Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to get good content on subjects you care about. I am looking for more podcasts that become indispensable. Here are a few of my favorite podcasts:

Christian Podcasts

Grace Baptist Church is a family of Reformed Baptists who are dedicated to teaching, learning, and living biblical truth.

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Doctrine and Devotion is a weekly podcast exploring Christian faith and practice from an experiential perspective marked by the fun and humor that characterize real friendship.

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Pass The Mic is the premier podcast of the Reformed African American Network. Every month Jemar and Tyler sit down with voices from across the reformed movement with the mission of addressing the core concerns of African Americans biblically. Learn more about this show and the network at RAANetwork.org.

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Christ Central Church seeks to be a racially diverse church community. We strive to be a church that is Biblically authentic and true in its worship of God. We desire to communicate and grow spiritually from the message of the gospel as it is read, preached, shared and taught faithfully, clearly and relevantly.

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[Our] mission is to display the greatness of Jesus through the everyday lives of His people. We believe that by the community of God consistently and comprehensively displaying the greatness and goodness of God, we will see overwhelming solutions to three of the most apparent areas of need in Southwest Atlanta.

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Since 1952, The Hour of Revival Association (now Speak Life) has been lifting high the name of Jesus in the UK and beyond. We exist to revive Christians, resource the church and reach the world with the good news of Jesus.

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  • Ask Anything from RZIM with Vince and Jo Vitale; hosted by Michael Davis

Asking tough, thoughtful questions is how you get to know someone. So let’s ask our toughest questions of God and trust that He will provide answers that will allow us to know Him more intimately and share Him more effectively.

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Lean Stuff

  • Stuff You Missed in History Class from How Stuff Works with Tracy Wilson and Holly Frey

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The stuff we eat and drink is part daily necessity and part cultural identity. Every mouthful represents millennia of human collaboration and innovation. On FoodStuff, Anney and Lauren bite into the juicy stories – and science – behind everything that nourishes us.

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What other podcasts do you recommend?

In a Hole in the Ground There Lived a Hobbit

The BBC interviewed J.R.R. Tolkien on the show In Their Own Words British Authors in March of 1968.

If you fancy Hobbits and Middle Earth, take a sneak peek.

 

 

 

 
BBC Archival Footage-In Their Own Words British Authors: J.R.R. Tolkien (Part 1):

BBC Archival Footage-In Their Own Words British Authors: J.R.R. Tolkien (Part 2):

Jesus Our Sinless Sacrifice

Christian theology explains in succinct statements that it is Jesus that overcomes sin and death (; 16:20; ). Since it was Jesus who was promised to die for sin, then it is true we cannot die for our own sin. Our sin produces death (), yet we cannot live purely enough in life nor die enough in our death to pay for our sin (). This is humanity under the fall, our sinful flesh.

One theologian explains flesh in the Pauline sense of the word often refers to the actual form of our humanity under the fall, and Scripture asserts that Christ assumed human, fallen, and sinful flesh. “That must mean that the flesh he assumes is not to be thought of in some neutral sense, but as really our flesh. He has come to redeem us, to destroy our sin in human flesh; and therefore he becomes what we are that he might raise us up to where he is.” This is an appeal to the patristic notion of the “wonderful exchange,” whereby Christ becomes what we are so that we may become what he is. Such an understanding necessitates an understanding the Son’s assumption of a fallen human nature. This fallen, sinful flesh is referred to as the “House of Bondage” which Christ’s obedience turned into the “House of God,” the place where God dwells.
In order to make sense of this point we must, along with Herman Ridderbos, insist that ‘in approaching the Pauline doctrine of sin, we must not orient ourselves in the first place to the individual and personal, but to the redemptive-historical and collective points of view.’ In light of such Pauline texts as ; ; , and , we must view sin as the supra-individual mode of existence in which one shares before we see it as an individual act. By viewing sin in this Pauline way, we can more fully see how it was that Christ could ‘be sin for us’ (), that is, assume a sinful human nature, and yet remain perfectly sinless.

