Follower of The Way

The Elder and His Work

Posted in Books,Christian Theology by sosipater on October 10, 2007

Weekend before last my family and I took a weekend trip down to Orlando, Fl to visit Sea World.  On Sunday we visited with some friends, one of which is the pastor of a PCA church there.  He was gracious enough to give me a couple of books, and I have found them to be excellent.  The current one I am reading is “The Elder and His Work” by 19th century Scottish Presbyterian David Dickson.  The small book has been edited, the spelling and grammar brought up to date (thankfully!), and explanatory notes added by George MacFarland and Philip Graham Ryken.  For such a small book, I have so far found several quotes that have struck me as profound and useful.  Here is one that I thought was magnifigant and The Lord has used to work in my heart.  I hope you enjoy it.

“Elders should be men of common sense, knowing when to speak and when to hold their tongues.  Even grace does not give common sense, a little of which would settle many controversies and heresies in the church of Christ.  Men of points and pugnacity are very annoying in a session or congregation, and they may rise to be the terror of presbyteries and other church courts.  They may love the truth at heart – and we believe they often do-but they love fighting too.  For such men the grave and quite duties of the eldership have little or no charm.  A carping, censorious spirit is to be watched and prayed against in all of us:  it is often the precursor or companion of backsliding in doctrine or life.  An uneasy conscience likes to find faults in others.  Having many different characteristics  and tempers to deal with, we need as elders to be men of a meek and quiet spirit, not going from one extreme to another-men of practical wisdom and sanctified common sense, and thus able to judge matters calmly and not as partisans.” – David Dickson, “The Elder and His Work”, Page 32-33.

Stay tuned for more quotes.


3 Responses to 'The Elder and His Work'

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  1. daxw said,

    I listened to a pastor last night say pretty much this same thing about how an elder is to be temperate. He probably read this same book since he is a Presbyterian pastor. Although I’m not pursuing eldership like you when I heard this I felt like the GA Bulldogs last Saturday. Like I had just been punched in the mouth. Now the hard part. Applying these principals on a consistent basis. Good words, Russ. Thanks for printing this.

  2. sosipater said,

    Thanks Dax. The interesting thing for me is that the qualifications for elders really are characteristics that every Chrisitan man (and woman for most of them) should have and exhibit.

  3. daxw said,


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