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

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Church Government

What the New Testament teaches on how churches should be governed


                          Part Two

                          CONTINUED     



     J.D.

     In the New Testament the selection of elders does have some
commentry. Let's read Acts 14:23.......
     At first reading this seems to be very clearly stated. It
appears that Barnabas and Paul simply appointed some of the
mature men to be elders. But hold your horses! Don't gallop off
so fast! Is that what it really says?.......the Greek word
translated "appointed" is the one we isolated earlier as
"cheirotoneo" .......Literally it means "to stretch forth the
hands." .......
     In the light of our previously reviewed scriptures, who do
you suppose made the actual selection? Who do you think might
have done the voting?


     MY ANSWER:

     Yes indeed, at first reading it does seem to be very clear! 
Okay, we will hold our horses, and not gallop but walk slowly.
     First, as I have said so many times before, the Bible is
basically written in a simple format. Oh, you must find and put
together ALL scriptures on any topic, to ascertain the truth of
the matter, but you do not need a degree in theology from some
Bible institution to understand all the fundamental doctrines of
the Lord. As Jesus said: "Thank you Father that you have hidden
these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them
unto babes."
     You must become as little children in belief and faith to
enter the Kingdom, so it is taught by Christ.
     The Bible was not written in so-called classical Greek. It
was handed to us written in simple everyday common Greek. Today
we would say it was written in everyday common English, no big
high sounding words, certainly not even close to the language
of lawyers. 
     Yet, although common day to day Greek is the language of the
NT it still employed the use of the basic rules of grammar just
as good common English does.
     One very important rule of grammar and also correct biblical
understanding of any single verse, is to look at and read the
whole context the verse is within.
     Did the scholars and translators of the King James Version
in 1611 make a fundamental grammar mistake here in Acts 14:23 ? 
The context will tell us.

     Let us start way back in chapter thirteen and verse four.
     WHO is the subject of  verse four?  Verse two tells us -
Barnabas and Saul(Paul). Those two men are the "they" mentioned
in verse four.
     Who is the subject of verse five? It is Barnabas and Paul -
the "they."  Look at verse six! Again, who is the subject? Why it
is Paul and Barnabas - the "they."
     Read all the way to verse forty three. The context does
single out Paul saying certain words, yet it is still
"them"(verse 8) and "they" in verses 14. It is "them" in verse
15, and "Paul and Barnabas" in verse 43.
     Who is the subject of verses 44 through to 52?  It is Paul
and Barnabas - the "they" of verse 51.
     Carry on into chapter fourteen. The persons the context
singles out as the who of the subject is "they went both together
into the synagogue of the Jews" - Paul and Barnabas!  Who is the
subject of verse six and seven?  It is "they" - Barnabas and
Paul.
     See verses 11, 12, 14, 18.  WHO IS THE SUBJECT?  It is the
"apostles" - the "they" - the "them" - Barnabas and Paul!
     Move on to verses 19 and 20. The persons who are the subject
are Paul and Barnabas.
     Verses 21,22 it is "they" who are the subject - Paul and
Barnabas.  Notice verse 24. Who is the subject? Why the two
apostles, the same two as in the above verses. What about verses
26 through to 28?  Who is the subject?  It is "they" - Paul and
Barnabas!
     Could ANYTHING BE PLAINER?  The context from chapter 13 to
the end of chapter 14 shows who is the subject of the thought and
the deeds of the whole. And that was Paul and Barnabas!  It is so
simple, common day to day Greek or English, a young child could
understand, that the persons who are the subject of the discord
are the two apostles - Barnabas and Paul. And so using words such
as "they" and "them" is quite within correct grammar.
     The verse under question - verse 23 - is WITHIN THE WHOLE
CONTEXT - within the "who is the subject" of the context. The WHO
(what persons as the main subject) NEVER CHANGES!  The who
remains as Paul and Barnabas!
     From the before and after of the context of verse
twenty-three, it is only logical to continue to use the simple
English grammar rule of "subject" and add the "they" in that
verse. The "they" being still the two apostles - namely Paul and
Barnabas.
     