John Owen explains it this way:

The body is not only doomed to death by reason of original sin, as death entered upon all on that account; but the body must be brought to death, that sin may be rooted out of it. Sin has taken such a close, inseparable habitation in the body, that nothing but the death of the body can make a separation. The body must be dead because of sin. … Here lies the great mystery of the grave under the covenant of grace, and by virtue of the death of Christ. … A secret virtue shall issue out from the death of Christ unto the body of a believer laid in the grave, that shall eternally purify it, at its resurrection, from every thing of sin.

Be not afraid to enter into darkness: as there is no sting in death, so there is no darkness in the grave. It is but lying so long in the hands of the great Refiner [Jesus}, who will purge, purify, and restore you. Therefore, lie down in the dust in peace.

Owen explains elsewhere:

We cannot die for sin. Our hope and faith is, in and through him, that we shall never die for sin. No mortal man (unbelieving person) can be made like unto Christ in suffering for sin. Those that undergo what he underwent, because they were unlike him, must go to hell and be made more unlike him to eternity.

And this:

 

Even death itself brings a terror with it, that nothing can conquer but faith; I mean, conquer duly. He is not crowned, that does not overcome by faith. It is only to be done through the death of Christ, he “freed those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (). There is no deliverance that is true and real, from a bondage-frame of spirit [with reference] to death, but by faith in Christ.


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Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. (ESV)


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55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)


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14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, (ESV)


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15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (ESV)


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23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 6:23 (Listen

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 6:23 (Listen)

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)


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For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, (ESV)

21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (ESV)


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For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (ESV)


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who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, (ESV)

21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (ESV)


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15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. (ESV)

The Purpose of Suffering

The great Puritan writer, John Owen, explains the very reason for suffering:

The procuring cause of the death of Christ was sin. He died for sin; he died for our sin; our iniquities were upon him, and were the cause of all the punishment that befell him.

Wherein can we be conformable unto the death of Christ with respect unto sin? We cannot die for sin. Our hope and faith is, in and through him, that we shall never die for sin. No mortal man can be made like unto Christ in suffering for sin. Those that undergo what he underwent, because they were unlike him, must go to hell and be made more unlike him to eternity. Therefore, the apostle tells us that our conformity unto the death of Christ with respect unto sin lies in this—that as he died for sin, so we should die unto sin—that that sin which he died for should die in us. He tells us so, “We are planted together in the likeness of his death” ()—“We are made conformable unto the death of Christ, planted into him, so as to have a likeness to him in his death.” Wherein? “Knowing that our old man is crucified with him,” says he (). It is the crucifixion of the old man, the crucifying of the body of sin, the mortifying of sin, that makes us conformable unto the death of Christ; as to the internal moral cause of it, that procures it. See another apostle tells us, “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God” (–2). Here is our conformity to Christ, as he suffered in the flesh—that we should no longer live to our lusts, nor unto the will of man, but unto the will of God.

 


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For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (ESV)


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We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (ESV)


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4:1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, (ESV)

What Sin Requires

Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.

Death is the end of sin (; ). Sin has entangled into humanity to such an extent that death is required to rip it out. Sin is a part of humanity’s DNA. You cannot be human and not not sin. In other words, if you are human (and if you are reading this, I assume you are human!), you sin because you are a sinner. You cannot never sin. This is why we must all die; because we are sinners by nature, by our corrupted humanity, by our DNA.

The great Puritan thinker, John Owen, says it this way:

“The body is not only doomed to death by reason of original sin, as death entered upon all on that account; but the body must be brought to death, that sin may be rooted out of it. Sin has taken such a close, inseparable habitation in the body, that nothing but the death of the body can make a separation. The body must be dead because of sin. … Here lies the great mystery of the grave under the covenant of grace, and by virtue of the death of Christ. … A secret virtue shall issue out from the death of Christ unto the body of a believer laid in the grave, that shall eternally purify it, at its resurrection, from every thing of sin.

Be not afraid to enter into darkness: as there is no sting in death, so there is no darkness in the grave. It is but lying so long in the hands of the great Refiner [Jesus}, who will purge, purify, and restore you. Therefore, lie down in the dust in peace.”

And this is why Jesus came, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, fulfilled the whole law God required of humanity, paid the penalty of sin by dying on the cross, was raised from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures, and ascended to the right hand of the Father, and is seated now representing us in Heaven with glorified body.


