- Paperback: 337 pages
- Publisher: Lewis & Roth Publishers; Revised edition edition (Nov. 5 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0936083115
- ISBN-13: 978-0936083117
- Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #104,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Biblical Eldership Paperback – Nov 5 2003
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About the Author
Alexander Strauch was raised in New Jersey and converted to Christ at a Bible camp in New York State. He received his undergraduate degree from Colorado Christian University and went on to earn his Master's in Divinity degree from Denver Seminary. For over thirty years he has served as an elder at Littleton Bible Chapel near Denver, Colorado. Additionally, he has taught philosophy and New Testament literature at Colorado Christian University. A gifted Bible teacher and popular speaker, Mr. Strauch has helped thousands of churches worldwide through his expository, writing ministry. He is the author of Biblical Eldership, The New Testament Deacon, Men and Women: Equal Yet Different, The Hospitality Commands, Agape Leadership, Leading with Love and Meetings That Work.
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Some of the things that I found convicting were some of how Strauch took a hard line on the subject of proper elder qualification. I appreciated how Strauch commented on the necessity of qualification on the basis of morality and ability over and against simply being aged or rich (68) and how the New Testament said more about the qualifications of elders than anything else (70). In the church circles I come from, having money, being over 40, semi-popular and "spiritual" are essentially the qualifications for being in church leadership. I was also encouraged when he talked about how New Testament elders were the judges on doctrinal issues (125). Before I left for seminary, my home church faced a doctrinal issue and the elders all passed the buck because they univocally admitted that they didn't understand "these things" so they went with the position of the person who was the nicest. Biblically, this can never be the case.
Another conviction came when I read Strauch's treatment on how elders are to be loved because of their work, not due to age or praiseworthy characteristics (172). I've found that I often fall into opposition to this command, respecting those who I find laudable and ignoring the respect due the work of eldership. I was glad that he talked about how showing "double honor" carried the idea of "financial compensation" (213). I have dozens of friends who have been forced to leave the ministry simply because their lay elders thought a family of six could live off $2,000 a month in a city where the rent on their two bedroom apartment was $900 a month. I was very pleased by his great word studies, consideration of many related topics and issues, and comprehensive treatment of the various assorted issues.
Although the book was great and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject, I did have some problems with the book. First off, it was quite long. Biblical Eldership had a lot of content, but it seemed that Strauch could have shortened it up by around 100 pages by throwing some of his lengthy exegetical studies in appendices and simply trimming down the verbosity of the work on the whole. 300+ pages seems a little much for the subject. Also, I thought his efforts to show a lack of parallels between OT elders and NT elders was slightly forced (108-109), I found his response to the idea that Acts 15 teaches a supreme ecclesial court to be weak (128), and I thought that his admission that James' role in the church of Acts might have been a "first among equals" hurt his case for ecclesial structure (132). I laughed when Strauch wrote "most liberal scholars conclude that..." (161) as this kind of "blanket statement" language should not be in a scholarly work of this nature.
On the whole though, Biblical Eldership is a wonderful resource that I will repeatedly use in the future. It's like a crown of a thousand jewels with one piece of cut glass in it. Almost nobody will even pick up on it's faults, and those who do will hopefully be discerning enough to simply work through those issues on their own and not think less of this monumental work.
The only possible problem I had with the book was two interpretations the author made. First was his interpretation of 1Tim. 3:10; he tries to make this verse apply to elders as well as deacons, when it only seems to be applying to deacons. (pages 69 and 202) Second was his interpretation of 1Tim. 5:24-25 to mean that the congregation had to test the possible elder appointee. He made it seem as if the elder appointee had to be a part of the congregation for a good period of time before appointment (page 283). These interpretations are not incredible stretches, but stretches none the less.
The author makes an incredible point in the book, "I am fully convinced that if reverent, accurate exposition of God's Word will not convince Christian people of the nature and importance of biblical eldership, then nothing will." This is a challenge to the local church- WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY? If we do not care what the Bible says, we have major problems. If we care what the Bible says, we need to seriously reconsider how church has traditionally been operated and governed in the past.
I would agree that the content of this book is potentially divisive. But that is no fault of the book. This is not a book on how to change church government. It is about what biblical church government is. How to get there from where you are is another issue. I, for one, would like to see Strauch write a book on "Transitioning a Church into Biblical Eldership."
See also Strauch's books on Deacons (Minister of Mercy: The New Testament Deacon) and Meetings that Work - which is a life saver for any pastor!
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