|Vol. 14 No. 7 July 2012||
Fred C. Nowell Jr.
Some may wonder what all the fuss is about. Others may not be interested in it at all. Still, some might want to understand better and possibly may even read a little to educate themselves. Growing up, I was always strongly “encouraged” to have respect for those who were older. I can still hear my mother’s voice telling me, “Respect your elders!” As we get older, we can try to do all within our power to slow down the aging process, but ultimately the signs of time spent in the physical body will be clearly recognizable. One of the ways we can distinguish the older from younger is the shade of their hair. While many ladies may take advantage of hair coloring products, most men will allow the shades of gray to gradually invade their head until there is no more hair to consume. For some, gray hair comes at a very young age and may not be a sign of their maturity or age at all, but for most, the shades of gray change with the years until one is considered a senior or “seasoned” citizen.
As we study the very important subject of the leadership of the church or the God-given office of elders, it is imperative and vital to the church that both men and women take special notice of their lives and goals of serving the Lord in His church. The proverb writer penned, “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31 NKJV). We may not be able to stop our hair from turning different shades of gray, but we can and ought to grow in grace and knowledge as we age (Ephesians 4:15; Philippians 3:8; Colossians 1:10; 2 Peter 3:18). This way, when we are older and our heads are silver, we might be found to be righteous and be recognized as one deserving of honor. Simply having gray hair is not a prerequisite for glory or honor; righteousness is! If a man is to serve in the capacity or hold the office of elder, he must have the qualities that inspiration has deemed necessary for him to serve (1 Timothy 3:1ff; Titus 1). One does not have to have a complete grasp or superfluous hold on every quality, but he must be one that clearly possesses each quality and is continuously growing in them. As we consider the office of elder (and deacon), we must also consider the wives of each and the qualities they are to have as well (1 Timothy 3:11), knowing that all Christian men and women are to strive to live godly lives (Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 4:31; Philippians 4:8; Titus 2:2-3).
Let us teach our young children the joys of serving God and doing the very best we can to imitate our precious Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ in all things (Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:6). Let us teach our teens the importance of making the proper and right decisions when tempted to serve other gods by forsaking the assemblies of the church (Hebrews 10:25-26; Romans 14:19; 1 Corinthians 14:1; 1 Timothy 6:11). By doing so, when they become young adults, they will be more apt to seek after a spouse that will help them serve God faithfully and help them attain their eternal reward. If they are blessed to have children of their own (being well grounded in the faith), they will be more inclined to teach the same things taught to them.
When these things are the priority of more Christians, there will not be a famine in the church for godly leadership when we enter into in the fall and winter of life. Much work needs to be done prior to one serving as an elder and a wife of an elder. Let’s not wait until we recognize the many shades of gray!
[Editor’s Note: There will be no pool of men and women from whom the local church can select qualified Christian men and women to serve as elders, accompanied by their godly wives – unless godly Christians groom youngsters, youth, young adults and each subsequent maturity level. The littlest boy, if nurtured throughout his life, may be an elder 40 years later. The littlest girl, if nurtured throughout her life, may help her husband decades later qualify to serve our Lord as an elder. What will happen if we do not groom little ones and upward with a steady diet of God’s Word and hearty encouragement? We know all too well, because we see those sad results everywhere today. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Evolution has been defined as a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler state to a higher, more complex one. The process of human evolution is a theory that our origin is in preexisting types of life forms, and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations, from simpler to more complex. While there are many who insist on this theory as the accepted view of our origins, more and more scientists are acknowledging its fallacies, and are advocating the need for intelligent design. Evolution is circular reasoning, assuming as true the very tenets that it seeks to authenticate. Even its dating procedures, which sound so authoritative, are based on evolutionary models. This explains why so much of the dating of evolutionary discoveries is so ancient. “Give it enough time,” it is reasoned, “and it will happen.”
Biases aside, there are real problems with evolution. In biochemist Michael Behe’s book, Darwin’s Black Box, it is demonstrated how many cellular systems are “irreducibly complex” at the molecular level, and as such could not have come about by the gradual step by step processes of evolution, by mutation and natural selection. In order to evolve, multiple systems would have to arise simultaneously, and the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. In his Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin said, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Evolution has no explanation for such irreducible complexity. Instead of existence by chance or accident, such systems argue for intelligent design.
Of course, evolution and Scripture can never be reconciled. When God created male and female, the Bible clearly states He did not go to existing animal life to do so. “Then the LORD God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). Humanity was created separate and apart from the animal world; we are created in the image of God, which gives sanctity to life and purpose for our existence, something evolution can never do. Indeed, as Scripture, the inspired Word of God declares, “For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well” (Psalm 139:13-14).
Human theories will come and go, but only the Word of God abides forever (Isaiah 40:8). May we never have our faith shaken by the fallible and incomplete knowledge of human reasoning, when we can stand secure and steadfast on the confirmed Word of God. “God must be true, even if everyone is a liar, as it is written: That You may be justified in Your words and triumph when You judge” (Romans 3:4).