Monday, December 3, 2012

Taking Care of God's Church: 1 Timothy 3:5

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In American courts, there is the principle of “Discovery Misconduct.” “There are many different types of misconduct,” but “one of the most common types is the withholding of evidence.” If “relevant information” that “would have affected the outcome of the trial" [jury’s decision, sp] is not provided , then the “court may order” disclosure of the information and “grant more time to review.” If evidence is not “disclosed that would favor the defendant” a mistrial may be declared by the judge.

In the “courtroom” of the American Church, not only is information not disclosed, but only one “lawyer” (gospel preacher) is allowed to speak to the “jury” of Christian listeners. I think the real Judge of the church Jesus—not the eldership—would have a problem with this, 1 Cor. 14:29-34. Some may think that “the truth” has already been settled, but perhaps thinking this way is the problem. When additional evidence is withheld, it must be allowed into court, because the purpose of the system is to allow the truth to come to light, not control the outcome.

Two years ago, I was involved in an intense discussion in a Sunday morning Bible class about the kind of "authority" God gives elders, so I prepared for the onslaught of "obey, submit, rule" passages that are misused to sustain and support the hierarchical interpretation of the verses that have these words. I came across some interesting information on two words/phrases in 1 Timothy 3:4-5. One is the word “rule” in the KJV (proistemi) [pro-ee-stay-me] and the other is the phrase “take care of” (epimeleomai) [epee-mel-e-oh-my].

‘Proistemi’ is translated "rule" in the KJV. Thayer does not even list "rule" as a usage. Strong gives it lastly, but the general idea is to "inspect” or “lead" as its compound of pros + istemi = "before + stand" shows. The interesting thing that I came across is the phrase “take care of” (epimeleomai) in 1 Timothy 3:5 which Paul tells Timothy was the purpose of a man being a ‘proistemi.’