THE CONCEPT OF ELDER ACCORDING TO PAULINE PATTERN
| Format: Ms Word | 1-5 Chapters | Table of Content|
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The study broadens the concept of elder according to Pauline pattern with particular reference to Christ Apostolic Church, KETU D.C.C. The issue as to what constitutes the “concept of elders in Pauline pattern” remains contentious in theological academic debates. The most alarming is that of today’s contemporary churches ordination of elders without indebt reference to biblical concept, standard and ethics. Based on this, the study will attempt to examine and synthesize what Paul says about church eldership, specifically in line of the Christ Apostolic Church standard. The study is also an attempt to understand Paul’s eldership characteristics as applicable in Christ Apostle Church. The significance of this study is that it explains Paul’s imagery of leadership. The findings here contends that CAC, KETU D.C.C. has from inception adopted the concept of elder used by Paul in his teachings. On the basis of this findings, Christ Apostolic Church should continue to maintain the Pauline’s concept of elder to foster peace, progress, unity and sanity to the church. Ordained Elders should also exercise caution in their execution of authority in church administration as it can affect church growth and development. It is also recommended that servant–leadership style as taught and demonstrated by Jesus Christ should be emulated by Christ Apostolic Church elders. This could be done through timely workshops and seminars to renew their minds on what is often expected of them.
Table of Contents
Title Page i
Table of Content vi
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1.4 The Significance of the Study
1.5 Scope and Limitation of the Study
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Concept of Elder
2.2 Biblical Concept of Elder
2.3 Old Testament Concept of Elder
2.4 New Testament Concept of Elder
2.5 Elder in the Contemporary Church
2.6 Eldership and Leadership Functions
CHAPTER THREE: PAULINE CONCEPT OF ELDER IN RELATION TO THE CONTEMORARY CHURCH
3.1 Origin of Elders according to the Bible
3.2 The Emergence of Elder in the Early Church
3.3 Pauline Concept of Elder in relation to the Contemporary Church
3.4 Biblical Qualifications of Elder
3.5 The Biblical Roles and Duties of Elder in the Church
CHAPTER FOUR: CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH AND POSITION OF ELDER IN CHURCH LEADERSHIP IN RELATION TO PAUL’S CONCEPT OF ELDER
4.1 Historical Background of Christ Apostolic Church Worldwide
4.2. Brief history of Christ Apostolic Church Ketu DCC
4.3 Origin of Elders in Christ Apostolic Church Worldwide
4.4 Appointment of Elders in Christ Apostolic Church
4.5 Position and Functions of Elders in Christ Apostolic Church Worldwide
4.6 Misuse of Elders position in Administration of the Church
4.7 The Missing Gaps between the Use of Elders in Christ Apostolic Church to Pauline Concept of Elders
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
1.1 Background to the Study
Restoring the eldership to its rightful place in today’s church is a subject that needs urgent attention. The 21st century church elders lacks the cordial intern-relation to run the affairs of the church, yet not much has been done to fill in this gap in Christendom. The Pauline’s concept of elder are elders who played a prominent role in the Jerusalem church, who were appointed by Barnabas and Paul for the churches they founded, who were to be appointed by Timothy and Titus in the churches where they were, and who are mentioned also in the writings of James and Peter (Acts 14:23).
The term elder in a non-Christian world cultures refers to age and experience, while in Christianity, an elder is a person who is valued for wisdom and holds a position of responsibility and authority in a Christian group. The concepts of elders may be conflated in our everyday conversation for instance, in some Christian traditions like (The Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist) an elder is an ordained person who serves a local church or churches and who has been ordained to a ministry of word, sacrament and order, filling the preaching and pastoral offices. In other Christian traditions (e.g., Christ Apostolic Church, Presbyterians, Church of Christ), an elder may be a lay person serving as an administrator in a local congregation, or be ordained and serving in preaching (teaching during church gatherings) or pastoral roles (David Gutmann, 1997).
The Pauline concept of elders has no inference of a monarchical episcopacy or single leaders in any of the New Testament-era churches (1Pet 5:1-3). The concept of elders according to Pauline pattern defines elders as shepherds and overseers. For instance, in (Acts 20: 17) Paul calls for the “elders” and encourages them to “be on guard for themselves and for all the flock” since they have been appointed as “overseers” and are called “to shepherd the church of God” (Acts 20: 28). Likewise, Peter exhorts the “elders” (1 Pet 5:1) to “shepherd the flock of God, serving as overseers” (1 Pet 5:3). But today there is much debate as to whether the office of elder is really the same as the office of overseer or bishop.
