Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Justified Does Not Equal Qualified

We were delighted this week to affirm three more men to our deaconate. The process we follow in this matter is very simple. As elders, we identify men we believe fit the role and calling of a deacon. We approach those men privately and ask them to evaluate their lives in comparison to the Word of God and the qualifications listed there in Acts 6, 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.
If these men affirm a desire to serve as deacons, we then inform our members and ask them to take an unspecified amount of time to evaluate their character and potential calling. This evaluation period is consummated in a two-week period where members are urged to deal with any objections they might have with the man in private. If this does not satisfy them, members are asked to speak to an elder.
A previously scheduled Members’ Meeting concludes this intense evaluation period with a secret-ballot vote of approval. If this vote is affirmative, then the man will be installed in his office “forthwith” during a morning worship service.
That was for free.
My point in this post, however, is to highlight the fact that just because God saves a man and utterly justifies him does not mean he is qualified to serve as a church officer. The Bible is clear in drawing a non-salvific line through the midst of genuine Christians – teaching that some men are to serve in some offices… and others are not. In 21st century, democratic Canada that point deserves some thought.
The qualifications for deacon are not “warm and breathing.” Neither are they “a person who regularly shows up on Sunday,” or “women who organize things well.” The list of qualifications is actually quite long, specific and pokes around in the most private areas of a man’s life. And this list constructs a very high standard that distinguishes some men from others. Not all Christians are called to a church office.
Right away, we see that, in those who are called, this must be all of grace! If a man is qualified for a church office it is only and always because of God’s grace! These men are no better than others, nor are they to receive glory for their work – they are simply one more gift of grace from God to His bride.
Thus, pray for your leaders! Thank God for them and spend your life seeking to quietly become the man of God described in His Word.