     We know from the Greek NT itself that Luke(the author of
Acts) did have at his disposal words in the Greek for assembly or
church or congregation or group of persons. If he wanted us to
have no questions as to the fact that it was the whole church
congregation that had final authority and that elected and
ordained these men to be elders, then he could have and should
have (according to common rules of grammar) changed the subject
in verse 23. He could have easily written: "And the churches
appointed themselves elders, and after prayer and fasting they
commended them to the Lord."  Luke would have thus instructed us
that the subject had changed from Paul and Barnabas to the church
or congregation or assembly of believers in Lystra, Iconium, and
Antioch. He could have said: "The assembly of disciples ordained
them elders in every church...." etc. Then in verse 24 used the
names "Paul" and "Barnabas" to bring the who of the subject back
to them for the rest of the chapter. But he did not!  Because of
one simple factor, he never intended us to believe the persons of
the subject of the context HAD CHANGED from the two apostles to
the collective membership of the churches in Anitoch, Iconium,
and Lystra!
     The two apostles - Paul and Barnabas - are the subject(the
"they" and "them") of the context. Luke never changes it from
chapter 13:4 to the end of chapter 14, in fact even into the
first number of verses in chapter 15.
     The rules of grammar leave us with no alternative but to
render verse 23 of chapter 14 as found in the KJV. The scholars
of 1611 were quite correct!
     The unescapable contextual evidence is that it was indeed
Paul and Barnabas, two apostles, and two elders, overseers, that
prayed and fasted, and ordained/appointed elders in every church
in the three towns mentioned. They had the last word as to who
those elders would be.
     
     I did not say that the congregations may not have had some
impute on the final decisions made by Paul and Barnabas as to who
should be ordained as elders. Surely Paul and Barnabas would have
had to do some inquiring, looking carefully, asking questions,
ascertaining who was meeting the qualifications to be elders
within those churches. But as in Acts 6, it was "they" - Barnabas
and Paul - who would finally have the last word, and "whom we may
appoint over this business."

     NOW TO THE WORD "APPOINT" - cheirotoneo.

     Some today are wanting to stress this Greek word
"cheirotoneo."  Telling you that "...in classical Greek, is
primarily used to denote voting in the Athenian legislative
assembly."
     This particular Greek word is used by itself(and I have a
very good reason to say by itself, that we shall come to later)
ONLY TWICE in the entire NT. Here in Acts 14:23 and also in 2
Corinthians 8:19.
      Here is what Strong's Concordance has to say about this
word:  ".....to be a hand-reacher or voter(by raising the hand),
i.e.(ge.) to select or appoint:- choose, ordain."
     The Analytical Greek Lexicon page 436 says:  "....to stretch
out the hand; to constitute by voting; to appoint, constitute,
Ac.14:23; 2 Co.8:19."
     In part Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the NT has this to
say:  ".....extending the hand....a. prop. to vote by stretching
out the hand.......b. to create or appoint by vote......c. with
the loss of the notion of extending the hand(emphasis mine,KH),
to elect, appoint, create......"

     Now I give you the full explanation of this word as given in
Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985
copyright, page 34. See if you can find one section that is very
revealing and interesting.

     ".....primarily used of voting in the Athenian legislative
assembly and meaning 'to stretch forth the hands' (cheir, 'the
hand,' teino, 'to stretch'), is not to be taken in its literal
sense; it could not be so taken in its compound procheirotoneo,
'to choose before,' since it is said of God, Acts 10:41.
Cheirotoneo is said of 'the appointment' of elders by
apostolic missionaries in the various churches which they
revisited, Acts 14:23, RV, 'had appointed,' i.e., by the
recognition of those who had been manifesting themselves as
gifted of God to discharge the function of elders(see No.2). It
is also said of those who were 'appointed' (not by voting, but
with general approbation) by the churches in Greece to accompany
the apostle in conveying their gifts to the poor saints in Judea,
2 Cor.8:19. See CHOOSE, ORDAIN."

     The NT I repeat was not written in classical Greek, but the
common every day Greek of the average citizen of the Roman
Empire, who did not speak classical Greek.

