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Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership Paperback – November 5, 2003
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"A very useful resource for teaching...truth regarding elders in the local church. Sound, clear, and extremely important. Recommended." --Reformation & Revival Journal
About the Author
Alexander Strauch was raised in New Jersey and converted to Christ at a Bible camp in New York State. He received his undergraduate degree from Colorado Christian University and went on to earn his Master's in Divinity degree from Denver Seminary. For over thirty years he has served as an elder at Littleton Bible Chapel near Denver, Colorado. Additionally, he has taught philosophy and New Testament literature at Colorado Christian University. A gifted Bible teacher and popular speaker, Mr. Strauch has helped thousands of churches worldwide through his expository, writing ministry. He is the author of Biblical Eldership, The New Testament Deacon, Men and Women: Equal Yet Different, The Hospitality Commands, Agape Leadership, Leading with Love and Meetings That Work.
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The fact is, many people in the church today do not think about church leadership. As long as something is in place, as long as the church is headed in the right direction, that is good enough. Alexander Strauch has written Biblical Eldership to reveal the truth about church leadership, plainly revealed in God's Word.
Part One defines what Biblical eldership is. "According to the New Testament concept of eldership, elders lead the church, teach and preach the Word, protect the church from false teachers, exhort and admonish the saints in sound doctrine, visit the sick and pray, and judge doctrinal issues. In biblical terminology, elders shepherd, oversee, lead, and care for the local church." (16)
Strauch covers Pastoral Leadership, Shared Leadership, Male Leadership, Qualified Leadership, and Servant Leadership each in a separate chapter. Each chapter is thorough, easy to read, and back up with scripture references throughout.
Part Two is a defense of Biblical Eldership. The average church member is not interested in the leadership structure in the church, but it is hugely important. As Strauch says, the structure of church government will help determine how people think and act in the church. In my experience, people just don't want to talk about eldership for one reason or another, choosing to focus on the "more important" issues. However, "the New Testament offers more instruction regarding elders than on other important church subjects such as the Lord's Supper, the Lord's Day, baptism, or the spiritual gifts." (103)
Obviously, eldership is hugely important in Scripture and needs to be carefully considered by every local church.
Part Three serves as the exposition of Scripture on eldership. It essentially covers the same material as Parts One and Two, but expositionally instead of topically.
Part Four includes two short chapters, one on the appointment of elders and one on the relationship with elders and their congregation.
Biblical Eldership is a great book that covers an underserved area of theology and should serve as an example for other Christian authors who want to cover church topics. It is Biblical, thorough, and well written. Highly recommended for all readers interested in Biblical leadership in the church.
The book is intentionally light on application (and thus the accompanying study guide), but Strauch consistently demonstrates a comprehensive grasp of Scripture which he obviously obtained throughout his first-hand experience of being a church elder and the work of the Holy Spirit in his life.
My only complaint about the book is that, though usually even-handed, Strauch sometimes forces his readers to take his side on debatable issues with words like "clearly," "extremely," and other slight exaggerations unfortunately common to many Christian teachers. But as I said, he is usually even-handed and convincing and the book is still most definitely a 5/5.
If you or your church are looking to establish and eldership or bring an existing eldership into greater conformity to Scripture and effectiveness for Jesus, I highly recommend this book!
I differ strongly with his position that elders are appointed by other elders and that the congregation does not participate in that process. I believe his exegesis of Acts 14:23 to be incorrect but I hasten to add that there are others in that same camp and it is a discussion which will continue in the history of the church. It is not for this that I rate his work with four instead of five stars. The book is a bit repetitive in some aspects and I find some chapters redundant, not in the chapter titles, but in their content. Once something has been said once, and then repeated for emphasis, it's time to move on.
So... I recommend the book for a training resource and general help. The Mentor Guide and the Workbook are valuable also.