Titus 1:5-9 (ESV)
Qualifications for Elders
“This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick- tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self- controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”
Isn’t Paul’s direction to Titus in appointing elders in Crete a little… weak?
I mean, aren’t there more concrete qualifications than just guys with solid marriages, decent kids, non-drunkards, non-violent, self-controlled, have a decent understanding of scripture, etc. I mean, the guys Paul had in mind must have come out of Crete Theological Seminary or The Greek Institute of Old and New Testament Studies? Oh wait, the New Testament was still being written. Hmmm…
I would guess that most Christian men reading this would have had, at the very least, a parallel understanding of scripture to the men of Crete at that time. I think it’s pretty safe to say that we (Christian men) are all probably beyond such a parallel. I would even think it’s safe to say that we are WAY beyond the men of Crete in this regard, because we have the New Testament. All they probably had was Paul’s letter to Titus. Maybe a Gospel or an epistle, but not much beyond that from the New Testament anyway.
So what about the other qualifications?
Are you above reproach? I’m going to guess, if you are a professing Christian and you are interested enough to read this blog, I would say “yes”.
Are you of one wife? (Same as above)
Are your children believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination? This one could be a little sketchy, regarding whether one’s child is a believer, but I’m going to stick with my same answer above. (Look, I’m not even certain about where my 9 yr old daughter is at, with respect to salvation, but this is not what is referred to here. What is referenced is how the child lives their life, so if they are basically respectful and well-behaved, there is no threat to a disqualification for eldership.)
Are you: quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain? Now answers may vary here, but again, my answer above still basically stands.
Are you hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined? I’ll let you answer here.
The point is, Titus probably didn’t have much better to work with than the average church does today. Maybe, he did.
What I’m really getting at is, it’s not really that outrageous to think that such qualifications are actually attainable. The qualifications for elders are a great litmus test as to where a Christian man is at. I see no reason why all these criteria could not be met by all, or at the very least most Christian men. (Except maybe aside from the one about our children. Such can vary for many reasons even when good fathers are in view. Different circumstances are had by all, and sometimes our children are not necessarily a reflection of our parenting, so this one will require a little more discernment.)
But as for the other qualifications?
(I’ll let you answer for yourself.)
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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