Monday, May 30, 2011

Angry Elders

"An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered..." (See context: Titus 1:6-9; Emphasis mine)

“Not quick-tempered.” The word used in the Greek text to convey this idea of “quick temper” is “orgilon.” It means wrath. I think the idea in the Titus text regarding the qualifications of an elder is that an elder is not to be given to exploding often in angry displays of really bad, wrathful behavior. The reasons are obvious. How can an elder manage or rule over the church of God if he cannot rule over his own temper? (See 1 Timothy 3: 5)

The Old Testament book of Proverbs speaks to this very issue.

"A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, And a man of wicked intentions is hated."(Proverbs 14:17 NKJV)

A man of quick temper behaves not only foolishly but the conjunction used here, and, in the verse connects a quick-tempered man with a man of wicked intentions.

"He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, But he who is impulsive exalts folly." (Proverbs 14:29 NKJV)

This verse tells us that someone who is quick-tempered lacks great understanding and that he is impulsive and thus exalts folly.

But, most importantly, the Bible tells us in the Wisdom Book of Proverbs that we are not to even associate with a quick-tempered man:

"Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared." (Proverbs 22:24 - 25 NIV)

An elder in a church who is quick-tempered is NOT qualified to be an elder. In fact, when there are more than two three witnesses (See Matthew 18:16; Deuteronomy 19:15) to this sinful behavior the fact can be confirmed that this is a problem from which the quick-tempered man must repent or step down, or be removed, as an elder.

We are commanded in Scripture not to make friends with or to even associate with such a one making it impossible to submit to the Biblical teaching and or discipline of such an elder.