2-in-1 Topic: Who is a Fool? and How many Believing Children should an Elder have?

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This was an impromptu video I recorded yesterday so don't critic me on production and style. If you watch the video without reading below, you will miss a lot. I know I open myself up for negative critics to have a field day each time I write or speak on any topic and I also invite the bull's eye be placed on me at the same time. But we will never convert a soul or help people make a positive change if we're waiting to be perfect before speaking or showing God's truth. Now, let's talk about this 2-in-1 topic. I often describe knowledge as knowing that one plus one is two but understanding is "knowing" why or how one plus one makes two. As promised, I'm going to talk about the video from yesterday. My concern is not, never was and will never be those who diligently seek knowledge or understanding of God's word. But there are some who choose their opinions to prevail over the truth (Proverbs 1:7) and they will do whatever it takes to make it stick (Proverbs 18:2). This is part of why we have denominations out there.
Those who fear God (not a trembling fear) with utmost respect for His wishes, will always make sure that they are doing everything in their power (not perfect) to avoid cutting corners (2 Timothy 2:15) when interpreting God's truth (Jame 3:1, 1 Peter 4:11). This fear or recognition of God as being in charge, is where wisdom starts, which leads to understanding our relationship with God (Proverbs 9:10). And it is this same fear that causes us to choose a different path, away from the world just like Paul told the women of Ephesus to dress like those who have the fear of God and not imitate the way the world chooses to define fashion (1 Timothy 2:9-10). We recognize Him as the creator; love Him as a father who forgives; own it when we cross His boundaries and be thankful for the salvation that was freely given to us.

A FOOL thinks thinks in his heart that there is no God (Psalms 14:1). A fool is also someone who thinks he/she can get away with evil even when they know there is God (Psalm 10:11) but makes no room for God in their heart (Psalm 10:4). Anyone who deliberately chooses to follow the commands of a different law as it pertains to life and godly living (2 Peter 1:3) by ignoring the law of the spirit of life in Christ, that sets us free from the bondage of sin and death (Romans 8:2), is also foolish (Galatians 3:1).

The Bible instructs us to study, learn or dwell in God's word and grow in His knowledge but this doesn't mean it's a sin if you don't know it all, which no one does. If we know it all then there is no room for growth but we must sincerely give it our all. A new convert may not live to see their first anniversary after becoming a child of God and still go to heaven. This is because we are saved by grace through faith in Christ and we are not expected to know "everything" from Genesis to Revelation. Steadfast love and respect for God and His word is more important than how long you've been on your spiritual journey. Those who choose to do the will of God (Matthew 12:50) the way God wants it done are NOT foolish (Galatians 3:1) or losers like some will say. They are your brothers and sisters (Matthew 12:46-49). Treating them like fools means that you are the one lost in your ways and heading for condemnation unless you make a change (Matthew 5:22).

BELIEVING CHILDREN are Christians - no sugar here. They can be "fine human beings" but not all fine human beings are Christians (Acts 10:1-35). Reputation matters (Proverbs 22:1) and the reputation that comes from an elder having unbelieving children, cannot be underestimated (1 Timothy 3:7, Proverbs 19:26). The Bible did not say it's OK for some children to be unbelievers, if we're saying it is, what stops the wife from being an unbeliever? The church is full of grown people that made the conscious decision to follow Jesus without pressure. This is the same as a man voluntarily leaving his parent to go be married to his wife without being pressured. It is a conscious decision that we make and it is exactly why Paul said in Ephesians 5:32 "...this is a profound mystery but I am talking about Christ and the church." Not kids in diapers or children that will do whatever their parents say just to avoid a time out. ONE PERSON does not make a church just like ONE BRICK does not make a house.

Some bring up the "what if" there was one Christian left on earth, will he or she be a church? I don't deal on hypothetical; I deal with reality and then let God be God because I know that EVERYTHING that pertains to godly living has been revealed. I'm not trying to add or subtract. I can easily ask you what will happen to the guy that believed the gospel on the plane but crashed before landing with no chance to be born again - just saying. We cannot water down God's truth to fit into our lives or overreach just to make a point stick. The biggest part that most people are ignoring is this: It takes two or more to be gathered together in God's name for it to be called Church (Matthew 18:20, John 4:24). Paul's primary focus was NOT the elder or the wife, when this comparison was made. If Paul is specifically making a DIRECT comparison of your "believing children" to the "household of God" (the Church):

1. Who are we to say that Paul did not use the word children to mean more than one if the context suggest that they are being equated to the church?
2. How can we say it is OK, if one or more of the children are not Christians when the Church is only made up of Christians and not unbelievers?
3. What kind of a Shepherd (Elder) doesn't value that one or more lost sheep in his own household but wants to lead the house of God?
4. When was the last time anyone practiced "juggling" with just one object and then be ready to successfully conquer the challenge of two or more on the main stage?
5. Where in the Bible have we heard a "flock" as the church being referred to as a singular person in content or context?

