Author Topic: 1 Timothy 5:17-20  (Read 5512 times)

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Offline janine

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1 Timothy 5:17-20
« on: Thu Oct 24, 2002 - 09:34:23 »
I've seen it thrown into the mix with the other spots that outline how sin is to be dealt with among Christians.  Never seen it, specifically, cited when people want to focus on an elder sinning "in office".  I've seen the process carried out on members who were not elders.

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« on: Thu Oct 24, 2002 - 09:34:23 »

Offline Booty

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« Reply #1 on: Thu Oct 24, 2002 - 10:34:04 »
Richard,

While you are correct, I still have this mental image of stuffed shirts yoked to a thresher walking round in circles.

But then I am in one of my moods.

I know, take your pills Brojees, take your pills.

Offline Bill

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1 Timothy 5:17-20
« Reply #2 on: Thu Oct 24, 2002 - 15:25:17 »
Richard

I was agreeing wih your post & then it came to me that you were talking about "Qualification" of Elders.  I have a problem with "qualifications" of Elders.  IMO chap 3 is talking about "characteristics" of Elders.  This might fit under the thread on definitions.  In my mind the difference is qualifications are absolute and characteristics means you meet them in general.

I thought & still think that this is talking about an Elder accused of sin rather than qualifications or characteristics.  However, I might have missed something and I didn't go back & review Timothy which I probably should have.  If I'm not seeing the whole picture, please let me know.

I think your answers are right on if we substitue sin for qualifications and of course you could be right as it is written.

Bill

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« Reply #2 on: Thu Oct 24, 2002 - 15:25:17 »

Offline WileyClarkson

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« Reply #3 on: Thu Oct 24, 2002 - 20:36:06 »
GGGGUS, Richard, Bill

These are my thought on this!

There are two thoughts given in these verses by Paul.
The first is that elders who are working for the church may be paid an amount of money to live on by the church to do the work.  Vrs 17-18.  (see Richard's explanation)

The second thought is that of the accusations against an elder (vrs 19-20), especially one who has been doing the job described in the 17-19.

Refer to the Jewish OT laws of having at least two eye witnesses regarding law breaking/sin/judgment.  This is to eliminate a problem of one man's words against another man's words without anyone else witnessing what is being claimed.  Without at least two credible witnesses, accusations are not to be heard against the elder.  The elder has already been examined in the appointing process and deserves respect for that.  

Vrs 20 then sets how the punishment is to be handed out by the church.

These verses have nothing to do with the qualities each man should have to be an elder.  The qualities of each man are to be examined before appointment.  The actions of each man as an elder are what are to be considered.  Has the elder sinned in a way that effects the credibility of his service to and shepherding of the congregation of believers he is serving?  Are there at least two witnesses who can personally verify what is being said against the elder?  If there are, then the man should be rebuked in front of the church as a whole so that there will be a lesson for all who are witnessing the rebuke.  Also, what I don't see mentioned here is removal of the elder from service.  It is strong rebuke in front of everyone to act as a warning to everyone but not a removal.

I especially agree with Bill in regard to the idea of qualifications.  "Qualifications", which has become a very entrenched word in our fellowship when looking at possible elders, has a meet and pass the test implication and then you don't have to worry about it any more.  Qualities are a on-going and very apparent in the  actions of the elder.  For more on this line of thought, read Lynn Anderson's "They Smell Like Sheep".

I have never been present for an elder rebuking based on 19 & 20.  In fact, I don't think I have ever even heard of it being done in the 31 years I have been in the churches of Christ.  IMO, it should only be done in extreme cases when all other attempts to correct the man in private have already failed.
It should be a thing of last resort, not first actions.

Regarding vrs 17-18, I do know of paid, full time elders in some churches.  However, they tend to also be involved in other duties inside the particular congregation besides being an elder.  I have personally served as a deacon under an elder/pulpit minister.  I have also served as an elder (unpaid!). The congregation my wife and I attend now has a full time paid elder who is also the full time building maintenance person.  

For GGGGUS:
short answers to the questions:

1)  see above
2)  at least one other witness along with yourself
3)  eyewitness, first hand knowledge, etc.  
4)  if repentance has not already occured--the whole church--see above
5)  only after taking the witnesses before the elder in question
6)  no
7)  it applies today
8)  can't speak for God.