     We need to be very careful when trying to understand certain
Greek words. Many of them can have various meanings and uses. The
common Greek of the NT was not unlike our common English, many
words had more than one use and not always the original stem
meaning. So it was also in the Hebrew language.
     I hope the following will clearly show you the truth of what
I am stating.  The Church of God Seventh Day in their July-August
1996 edition of The Bible Advocate, under the question and answer
section, had this to say concerning "Is a cross a stake or
a tree?"
     ".......In the English language, a stake or a cross in not a
tree. But we are dealing with basic Hebrew and Greek words
translated into modern English, which, by the way, has changed
tremendously since the King James Version was published. Let's
deal with the Hebrew word for tree first.
     The basic word transliterated ets is a general word for
anything made of wood. It may be a literal tree, a stick of wood,
a shepherd's staff, a stake, or gallows. Read the book of Esther,
particularly the story of Haman. The gallows he arranged to be
built was called an ets.
     So to say that a cross or stake is not a tree is incorrect.
The Hebrew word may mean those objects as well.
     From the Greek word for tree (xulon) we derive our word
xylophone, which means 'wood sound.' The bars are made of wood
and create a pleasing sound when the right person plays them.
This word helps us see that the word for tree in Greek is a
general word for something made of wood. So when the author of
Acts uses xulon, he may not be talking of a literal tree. 
     In fact, Paul and Silas were put in 'trees' in the prison at
Philippi. The usual translation there is 'stocks.' Again, the
Greek word is xulon.
     Interestingly, Luke, who also wrote Acts, uses the word
generally translated 'cross' when telling what Christ was killed
on. In Acts, Luke always uses the general word meaning 'tree' or
'wood.'
     The Greek word translated 'cross,' as best we can translate
it, originally meant 'stake.'  The history of crucifixion usually
says the earliest crucifixions were done on a tree or on a stake.
But the Romans had started using a cross before the time of
Christ. Again, no one seems to know for certain the exact type
used for the crucifixion of Jesus.
     The common forms were the Tau, 'T' shaped, one called the
St.Anthony, 'X' shaped, and the Latin cross traditionally shown
in paintings. One writer of the nineteenth century also listed
one called the 'tree,' shaped like 'Y.' I have not been able to
verify this elsewhere.
     But the exact shape of the cross doesn't matter. It was
something made of wood, thus fulfilling both the Hebrew and Greek
words used for that instrument of death........" (Paul E.
Heavilin).

     Ah, words can have an original basic root meaning but can
also in the process of time be used in a way that does not carry
its original literal root meaning.

     Let me further illustrate with the word "Rock."  From Vine's
Expository Dic. of Old and New Test.Words, page 208, we read: 
"ROCK sur...,'rock; rocky wall; cliff; rocky hill; mountain;
rocky surface; boulder.' .....Other than in names of places and
persons, the word appears 70 times in biblical Hebrew and in all
periods. First, sur means 'rocky wall' or 'cliff.' This is
probably what Moses struck in Exod.17:6.....Thus God hid Moses in
a cleft of the 'rocky cliff' (Exod.33:21-22).
     Second, the word frequently means 'rocky hill' or
'mountain.'  This emphasis clearly emerges in
Isa.2:10,19.....(Num.23:9)......(Deut.32:13)......)Ps.61:2)......
(Job 14:18......(Job 19:24).
     Third, sur can mean 'rocky ground' or perhaps a large flat
'rock.'......(2 Sam.21:10; cf. Prov.30:19).
     Fourth, in some passages the word means 'boulder,' in the
sense of a rock large enough to serve as an
altar......(Judg.6:21).
     'Rock' is frequently used to picture God's support and
defense of His people (Deut.32:15). In some cases this noun is an
epithet, or meaningful name, of God (Deut.32:4), or of heathen
gods:'For their rock(god) is not as our Rock(God).....'
(Deut.32:31).
     Finally, Abraham is the source (rock) from which Israel was
hewn (Isa.51:1)."

