Titus 1: 6
An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.
Yesterday we ended up with Titus being given the task of appointing elders and I asked the question, “what criteria Titus was going to use in appointing elders?” In today´s verse, Paul sets the criteria for appointing elders. What are the qualities expected of the elders? Three things come out of today´s verse.
- They should not be blameless. This is a personal quality. what does it mean to be blameless? Does it mean living a sinless life like angels? Elders are like other human beings in that they are capable of singing as well. Blameless in this context means that an individual must stand out for a strong moral character. Though he is capable of sinning like other human beings, he must be of such a character that no one could bring a reasonable accusation against him. A blameless person should not have a damaged reputation.” It means someone above reproach. What about those who have lived a sinful past like Paul? Is there room for them? This is where grace and forgiveness come in and this is a later period where ignorance of sinning was no longer an excuse.
2. An elder should be faithful to his wife. Now the issue of relationship comes in. Polygamy was not accepted by elders, they should be husbands of one wife. The verse says nothing about past relationships or divorce but it’s talking about managing the current relationships. Remember it’s talking about men because women were not yet allowed to lead in the church.
3. His children should be believers and should not be judged for wild behavior. This is the most difficult part even for today´s elders. The logic is that if one cannot manage his family how can he manage 20 families when they come together? Today most children of church leaders are known for being notorious. This is the biggest test for church leaders but an important requirement. Paul J. Bucknell argues that, “Today, everyone dismisses the idea that children’s behavior is the parents’ responsibility. This verse clearly tells us otherwise. In fact, the two are so related, that if you have some great polished preacher who doesn’t have children who live appreciating the way of their parents, then you should not accept him as a pastor or elder. If your children are unruly, it does not mean your children are ‘just like this’ but that you need to start seeing what areas of deficiency there are in your personal life, marriage and parenting. The good point is, that as you change, your children should change too.”
Takeaways for today.
- Being an elder is a great responsibility that starts at home.
- It is the responsibility of the church to test those called to leadership before accepting them.
- The family is the first congregation of the church elder.
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