Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 22, 1966
NUMBER 20, PAGE 11-12a

Taking The Oversight Of The Flock

E. C. Koltenbah

I. The Scriptures Teach That Oversight of the Flock is a Gift of Christ.

1. Made so from Christ's position of all authority. Matt.28:18, Eph.4:8,11.

2. Christ made this gift, with others named in the text, for a profound and divine design - Eph. 4:12. That design was to so fully equip the saints spiritually (not materially) that all the works of the church could be effected by the body of Christ, namely, ministration (including benevolence), edification and evangelism.

3. This was further done in order to attain the ultimate desired and glorious results (Eph. 4:13-16). (Note: Some erroneously teach that Paul here was speaking of spiritual (miraculous) gifts. We dissent. He nowhere intimates these as miraculous. Moreover to so insist it to lift that "which is in part" (I Cor. 13:9-10) to the level of the perpetually essential in order to attain the desired and ultimate results cited by Paul. These are the gifts of scriptural or spiritual unity; the unity of the Spirit (vs.3-6) must become unity of faith (vs. 13-16) perpetually, hence the perpetual need for these gifts.)

II. The Scriptures Teach That Oversight is Divinely Required.

1. By precept or direct statement. Ti. 1:5.

(Note: Some here insist that this is a special instruction to a special evangelist. Again, we dissent. First, by what rule is this lifted from the injunctions of this epistle and made "special"? What rule confines this to the 1st century and perpetuates the rest to the entire age? Second, where does the N. T. speak of "special evangelists"? Either they were evangelists or not evangelists. The "grading" of them is beyond the boundaries of what is written.)

2, By approved example - Acts 14:23.

The rule is in "every church", therefore oversight exercised only in a given church, no further, in each and every case. The boundary of the congregation is the boundary of the oversight, else wherefore overseers in every church? Regardless of the "geography" of any church the boundary of oversight of every church never crossed that of any other church as divinely conceived and divinely given.

3. By necessary inference. Acts 11:29-30.

The beneficence was sent to the overseers by divine direction. The insistence that the sum was sent to those of one church and from there funneled to several churches is not an inference of any sort, but an assumption resting upon no evidence of any kind and fabricated upon supposition of uninspired invention to support wishful thinking. It reaches the low level of mere sectarian tripe.

III. The Scriptures Teach That Oversight Requires Scriptural Qualifications, 1. By precept or direct statement. I Tim. 3:1-7, Ti. 1:6-8. Most of these qualifications are character qualifications. They are required in other scriptures of every Christian. But assuredly the believer who does not have them can't qualify for oversight.

Some of these qualifications are required of some other members of the church.

A scant few can apply only to elders. It should be noted that chief emphasis upon the elder's relation to his own family rests not on numbers, but on what he had demonstrated under Christ what he was able to do with his family. If he could not oversee his family so that it honor Christ he is unfit to oversee the family of Christ. "He who is not faithful in a few things cannot be placed over many things."

2. By approved apostolic example. Acts 20:20-21, 27-28.

Note that much of Paul's teaching at Ephesus, whether public or private, was edification, not all evangelism, but even training men for overseership. When will we follow this approved example?

3. By necessary inference. Acts 21:17-18; Rom. 15:25-27.

The benevolence mentioned to the church at Rome in this reference required the trip to deliver that which Luke recorded to Theophilus. Hence, a. Paul said he was going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. Rom, 15:25.

b. Luke said Paul reached Jerusalem and met the apostles and elders on that occasion. Acts 21:17-18.

c. Therefore Paul delivered his ministration to the saints when he met the apostles and elders in Jerusalem.

Hence, the necessary inference that these elders were qualified overseers.

IV. The Scriptures Teach That Oversight Imposes Certain Scripture Duties.

1. By precept or direct statement. Ti.1:9. I Thess. 5:14-15, The overseer that defaults these duties ought to resign.

2. By approved apostolic example. I Thess. 5:12-13.

This address is to those believers under overseers to accept scripturally their oversight in the Lord, hence an example of duties.

3. By necessary inference. Acts 15:1,2,4, off, 12, (vs. 1:41).

Note that the Judaizers who troubled the church at Antioch were members of the church in Jerusalem, that they were all sent back to Jerusalem for correction, that the overseers at Jerusalem were involved in administrating that correction, that witnesses from Antioch church returned with news of that correction, that witnesses from Jerusalem went along to corroborate it, and that an inspired letter Was sent with them to confirm it. The Antioch elders did not exercise oversight over men not of their oversight and the Jerusalem elders remained inside the boundary of their oversight and respected the boundary of the oversight of Antioch. Liberalism by-passes this undeniable truth!

V. The Scriptures Teach That Oversight is Scripturally Limited, 1. As to legislation -- Total! Overseers cannot legislate. Why? Ans. Eph.2:20. They can only enforce what has been legislated.

2. As to overseers themselves --- Partial!

a. Must be men!

b. Must be older men!

c. Must be qualified older men!

3. As to scope -- Congregational! The Holy Spirit's argument

Chart Goes Here

This verb, etheto, is the same in both references, trans, aor, ten., mid, voice, incl. mood.

If the elders can exercise oversight beyond the flock "in which the Holy Spirit appointed or made them overseers", then the same logic and exactly same grammar of I Cor. 12:28 means that spiritual gifts can be found outside the church! If the spiritual gifts are confined within the church of our Lord then the oversight of the elders by the same logic and exactly the same grammar is confined within the flock! These passages stand or fall together. This is the Lord's eternal answer to the perpetual obstinacy of man in assuming authority beyond what he ordained: the monumental rebuke to every presumptuous departure for the entire dispensation; it renders without excuse every usurpation of oversight from Pentecost to the judgment, from Abilene to Rome, and from Diotrephes to every disciple who pushes his nose beyond the limits thus set by the Majestic Glory.

VI, The Scriptures Teach That Oversight Must be a Matter of Rejoicing. Heb.13:17, 1. As a matter of solemn guardianship - "they keep watch over your souls"

2. As a requirement of fearful stewardship -"as those who shall give account"

3. As a penalty of irreparable loss -"for this would be unprofitable for you",

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