     Ah, ah, do you see?  The Hebrew word sur has the basic root
meaning of literal rock, but was also used in a NONE LITERAL
SENSE!  In a way that kept the underlying strength of the word,
its intrinsic quality, but not to be taken in its first literal
meaning. God's support and defense of His people is a "rock." 
Used also as a meaningful name of God.
     Another example is the Greek word gennaoo.  See what Vine's
Dic. says on this word, page 57.
     It is used as "to beget."  It is used of conception.  The
word is used as "to be born."  Used for literal conception and
literal birth.  That is the basic root meaning, yet as Vine's
Dic. points out, the word is used allegorically and
metaphorically. In those instances(some given in Vine's) it would
be ridiculous to take the word in its original literal root
meaning.

     Now back to the word cheirotoneo. 

     Did you note in Vine's Dic. quoted above, the part I said
was of important interest?  I have never seen this quoted by
anyone who wants to hit you between the eyes with its root
meaning in classical Greek.
     Quote from Vine's:  "....to stretch forth the hand.....is
not to be taken in its literal sense; it could not be so taken in
its compound procheirotoneo, "to choose before, since it is said
of God, Acts 10:41...."

     Now please turn to Acts the tenth chapter and verse
forty-one.

     I told you that the word cheirotoneo is only used TWICE in
the NT. Used on its own that is true. But it is used for a THIRD
time in the above verse of Acts ten. Not on its own but with the
prefix "pro" - before. Hence the statement by Vine's
aforementioned.
     
     Acts ten and verse forty tells us that God - the Father -
raised Jesus from the dead and showed Him openly....."Not to all
the people, but unto witnesses CHOSEN BEFORE  of God...."  It was
the Father in heaven who had already ELECTED and pre-determined
WHO the individuals would be to see Jesus after His resurrection!
The Father had pro-cheirotoneo.
     Now ask yourself this question: Did the Father stretch forth
or raise His hand - literally - as He chose or elected these
persons? I think not! He certainly had no need to do so, for who
is greater in authority in the universe? Did He vote with
Himself? Such thoughts are ridiculous! Maybe He voted with Jesus
before His death or right after His resurrection on the matter?
Yet, that does not hold up in the light of John 10:30 and other
scriptures that show Christ and the Father have complete
agreement at all times. There is never any voting among
themselves.
     Then if you want to argue they did vote, how can two vote on
anything and have a majority that wins the day? Oh, I guess if
you are not a part of the Church of God ( and Protestant or Roman
Catholic) you could say the person of the Holy Spirit would cast
the vote to decide the issue. Those of us in the Church of God do
not have that answer!
     
     So the Father would not vote with Himself, He would not vote
with Christ. Perhaps the Father voted with the holy angels or the
twenty four elders in heaven. Maybe the "stretching forth the
hand" and voting on who would see Jesus after His resurrection
was done in heaven by the heavenly host.
     I guess it could have been possible, if you want to argue
for the sake of arguing, and want to believe this word
cheirotoneo must be taken in its literal original classical
Greek meaning at all times.
     Let us suppose this voting and literal raising of the hand
did take place in heaven above with the Father and angelic
beings. My next question to you is: WHO would have the final
authority on the issue? There can be no other answer but the
Father would!
     So voting would be redundant and a waste of time in this
case.  True, God is the author of the proverb: "In the multitude
of counsellors there is safety"(Prov.11:14). But seeking input
and counsel on something is not the same by any means as taking a
democratic vote to let the majority rule.
     God the Father is always the majority!

     The simple logical answer to Acts 10:41 is that the Father
elected, chose, who would see the risen Christ, without any
stretching forth the hand in a vote by anyone. 
     
     The word cheirotoneo as used in the common Greek of the NT
should then be understood as meaning simply, appointed, chosen,
elected, just as the scholars of 1611 translated it, without any
bearing on literally stretching forth the hand in a vote.
     Some, wanting to hold to their position, will not agree, but
will continue to insist voting was carried on in 2 Cor.8:19 and
Acts 14:23.

     Back we go, first to 2 Cor.8:19. 
     