As I said above, these are my opinions, formed from experience and study.  Hope they help.

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« Reply #3 on: Thu Oct 24, 2002 - 20:36:06 »

Offline Eric

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« Reply #4 on: Fri Oct 25, 2002 - 07:51:47 »
Just a couple of notes.  First of all you asked about the do not muzzle and ox passage.  Paul makes two quotes in this passage to try to make sure that it is clear, when someone commits themselves to leading the church, to feeding and helping people learn how to disciple (by discipling) then they ought to be cared for by those people.  In our culture one of the things that our tax dollars go towards is to pay our teachers.  Same principle (not principal).  God says to let them commit wholeheartedly to this work by providing for them.

Second the accussation of an elder (esp. publically) is a big deal to Paul in this passage.  One of the important points of an elder is that they are to have a good reputation among the community (the world around the church), but by submitting to leading, they set themselves up to be criticized and attacked for things that they sometimes should not be.  

The way that you deal with an elder who is sinning is the same as with others.  You approach them about it.  You bring a witness, you and the witness then talk to the other elders.  Always the purpose of these acts are to help the person, never punitive.  The warning about entertaining a charge is there because the reputation is so important for leadership.  We need to be mindful of this and not let just any criticize our leaders.  You can disagree, but do not let that result in demeaning the other person.

Eric

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« Reply #4 on: Fri Oct 25, 2002 - 07:51:47 »



Offline charlie

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1 Timothy 5:17-20
« Reply #5 on: Fri Oct 25, 2002 - 09:37:35 »
Wiley was an elder, so he is worthy of double honor.

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« Reply #5 on: Fri Oct 25, 2002 - 09:37:35 »

Offline Richard

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« Reply #6 on: Fri Oct 25, 2002 - 14:45:27 »
I haven't seen anything on this thread so far that I disagree with.
Does that mean we've reached unity? :)

Richard

Offline s1n4m1n

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« Reply #7 on: Fri Oct 25, 2002 - 19:45:48 »
Hi,

Personally, I believe that Timothy was in a position that does not exist in the current day church of Christ. This position included the ability to chose elders and even make decisions in regards to an elder serving in a church (due to the verses you are referencing).


Agape,

Ken

Offline Bill

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« Reply #8 on: Sun Oct 27, 2002 - 15:05:56 »
This very thing may come about in my congregation.  I am the accusee.  I am the elder.  There are three elders in our congregation.  My accuser, a lady brought along her husband as a witness.  My sin was I said in front of the church that "I used to look forward to the last Sunday of the month (Which was "Sharing Sunday" when any one in the congregation could speak) but that it had been taken away."  She figured I was undercutting the elders as they had said there would be no more "Sharing Sunday".  I think the decision had been made by the other two even before we were appointed elders.  The decision was formalized by them at a meeeting that I couldn't attend because of my heart procedure.  Not that the outcome would have been any different if I had been there.  Some families didn't like "Sharing Sunday" primarily because it didn't fit the CoC tradition, some didn't like it but could see benefits to it and others thought it was great.  Since that time the other 2 elders have thought we my ought to use the 5th Sunday to let the men speak to get experiencce speaking before a group.  Of course "Sharing Sunday" provided that but women were also allowed to speak.

I'm not posting this to gain support but to give you an idea about how things work.  I assume some of you will consider what I did as wrong and others will not.  I will certainly consider whatever you post.  Thanks.  Of course you are only getting one side of the picture even though I try to give straight.

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« Reply #8 on: Sun Oct 27, 2002 - 15:05:56 »

Offline janine

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« Reply #9 on: Sun Oct 27, 2002 - 17:20:19 »
I guess there are 3 sides to such problems: 'yours', 'mine', and 'God's'.

Still, I fail to see, as you have outlined it, how you had any failure as an elder in that one.

Offline janine

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« Reply #10 on: Mon Oct 28, 2002 - 05:28:32 »
Why would anyone want to do that, when it's obvious that it happens?

Sometimes it's not a "hooking bull".... sometimes it's just bull. :0

It's gonna happen, as long as the church is made up of and led by human beings.

Only finding men willing to be led of God as they lead, and painting/bathing/baptizing/drowning them in prayer, will make a difference.

