A False Dichotomy: Submitting To Eldership and Forging New Ground

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I just read a fascinating blog that has a wonderful challenge to us younger preacher types.

Ben Pfahlert, on the Sola Panel Website, writes a piece called Mark Driscoll Rolls Grenade Down Aisle. In it, he describes Mark Driscoll’s recent message to 600 church leaders, mainly Anglicans, in Australia, entitled Eighteen obstacles to effective evangelism in Australia. Pfahlert enumerates how Driscoll, in typical Driscoll style, courageously adresses problems in the Evangelical Church in Australia. There is an emphasis on how Driscoll analysis is very accurate, theologically sound, and needs to be acted upon. All of this was well and good, but it was the last paragraph that really convicted me. Pfahlert writes:

The big challenge now is to do something about it. Despite the accuracy of the diagnosis—despite the difficulty of facing up to our evangelical foibles—I want us all to remember one thing: (actually, blokes under 40, I want us to remember one thing!) Driscoll’s diagnosis may be accurate and his critiques timely and poignant, but we must remember one thing! And that is to honour our elders as per 1 Timothy 5:1. It’s a lot easier being a Christian now than it was in the 60’s and 70’s. They fought some very tough battles. Our challenge is to kick forward from here on in, making the most of the ground our elders won.

I’ve been searching around on some blog posts, and there appear to be more than a few who agree with Driscoll’s assessment. It seems like, as ususal, he brought a much needed rebuke.

It is at these times, when we realize, that the Church has done wrong, when we need wisdom on how to honor our elders and still forge new ground. Pfahlert hits the nail on the head! He remembers the battles that the Evangelical Church has fought the past 50 years, especially in Australia, and respects the progress his elders have made for the Kingdom of God. He honors them, while not being ignorant to their errors. He wants to press forward on the foundation they laid, supporting them in their ministry, and exhorting them as fathers to continue to take ground for God’s Church and His Kingdom. Praise God for this reminder. There can be a temptation when we are being critical of the current status of the Church to rebel against the leaders rather than support them. Let us take the most God honoring route, and do everything we can in our pre-eldership days to help our elders be the best elders they can be! For God and His glory!

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