     The "chosen" one here had to do with somebody helping carry
the "gift" of material help to those less fortunate. It had
NOTHING to do with appointing, electing, or choosing a spiritual
elder/overseer in any church, or electing a person to "serve
tables," deacon - as in Acts 6. Please see such Bible
Commentaries as Barnes' Notes on the NT.
     True, the choosing of this person had to be done in some
way. Yet the way it was accomplished is not given to us.
     This is clearly a "none essential" matter of church
administration of physical things. And in such cases how it is
done and decided is left to us, it is our liberty within the law
of God as we have discussed in part one of this study. But as I
have shown above the word itself does not mean we are to
dogmatically take it in any literal sense of voting by
the stretching forth of the hand.

     Acts 14:23.  I have before proved that the contextual "they"
of this verse are the two apostles - Paul and Barnabas. For those
who unrelentingly cling to a voting here taking place, I have no
difficulty in "going along." Because the context plainly shows it
was Paul and Barnabas who would be voting or agreeing (with a
stretching forth of the hand - a hand shake, as we would do it
today) with the final authority vested in them(as we have seen
also in Acts 6) as to who would be appointed elders in the
churches under discussion.
     Let me try to make this plain with my own example. I had
been trained under the Worldwide Church of God(their programs)
back in the 60's, for the ministry/eldership. I was one of the
right hand men to two local ministers during that time. I left
that organization in 1972. By 1979 I was spiritual leader of two
congregation, one near Toronto, and the other situated in
Rochester, NY state. In 1981 I was contacted by Fred Coulter who
had left the WCG in 1979 and founded the Biblical Church of God
in California. He made(in 1982) an early summer visit to Ontario
and the two churches mentioned above, staying with my wife and I.
     He apparently went to both congregations(unknown by me)
stating to them he felt I should be ordained to the eldership. I
was told later, both congregations agreed. Then he came to me,
telling me what I've just related to you, and asking if I would
accept being ordained to the spiritual overseership in the body
of Christ. I said I would. 
     He made it quite clear to me that he would have to go back
to the elders(about 10 at the time) in the BCG organization, and
obtain their consent and final approval. If they all agreed(put
forth the hand - shook hands on it) then I would be ordained at
the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall of 1982. If they did not
agree, I would not be ordained to the ministry.
     They did agree and  I was officially appointed/ordained by
Fred and another elder in St.Louis.
     The proverb "In the multitude of counsellors there is
safety" was applied. The two local congregations were taken into
confidence by Fred concerning my ordination, yet the final and
last word on the matter came from the elders - plural.

     I believe that if Mr.Difley and Mr.Edwards had only ever
experienced true scriptural "church government" in a local
autonomous congregation with a number of spiritual
overseers/elders present, all having equal authority in essential
matters, and where the brethren were all respected as having
different gifts from the Holy Spirit, they would have no problem
with what I have stated above.
     I personally have seen this scriptural truth being practiced
in some Jamaican Church of God, Seventh Day congregations in
south Florida, with wonderful results.

     Ah, I did "hold your horses" and I did not gallop off into
the sunset.


     J.D.

     In Titus 1:5 we read.......The Greek word here used for
appoint is the verb "kathistemi" and literally means "to stand
down." ....... Some translations of the word include: "(to)
place," "set down," "set in order," "set over," "constitute,"
"make," and even "the significance of bringing to (a certain
place)." We can see that it is not as definite in meaning as
simply "ordain" or "appoint" in the English language, and does
not imply how it should be done........
     "appointed." The Greek word is "diatasso" ....... It does
not necessarily mean that the one sent to do the appointing does
the actual work, but rather that the one sent makes sure the work
is done.......
     It now becomes clear in Titus 1:5, and we can justly say,
that Paul was telling Titus that he should make certain that
elders were selected, not that Titus was necessarily to make the
selections unilaterally. Do you suppose that we may also assume
that the congregations did the actual appointing even as other
scriptures indicate? .......


