Paul writes in Titus 1:6, “An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believeand are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.”
Many Reformed theologians have interpreted this passage to be a parallel with 1 Timothy 3:5 and, as such, argue that Titus should be interpreted as focusing only on obedience. My fellow Calvinists often argue that because the Spirit is wholly responsible for regeneration that a prospective elder/teacher/pastor (the terms were synonymous in the early church) can only be judged on his managerial ability as the head of the household. After all, scholars like George Knight and others have argued that the Greek points to a child still under the authority of the father, who in the ancient near east. had near total control (or was supposed to) over his family.
I’m not so sure.
I think the focus has been on the potential elder/pastor/teacher rather than his or her offspring. Many have interpreted this passage in the context of not wanting to deny a position to a person who seems like a good person.
We as Christians are to reflect Jesus Christ. In fact, our ultimate reward is to be “like him” (1 John 3:2). The figure we are to become is one who relentlessly pursues the lost (Luke 15:11-32; Romans 5:8; etc.) Shouldn’t Christian leaders do the same within their own family?
I have one child. He is an eight-year old boy. I pray every day that God will save him. If He doesn’t clearly do so by the time he leaves my home then I cannot imagine any other course of action then to move wherever he is and pursue who with the love of God. If that means camping out outside of his dorm or apartment then so be it. For those of us who are Christians, has God done any less for us?
The focus on eldership or ministry as a right to the person seeking the position misses the point. We worship a Lord who gave up His rights and left His throne to live and die for us.
In Matthew 18:12-14 and Luke 15:3-7, Jesus teaches that God is the one who leaves the flock to seek the one who is lost. Shouldn’t a father and a mother do the same?
I think Paul may have advised potential Christian leaders to have Christian children or be willing to leave the flock of the church (where one wields power and respect) to humiliate him or herself to seek the one lost sheep from his or her own household because our Lord suffered such isolated humiliation for us. What better way is there to reflect Christ to the world?