bible studies with, over the years,
members from the above churches. I know their basic beliefs, I
have read and studied their books and literature. I have
personally been witness to the results of the mental attitude in
the above groups and MANY of their members, in relation to their
"inspired" one.

     They eventually take their eyes off Jesus Christ, they look
away from the word of the Lord to the words of their human
"inspired" one. Eventually it becomes a mill-stone around their
necks, it blinds them to the truth that would set them free as
Jesus said. Their faith and trust is in a physical person. They
loose the ability to see error and mistakes in the "inspired"
one. They loose the ability to be corrected and shown error in
their lives and doctrine of belief from the word of God. They
enter complacency, thinking they have it all, and have no need
for anything.

     They enter the never never land of the self-righteous
Laodicean attitude of Revelation 3. They eventually stop thinking
and growing in grace and knowledge of Christ and the word of God
because their "inspired" one did it all for them and there is
nothing new to learn. They develop a mind set that precludes them
from seeing any new light, for that would mean to them their
"inspired" one did not have all the light.
     They especially get up-set, irritable, and often plain out
and out ANGRY when shown that their "inspired" one wrote things
or taught things that the word of God clearly shows is error or
the antithesis to the truth.
     Again I will say, I have personally had members of the
aforementioned groups, as well as members of the WCG(those who
believed HWA was inspired to the point of infallibility) who got
red hot with anger and stormed out of my presence, because I
showed them from the word of God, errors in the writings of their
inspired one.
     Some have put so much faith in the inspiration of their
churches "inspired" prophet, that upon being shown they were not
so inspired as they believed, they WALKED AWAY from God. Yet it
was not the fault of God, but false teachers and they themselves
for not heeding the word of God about such matters. Only God's
word is truth, only He does not lie, or misunderstand, or
misinterpret, or fall prey to human carnality and sin.

     I hope you dear reader have not put a man on a pedestal
where he should never have been put, for if you have the day will
come when you will discover your error and then as your
"inspired" one falls to eye level, you had better be strong
enough to take the fall and not fall yourself where "all the
kings horses and all the kings men, couldn't put Humpty Dumpty
TOGETHER AGAIN."

     I could take the time, but here is not the place, to fully 
e x p o u n d to you the errors, misunderstanding,
misinterpretation, false ideas, false teachings, wrong decisions,
carnal works of the flesh, and yes, at times, some wrong
doctrines, of Herbert Armstrong.
     HWA was far from being "inspired" at times, then at other
times he was, if we use the word loosely, as we often do,
inspired in his writings and study of God's word.

     Using the word "loosely" I can say I hope many of God's
people are inspired as they write articles on Christian faith,
but nobody from the second century A.D. on, has been inspired in
the way Paul was inspired. That is why he wrote for you and me
today "PROVE ALL THINGS, HOLD FAST TO THAT WHICH IS GOOD."

     HWA was not inspired like the apostle Paul was inspired. And
to give the man credit, HWA never said he ever was.

     Nobody today is inspired in the way Paul was inspired. Maybe
the two witnesses of God in the book of Revelation, when they
preach, we will see again the inspiration that filled the apostle
Paul.

     Make sure you do not err by thinking I am against HWA. I
love him as I love all God's people. I acknowledge he was a
minister of God that was used to do a mighty work for God, and
preached much truth to many people.

     Christ did use HWA and the WCG for many years. To state it
was for over 50 years is VERY DEBATABLE indeed, a debate I will
not enter into here.


1 TIMOTHY 5:17

     There is need to comment on what Paul said to Timothy in the
above verse about an elder being "counted worthy of DOUBLE
honor."

     It is argued that Paul is speaking about an elder receiving
double WAGES. At fist glance it would appear from verse 18 that
there is some truth to that idea.

     Then on closer look, even if we allow the above argument to
stand, we note that Paul says "be counted worthy of double honor"
and NOT that he must as a command from him absolutely, at all
times, be paid double wages or re-numeration.

     The elder may, if he does his work well within the church,
be worthy to be paid double what he is paid, but that does not
mean there are the funds to literally do so. And even if there
was, there is still another problem to solve. Paul gives no
instruction on a "yard stick" line as to HOW MUCH IS THE FIRST
WAGE in the first place that some say should be doubled. What may
have been a good livable wage in Paul's time, could be starvation
and a homeless situation today in the Western World.

