The Elders of the Church

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Lawrence Eyres’ book published in 1975 by P&R is a collection of articles he wrote for the Presbyterian Guardian, with a magnificent Preface by Jay Adams. Each chapter is 4 or 5 pages and has discussion questions at the end. I think it’s very helpful and brief, good to use in elders training and for a 10/15 minute discussion at a Session meeting.

It doesn’t cover anything by any means, there are a couple of points where I think he’s weak/ inadequate on believing family/ spouse (p35/36). However the book is invaluable as a more modern guide to being an elder. Only 69 pages. Evangelical Bookshop have it reduced.

“Elders as Christ’s undershepherds must stand to minister to the saints; they must walk (and sometimes run) to seek Christ’s wandering sheep; they must kneel daily to lift up the flock before the throne of grace in prayer.” (p14)

“All elders have a public ministry of the Word. This is not to suppose that they have equal shares in that ministry. Some are not as gifted as others in public exhortation, be it Sunday School teaching , conducting Bible Classes or prayer meetings, or “lay” preaching. But every elder ought to have some ability to communicate the Word of God on a one to one basis at the very least.” (p16)

If a man desire the office of a bishop he desire a noble task …”We have little difficulty with this saying as it applies to that aspect of the eldership we call the gospel ministry. Young men whose hearts burn to serve their Redeemer, men who appear to have the gifts, are encouraged to consider the ministry and often are substantially aided in their formal preparation for it. But strangely it is different when we come to the aspect of this same office that we call the ruling eldership. It is tacitly assumed that any man who wants to be an elder is suspect from the start. In fact, if he really wants to serve, he’d be well advised to ‘play hard to get’. (p43)

“Christ does not exercise his rule over the church immediately but mediately. Therefore, he rules his Church through those men he has gifted and given to the church for that purpose. Every confessing Christian ought to be under the rule of Christ by placing himself under the rule of the elders of a particular church. to take that rule with a lack of seriousness and solemnity is to do despite to the rule of Christ himself! And remember: the fact that these men of God are themselves sinners – which they are – no more relieves us from submission to them than the boy Jesus was relieved from submitting to Joseph and Mary while living in their home in Nazareth.” (p24)

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