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23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)


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15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (ESV)

Abortion – What’s At Stake?

No one has a right to life if others deem them inferior and unwanted. No one is viewed as made in the image of God.

Rosaria Butterfirld writes, “And then, one day during worship, we sang and it hit me between the eyes. Here was the line of my undoing: “And peoples yet uncreated shall praise and magnify the LORD” (). I got it: abortion is not a right or an entitlement. Abortion steals praise from God by denying image-bearers the opportunity to live through and for him. Abortion despises and attacks and destroys the image of God.”

TorranceQuotes_unborn_child

What is at stake is the systemic eradication of the being and nature of the unborn child. The Being and Nature of the Unborn Child: A Response to Planned Parenthood and the Atrocity of Corpse-Selling by Thomas F. Torrance.


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102:1 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to you!
Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress!
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call!

For my days pass away like smoke,
and my bones burn like a furnace.
My heart is struck down like grass and has withered;
I forget to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning
my bones cling to my flesh.
I am like a desert owl of the wilderness,
like an owl of the waste places;
I lie awake;
I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.
All the day my enemies taunt me;
those who deride me use my name for a curse.
For I eat ashes like bread
and mingle tears with my drink,
10 because of your indignation and anger;
for you have taken me up and thrown me down.
11 My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.

12 But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;
you are remembered throughout all generations.
13 You will arise and have pity on Zion;
it is the time to favor her;
the appointed time has come.
14 For your servants hold her stones dear
and have pity on her dust.
15 Nations will fear the name of the Lord,
and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory.
16 For the Lord builds up Zion;
he appears in his glory;
17 he regards the prayer of the destitute
and does not despise their prayer.

18 Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord:
19 that he looked down from his holy height;
from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to set free those who were doomed to die,
21 that they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord,
and in Jerusalem his praise,
22 when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.

23 He has broken my strength in midcourse;
he has shortened my days.
24 “O my God,” I say, “take me not away
in the midst of my days—
you whose years endure
throughout all generations!”

25 Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you will remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
27 but you are the same, and your years have no end.
28 The children of your servants shall dwell secure;
their offspring shall be established before you. (ESV)


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18 Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord: (ESV)

unChristian Christianity

Christianity has been lied about by Christians to the unChristian world. Christians have let the unChristian world believe being a Christian means you are merely moral — not repentant sinners in need of continual grace only found in Jesus. Stop doing cultural sinful practices and replace them with something culturally right, and voila! You’re a Christian. Throw in a few Bible verses and “thank you, Jesus!” and you’ve passed the litmus test.

Be Republican, and you’re in the club.

The moral majority was all the rage in the 80’s. Christianity was a cultural phenomenon, the in vogue culture club that all the cool kids were a part.

In the 21st Century, however, Christianity has lost its savor, its being Christian of its -anity.

Christianity has diminished in America because the unChristian world sees no cultural benefits to outweigh the cross it would have to bear by taking on the label.

Christianity that merely promotes (or more to the point, adds to believing in Jesus) certain hair styles, clothing, food, drinks, music and sub-cultural trends (or lack thereof) to be a Christian still sends people to hell in a hand basket.

And the unChristian world is telling Christians, “the Emperor has no clothes.”

This sort of Christianity has left those seeking water still thirsty (). As a result, the unChristian world no longer presupposes religious belief and finds traditionalism to be repressive. Why should people believe in a God and “do right things” when they can do right things of their own making?

The world does not need a to-do list. Nor does the world need a do-not-do list. The world needs Christ. True Christians, not culturally savvy people who use the word Christian as a rung on a ladder of making our best life now. Notice Paul says “do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh” to those who impose a to-do list onto believing in Jesus. That, too, is fleshly (ff; ff).

It is only when the chaff and dross of cultural Christianity gets burned up by persecution and tribulation that True Christians will shine brighter in the midst of a dark, unChristian world.

Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. If it were, His servants would fight to prevent His arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now His kingdom is from another place () where righteousness dwells and its fruit is displayed (ff).

The unChristian world needs true Christians who love God and love others as themselves (), who walk in the power of the Holy Spirit (ff), who go the extra mile (), and speak the Truth in love (); Not the Cultural Christianity of a country club.

