Chris' Original Blogbeque

A fresh, vinegar-based examination of life

Titus don’t care ’bout yo past!

Posted by Chris on August 31, 2006

one day at work, the following thought popped in my head:

“I want to see homeless men become elders in the church”

and why not? here is what Paul writes to Titus in the epistle,

“An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” Titus 1:6-9

be; are; is. what do these underlined words have in common? present tense. an elder must meet a certain standard that measures his current life. Paul did not instruct Titus to look for men “born into the tribe of Levi; who obtained an education from the priests; who were never beggars.” One sentence in that passage refers to the past– “the trustworthy message as it has been taught”– but the requirement is that they hold firmly to it in the now, not to have always held the correct doctrine or theology.

many of the stereotypes of homeless men, “bums” you might say, would exclude them from currently serving as an elder. for example, drunkenness or lack of self-control. Furthermore, in the New Testament Paul shuns those who are idle and do not work for their food. Jobless, homeless men, even if sober and well-read, do not qualify as elders. They are not upholding a home, do not have the capacity to be hospitable, and are not blameless in a measure of their work ethic. however, what about ex-homeless men?

without a doubt, there are ex-alcoholics as elders. there are probably many elders that once lacked discipline, or self-control, or who struck out in violence (replace with ‘homeless’ with convicts/parolees and i think the same argument should be made). so we should not exclude them. maybe you agree. but I want to see homeless men become elders, not just allowed in a hypothetical situation.

how can i say that? if the gospel of Jesus Christ has any hope to offer, surely its promises would be most sweet for a homeless and destitute person. the person who runs to Christ, abandons their old life, and overcomes destitution bears a powerful testimony. Jesus said, “the one who has been forgiven much, loves much.” i would expect this person to love their Savior very much. I would expect elders to be drawn from a pool of people that love their Savior very much. for Our, The Church’s benefit, raise us up elders who can “encourage others” as Paul says by their firsthand knowledge of the glory of God! I want to see homeless men become elders!

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