Jeremiah and Ezekiel: A Fragrant Debate Amidst Distractions

Setting: Jeremiah and Ezekiel find themselves in a bustling marketplace filled with vendors shouting, children playing, and the occasional stray animal causing chaos. They’re trying to discuss the role of elders in the church, but the distractions make it quite the challenge.

Jeremiah: [dodging a wayward chicken] Ezekiel, have you ever thought about the work of elders in the church? Like, are they more shepherds or rulers?

Ezekiel: [sidestepping a vendor’s cart] Oh, definitely a hot topic, Jeremiah. But it’s hard to concentrate with all this noise! I guess we just have to roll with it. Now, where were we? Ah yes, elders. Are they supposed to oversee or control everything?

Jeremiah: [laughing] Well, you see, some people think elders should run the show with an iron fist. Kind of like that vendor over there who won’t let anyone touch his apples without paying first.

Ezekiel: [snickering] That’s one way to put it. But seriously, Jeremiah, overseeing isn’t the same as controlling. The Bible teaches that elders should lead by example, not dictate every detail of church life.

Jeremiah: [trying to ignore a shouting match between two merchants] Exactly. Like in our friend Dale Smelser’s work, he points out that elders should develop the congregation, not dominate it. They should be shepherds guiding the flock, not authoritarian rulers barking orders.

Ezekiel: [nodding] True, true. It reminds me of those elders who insisted on making all the announcements themselves. They thought they were protecting the flock, but really, they were stifling growth. Just like that baker over there refusing to let anyone else handle the dough.

Jeremiah: [chuckling] Perfect analogy! And when someone suggested sharing the announcements, they shut it down faster than a pigeon snatching a breadcrumb.

Ezekiel: [grinning] Yes, their reasoning was, “We thought about it, but since we run things, we’ll just keep running them.” It’s as if they were afraid the congregation might say something wrong.

Jeremiah: [watching a juggler distract the crowd] That’s a problem. It’s not about making every decision for everyone. Elders should encourage participation and leadership development within the church, just like how a good juggler teaches others the trick rather than hogging all the balls.

Ezekiel: [laughing] Nice one, Jeremiah! Exactly. The essence of their role is to oversee, not micromanage. They should inspire and lead without lording it over everyone.

Jeremiah: [dodging a running child] Speaking of which, there’s also the issue of how elders handle dissent or suggestions. Instead of just dictating decisions, they should consider the congregation’s input.

Ezekiel: [sidestepping a dog] Right. And if an elder’s decision leads the church astray, it’s not enough to blindly follow. Remember, Jesus warned about the blind leading the blind into a ditch (Matthew 15:14).

Jeremiah: [laughing as the dog chases its tail] Yes, following blindly can lead to both elders and congregation falling into trouble. Elders must guide with wisdom and humility, not authoritarian control.

Ezekiel: [watching a mime act out a leadership scenario] And let’s not forget how elders handle church discipline. Withdrawal from fellowship isn’t about elders alone deciding someone’s fate. It’s a congregational action underpinned by the Spirit’s guidance.

Jeremiah: [amused by the mime’s antics] Exactly. Elders should lead the process, but it’s the congregation that collectively decides, reflecting the will of God, not just the elders.

Ezekiel: [shaking his head at a vendor hawking “miracle cures”] And for those who think elders control salvation, let’s be clear: Only Jesus holds that key. Elders can guide, but they can’t dictate someone’s standing before God.

Jeremiah: [nodding vigorously] Amen to that! Whether it’s a baby shower or a major decision, elders should steer the ship without hogging the wheel. They’re shepherds, not taskmasters.

Ezekiel: [dodging another chicken] So true, Jeremiah. It’s about balance—leading with authority but without authoritarianism, guiding but also empowering.

Jeremiah: [grinning as they finally find a quiet corner] We’ve come to a good resolution here, Ezekiel. Despite all the chaos around us, it’s clear: elders are to nurture and develop the congregation, not rule it with an iron fist.

Ezekiel: [smiling] Exactly. Now, how about we grab a bite to eat? All this debating in the marketplace has made me hungry.

Jeremiah: [laughing] Lead the way, shepherd! Lead the way.


[They walk off, leaving the bustling marketplace behind, satisfied with their lively discussion and eager for a well-deserved meal.]

