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theopenlife
Member



Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926


 Who may teach in the church?

I would like to discuss the subject of who in the church is qualified for the role of teaching, and to receive your informed views on the matter.

We are aware that throughout denominations and independent fellowships there is a diversity of opinions about who may be permitted to instruct the body. Some groups dictate that only Seminary graduates may be teaching elders. Others permit everyone present at the meeting to take their share of the floor, to expound on "what the Spirit is saying" to them about a given passage. What are the scriptural requirements for teaching?

This subject arises because of a statement which appeared in another thread on Sermon Index:

Quote:
I am against any institution that stresses leadership only teaching. This is not biblical.



The brother who posted this sentence is one with whom I have much to agree upon, but in this case I must differ. He seems to imply that people besides elders and deacons ought to have a platform for regular teaching. The reasons for my disagreement follow, but I will first disclaim that if I have misunderstood his expression, it nonetheless serves to raise the issue and present my understanding of this topic.

Now, we must all agree that every Christian has a duty to contend for the truth, to whatever degree and manner he is called. Within our daily conversations we frequently explain and rehearse various truths of the bible. No doubt this is a kind of teaching, but I do not believe the scriptures consider this the same as having authority to teach regularly before the body. It is one thing to be given an exceptional opportunity to exhort the congregation, and another to open the office of Teacher to anyone, at any time, "as the Spirit leads".

Consider that even the menial office of a deacon requires candidates to "first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless." [1 Tim 3:10] Wisdom does not grant moral approval in a fortnight, however much one hopes the best of a person. Perhaps we think too little of the term 'blameless', forgetting that ones who fall short of this standard cannot oversee the material aspects of the Church. If one must be found blameless before handling the mere physical things of the flock, how much more the spiritual things. Deacons are to be observed blameless before receiving permission to distribute the earthly bread and goods of the Church. How much more care should be taken when appointing those who distribute the heavenly Bread, the Word of God!

In Paul's second epistle to Timothy, the apostle directs his protégé to select certain candidates for homiletical training, and gives criteria for that calling. Paul requires potential teachers to show themselves faithful for a season before they are sent forward to instruct, saying, "the things that you have heard of me among many witnesses, now commit the same to [b]faithful men[/b], who shall be able to teach others also." [2:2] We have seen that they must be blameless, and now they must be faithful.

Lastly, let us examine one other criterion from out of the lofty lists in 1 Timothy 2, and Titus 1. It is written that an elder is not only "apt to teach", having a proven skill for the role, but is one "holding fast the faithful word [b]as he hath been taught[/b], that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." In other words, those who would teach must first be taught. They are ones who have submitted themselves to a period of discipleship and approval, learning the mystery of the faith so that they might hold it out to others in a pure conscience. [1 Tim 3:9]

In conclusion, those who would have a regular opportunity to teach the flock must, amongst other things, demonstrate themselves to be blameless and faithful, and to have sat under the direct teaching and guidance of other elders.

Forbid that teaching authority should be given to the untried and unapproved. Otherwise, they are liable to become heady and fall into deception. 1 Tim 3:6, 'Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil."

I'm writing as one who was, at one time, the "self-appointed" leader of a guerrilla fellowship, just months after my conversion. I believe that through these passages and the book of James, the Lord made evident to me that the office of the teacher is not for everyone. James 3:1, 'Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.'

I state one final time that the general call to speak the truth privately is distinct from that which is a public office. Everyone has a duty to teach as individuals. Hebrews 5:14, "By this time you ought to be teachers."

John Gill comments, "men ought to be hearers, and make some good proficiency in hearing, before they are fit to be teachers of others; also, that persons are not only to hear for their own edification, but for the instruction of others, though all hearers are not designed for public teachers; for to be teachers of others, requires a considerable share of knowledge: to which may be added, that the churches of Christ are the proper seminaries of Gospel ministers."

Your thoughts on this are welcome.

 2008/7/15 0:21Profile
intrcssr83
Member



Joined: 2005/10/28
Posts: 246
Logan City, Queensland, Australia

 Re: Who may teach in the church?

A very important issue.

5 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— 6 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. 7For 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, 8but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9He 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. Titus 1:5-9

v5: Elders are appointed by the Senior leadership rather than simply assuming the office out of their own initiative; that is, they are recognized by the overseers of the church.
v6: Such elders must have a "clean slate" when it comes to personal relations i.e., if he is a married man, he must be living in a way that is exemplery of such. If he is a family man, he must demonstrate that he fulfills the role as head of his house.
v7-8: Such a person must be blameless; not just having the outward manner that would not draw accusation, but actually lives in such a way not to warrant such accusations at all.
v9: The candidate must able to know the Word of God to the degree that they are able and willing to refute that which stands against it by encouraging those who walk in truth and rebuking those in error. Ergo, such a teacher cannot just be a mere "ideas man" who listens to various views yet doesn't take a pro-active stand on doctrine and merely sits on the fence in the midst of debate. But rather, they represent what the local church itself stands for.

