Last year I reviewed, on some level 67 books on this blog. I read probably over 90 books but did not review those because they were not worth reviewing.
This year I am only going to review books which I really want to recommend. At the end of each month I will list any books I have read that month but not all may be reviews.
An example of this is Philippa Gregory’s new novel The White Queen. A great novel about the pre-Tudor period of England (the battle between the York and Lancaster Houses for the throne of England). And while it is a great novel, I do think I want to ‘review’ it. It will be in the list at the end / beginning of each month.
Elders must be blameless in their doctrinal orthodoxy: Leadership also requires a gift to teach and a loyalty to the teaching of the apostles – in other words to be immersed in the words of scripture and in the teachings of the church. Are we immersed in the bible – do we drink in its words – does scripture excite us so that we want to tell people God’s revelation? Do we have a gift of teaching? Can we teach sound or healthy doctrine? Do we know what healthy doctrine is? Can we spot and rebuke those who oppose healthy doctrine?
To do all this requires us to know doctrine – to study theology and to be immersed in the Bible. To find doctrine boring or theology tedious is an indication that you should not be teaching or have any type of leadership or counseling role. What books do you read in your spare time? Are you reading spiritual books – great books that feed the soul?
Are you like Jeremiah, who says If I say: I won’t mention Him
or speak any longer in His name,
His message becomes a fire burning in my heart, (A)
shut up in my bones.
I become tired of holding it in,
and I cannot prevail. (Jerm 20:9)
That is the intensity with which Paul is speaking regarding leaders.
Also Paul’s instructions to Titus (and leaders) is not to remain silent or idle – the point is not that people have the right to their opinion – the point is that false teaching disrupts whole households and they must be silenced – literally to stop their mouths – be muzzled. Leadership is not about being popular, cool, or liked. Part of the role of leadership is the ability to rebuke and correct when needed. Now, please take note – rebuking and correcting is not done arrogantly or harshly – the point of rebuking and correcting is to RESTORE someone to CORRECT or HEALTHY view of God. So compassion is required.
Calvin wrote: An elder needs two voices, one for gathering the sheep and the other for driving away the wolves and thieves. The scripture supplies him with the means for doing both and he who has been rightly instructed in it will be able teach those who are teachable and to refute the enemies of the truth. Paul notes this double use of the scripture when he says that he should be able to exhort and to convict.
These are high, high standards: A lifestyle that is proved to be pure and respectable within the church and outside it, in public and in private – meeting the standard of blamelessness – unimpeachable.
Do we aspire to these standards?
The one thing that we cannot and must not do is aspire to them because it will give us status, or position. The only way to aspire to these standards is to begin with those words – Paul a servant of Christ.
We must begin knowing we want to serve Christ – to serve him and to love him and to live for him – and then as we look to the requirements of eldership we might ask God to give the grace and strength to serve him in this privileged way.