The Elders’ Dilemma

Scene: Jeremiah and Ezekiel sitting in a coffee shop. Jeremiah is reading a letter he received from a fellow church member while Ezekiel stirs his coffee.


The aroma of freshly brewed coffee filled the small, cozy café as Jeremiah and Ezekiel settled into their usual corner booth. Jeremiah unfolded a letter he had received and began to read aloud to Ezekiel.

“Dear Jeremiah,” he started, “I’m a member of the church of Christ and I’ve recently read your article ‘Majority vs Elder Rule’. Our congregation is going through a tough time. We have elders who aren’t being the leaders they should be. They’ve hired a minister with a history of splitting congregations, and they refuse to meet with us as a group. What should we do?”

Ezekiel raised an eyebrow. “Sounds like a sticky situation. What do you think, Jeremiah?”

Jeremiah sighed and took a sip of his coffee. “It’s a difficult spot for sure. Elders are supposed to lead the church, not divide it. Remember what Paul said in I Timothy 5:19-20: ‘Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.'”

Ezekiel nodded. “So, they need to gather evidence and confront the elders with solid proof of their wrongdoing, not just opinions or preferences.”

Jeremiah agreed. “Exactly. It’s important to document everything. If individual meetings aren’t working, they should approach the elders in small groups, just like Matthew 18:16 advises: ‘But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.'”

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Ezekiel chuckled. “Sounds like we need to call in a biblical detective team. ‘CSI: Church of Christ’.”

Jeremiah laughed. “Indeed! But all humor aside, it’s crucial they follow the scriptural process. If the elders still refuse to listen, they might have to bring it before the whole church. Matthew 18:17 says, ‘And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.'”

Ezekiel shook his head. “And if the congregation sides with the elders despite the evidence?”

Jeremiah paused, thinking deeply. “Then it might be time to consider a more drastic step. They may need to find a new congregation or even start a new one, as hard as that might be. The unity of the church is important, but not at the expense of doctrinal purity and proper leadership.”

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Ezekiel leaned back, his face serious. “That’s a tough call. But if the elders are truly in the wrong, they’re not leading the church in accordance with God’s will.”

Jeremiah nodded. “True. It’s a serious matter. The church must stay faithful to God above all else. Elders have a huge responsibility, and when they misuse their position, it can lead the congregation astray. That’s why Paul emphasized accountability in I Timothy.”

Ezekiel sipped his coffee thoughtfully. “You know, Jeremiah, this reminds me of the time we dealt with that situation about the church kitchen. Remember? The arguments about whether it was scriptural to have one?”

Jeremiah chuckled. “Oh yes, I remember. ‘Is it a kitchen or a cafeteria?’ was the big debate. But seriously, this situation is more severe. It’s about leadership and the spiritual well-being of the congregation.”

Ezekiel grinned. “I suppose the stakes are higher than whether or not we can have potlucks.”

Jeremiah laughed. “Definitely. But the principle is the same: staying true to biblical teachings. We must always ensure our actions align with scripture, whether it’s about kitchens or elders.”

Ezekiel finished his coffee and looked at Jeremiah. “So, what advice should we give them?”

Jeremiah folded the letter and put it back in his pocket. “They need to follow the steps outlined in the Bible: gather evidence, confront the elders in small groups, and if necessary, bring it before the church. And if all else fails, consider finding or starting a congregation that upholds biblical principles.”

Ezekiel nodded. “Sounds like a plan. It won’t be easy, but it’s the right thing to do.”

Jeremiah smiled. “Yes, it is. Now, how about we grab another cup of coffee and continue our discussion about the theological implications of pineapple on pizza?”

Ezekiel laughed. “I’m ready for that debate any day. Lead the way, Jeremiah!”

Is It Really Worth It?

The sun began its descent beyond the horizon, casting a warm glow over the peaceful countryside. Jeremiah and Ezekiel, two seasoned travelers, made their way along the winding path that led to their humble abode. As they walked, the evening breeze carried with it the scent of wildflowers and the gentle rustle of leaves.

Their conversation meandered through the trials and triumphs of their recent endeavors. The topic turned to the challenges they faced in their ministry, particularly in their efforts to reach those in prison with the message of hope and redemption.