Cultural Christians will never stay Christian when the times get desolate and persecution becomes reality. The unChristian world does not need Cultural Christians.

The unChristian world needs Christian Christians — Christians who claim Christ.


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13 for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water. (ESV)

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (ESV)

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. (ESV)

36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (ESV)

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30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (ESV)

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (ESV)


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38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. (ESV)


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15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (ESV)

Leadership of the Local Church: Philosophy of Elders and Deacons

The structure of the local church leadership must be a biblical structure. What do I mean by biblical? Essentially, church leadership is patterned after the examples and explanations within Scripture. The closer the structure of biblical patterns the more biblical the implementation. In other words, when the structure of church leadership looks like the pattern set forth in Scripture, then the structure of church leadership is biblical.

So what pattern of biblical church leadership do we see?

Elders

1) Plurality of Elders (aka. Pastors, Overseers, Presbyters, Elders – these titles are interchangeable)

Note, for example, (“appoint elders”), followed by v. 7 (“for a bishop must be blameless”). The very fact that the sentence in v. 7 begins with a “for” shows a connection: bishops are elders. Otherwise, why would Paul mention the qualifications of a group that were not whom Titus should appoint? In Paul calls the “elders of the church” of Ephesus together for a final meeting. Then, in v. 28 he addresses them as “overseers” (or bishops). Thus, any passage that deals with bishop is equally applicable to elders.

2) The leadership of the church from the earliest period always had elders, even if it did not have deacons. Young churches only had elders; more mature churches had both elders and deacons.

But the consistent Biblical pattern in the New Testament was for a plurality of elders. Note the following passages where either elder or bishop is used:

–elders at the church of Antioch

–Paul and Barnabas appoint “elders in every church”

–elders at the church in Jerusalem

–elders/bishops at the church of Ephesus

–elders at the church in Jerusalem

–the church at Philippi has bishops and deacons

–elders at the church of Ephesus

–Titus is to appoint elders in every town

Jas 5:14–“the elders of the church”

–“the elders among you”

And if there is any question as to what the role of these elders are, consider the book of Hebrews:

Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.

Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

Elders are a team of men who are set apart by God to shepherd the church, the Bible refers to these men as bishops or overseers or elders (terms used interchangeably). They have biblical qualifications as outlined in 1Tim3v1-7 and v6-9. Functionally, I like to break down what they do by the 4 D’s:

Doctrine – Elders govern, teach & guard the doctrine that the church holds to.

Direction – Elders seek to shepherd the church in the direction that God is leading them.

Discipline – Elders seek to ‘discipline in love’ wayward church members to win them back to repentance and restoration.

Display – Elders seek to display a Christ-like character worthy to be copied.

A biblical church must have a biblical pattern of leadership- multiplicity of Elders. This also means, when a church plant is established, there must be a plurality of Elders/Pastors (meaning at least two). We can infer that a team of Elders are establishing the church plant- not a single Pastor. We can further infer a Lead Pastor with Support/Assistant Pastors. The point is there must be a plurality of Elders.

What are the qualifications of the Elders?

1) Blameless – A general requirement followed by specific areas in which the Overseer must be blameless. To be blameless is to be irreproachable. No one should be able to lay a charge against an Elder and make it stick.

John Calvin explains an Elder “must not be marked by any infamy that would lessen his authority. There will be no one found among men that is free from every vice; but it is one thing to be blemished with ordinary vices, which do not hurt the reputation, because they are found in men of the highest excellence, and another thing to have a disgraceful name, or to be stained with any baseness. In order, therefore, that a bishop may not be without authority, he enjoins that there shall be made a selection of one who has a good and honorable reputation, and not chargeable with any remarkable vice. Besides, he does not merely lay down a rule for Timothy what sort of person he must select, but likewise reminds every one of those who aspire to that rank, to institute a careful examination of himself and of his life.”

2) The Husband of One Wife – Better understood as a “one woman man” It is not a requirement for Elders to be married but men who are married to be married to one wife. This is an express prohibition of polygamy for an Overseer/Elder.

I believe Paul has in mind. The language establishes the issue of “one woman man”. Paul confirms the Old Testament teaching that God’s command from the time of creation is a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife and the two shall become one flesh. The Elder must be blameless with respect to the law of God concerning marriage.