Offline spurly

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« Reply #11 on: Mon Oct 28, 2002 - 08:17:08 »
[!--QuoteBegin--][/span][table border=\"0\" align=\"center\" width=\"95%\" cellpadding=\"3\" cellspacing=\"1\"][tr][td]Quote [/td][/tr][tr][td id=\"QUOTE\"][!--QuoteEBegin--]1 Timothy 5:17-20  NKJ

17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.
18 For scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain," and, "the laborer is worthy of his wages."
19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.
20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

Questions:

1.  Not being familiar with ox, muzzles, and treading out grain, what is the anology here?

2.  If you are the one who is making the accusation are you required to have atleast two or three witnesses?

3.  What is the definition of witness here?

4.  It says that "those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all", who is the all?

5.  Do you take your witnesses before the "all"?

6.   HAS ANYONE EVER SEEN THIS PRACTICED?!!!?

7.  If not, why not?  Does it not apply to us today?

8.  Will possible blessings be withheld once you have come to the knowledge of this but fail to act?

Waiting to hear your thoughts.

GGGG US[/quote]
Humm, interesting questions.

Do you think it is saying that the elders are worthy of remuneration?  It might just be.  Maybe churches should be giving their elders a little money as well.  (Peter says they are not to serve because they are greedy for money, does this mean that they were actually paid some money in the first century?)

Yes, anyone bringing an accusation is supposed to have witnesses.  Otherwise a lot of false accusation would be taking place.

I have never seen an elder brought before a congregation to be rebuked.  Elders are a tight knit bunch who usually stand up for each other, not sure they would allow something like this to happen.

Kevin

Offline GGGGUS

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1 Timothy 5:17-20
« Reply #12 on: Thu Oct 24, 2002 - 09:21:05 »
1 Timothy 5:17-20  NKJ

17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.
18 For scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain," and, "the laborer is worthy of his wages."
19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.
20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

Questions:

1.  Not being familiar with ox, muzzles, and treading out grain, what is the anology here?

2.  If you are the one who is making the accusation are you required to have atleast two or three witnesses?

3.  What is the definition of witness here?

4.  It says that "those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all", who is the all?

5.  Do you take your witnesses before the "all"?

6.   HAS ANYONE EVER SEEN THIS PRACTICED?!!!?

7.  If not, why not?  Does it not apply to us today?

8.  Will possible blessings be withheld once you have come to the knowledge of this but fail to act?

Waiting to hear your thoughts.

GGGG US

Offline Richard

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1 Timothy 5:17-20
« Reply #13 on: Thu Oct 24, 2002 - 10:12:59 »
[!--QuoteBegin--][/span][table border=\"0\" align=\"center\" width=\"95%\" cellpadding=\"3\" cellspacing=\"1\"][tr][td]Quote [/td][/tr][tr][td id=\"QUOTE\"][!--QuoteEBegin--]1.  Not being familiar with ox, muzzles, and treading out grain, what is the anology here?[/quote]
Grain stalks were cut down and brought to the threashing room or floor.  The stalks would be spread out on the floor.  Oxen were used to walk around and around on the stalks, seperating the grain from the stalks and also seperating the grain from the hulls (wheat from chaff).
Then the stalks would all be picked up leaving just the grain and chaff.  Then the grain/chaff mixture would be scooped up with winnowing forks and thrown into the air.  The wind would blow away the chaff leaving just grain to fall back to the floor.
The reference in 1Timothy is a quote from Deuteronomy 25:4.
The analogy, I believe, says that when you are working for the good of the community, as the ox treading out grain is, you should be allowed to partake of the fruits of the communal labor.  A muzzled ox would not be able to munch on the grain while treading.

