Larger font
Smaller font
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font

    August 31, 1888

    “The Qualifications of Church Officers” The Signs of the Times 14, 34, pp. 535, 536.

    THE officers of the church named in Scripture are, as we have shown, bishops and deacons. The bishopric or eldership of a church is a most important office. This is evident from three considerations: First the Scripture says so; secondly, it is the highest office in the church; and thirdly, it is evident from the number and nature of the qualifications which the Scriptures require shall be found in him who is to be chosen to the office. These qualifications we shall notice fully and in detail as they are given in the directions to Timothy and Titus: 1 Timothy 3; Titus 1.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.1

    1. “A bishop then must be blameless.” This word in itself tells all that it means. It cannot be made much plainer than it is. The definition of the Greek word is, “not open to be attacked.” Webster’s definition is: “Without fault, innocent, guiltless, not meriting censure.” “We speak of a think being blameless when it is free from blame, or the just imputation of fault, as a blameless life of character.” “A bishop then must be blameless” signifies therefore one whose life is so fully conformed to the rules of right that no one can justly lay blame upon him, or find fault with him.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.2

    2. “The husband of one wife.” This needs no explanation. We might however observe that we do not think that the meaning is that he shall be a married man; but that he shall not have more than one wife.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.3

    3. “Vigilant.” That is, “attentive to discover and avoid danger, or to provide for safety, wakeful, watchful, circumspect.” The word “circumspect” is from two Latin words, circum, around, and specere, to look; that is, to look all around a thing. “A man who is circumspect habitually examines things on every side, in order to weigh and deliberate.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.4

    This idea is in the Greek word rendered vigilant in the text. The importance of this qualification is evident at once in view of the many different dispositions that are brought together in church relationship, and the readiness with which so many accuse one another. The one who is chosen to deal with all these, as for those for whom Christ died, must be one who will not only be attentive to avoid danger and provide for safety, but who will examine things on every side before he decides or acts in the premises.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.5

    4. “Sober.” This word signifies one of sound mind, a well-regulated mind, collected, discreet, self-controlled. “Sober supposes the absence of all exhilaration of spirits, and is opposed to flighty.” One who is “not wild, visionary, or heated with passion,” but who exercises “cool, dispassionate reason” in all things.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.6

    5. “Of good behavior.” The Greek word here is kosmion, from kosmeo, which signifies “to adorn, decorate, embellish;” and it conveys the same idea as is expressed in Titus 2:10, “adorn the doctrine.” The meaning of the expression “of good behavior,” therefore, is that he must be one who is “desirous of order and decorum; one who is “modest, orderly, decent, and becoming;” one who will so conduct himself as to “dignify,” and “be an honor to” the position to which he is called; not exalting nor magnifying himself, but exalting his calling and magnifying his office.SITI August 31, 1888, page 535.7

    6. “Given to hospitality.” This word signifies, literally, “loving strangers,” “kind to strangers.” Thus he must be “one who receives and entertains strangers, with kindness and without reward;” “with kind and generous liberality.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 536.1

    7. “Apt to teach.” He must be one who is skillful in the word of knowledge, so that he may be able to instruct by proofs, and “show by argument.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 536.2

    8. “Not given to wine.” The word here rendered wine is defined by Liddell and Scott, “the fermented juice of the grape.” Therefore he must be one who does not drink the fermented juice of the grape.SITI August 31, 1888, page 536.3

    9. “No striker.” Not “one who is contentious, or given to reproaches.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 536.4

    10. “Not greedy of filthy lucre.” Not a lover of money. Nor is this all, the word signifies not a lover of wealth or abundance of any kind; or, as is said further on in the verse, “not covetous,” close, or stingy, but “liberal and generous.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 536.5

    11. “Not a brawler.” Not disposed to fight, not quarrelsome or contentious; not a complainer, nor one who scolds.SITI August 31, 1888, page 536.6

    12. “But patient.” Reasonable, fair, kind, gentle, yielding.SITI August 31, 1888, page 536.7

    13. “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;” or, as is said to Titus, “Having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.” And the reason for this qualification is plainly given: “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” The man who will allow his children to be disobedient, or unruly, or self-willed, and allows them to domineer in the family, will allow the same elements to rule in the church; and under such a man the church will be just anything but what the church ought to be. Upon this point God has given to fathers a lesson for all time. Eli was descended in the right line in a house which God had established in the priesthood, but his two sons were a pair of hoodlums. And “the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord; for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.” This is another great evil that would spring from having a man as elder who did not govern his own children. Their unruly conduct brings reproach upon his office, and other men seeing it are led to despise the worship and service of the church. Because of the wickedness of Eli’s sons, “men abhorred the offering of the Lord.” “And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house; when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.” 1 Samuel 3:11-13; 2:12-36.SITI August 31, 1888, page 536.8

    14. “Not a novice.” Not a new convert, not one newly come to the faith; and here also the reason is given, “Lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” Let him grow up, and build up, in the faith, but never do anything that will tend to puff him up. “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity buildeth up.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 536.9

    15. “Moreover he must have a good report of them that are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” The church must have a care for the opinion of those who are outside of the church. We must “walk in wisdom toward them that are without.” “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.” Ephesians 5:15. It is a most proper—yes, a necessary—question to ask in choosing a man for a bishop, How does he stand toward those who are without? How do his neighbors look upon him? for they may despise his faith; but how do they look upon him as a man, and as a neighbor? Is he neighborly? Is he kind, gentle, and accommodating? Is he straightforward and honest in all his dealings? Does he pay his bills promptly? or is he careless about running into debt? “He must have a good report of them that are without.”SITI August 31, 1888, page 536.10

