The Bible says” It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.” (1 Tim. 3:1). Then Paul goes into the qualifications to be a pastor or an elder in the church.
Desire alone is not the qualification needed to be a minister of any sort. The desire is to have the heart ready to accept those regulations and criteria. Then it strives to meet them honesty.
Yet, in this world, things have kind of gotten messed up as the picking of a leader seems to ignore those qualifications and denominations resort to popular vote. This option does not take into account the true meaning of those criteria.
It does take into account people’s different interpretations of them or the meaning of different words, they claim describe the candidate. Many different people have multiple definitions of the word love and apply it to their favorite person they want to see elected to a prominent position in the church.
This method does not always elect or even select the right candidate to lead any church. The current controversy over at the SBC right now is a prime example.
The newly elected president of that conference is in a lot of trouble as he does not meet the criteria Paul laid out and calls for his resignation are starting to come in. Having the wrong man in power is one way to destroy the ministry of a church and a denomination.
Look at what it did to Ravi Zacharias’ ministry after he died. The wrong person has destroyed the spiritual work of RZIM and wiped out 40 years of good teaching. All because the wrong person was in charge after his death.
Picking a leader has to be done in a better way than a popular majority vote. The danger of a popular vote is when there is a majority of members who do not follow God’s ways, then the wrong man is elected.
When you elect the wrong man, false teaching gets inside and ruins the members of the church rendering its ministry useless. That is not what God wants.
The apostles knew that a popular vote would not work. So they laid out rules to select the person who was to fill the empty seat vacated y Judas. as we read in Acts 1:
21 Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us— 22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
There is nothing wrong with having rules guiding any election. As long as those rules do not allow for false teaching or sinful behavior to enter the church.
As you can see the disciples did not just pick someone because he was hip, culturally sensitive, or leaning toward liberalism. They wanted someone who was with them from the very beginning, who knew Christ and was taught by him.
It would have been easy to find someone else, but the disciples were protecting the church and the message by having an original person stand for selection.
As you read further, you will see that the disciples did not presume to know which man they put up for election was good enough to be part of the group.
23 So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all people, show which one of these two You have chosen 25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.
They were well aware that it is God’s church and he should be the one to select the candidate that was the most qualified to step into the membershi[p of the apostles.
This is what we are missing today. Denominations and churches are not letting God tell them who should lead them. They think they can do it on their own. This is a bit of sinful pride at work
While a person may desire the office of pastor or president of a church, he may not be God’s man for the job. The SBC controversy is showing everyone what happens when you do not let God make the choice.
There are people who complain about the president of the Canadian Christian & Missionary Alliance. They say he is leading the denomination down the wrong path. But that just may be a personal criticism not founded on anything legitimate.
We do not know as we have little contact with that denomination anymore. We knew the current president 40+ years ago when he was a year behind us but we do not know him now.
All we can say is that we have not liked what we have seen over his tenure. But that is our personal view as well. We bring this up because there will be people who will not be happy with anyone who is elected leader of a denomination.
Any criticism needs to be legitimate and based on the word of God, not personal opinion. It also must point to actual sinful actions and violations of God’s word. Then it must be presented in the right way.
We are not going to advocate that the current SBC president step down because that is the problem for members of the SBC to solve. If the man truly repents of his errors and changes his ways, then he should remain as president to show the world how Christianity truly works.
But if anything is learned here, it is that all churches and denominations should be learning from the mistakes of the SBC and change their selections of who leads them.
They need to let God pick the man who should lead, then give him their full support. After all, it is God’s church. He is the only one who has a say in who leads his flock.
Barsabba’s failure to be selected is not a negative nor exposes any flaws or faults on his part. He may have been a very spiritual man but God did not give him the gift of leadership. Or God had other plans for him in another part of the world.
He is not to be condemned nor judged for we know absolutely nothing about him. That is the attitude we should have for many of those who fail to achieve their goa;l of leading a church.
God simply wanted them in a different office within his church. Fortunately, we have the advantage of knowing the many different people who seek high spiritual office.
That means we do not nominate anyone who leans liberal, towards false teaching or violates the word of God on a purposeful and constant basis. Once those people are eliminated, then we can get down to business and place the right men up for selection and then let God make his choice.
The church can only benefit from that method as evidence by the growth of the church in the book of Acts.