Richard

Offline Richard

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« Reply #14 on: Thu Oct 24, 2002 - 13:03:08 »
[!--QuoteBegin--][/span][table border=\"0\" align=\"center\" width=\"95%\" cellpadding=\"3\" cellspacing=\"1\"][tr][td]Quote [/td][/tr][tr][td id=\"QUOTE\"][!--QuoteEBegin--]1 Timothy 5:17-20  NKJ

17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.
18 For scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain," and, "the laborer is worthy of his wages."
19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.
20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

Questions:

1.  Not being familiar with ox, muzzles, and treading out grain, what is the anology here?

2.  If you are the one who is making the accusation are you required to have atleast two or three witnesses?

3.  What is the definition of witness here?

4.  It says that "those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all", who is the all?

5.  Do you take your witnesses before the "all"?

6.   HAS ANYONE EVER SEEN THIS PRACTICED?!!!?

7.  If not, why not?  Does it not apply to us today?

8.  Will possible blessings be withheld once you have come to the knowledge of this but fail to act?

Waiting to hear your thoughts.

GGGG US[/quote]
I have no special knowledge on this subject but I can give you my interpretation of the passage.

1. See my previous post

2. I think yes.  I believe this passage should be taken relative to the requirements laid out in chapter 3.  If you are going to charge an elder with not meeting the requirements of chapter 3, or you are going to listen to charges brought by another, I believe there should be corraborating evidence.

3. I believe a witness is one who can testify to the truth of the charges, either based on personal observation or possesion of factual evidence.

4. "All" would be the church body.  NIV says rebuked "publicly".

5. Hmmmmmm.....Depends on the circumstances. In most cases I would think not.  However, the person(s) doing the rebuking should be able to provide satisfactory evidence of the truth of the basis for their rebuke.

6. I have not.  My current church family has a long history of doing these sorts of things in secret.  I believe that approach is wrong and damaging to the church body.  I'm not suggesting that every complaint about an elder be aired in the public forum...but if you are charging an elder with not meeting the biblical requirements for being and elder, and have established the truth of those charges based on the testimony of two or three witnesses, I believe Paul is correct in calling for a public rebuke.

7. See above

8. I don't know about blessings being withheld but I believe the church can not expect to accomplish God's will if the eldership is not qualified.

That's my opinion - take it for what it is worth.

Richard

Offline Richard

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1 Timothy 5:17-20
« Reply #15 on: Thu Oct 24, 2002 - 15:49:46 »
Bill,
Of course you are right about the word "qualifications", I don't like it in a legalistic sense of the word.  Characteristics might be a better word.  Also, not all of the characteristics listed in chapter 3 are necessarily related to sin.
And, again, you are right to say that the passage in question (1Ti 5:17-20) specifically mentions accusations of "sinning".  I guess I was making a mental leap and linking "sinning" to those characteristics (or qualifications) from chapter 3 that are obviously sin related.
I absolutley do not think we should be rebuking elders in the public assembly for having unruly children, for example.  I also do not think we should be rebuking elders in the public assembly for sins which do not have a substantial impact on their ability to be effective elders.

I really appreciate your comments.  These are issues being discussed in my church family right now.  I need to be able to express my opinions clearly without causing misunderstandings.  Please let me know if you think I need to re-evaluate my position.  I value your thoughts.

Richard

Offline Richard

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« Reply #16 on: Fri Oct 25, 2002 - 05:18:48 »
[!--QuoteBegin--][/span][table border=\"0\" align=\"center\" width=\"95%\" cellpadding=\"3\" cellspacing=\"1\"][tr][td]Quote [/td][/tr][tr][td id=\"QUOTE\"][!--QuoteEBegin--]Has the elder sinned in a way that effects the credibility of his service to and shepherding of the congregation of believers he is serving?[/quote]
Wiley,
I think this is what I was attempting to get at in referring back to chapter 3.  Paul lists some qualities which will help and elder to be an effective leader.  When considering the sins of an elder, I think it would be wise to look at how those sins might effect the listed qualities.  Elders, being sinful by nature as am I, are going to sin on occassion.  When asking ourselves if a particular sin merits public charges, I believe chapter 3 is a good place to start.
I also agree that public rebuking should be reserved for those cases where it is the last resort or the charges are especially egregious.  However, I find it interesting that no one, as yet, as described ever seeing this done.
Thanks for the comments.  You are a wise and sagacious man :D

Richard

Offline janine

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« Reply #17 on: Fri Oct 25, 2002 - 06:21:44 »
He's a wise and sagacious man?

Well, he is, thus he merits the repetitive and redundant compliment! :D

****************************

Nebulous sins without clear-cut tangible results are difficult to pin on anyone, elder or not. ???