According to the New Testament, the terms “bishop,” “pastor,” and “elder” are synonymous. Bishop means “overseer,” and the elders had the responsibility of overseeing the work of the church in (Acts 20:17, 28; 1Pet 5:1-3). “Elder” is the translation of the Greek word presbytes, which means “an old man.” Paul used the word presbytery in (1Tim 4:14), referring not to a denomination, but to the “eldership” of the assembly that ordained Timothy. Elders and bishops (two names for the same office, (Titus 1:5, 7) were mature people with spiritual wisdom and experience to ensure the survival of the church of God.
The New Testament only records one text that uses the term “Pastor” to refer to an office in the church. As stated in Ephesians 4:11, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.” In this text “pastor” is coupled with “teacher,” which together form one office (William D., 2000). In contrast to the noun “pastor”, the verb “to pastor” or “to shepherd” has something in common, the word “pastor” is often used in connection with the duties given to the elders or overseers (David Mappes, 1997).
Paul’s letter to Titus in Titus 1:5–9 clearly states:
“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—if a man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For an overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward” (Titus 1:5–7)
The connective “for” in verse 7 suggests that Paul is referring to the same office. If the overseer represents a separate office, then the use of “for” is obscure. The elders are to be blameless meeting certain qualifications for as overseers they are God’s stewards.
Irrespective of the proliferation of churches in Nigeria today (Dairo, F. O. 2014), their various doctrinal foundations are from the Holy Scripture. All offices within the Church need to be derived and understood only from Scripture, only then will our understanding of eldership be accurate, and our exercise of eldership effective. The Pauline list of qualifications for church eldership is illustrated in (1st Timothy 3.1-7):
“If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgement as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so the he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”
For any church elder to steer the ship of the church successfully, these qualities must be imbibed. For instance, in “verse 5” Paul sees the elder in a situation which is parallel to the manager of his own home. “If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?”. Considering the elders’ primary role as leaders in the church it is important to investigate the concept of elders in our churches today. The starting point for such detailed investigation led to a study on the concept of elder according to Pauline pattern with particular reference to CAC KETU D.C.C.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Elders are God strategic plan of leading his church and maintaining order and leadership role in times of crisis. They are men who, despite their demanding work schedules and busy home lives, still sacrifice time and resources, tears and prayers to lead their local churches. The bible demands an elder to be humble enough to lead the followers by example as seen in (1st Peter 5:3), “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock”. Most of today’s church elders lacks the theological backings from scriptures, which is why they are often found wanting or derailing from biblical concept of eldership. The reoccurring series of church conflicts within a particular denomination is a clear indication of leadership problem. The church leadership should not be misunderstood as a democracy which is ruled by the will of the majority, according to their wishes, with the right to decide its own aims, constitution and functions. Some church elders out of an attempt to please everyone, they now practice how to dodge difficult problems. They don’t want to confront an influential church member who is deeply rooted in sin. They don’t want to teach on doctrines that are not pleasing and popular, even if they are biblical. They don’t confront someone who is initiating false teaching in church gathering, for fear of stirring up conflict. They don’t want to get involved in resolving relational conflicts in the church or in church families. But to dodge such difficult matters is to fail to lead the church. The church system has been corrupt with the politics of the day, as wealthy members buy their way into the office of elders with little or no training. If a man is known to be harsh instead of being gentle, intemperate instead of being temperate, disgraceful instead of being respectable, he is not qualified of the work of a church elder. The work of church eldership is a noble task. Such an office needs the right kind of people to serve. Therefore the researcher intends to examine the concept of elder according to Pauline pattern with particular reference to CAC KETU D.C.C.
- 3 Objectives of the Study
The main aim of this study is to investigate the concept of elder according to Pauline pattern. The researcher intends to discuss the following sub objectives;
- To examine the biblical roles and duties of elder in Christ Apostolic Church KETU D.C.C.
- To ascertain the Pauline qualifications for elder as practiced by the Christ Apostolic Church KETU D.C.C.
- To examine the emergence of elder in the Early Church and in Christ Apostolic Church nationwide.
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