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“It weighs heavily on my heart, Ezekiel,” Jeremiah confessed, his voice tinged with concern. “The trials we face in spreading the gospel to those in prison seem insurmountable at times. Is it worth it?”

Ezekiel, ever the optimist, paused to consider Jeremiah’s question. “My dear friend,” he began, his voice steady and reassuring, “though the path may be fraught with obstacles, we must not lose sight of the greater purpose of our calling. As it is written, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15). In obedience to this command, we find meaning and fulfillment, regardless of the challenges we encounter.”

Jeremiah nodded, taking comfort in Ezekiel’s words. “You speak the truth, my friend,” he acknowledged. “Even in the face of adversity, the work of spreading the gospel is a noble endeavor. It is indeed worth it.”

Their conversation continued as they made their way home, their hearts buoyed by the timeless truth of scripture.

Arriving at their modest dwelling, Jeremiah and Ezekiel settled into their familiar surroundings. The soft glow of lamplight illuminated the room as they prepared to break bread together. As they ate, their conversation turned to their experiences in ministering to those in need, both within the prison walls and beyond.

“I cannot help but wonder about the impact of our efforts,” Jeremiah mused, his brow furrowed in thought. “Do you ever question whether we are truly making a difference?”

Ezekiel considered Jeremiah’s question before responding. “It is natural to have doubts, my friend,” he replied gently. “But let us not underestimate the power of God’s word to transform lives. As it is written, ‘For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it'” (Isaiah 55:10-11).

Jeremiah nodded, his faith reaffirmed by Ezekiel’s words. “Indeed, we must trust in the power of God’s word to work in the hearts of those we minister to,” he agreed. “For even in the face of uncertainty, we can take comfort in the knowledge that our efforts are not in vain.”

As the evening wore on, Jeremiah and Ezekiel continued to share stories of their encounters with those they had sought to reach. Some tales were filled with triumph, while others bore the weight of disappointment and sorrow. Yet through it all, their bond remained unbreakable, strengthened by their shared commitment to their calling.

In the days that followed, Jeremiah and Ezekiel redoubled their efforts in spreading the gospel, undeterred by the challenges they faced. They visited the prison regularly, offering words of encouragement and hope to those who were incarcerated. They also extended their ministry to the surrounding communities, reaching out to the lost and the brokenhearted with the message of salvation.

Their work was not without its struggles. They faced opposition from those who doubted the sincerity of their efforts and questioned the effectiveness of their methods. Yet Jeremiah and Ezekiel remained steadfast in their conviction, trusting in the guidance of a higher power to lead them forward.

One day, as they made their way to the prison to conduct their weekly Bible study, they encountered a group of individuals gathered by the roadside. Among them was a young man named Daniel, whose life had been ravaged by addiction and despair.

“Is it worth it?” Daniel asked, his voice tinged with skepticism. “Do you really believe that your words can make a difference in someone like me?”

Jeremiah and Ezekiel exchanged a knowing glance before Ezekiel spoke. “We believe in the transformative power of God’s word,” he replied, his tone gentle yet firm. “As it is written, ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes’ (Romans 1:16). We have seen firsthand the impact that the gospel can have on a person’s life, and we have faith that it can bring about change in yours as well.”

Daniel listened intently as Jeremiah and Ezekiel shared stories of redemption and hope, their words resonating deeply with his troubled soul. As the sun began to set, casting long shadows across the landscape

, Daniel made a decision that would alter the course of his life forever.

“I want to know more,” he declared, his voice filled with newfound resolve. “I want to learn about this God who can bring hope to the hopeless and light to the darkest of places.”

With hearts full of gratitude, Jeremiah and Ezekiel welcomed Daniel into their fold, embracing him as a brother in faith. Together, they embarked on a journey of discovery and transformation, united by their shared belief in the power of God’s love to change lives.

As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, Jeremiah and Ezekiel continued to minister to those in need, their faith unwavering in the face of adversity. Though they faced challenges and setbacks along the way, they remained steadfast in their commitment to their calling, trusting in the promise of a brighter tomorrow.

And as they looked back on their journey, they marveled at the countless lives that had been touched and transformed by the power of God’s word. For in the end, they knew that their efforts had not been in vain, and that the work they had undertaken was indeed worth it.