    16. “Not self-willed.” Titus 1:7. Not governed by his own will; “yielding to the will or wishes of others; accommodating or compliant;” not dogged, stubborn, nor presumptuous.SITI August 31, 1888, page 536.11

    17. “But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” Titus 1:8, 9.SITI August 31, 1888, page 536.12

    There are the qualifications which the word of God requires in him who is to be an elder of the church of God.SITI August 31, 1888, page 536.13

    The qualifications to the office of deacon are much the same, for says the word:—SITI August 31, 1888, page 536.14

    “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 3:8-13.SITI August 31, 1888, page 536.15

    It is very likely that many, as they have read the foregoing, have said within themselves, “Where can such a man be found?” Well, he ought to be found in every church in the land. He ought to be found in the very church to which you belong. He ought, in fact, to be found in yourself. See: These are the qualifications which the word of God requires that there shall be in the officers of the church. The officers of the church are to be chosen from among the membership of the church. Therefore these are the qualifications, these are the virtues, which the word of God requires shall be found in every member of the church. If these qualifications are not found there, then whose fault is it? It is your own fault. And if such persons as are here required are not found in the church, then whose fault is that? It is still the fault of the individual members. For every member of the church of God is required by the word of God to be just such a person as is described in these scriptures.SITI August 31, 1888, page 536.16


    “The Third Angel’s Message. The Mark of the Beast” The Signs of the Times 14, 34, pp. 538, 539.

    (Lesson 11, Sabbath, September 15, 1888.)

    1. WHO will be required to worship the beast and his image, and to receive his mark?SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.1

    “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads; and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:12, 15-17.SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.2

    2. In opposition to this what does the Third Angel’s Message say?SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.3

    “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” Revelation 14:9, 10.SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.4

    3. What are those led to do who heed the voice of this message?SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.5

    “Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Verse 12.SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.6

    4. What does this show?—That the power spoken of in Revelation 13:12-17 will put forth all their strength to compel men to do something that is contrary to the commandments of God.SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.7

    5. What have we found was the principal object of the Papacy, in the fourth century? and what is the purpose of the Protestantism of to-day?—To see the power of the State to compel all people to keep Sunday as the Lord’s day, or Christian Sabbath.SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.8

    6. Of what day is Christ the Lord?SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.9

    “But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.” Exodus 20:10.SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.10

    8. Then what day is the Lord’s day?SITI August 31, 1888, page 538.11

    9. What does the Lord called the seventh day?SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.1

    “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy days; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.” Isaiah 58:13; Exodus 20:10.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.2

    10. Is there any commandment of God for keeping Sunday?—None whatever.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.3

    11. What testimonies can you give on this point from eminent first-day authorities?SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.4

    The $500 prize essay of the American Tract Society acknowledges the “complete silence of the New Testament so far as any explicit command for the Sabbath [Sunday, the first day of the week] or definite rules for its observance are concerned.”—Abiding Sabbath, p. 184. And the $1,000 prize essay of the American Sunday-school Union says: “Up to the time of Christ death, no change had been made to the day.” And, “so far as the record shows, they [the apostles] did not however, give any explicit command enjoining the abandonment of the seventh-day Sabbath and its observance on the first day of the week.”—Lord’s Day, pp. 186-188. See note.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.5

    12. What was the single link that in the fourth century united Church and State, which developed the beast?—The Sunday institution.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.6

    13. What is the single point in a similar movement in our day which develops only an image to the beast?—The Sunday institution.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.7

    14. What does the papacy set forth as the sign of its authority to command men under penalty of sin for disobedience?SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.8

    “The very act of changing Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of.... Because by keeping Sunday strictly they acknowledge the church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under it.”—Catechism of the Catholic Christian Instructed.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.9

    15. Then what is the mark of the beast?SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.10

    16. Then what is the keeping of Sunday?SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.11

    “The keeping of Sunday is an homage they pay, and in spite of themselves, to the Catholic Church.”—Plain Talk about Protestantism.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.12

    17. Then when Protestant churches attempt to compel people by law to keep Sunday, what is that only to do?—It is only to compel men to worship the Papacy—to worship the beast.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.13

    18. But, as in the very act of compelling people to do this these churches make an image to the beast, what then will be the enforced observance of Sunday in this nation?—It will be the worship of the beast and his image.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.14

    19. But may not Sunday-keeping be enforced as a civil duty?—Never; because Sunday is wholly a religious institution; and the civil power has no right to enforce religious duties.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.15

    20. What does Christ command on this subject?SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.16

    “Then said he unto them, Render therefore unto Cesar the things which are Cesar’s; and unto God the things are God’s.” Matthew 22:21.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.17

    21. By what power was Sunday-keeping instituted?—The church.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.18

    22. Why were the ancient Sunday laws enforced?—The Church demanded it and it was done to satisfy and help the church.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.19

    23. Why are Sunday laws now enacted?—For the same reasons precisely.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.20

    24. Is the church Cesar?—No.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.21

    25. Is the church God?SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.22

    26. Then what follows?—That as Sunday-keeping belongs neither to Cesar nor to God, there is no place in existence that can of right command it.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.23


    QUESTION 11.—The student is at liberty to present any other testimonies on this point that he may choose.SITI August 31, 1888, page 539.24

    Larger font
    Smaller font