     MY ANSWER:

     Concerning this Greek word "kathistemi."  How you understand
"to place" - "set down" - "set in order" - "set over" etc. with
the English words ordain or appoint is really a matter of
semantics. I have no trouble thinking "set over" is the same as
"appoint." Yes, true "setting someone over" or "appointing them
over" can be done officially in different ways.
     As shown before, there is no concrete "formula" in baptizing
someone. Certain things are mentioned in the word, but very few.
So it is with "setting over" or "appointing" elders. The word
itself does not as Mr.Difley correctly says, "imply how it should
be done."
     Clearly it was something Paul instructed Titus to do. We
have as we have seen, a few examples that prayer, fasting, laying
on of hands and some kind of commending to the Lord was done in
appointing persons to such a duty in the church. The exact
formula of "setting down" these men is obviously left up to every
congregation to "set in order." A pun on words was intended. 
     This is the liberty in Christ all elders and local
congregations have been given.

     I am not sure what J.D. is driving at concerning the word
"diatasso" for it seems irrelevant to our main topic. You may
like to read what Vine's Expository Dictionary has to say about
it, page 34. It is a strong word, and one thing is certain, Titus
was being told by Paul to fulfil this directive that is found in
verse five.
     The argument that Titus did not do the work, was not
involved in selecting the elders or had the congregations appoint
the elders, is weak and hard to justify in the light of
contextual study, not only in this chapter of Titus but also the
entire NT. 
     If by saying "not that Titus was necessarily to make the
selections unilaterally" we mean, to act as some little pompous
vain, all knowing, self-sufficient, arrogant dictatorial
demagogic elder, then as the reader should well understand from
this study, I completely agree! But if by using the word
"unilaterally" we are trying to say Titus did not have the
final authority and last word on who would be elders, if we are
saying the final authority lay in the hands of the congregations,
then I could not disagree more!
     My disagreement to this notion comes from the following
points: 1. The internal evidence of verse five itself. Crete is a
small island in the Mediterranean, churches had obviously been
established but no spiritual elders had been officially
appointed. If that had been the case, Paul would not have left
Titus there to undertake the task. He could have easily asked the
existing elders to ordain other elders. Paul also felt it
necessary to inform Titus about the basic qualifications that
elders were to have in order to be appointed as elders, also
showing this was a new undertaking and the churches on Crete
did not as yet have any elders.  2. Paul gives the qualifications
for eldership to Titus. Not one word is said to him about passing
this information on to the membership of the churches, because it
would be them and not him, who would do the electing and have
the final authority on the matter. I just cannot see something as
important as appointing spiritual overseers/elders in the
churches, being completely ignored by Paul in every letter
(especially those of Timothy and Titus - letters to other elders)
of his, IF SUCH AN APPOINTMENT AND FINAL AUTHORITY WAS TO COME
FROM THE MEMBERSHIP.
     Surely such a serious election of duty would be given some
space, somewhere in the NT, with careful instructions to the
church membership as to "what to look for" in choosing elders, if
it was they and not the existing elders who were to have the last
word. Paul gave detailed instructions on this matter to TWO
individual persons - Timothy and Titus, yet never to a
congregation. Even when instructing Timothy and Titus on the
subject, he never as much as even hints to them that they must
pass this teaching on to the membership, as it would be they, the
congregation, who would have "authority" over the ordaining of
elders.
     Let me remind you if Acts 6 rushes back into your thoughts,
and you have forgotten what I've shown on that section before.
Acts 6 was the choosing or appointing of men to "serve tables" -
physical duties only in the church. Even then the apostles/elders
had the last word for it is written, "that we may appoint over
this business."  Acts 6 had nothing to do with electing spiritual
elders.   3. If it was the churches/congregations of Crete that
were to do the "actual appointing" and not Titus, Paul could have
easily written: "For this cause I left you in Crete, that you
should set in order the things that are left undone, and tell the
churches to appoint elders in every city, as I have instructed
you." Or "......have the assemblies ordain elders in each
church....." Or ".....when the churches come together, instruct
them to elect elders for each city...." Paul had all these Greek
words at his disposal, but he did not use them!

     The internal evidence both from Titus 1:5 and its context,
the letters to Timothy and the whole NT, shows clearly that the
final authority, having the last word, on who will be appointed
as spiritual overseers and even deacons, lies in the hands of the
existing elders (perfectly elders - plural, but in the unusual
case of Crete, elder - Titus, as there were no other elders in
the churches on Crete at the time Paul was instructing him).

