Among many appreciations of Mr. A. G. Clarke’s articles Is one which puts forward a different point of view on the recognition of overseers, and as it may he of interest to some of our readers, we print it.
One would like to congratulate Mr. Clarke on his splendid article on the difficult subject of “ Overseership.” (See March/April issue,) A great deal of writing and cor-respondence has been carried on from time to time on this ever-recurring topic. I hope Mr. Clarke will however bear with me if I point out that I think he has overlooked 2 Tim. 2. 2, when he state* that the Word of God knows nothing about existing elders appointing others to follow them. Hen- Paul emphasises the charge he had given to Timothy ; a charge that surely includes a great deal about the appointment of elders. “ The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men. who shall be able to leach others also.” Who are the “ faithful men “ and who are the “ others also ? “ Does this not carry us out of apostolic times and point right on down the future ? Mr. Darby taught that we cannot appoint overseers or elders now. seeing we have neither apostles nor apostolic delegates ; but if overseers or elders cannot be appointed now, where is our authority for giving letters of com-mendation to missionaries and evangelists? It is quite true the Holy Spirit alone can make overseers, but is this not equally true of missionaries and evangelists ? Why then do we commend one and neglect the other ? David was Israel’s anointed king long before he came to the throne. Nevertheless it was necessary for the nation to formally appoint him (2 San). 5). If nothing else, this would go a long way to close the mouths of grumblers and objectors, who like the poor are always with us ! Here also we learn a definitely Scriptural principle that the voice of the elders is the voice of the nation (2 Sam. 5. 1-3 ; I Chron. 11. 1-3). Conversely Paul’s message to the elders in Acts 20, was his message to the church they represented. The church or assembly has no authority to appoint elders only as this is done through or by existing elders (2 Tirn. 2. 2). Thank God there arc still faithful men and no doubt will be till the sound of the trumpet finishes the churches’ history here.
Thomas H. McCabe 37. Newry St., Banbridge, Co. Down. 7.4.55.
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