3) Vigilant – Sober, not drunk, clearheaded, self-controlled, frugal, prudent, reasonable.

An Elder must be on guard and alert, just as a shepherd must always be watching for wolves and anything else that might endanger the flock. An Elder who is not vigilant in his private and public life will not be watchful over and care for the people of God.

4) Prudent – Thoughtful and self-controlled. The greek word refers to wisdom, good sense, a sound mind, and good jugdement.

5) Respectable

6) Hospitable – The meaning of the word means “One who loves to be a host” – whether for friends or strangers. It’s all inclusive. He loves to be a host regardless of who he is hosting.

7) Skillful in Teaching

8) Not given to much wine

9) Not a violent man – Does not strike, wound or cause harm due to a blow.

10) Not fond of shameful gain – Shameful gain is anything that a man gets by dishonest means, or which itself is shameful or wicked.

11) Gentle

12) Not Quarrelsome – Not given to quarrels, disputes, or strife, uncontentious, not a brawler.

13) Not loving money

14) Ruling his own house well

15) Not newly converted

16) A good testimony to those outside (the church)

Deacons

What are the qualifications for Deacons?

1) Reverent – The qualifications for Deacons follow on the heals of the qualifications for Elders. Grammatically of depend upon . “Reverent” is the first of five qualifications in the first sentence, which covers 8 & 9.

2) Not double-tongued – Also known as talking out of both sides of your mouth. He must not say one thing but mean something else. He must not say one thing to one person and the opposite to another person.

3) Not given to much wine – Paul uses the same word here as he wrote to Timothy saying, “to devote oneself to reading, exhortation, and teaching in . Deacons are not to devote themselves to wine as they would to the important things mentioned previously.

4) Not fond of shameful gain

5) Holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience – Deacons like Elders must be instructed in right doctrine, should know the Scriptures well, live according to them, and be able to use them kindly in all situations that occur in daily life.

6) First be tested – Both Deacons and Elders must be tested prior to taking office in the church. This testing can take many forms but it must not be done in haste. The office of Deacon must NOT be looked upon as the bottom of the church leadership ladder, as it were. A Deacon is NOT a “Junior Elder”. It is not wise to put a man in the office of Deacon to “try him out” and see if he does well. And if he does well, let him continue in that office or move on to Elder.

7) Blameless – Different word than , but meaning is identical.

Differences between Elder and Deacon

In essence, the qualifications for both Elder and Deacons are virtually the same- even described with different words, but the meaning is the same. The significant difference is Elder is skilled at teaching. The deacon is the servant of the Elders and by extension the servant of the congregation at large. The deacons are given charge for specific duties to spread the burdens of the Elders and make the burdens light.

provides us with good detail as to the nature of the office of Deacon.

“It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

Deacons are appointed to serve. They are to lead by serving. They are the ones which exude servant leadership most. To put it in common language, they are the table waiters of the church. This is not derogatory or demeaning. This is glorious and wonderful- to exude Christ-likeness in serving others.

Who should be a Deacon? Look for those who are faithfully serving others above and beyond the rest. The test prior to taking the office of Deacon? Are they serving?

An important note to make here. The “Deacon Board” is not a competing board of power versus the “Elder/Pastor Board” – It is the Elders who oversee the Deacons- giving them direction. The Deacons then make their decisions based within and upon the direction the Elders have given them.

This brings us to my question of “Trustees” – Trustees, as related to legal issues, should be the Elders, not the Deacons. Why?

Elders rule over the congregation in general and Deacons more specifically. The Deacons do not have ruling power, other than to serve and appoint others to help serve in the “table waiter” functions of the church- today we would classify this as grounds, building, fellowships, meals, finances, etc… But at the same time there are Elders over these areas to give direction for the overall implementation of the tasks.

This means Elders must be Trustees. Because those outside the church (i.e. government with legal requirements) see the Trustees as the leaders of the church. The Elders are those who are the leaders and rulers of the church and must be recognized as such outside the church.

