Elder Arrangement -- PROVEN WRONG!!!

by proplog2 21 Replies latest jw friends

  • proplog2

    "In the congregations of Christendom the term "elder" has become a title and "eldership" has become a position or office to which men are appointed. In support of this, the religious organizations having such elders and elderships appeal to Acts 14:23 (AS), which tells of Paul and Barnabus as founders of congregations: "And when they had appointed for them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, the commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed." Also Titus 1:5 (RS): "This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you." However, does this mean appointing men to eldership as an office, or ..........appointing men who were already elders in the required sense to offices or service poisitions in the congregations? Is "eldership" appointive?"

    This is taken from YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH (1958) Page 161 paragraph 29: No longer included on the CD-ROM

    The question for this paragraph is as follows:

    29. In Christendom, what have "elder" and "eldership" become, and what questions do we raise about their supporting texts, Acts 14:23 and Titus 1:5?

    Apparently in 1972 the Watchtower decided apostate Christendom had this right and so they decided to structure the organization in a similar manner.

    Now if there are any Watchtower writers snooping around here go back & check out this old publication and try to refute its arguments.

    I will post the answer to the questions raised by this paragraph later today.

  • Hamas

    Solid evidence to refute their cliams, well done, my friend.

  • Euphemism

    I don't know if the meaning of those passages can be determined grammatically; but there are other scriptures that show that eldership was indeed an office.

    The word 'overseer' definitely referred to an office; see Phil 1:1 and 1 Tim 3:1. And 'overseers' and 'elders' were the same; see Ac 20:17,28.

    So basically, the WTS was setting up a straw man. The arguments that they refuted were not the strongest arguments against their position.

    What's ironic is that the Your Will book was probably written by Fred Franz. And of course, years later, when Ray Franz showed Fred the research which led to the restoration of the elder arrangement, Fred indicated that he had known it all along.

  • Room 215
    Room 215

    To me, the most significant aspect of this quote from the 1958 Your Will Be Done on Earth book is the apparent deletion of the offending paragraph in the CD-Rom version; not very ethical since the latter purports to be exact reproductions of the printed texts.

  • proplog2

    Room 215:

    The Your Will Be Done on Earth book was printed in the Watchtower in 1959. It was a series of articles. I found the paragraph quoted above in July 15 1959. It is referred to as part 18.

  • rocketman

    Well, what do ya know? More sanitizing.

    Very observant, proplog!

  • proplog2


    "Now as to the Christian congregation or congregation of spiritual Israel, one fact is clear from Ephesians 4:13,14 and 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 and Hebrews 5:11-14: A man becomes a Christian "elder" or "presbyter" by spiritual growth and development, not by mere physical age or by appointment. According to the qualifications set out by Paul at 1Timothy 3:1-12 and Titus 1:5-9 it is from men who are "elders" by spiritual growth that overseers AND MINISTERIAL ASSISTANTS are appointed. It is in this sense, then that those with appointive power appoint elders, not to be elders, but to be responsible servants in or over congregations.

    This is Paragraph 31 on page 162 of "Your Will Be Done On Earth"

    The question on that paragraph is:

    31 How does one become a Christian "elder", and in what way is it, then that "elders" are appointed?

    Note that Ministerial Servants were considered "elders" in that they had to be spiritually mature. The current arrangement makes it seem that Ministerial Servants are a farm system for producing "Elders". That's why in most congregations the "elders" outnumber the ministerial servants.

  • proplog2


    The word 'overseer' definitely referred to an office; see Phil 1:1 and 1 Tim 3:1. And 'overseers' and 'elders' were the same; see Ac 20:17,28.

    To begin with the scriptures in Phil 1:1 and 1Tim 3:1 make no reference at all to elder (presbyteros).

    Acts 20:17,28 is the only scripture that the society is able to invoke suggesting a connection between "elder" and overseers. But this is not a "strong" connection nor does it suggest that they are equivalent in "all" respects.

    While it is true that ALL overseers are "older men" this does not mean that only overseers in the congregation are "older men". Older Man is a qualification not an official position. Even the scripture in Acts 20:28, when addressing the "elders" of Ephesus doesn't say "the holy spirit has appointed you "elders" to shepherd the congregations it says instead "the holy spirit appointed you "overseers".

    It is an "errror" to use that scripture to suggest that "elder" is a position to which someone can be appointed. In 1 Tim 3 the contrast is not made between "elder" and ministerial servants but between Overseers and Ministerial Servants. This is because it is understood that "ministerial servants" also are older men spiritually speaking. The only difference between the two is that Overseers had to be teachers. It is curious that the position of Overseer is in the singular form whereas Minsiterial Servants is in the plural. "THE Overseer should therefore be....Ministerial Servants should..."

  • Euphemism

    Ac 20:17 says that Paul sent for the elders (presbyteroi) of Ephesus. In verse 28, Paul says to this group of elders whom he has summoned: "Pay attention to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the holy spirit has appointed you overseers [episkopoi]."

    Seems pretty clear to me.

  • proplog2


    It was customary to refer to officials as "oldermen" because officials were usually older men. You can do that with language. You can abstract one quality of a cluster of qualities and you can turn that into the defining quality. But it never says in the Christian scripture that a person is appointed to be an elder. There is no scriptural basis for doing that.

    Especially is this the case in the scripture at Acts 20 because the only appointment refers to "overseer" and that harmonizes with other scriptures. What is especially reprehensible is that JW's have a long tradition of repudiating the idea that you can appoint someone to a position of "elder". The argument has always been that this is because "elder" is a spiritual state independent of appointment.

    By the way just saying "seems pretty clear to me" is a lousy rebuttal.

    How many times have we heard:

    "abstain from blood" seems pretty clear to me.

    Things clear up when you can show how an argument is necessarily true or false.

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