Vol.XI No.VI Pg.2
August 1974

Vicegerent Of Christ?

Robert F. Turner

The July 23, 74 Firm Foundation had as its central theme some very good material on elders and preachers (according to the editor). Bro. Jack Popes Charge to the Elders was printed, in which he said, An elder is a bishop, the vicegerent of the Lord who is the Supreme Sovereign. I read it three times before I could believe he said it. Then, I decided I must not know what the word vicegerent meant, so I checked some reliable authorities. Yes, thats it.

Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary says Acting in the place of another, usually in the place of a superior; having delegated power. Again, One empowered by a superior authority to discharge the duties or fill the place of that authority; one duly authorized to exercise the powers of another.

Websters Third International says Someone or something that substitutes for another. Again, in Webster Collegiate, The officer deputed by a superior, as a monarch, to exercise the powers of another; a vicar.

Vicegerent is not a common word among saints; having a Roman Catholic connotation to those even casually acquainted with church history, for the Vicar of Christ is to them the Pope. Their vicar apostolic, vicar capitular, vicar general, etc, are all indicative of their concept of delegated authority— regarding men as being in the place of exercising the powers of divinity. I dont know how an intelligent man like Jack Pope, or an editor, or even a proofreader, could let that go by.

Anyhow, it isnt so! Elders are NOT vicegerents of Christ; nor were the twelve Apostles, nor are evangelists, nor are any other men. If it were not for the growing misconceptions brethren have of the office of the elders— speaking for God or to disobey them is to disobey God—I would be inclined to regard bro. Popes statement as a fluke, a boo boo, that he couldnt possibly mean.

And then I would have to find some sort of explanation for another line: In doing so your special assignment is this congregation at Westover Hills, but your territory includes the reach of the whole world. If all elders have an equal place — all are vicegerents of Christ, and all have a whole world territory; bro. Pope has given us little popes who, in conference (getting more common these days) can really show the Roman Pope a thing or two about authority.

Aw, he didnt mean that!! You know good and well he didnt mean that!!!