Offline Richard

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« Reply #18 on: Fri Oct 25, 2002 - 08:25:43 »
[!--QuoteBegin--][/span][table border=\"0\" align=\"center\" width=\"95%\" cellpadding=\"3\" cellspacing=\"1\"][tr][td]Quote [/td][/tr][tr][td id=\"QUOTE\"][!--QuoteEBegin--]He's a wise and sagacious man?

Well, he is, thus he merits the repetitive and redundant compliment! :D[/quote]
janine,
I work in the department of redundancy department and therefore have a tendency to repeat myself repeatedly. ;)

Richard

Offline Bill

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« Reply #19 on: Fri Oct 25, 2002 - 13:18:16 »
Richard

I think Wiley has pretty well offered anything tha I may have said and Eric's thoughts have completed them.  So to not be redundant and repeat what has already been said, I'll stop here. :D

Have a great weekend!!!

Bill

Offline GGGGUS

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« Reply #20 on: Fri Oct 25, 2002 - 14:56:26 »
Thanks so much for your wonderful input.  I do not tend to respond to the comments only because I am truly asking and seeking to know more and understand.  I have concluded that I would problably go to the elder or elders first, in the spirit of love, and discuss any wrong doing.  Sometimes I feel we just have this idea that elders are above wrong doing- they passed the "test" to get the position and now we dont question anything they do.  Questioning them would show a lack of respect or something.  I hold the position in high regard and honor the men who would shepherd my soul.  I welcome that.  I have seen a pattern of handling things in an unbiblical way (goes in the face of what the bible says) within our eldership and through prayer these scriptures came to me.  I also have the problem of being a woman and taught that I really don't have any say. AAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
So if I talked directly to them, and it was to no avail, what then????  Go before the congregation?  I DON'T THINK SO.
Just been taught for too long that I would go to hell for something like that. (being a woman and all)  That's up there with murder, no worse.  (A little tongue and cheek, not much though)  

Anyway, I am learning and praying and seeking God's will.
 GGGG US

Offline mike

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« Reply #21 on: Fri Oct 25, 2002 - 20:03:38 »
Thirty years ago, I attended a CoC where one of the elders was a "shrewd"  businessman. He was a dominant elder -- you know the type -- made most of the major decisions.

On a business trip to Switzerland, he was arrested and jailed for fraud -- some sort of international finance violations.

Anyway, when he got back home, he was to make a statement the next Sunday morning. Apparently the other elders felt he was going to publically repent. They had investigated the problem and talked to him, and were convinced of his guilt.

Instead, he made excuses and explained that he had not actually done anything wrong. The other elders publically rebuked him, and asked him to reconsider his position. He didn't, and was removed from the position of elder.

This is the only experience I have with anything like this.

Mike

Offline chilidip

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« Reply #22 on: Sun Oct 27, 2002 - 19:02:50 »
This may sound ugly but sometimes the truth hurts.  I know exactly what Bill is talking about.  I have experienced the same thing.  There is an unwritten, even unspoken code in a lot of Churchs of Christ among the eldership that you do things a certain way (be they biblical, or loving or not).  The  dominant elder (or "hooking bull") as I like to call them dictates what will and won't go on in  the Church.  Most of the other elders will keep their distance from the "hooking bull" but will uphold his edicts as "contending for the faith".  This leaves one like Bill (with a different view or idea which might in fact be very biblical or very loving) standing in the cold, by himself, wondering "what, oh Lord, do you want me here for".  By the way, I think that attitude (the "hooking bull" syndrome) flies in the face of the scripture that talks about lording it over the flock.

There, I said it.  Now crucify me!

Offline GGGGUS

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« Reply #23 on: Mon Oct 28, 2002 - 07:56:19 »
I assume, Bill, that you talked with this lady and assured her that your comments were not meant in an ugly spirit (unless they were, in which case you apologized) in eaither case I see that as solved.

If you then go and do make comments that are ugly then I can see applying this verse.

People will use the scriptures to hurt not to heal.  I do not want to be guilty of this.  

Bill, tell me, did this lady come to you first and talk to you about this?  If not has she yet to talk directly to you?  Do you even know who "she" is?  What do the other elders think about this?  Were they upset with your comments?

GGGG US