Before I get started I would like to make it clear that I am not speaking for any group nor anyone else for that matter but am simply attempting to put forth what I believe the Lord has revealed to me and hopefully continuing to reveal to me. Please do as scripture exhorts and prove (test) all things but I implore you that your test be kept strictly with what scripture says and not according to what other men say or have said or any tradition.
The content of this paper was published on the site in August 2019 and it was initially entitled “What Is A Church and Qualifications Of An Elder”. Since then I felt it would be better to separate these two topics into two distinct writings. Some things have been added and some things have been removed from the original writings.
I recently received an email (I was not the only recipient) with a couple of questions about this topic. I replied but thought it might be a good topic to delve into a little bit more than what my reply entailed.
Here are the questions that I am hoping to deal with here.
“Here is the situational question: (I would like the scriptural support and nothing else for your answers): Lets say a body of people who believe and are of like faith and mind by God’s Revealed Word are 1000 miles from the so-called nearest (physical) church want to form a body and appointed one among them to be an Elder….”
I would like to start off with what I consider to be the qualifying statement of the question. By that I mean what was contained in the parenthesis: “I would like the scriptural support and nothing else for your answers.” I very much appreciate and agree with this statement! When asked a question we should NEVER answer it with a “So-and-So believes” or “Elder So-and-So said this” or the “So-and-So Confession says”. Scripture is very clear that His people, when asked, should be ready to give an answer and reason for the hope that is within (1 Pet. 3:15). It should be an answer of what the Lord is showing or revealing to that person from scripture and not based on emotions. I hope that you will agree that I have accomplished that by the end of this writing.
The question states: “Lets say a body of people who believe and are of like faith and mind by God’s Revealed Word are 1000 miles from the so-called nearest (physical) church want to form a body and appointed one among them to be an Elder.”
What is a “church”? The word church in Greek is “ekklēsía” and it simply means: “a calling out, i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both):--assembly, church. (Strongs)”.
Jesus very clearly said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)”.
Paul told the Philippian brethren in his letter to them: “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. (2:1-2)”
From how the group has been presented in the email it seems to me that it is the Lord who has gathered them together and called them out and given them all to be like-minded and therefore are already a “church”. And if therefore a church then I don’t see any reason they wouldn’t have every right to appoint one among them an elder IF that man meets the qualifications that the Lord gave Paul to pen.
Please see “Qualifications of an Elder” for what the qualifications are from a Scripture standpoint.
Updated: June, 2020