     Who would determine if the first bottom of the line wage
before being doubled, for the minister or elder, would be the
upper average wage of the middle class, the average lower wage of
the lower class, or the poverty wage line, of the country the
elder lives in?

     There are FAR TOO MANY FACTORS to consider if we believe
Paul is here giving an absolute command and law that churches are
to pay their elders (who are full time in the ministry) DOUBLE
wages.
     I believe a better understanding of these verses is that
Paul is emphasizing having a very HIGH esteem of mind towards
those elders who really work hard and govern the church well,
while not ruling out a proper physical renumeration.

     The Greek word used for "honor" in verse 17 would bear out
the interpretation I give above.

     The number in Strong's Concordance is 5092 - teemay - is the
English way to pronounce the word. Strong's will show it could
refer to literal valuables, i.e. money, it also refers to the
mental attitude and value of words like - esteem, dignity,
precious, honor.

     We must look further to get more light on this word and how
we should understand it in the context of 1 Tim.5:17. The
Englishman's Greek Concordance will serve us well. Page 732 lists
every scripture where this word is used in the NT. It is used in
42 verses. In 8 of those uses the word is translated as "price"
in the KJV. In 6 cases it is referring undoubtedly to the price
of money. The other two cases it is referring to the price of the
death of Christ to buy us back from sin. In one case it is
translated by the word "sum" and again refers to money - Abraham
bought a piece of land for a sum of money.

In all other instances it is rendered as "honor" except once when
it is rendered as "precious."

     Note verses like John 4:44 "has no honor in his own
country." Rom.2:7 "seek for glory and honor." Rom.12:10 "in honor
preferring one another.'' Rom.13:7 "honor to whom honor." 1
Tim.6:1 "their own masters worthy of all honor." 1 Pet.3:7
"giving honor unto the wife."

     It is used many times as giving honor to God the Father, as
well as to Christ.

     By a margin of at least 3 to 1 the word is used in the NT to
denote a MENTAL ATTITUDE of esteem, dignity, praise,
appreciation, honor.

     I believe Paul was FIRST telling Timothy and hence all of
us, that the elders who really work hard and well in governing
the church should be mentally counted very high in esteem,
appreciation and honor. We may put it as "he is greatly honored"
in a figure of speech, Paul said "double honor'' as his figure of
speech. He was first emphasizing this attitude of mind but was
also not ignoring a physical pay for their labor in the word and
doctrine.
     The physical pay would have to be governed by the number of
full time elders in the church, the amount of money coming into
the church funds, and the cost of living as found in the area or
country the elders live in.

BARNE'S NOTES ON THE NT has some fine comments:

     17." Let the elders that rule well......The word used -
elder or presbyter - properly refers to age, and then it is used
to denote the officers of the church......The word rendered
rule...... is from a verb meaning to be over, to preside over, to
have the care of......That rule well. Presiding well, or well
managing the spiritual interests of the church......Be counted
worthy of double honor. Of double respect; that is, of a high
degree of respect. Comp.1 Thes.5:12,13. From the quotation which
is made in ver.18, in relation to this subject, it would seem
probable that the apostle had some reference also to their
support, or to what was necessary for their maintenance......
corresponding to the amount of time which their office required
them to devote to the service of the church......Especially they
who labor in word and doctrine. In preaching and instructing
the people. From this it is clear that, while there were 'elders'
who labored 'in the word and doctrine' that is, in preaching,
there were also those who did not labor in 'the word and
doctrine' but were nevertheless appointed to rule in the
church......part of them were engaged in preaching.......a part
may have been employed in managing other concerns of the church,
and yet all were regarded as the......'elders presiding over the
church.'
.........Those who among them 'labored in the word and doctrine,'
and who gave up all their time to the business of their office,
would be worthy of special respect, and a higher compensation."

End quote.

IS THIS THE END

It is, but who knows for how long. With all that is taking place
in the various branches of the Church of God coming out of the
WCG, I may yet have to answer more arguments from more study
papers yet to be written on this subject.

The appendix was first written in November 1995, with revisions
in 1996.

                           ....................

Indeed, it was not long before it was necessary for me to have to
write more on this subject. Two widely distributed papers came
out which contained much truth BUT also some SERIOUS errors.
Those errors I answer in the second half on this book on Church
Government.


  Home Previous Page Top of Page Next Page

 
Navigation List:
 

 
Word Search:

PicoSearch
  Help