aymon de albatrus
The Church is not a Democracy.
Democracy: DEMOS = People - KRATIS = Government .
That it to say: "Government of the People".
That is: Rights of the people, the Voice of the people, the Ballot of the people, People are in control, Humans are Sovereign.
God is absent in Democracy, thus Democracy is not Scriptural.
The Church is Theocratic, NOT Democratic, that is:
"Government of God through His appointed authority" .
Democracy is not from God, but from the world, it is against God and it is not part of the Kingdom of God. There is no Democracy in Heaven, God commands and it is done most willingly.
Democratic election of Elders is not Scriptural for who elects Elders is God, and not the congregation, Act 20:28
If elections are done according to democratic principals, then women would also elect and I do not see how the "glory of man" can judge the "image and glory of God" (1Co 11:7), for to elect one must necessarily judge,
If the congregation elects it can also dis-elect, and that it is not Scriptural either, for Elders are appointed for life, being appointed by God, an His calling is without repentance. This is not so in a democracy. For the free gifts and the calling of God [are] without repentance. (Romans 11:29 )
The Elder’s appointment is made as follows:
The exiting Elders in prayer identify whom the Lord wants an Elder,
Having identified the man, they will introduce him to the congregation as a marked Elder according to the will of the Lord, giving a period, say of a month, for anyone to bring forward serious reasons (spiritual and/or natural) stating as to why he should not be made an Elder. These reasons, signed , are given to the Eldership in private (serious reasons, not just dislikes).
If there are no serious reasons, the Elder is put under test to act as an Elder, say for six months, so that both the Elders and himself can practically gauge if the "calling" is true. If all is well, at the end of the six months, the proposed Elder, is officially appointed to the position in front of the congregation, with the laying of hands by the existing Elders. Inviting Elders from another church would be useful.
If the accusations are grave, the Elders must inform themselves on their truthfulness, and if true and sufficiently grave, then after discussing fully the matter with the prospective elder, his candidature is withdrawn.
No election or voting by ballot.
Elders are not elected by the congregation because that would be democracy,
The existing Elders, discern the Elder chosen by God,
The Elders are called by the Holy Ghost, and NOT auto appointed or elected by the congregation. If the Spirit does not call, then it is useless to be responsible for this position. The existing Elders and the congregation accept and confirm those that the Holy Spirit makes Elders. Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28 ),
The Elder would have to be proven in order to demonstrate his suitability to this office,
The period of office of Elders is for life unless they disqualify themselves Scripturally, or they resign. If they cannot participate actively because of health, age or other reasons, their wisdom is always available to the church,
The Eldership must be a plurality of qualified men, co-equal. The appointment of a man for the office of Elder for a Christian ministry must be in accord with:
Divine Sovereignty : The call of God be on the man. It is God that elects, through Jesus Christ, otherwise the appointment is not valid, and
Human Responsibility: the Eldership and the congregation recognize the call of God on the man and they accept it in front of the church and God,
Relationship between Elders is of co-equality between peers in terms of the office of Elder. They are all equal as far as the office of Elder is concerned but there is difference of gifts given by the Lord: But be not ye called ‘Rabbi,’ for One is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. (Matthew 23:8),
In this co-equality of plurality, it is necessary for practical reasons that there be an Elder "first amongst equals" in virtue of the received divine qualities and of matured experience.
What the congregation CANNOT do:
Appoint Elders, or a Pastor with the democratic method (or fire them),
Control the Eldership for the direction of the Church,
Control finances of the Church as far as tithes and offers,
Take in their hands to discipline the Eldership or single Elder.
What the congregation CAN do
Pray for the Eldership,
Concur with and accept the Elder chosen by God,
Submit themselves to the Eldership and to obey them whilst they obey the Word of God,
Agree with and confirm matters concerning purchases of large real estate or/and the sales of estates and of large other expenses,
Confirm disciplinary actions and excommunication against members in grave sin not showing signs of repentance.