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!”

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