     What do you think of the duty of Elder, someone who is a
spiritual overseer in a church or churches? Is it "no big deal"
to you? Is it "well anyone can do it"?  How do you read the NT my
friend? If having elders in the church is really "nothing to get
excited about" to you, then why do they have to meet such high
qualifications as taught by Paul in his letters to Timothy and
Titus? Why then does James tell us. "My brethren, be not MANY
TEACHERS, knowing that we shall receive the greater
judgment"(James 3:1)? 

     The word of God powerfully proclaims that MOST should not
set themselves up in any type of official spiritual leadership
over others, for it is an awesome responsibility to do so, and
such persons will come under greater judgment from the Lord.
     
     For me to think that Titus would walk into a church on
Crete, say to the congregation, "Well now, you must elect
spiritual elders, I'm having nothing to do with it. I'm off to
another church, and will look forward to seeing your elders when
I come back" JUST BLOWS MY MIND!
     To imagine Titus going to all the churches in every city on
Crete and saying the same thing......well I just cannot think
that a dedicated understudy to Paul, would do anything remotely
as irresponsible as that!  Titus was the ONLY ELDER on Crete, and
to contemplate the idea that he would not have been personally
involved with the electing of spiritual elders - the very first
elders in the churches - is not worthy of consideration.
     Further, if it was the congregations who actually did the
appointing, THEN WHY DID PAUL NEED TO LEAVE TITUS IN CRETE?  He
wanted Titus to be with him - see chapter 3:12,13. Paul could
have said: "Titus come to me. I will write a letter for all the
churches on Crete, telling them to ordain elders, and giving them
the guidelines for the needed qualifications to such a duty." 
Or, "Titus tell the congregations to appoint elders, that's their
responsibility, but you come to me."
     Paul never said any such thing to Titus or any other elder.
Nothing remotely close to this can be found anywhere in the NT.
     
     Do you FEAR AND TREMBLE before the word of God? Do you cry
out like David did to the Lord that you might know your errors,
wrong ways, and false ideas?
     I appreciate the truths J.Difley and N.Edwards have come to
see. I understand very well the many spiritual darknesses they
were held captive to while in the WCG. Yet I fear that with their
new found freedom, they may if not very careful, jump from one
frying pan into another frying pan with as many misconceptions as
the first one.  

     Titus 1:5 is NO EVIDENCE (without reading into it, and
taking liberties with it) to support the idea that the churches
of Crete appointed their own elders APART FROM and INDEPENDENTLY
of, the authority of Titus, the only elder on the island, and the
one Paul had left there to "set in order the things left
undone(mrg.reading) and ordain elders in every city."

     As to Mr.Difley's statement "even as other scriptures
indicate" my reply is: WHAT OTHER SCRIPTURES? Please show me just
ONE NT scripture that clearly, plainly, and simply, gives the
teaching or example, that a local church congregation has the
final authority and last word, on appointing spiritual elders,
over and above any existing elders.
     
     If it was the elders of Acts 6 that had the last word and
final authority as to who would "serve tables" - who would be
official servers/deacons - serve in physical matters in the
church, then surely it would be the elders who would have the
final say and authority in appointing men to the higher spiritual
duty of church overseer. 
 

     
     Those are the major difficulties I have with John Difley's
paper called "BY WHAT AUTHORITY?"

     For the most part I am in full agreement with the rest of
his article.

     It has taken me much longer and a lot more space to answer
the above arguments than I first thought it would. But as this
topic seems to be at present, upper-most in the minds of many who
have recently left the WCG, I felt a complete and detailed answer
was justified.

     I have decided to answer some arguments as put forth by
Norman Edwards in his paper called "How Does the Eternal Govern
Through Humans?" in a yet THIRD section to this work on "CHURCH
GOVERNMENT."
        

            This second part written August 1996
      (all scripture quotations from the KJV and NKJV)

All articles and studies by Keith Hunt may be copied, published,
e-mailed, and distributed, as led by the Spirit. Mr.Hunt trusts
nothing will be changed without his consent.


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