The Ruling Elder’s Calling
Although church government is not as important as the Trinity, the Incarnation, and Justification by Faith Alone, it is nevertheless beneficial for the Church to be governed as Scripture teaches. One Christ-instituted office is that of the "ruling elder". It has its roots in the Old Testament, where local towns were overseen by locally-appointed men, who were called to rule, judge, serve, and represent their people. We find them from Moses through the time of Ezra, and historical evidence tells us they ruled local synagogues in "Lesser Sanhedrins". These men were closely related to the King, exercising much of his calling on the local level. In the New Testament, we find local elders in the earliest of Christian churches (Acts 11:30). They, too, are called to serve their people on behalf of Christ. Within this order are two offices: teaching elder and ruling elder. The former "labor in preaching and teaching" while the latter are called to rule, perpetuating the function of the "elders at the gates". Ruling elders especially represent Christ's Kingly rule to us, serving us, protecting us, and promoting righteousness in His Church.