Thread: Eldership
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Old 09-12-2008, 12:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Peter Debelak View Post
Elders in the New Testament In the earliest Jewish Christian churches, at least the church in Jerusalem, the position of “elder” was almost certainly modeled after the synagogue pattern. Although there are few specific details about the function of elders in the Jerusalem church, they apparently served as a decision-making council. They are often mentioned in conjunction with the apostles, and some passages give the impression that the apostles and elders of Jerusalem considered themselves to be a decision-making council for the whole church (Acts 15:1; Acts 21:17-26). As the Jewish character of the Jerusalem church increased with the departure of Philip, Peter, and others more amenable to preaching to Gentiles, the synagogue pattern probably became even more pronounced in Jerusalem.[/COLOR]

- - from Holman Bible Dictionary found here
Scant evidence for making the connection between the two "elderships," however. "Almost certainly" doesn't quite do it for me, although it DOES show a contradiction within that entire school of analysis whereby the supposed "offices" are later features of assembly practice, which is an important consideration that I have been grappling with. If it is "almost certainly" something derived from synagogue custom, transmitted through the Jewish believers in the assembly at Jerusalem, then that's a very early feature, not a very late, potentially post-apostolic, one.


See, this is why I'm keyed in on the "widows' roll" concept. It's so distinctive that if it finds itself firmly ensconced in common synagogue practice, it then becomes far less unreasonable to propose that other items, such as an appointed eldership, find their source in a similar place, specifically, in a traditional practice of first-century Palestinian Judaism.

This would really make several things make a whole lot more sense, in my opinion, not the least of which is Paul's subjugation of the functioning of the sisters by means of an appeal to the Law...
Let each walk as the Lord has distributed to each, as God has called each, and in this manner I instruct all the assemblies. 1 Cor. 7:17

Last edited by YP0534; 09-12-2008 at 01:04 PM.
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