Continuing in the overview of the qualifications for elders, we turn our focus to 1 Tim 3:4-5. In particular this section focuses on the home because the relationship between the home and the church of God is closely tied. There are, of course, other verses that underpin this subject header: 1 Cor 11:3, 8011; Eph 5:21-25; 1 Pet 3:1, 6-7. The qualifications of the speaker for this subject perhaps can be helpful for understanding that the speaker is not teaching out of a void. The speaker can empathize with those who struggle with a rowdy home with three boys, now by the grace of God one is an excellent expositor, one is a missionary and the other is very active in an assembly. All of the speaker’s grandchildren are saved and he and his wife of forty seven years are grateful.
The lesson in this section is clear: we can not separate what we are at home from what we are in the church for the way we conduct ourselves in the home will affect our church in some degree or another. The apostle places his house-life next to the very house of Godâ€”therefore there must be complete consistency. The home is the training ground for any type of work we may partake in for in it: 1) character is developed 2) we learn to love, 3) learn to pity, 4) learn to exercise tenderness, 5) exercise headship, 6) and administer discipline. A person doesn’t begin to function as an overseer upon receiving a label; he is already doing the work. As you know sheep can not read labels and see the shepherd’s overalls and read the words on his lapel to know he is a shepherd: they recognize the worker when they see him working. There is no formal ordination where people don’t expect the person to be their overseer and if the day ever comes where someone is raised as an overseer and it’s a big surprise to everyone then he is not an overseer.
It is erroneous to think that Ruling means domination as in the family is subservient to the dictates of the Tyrant King of the Home. The proper thinking is that in the home the potential overseer stands before them in the form of example: attending to their needs, caring for the home and presiding over them. He leads by example and not by dictate as per the good shepherd in John 10 who calls by name and leads them out not shouting at them then bullying them. The sheep then hear his voice and follow him.
It is also erroneous to think that Well is redefining Ruling to mean a Proper Autocracy. The proper thinking is that authority is being exercised in such a way as to bring about an admirable outcome. Therefore the ruling authority is one that reflects an example by constantly attending to needs of those he has a care over and well is that it yields admirable results.
Keeping Children Under Subjection?
Sometimes people take this to mean the thirty year old children that have gone off and done whatever they see fit in their lives and thus disqualify themselves from the workâ€”this is not the case: this is in reference to little children and in the case of those older progenyâ€”they are no longer in subjection. Ephesians 6:1 would say Little children obey your parents in the Lord and that they are to honor their father and mother (Eph 6:2)
They are to be brought up in the admonition of the Lord but done so in so a way that is not hyper-criticalâ€”not provoking children unto wrath.
The current climate with children is that they are told to assert themselves and to disagree with anyone in authority. In Scotland, the only communication in the school was from the teacher who stood at the front and the children were expected to sit silently. Therefore the speaker believes that there is a stage where children are entirely subject to their parents and that there is no discussion only obedience. Children are not to be given silly choices like â€œDo you want to stay here and keep watching the Disney channel or do you want to go to the meeting tonight?â€ A child must be told â€œTurn off the tv, it’s time for the meetingâ€ no discussion.
With All Gravity
Sometimes this is taken to mean that the father must be a Kill-Joy; that is not the case. He must act in a way that makes it advisable to obey, he must speak with a wisdom that makes it natural to obey and also displays a love that makes it delightful to obey.
It is erroneous to think that headship isn’t important or old fashioned. If the wife doesn’t respect the man’s leadership in the home there will be problems in the church where that leadership will come into play. Likewise, if the man gives over his leadership in the home he may have problems with not emphasizing leadership in the church.
This concept is laughed out of court today and taken to mean that the wife is to submit to every degraded opinion of the husband. There should be intelligent discussion and interaction and the husband must be willing to take all points into considerationâ€”this could mean admitting that you’re decision was not the most favorable one and going with her opinion. But above all, the matter does not end in a stalemate: the husband must make a decision and the wife has to submit to his authority in the matter.
But remember husbands that you are to love your wives (Eph 5). This is a very high calling to the way you are a leader in your home. This leadership has a high standardâ€”being Sacrificial and willing to lay down your life for her. This leadership has a high comparison—as Christ loved the church! This leadership is not blind but understanding, with knowledge and with honor understanding the differences in biology and that we are not to be boorish (1 Pet 3)!
Session 09 – Willie Burnett