With this is mind, I have to say that the statement

Quote:
I am against any institution that stresses leadership only teaching. This is not biblical.


is oxymoronic when weighed against the criteria Paul himself gave.


_________________
Benjamin Valentine

 2008/7/15 3:16Profile
enid
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Joined: 2006/5/22
Posts: 2667
Nottingham, England

 Re: Who may teach in the church?

You seem to have presented a well written article that seems biblically correct. I think so anyway, others may differ.

There is also the incident in Acts 6, where the widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution. Look at the discription given of the men who were to take care of business.

Acts 6v3, 'Therefore brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.'

In other words, they had to have some credibility in order to serve the church.

How about when teaching the Word itself?

Jesus had His disciples with Him 3 years, they were in training, learning.

Not everyone can be a teacher of the Word.

I've heard some teach the word of God who did so too soon, or should never have done so.

Some are not even serving God now.

But, if God calls someone to do so, then yes, they should.

 2008/7/15 4:35Profile
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re:

Quote:
We have seen that they must be blameless, and now they must be faithful.


If churches would insist on following this one Biblical instruction alone, most churches would need to shut down, for there would instantly be a shortage of qualified leaders and teachers.

However, the institution must go on – and so compromises are accepted – especially compromises of character.

And the price is paid …… down the road.

Diane


_________________
Diane

 2008/7/15 9:20Profile
Nellie
Member



Joined: 2004/4/5
Posts: 952


 Re:

Do you feel like a Teacher whose Daughter is pregnant out of wed lock, should be allowed to teach Children?
This is being allowed at the Church I used to go to.
Her Parents are also on the Pastor's Staff.
Thanks
God Bless
Nellie

 2008/7/15 9:24Profile
Miccah
Member



Joined: 2007/9/13
Posts: 1752
Wisconsin

 Re:

Quote:
If I may. It is not that it is wrong to sit under such men, but only that it is not scriptual.

Sitting and listening to a preacher in a "modern church setting" cannot be found throughout the new testiment. This is a religious tradition of men, created by men, for men. Church is to be interactive with the entire body moving in its giftings together. The modern day (post 300AD) "service" goes against what the Lord has taught us to do.

Jesus tells us to go and make disciples. How can someone, a preacher in a large church, physically disciple upwards of 500+ people at the same time? How can he "pour his life into these folks" on a one on one personal level in order to make them disciples? He cannot.

In order to have the body function completely, the Church needs to rise above everything that we hold dear, and embrace what the Lord holds dear, which is intimate fellowship with Himself and His body, i.e. the Church.

I do want to stress that I am not against people going to a pew stressed church service, but I am against any institution that stresses leadership only teaching. This is not biblical.




Here is the post in its entirety.

I guess that I am a little confused at to why people are questioning my post, which in itself is ok AND wanted btw. I agree with everything biblical that brothers and sisters have quoted in this post, but just NOT their personal ideas of how "church" and those who teach, should be done.


I respectfully ask that my post be critiqued in its entirety. I feel that if you look over what I have stated, you will not find fault with it, but... it will be a challange to you and what you believe church to be.

Shed what you have been taught about modern day church and look at the sciptures for what they are without infering anything. Scripture is clear on how the Church should be acting and that the modern day church setting(small "c") in is not what was intended for His Church.

Blessings


_________________
Christiaan

 2008/7/15 10:41Profile
enid
Member



Joined: 2006/5/22
Posts: 2667
Nottingham, England

 Re:

Eph 4v11, 'And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

vs12, 'For the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.'

The body of Christ is the Church, Eph 1v22-23, and these leaders are given to the Church, to equip the Church.

That is the biblical position, as I see it anyway.

 2008/7/15 10:52Profile
Miccah
Member



Joined: 2007/9/13
Posts: 1752
Wisconsin

 Re:

Quote:

enid wrote:
Eph 4v11, 'And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

vs12, 'For the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.'

The body of Christ is the Church, Eph 1v22-23, and these leaders are given to the Church, to equip the Church.

That is the biblical position, as I see it anyway.




Again, I agree with the sriptures, but not how they are applied by men in modern day church settings that focus on leadership only teaching.

You quoted Ephesians and what is called the "5 fold ministry" teachings. I could not agree more. But again, how does this apply to rituals of men (which they hold dear) in the modern day church setting?

As a body we have moved so far away from the Lord and intimacy with Him. Most now believe that the the Holy Spirit cannot teach you, but only that the leadership can teach, give a word, etc...

Looks like we may agree to disagree, not with scripture, but just the application of it.

:-)


_________________
Christiaan

 2008/7/15 11:10Profile
Miccah
Member



Joined: 2007/9/13
Posts: 1752
Wisconsin

 Re: Who may teach in the church?

Brother theopenlife. I will reply to your questions and posting later today/tonight when I have more time to pray over it.

Thank you for your patience and I look forward to the discussion.


_________________
Christiaan

 2008/7/15 11:43Profile
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

*EDIT* Submitted to wrong thread.


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Jimmy H

 2008/7/15 12:02Profile





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