In typical form, there is the pastor, the deacons, and the trustees. The trustees really should be called “deacons” and the deacons “elders” in such a model and trained to be so accordingly. If a deacon functions as an Elder/Pastor, then they should be called as such.

To reiterate the bottom line, when government interacts with the “Trustees,” they should be interacting with the Elders since the Elders are truly the leaders and rulers of the church.

I have not addressed every issue nor every word or verse regarding the roles of Elders and Deacons. That is beyond the scope of this note. You may find “holes” in this note, but it may be my intention not to address that point at this time. I have written this quickly and wanted to present the case for the conclusion that I see naturally flowing from Scripture.

With that in mind, comments welcome!

Further thoughts – responses to people’s questions.

from what I see in Scripture, the Elders are the leadership and the Deacons are, as you say, leaders of teams/committees. I would not classify them as a “board” since there is nothing for them to discuss. In we see that the Deacons were appointed to specific tasks- at that time it was to help provide food and possibly other things to the widows.

I would see this in practical application today in the following ways:

An Elder would be Overseer of various ministries of the church- grounds and technology for instance. I see the Elders appointing Deacons to a specific task- a Deacon of Grounds, a Deacon of Technology..

The congregation would then affirm who the Elders have appointed.

I see the Elders appointing people and the congregation affirming the appointments (this is also key). The Deacons would then set up teams to fulfill the duties (with approval of the Elders).

An aside, if the congregation can not trust the appointment (or anything) the Elders have made, then maybe the congregation should replace those Elders with Elders they trust. Hence, the appointment / affirmation helps keep the Elders accountable (hence Steve Camp’s article on keeping Pastor’s accountable is key).

Further, I see Deacons as “team leaders” who specialize in their particular area. You want a Deacon who knows technology to be the Deacon of technology. You want someone who knows something about grounds keeping to be the Deacon of Grounds. And so on….

The Elders, then can Oversee things give direction to the Deacons. The Deacons do not need to meet as a board b/c their duties do not intersect for the most part-

Maybe they can meet to discuss how they implement their duties- but that would be once a year at most? That’s up to the Elders on how they want to implement that.

The point is to free up as much time for the Elders to devote to prayer, teaching and the Word. This does not mean they have no more administrative duties. They must administrate, but the actual carrying out of the duties are done by the Deacons. Further the Elders would listen to the Deacons and what they suggest as the means to carry out duties (budget, tools, etc..) but the Elders would appoint budgets and significant expenditures with congregational approval and give direction to the Deacons.

The Presbyterian form of gov’t is a good guide, really- even for non-Presbyterian churches. A church (with the structure I’ve outlined) plants a church with a Lead Pastor (Evangelist) and the other Elders of the Parent church help fulfill the plurality of Elders for the church plant.

I would further say, once the church plant becomes its own identity (officially becomes a church), that church should have a plurality of Elders inherently.


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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— (ESV)


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On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. (ESV)


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30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul. (ESV)


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23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. (ESV)


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And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question.

Acts 15:4 (Listen)

When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.

Acts 15:6 (Listen)

The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter.

Acts 15:22 (Listen)

22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers,

Acts 15:23 (Listen)

23 with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings.

Acts 16:4 (Listen

And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question.

Acts 15:4 (Listen)

When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.

Acts 15:6 (Listen)

The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter.

Acts 15:22 (Listen)

22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers,

Acts 15:23 (Listen)

23 with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings.

Acts 16:4 (Listen)

As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. (ESV)


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17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.

Acts 20:28 (Listen

17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.

Acts 20:28 (Listen)

28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (ESV)


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18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. (ESV)


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1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: (ESV)


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17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (ESV)


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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— (ESV)


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5:1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; (ESV)


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Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. (ESV)


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17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (ESV)


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1:1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

To Titus, my true child in a common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

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— 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. For 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, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He 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.

10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. (ESV)


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Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. (ESV)


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2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

These are the generations
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”

17 And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”

20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. (ESV)


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And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (ESV)


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3:1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory. (ESV)


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Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, (ESV)


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13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. (ESV)


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through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, (ESV)


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6:1 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.

And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11 Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, 13 and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.” 15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel. (ESV)


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6:1 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.

And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11 Then they secretly instigated men who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, 13 and they set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.” 15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel. (ESV)