The "logic" of asking a group of parents with one or more kids: "how many of you have children?" and having all of them raise their hands, does not apply here because it is simple Math and English. You are talking to a group so you will use the word Children. But when you are addressing one person, it's different. The power is in the "Eldership" but the qualification is for the individual elder and his household. The individual has responsibility to "...his household..." and will not be judged based on someone else's household. Ask a parent, not a group if they have children at home. The person with just one child will make it a point to tell you that they only have one. If we are going to use real life examples, let's make sure it AGREES with the Bible and makes bible sense. Paul was being SPECIFIC to a man, his wife and his household when he said children. To make it stick, Paul (through the Holy Spirit) compared the children (not child) to the Church. Please, don't debate that the church is not perfect and the children should not be perfect. No one is calling for character "perfection" here because we know that imperfect Christians are not unfaithful or unbelievers - unbelievers do not make up a church.

As for those using Matthew 19:29 to say all you need is one believing child; any God fearing human being will re-think that application and stay away from it as far as possible because it simply doesn't fit the bill. Someone else can use a different verse to say the word "household" can be made up of just a husband and wife - no children. OR better yet, blindly argue that "wife" is in singular here and can be plural there. Are we now going to say a man who has multiple non-scriptural marriages or wives in different homes but only lives with one of them should qualify as an elder? The reason we don't teach these things, is because we know it cannot be truthfully supported by other parts of the bible. When our interpretation of a particular verse contradicts other parts of the Bible; it is an incorrect interpretation - simple. The word of God is not a competition on who can quote the most book, chapter and verse - our focus should be on getting it right. You will almost never see a qualified elder or bishop fighting about why they qualify and should be appointed. It's usually the unqualified ones and their allies that create narratives to fit where it doesn't.

Even if Paul didn't mean more than one and let's assume (hypothetically) a household with just one child is good enough, why are we now obsessed about twisting this to mean 1 believing child out of 2 children? Even if you argue that "children" can be taken as "singular" while ignoring the overall message from Paul, the fact still remains that the children in the household MUST be believers. There was no percentage given by the Holy Spirit and I'm not going to suggest any now. Believing children in Greek is believing children in English - period. But most importantly, it agrees with the context and the rest of the scriptures. Paul even added (depending on what version you are reading): "having his children in subjection with ALL gravity" or "commanding their respect in EVERY way" or "do so in a manner worthy of FULL respect" ...etc. We know Paul was not talking about them respecting your authority as a rich CEO of a company, rather, as a Shepherd of God's flock. So how does an "unbelieving" or unfaithful child fit into this picture, if Christ and His church is NOT their focus?

We don't get to tell God: "Oh, that guy has two kids so I think one out of two is good enough..." and then turn around to tell someone else, who has 2 believing children out of 10 kids that they do not qualify to be an elder. When we as humans don't stay within the boundaries of God's interpretation, it creates a never ending domino effect like this one. I agree some of those qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, are for us to use our best judgment based on the information available to us through due diligence. But a believing child is NOT one of those qualifications because we know the difference between a believer and an unbeliever just as we know the difference between sprinkling and immersion. Churches are dying spiritually but more and more congregations are focused on giving out titles like cookies instead of giving adequate spiritual meals to train and prepare future leaders. I believe the word "children" was NOT being used figuratively in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 - it simply means more than one.

Congregation or local church can be scriptural organized but officially unorganized, which some refer to as "scripturally unorganized" or whatever else we want to call it. The bottom line is, a local body of Christians can go to heaven with or without appointing Elders. This doesn't mean they shouldn't make every effort towards preparing and possibly one day having qualified men for the job. If they worked toward having qualified Elders but didn't have any upon Jesus' return, the church is still heaven bound. So don't force it because the price to pay is too steep for having unqualified men lead any local church. The problem it creates outweighs the burden you may think comes with having meetings were church affairs can be discussed.

Lastly, I've seen qualified men around the world holding this position of service with respect and dignity. I would hope that we as individuals and collectively as congregations show some respect to these qualified men and especially to God by not rushing into selecting just anyone for selection sake. I applaud and respect those men who have the qualifications and abilities to get the job done. Stay blessed my friends.

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