Acts 13 - why the "elders" listed were all Jewish (doctrine of election 1 Tim 3:6)

Status
Not open for further replies.

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
As I came to the setting aside of Barnabus and Paul by the Antioch church it struck me that this was a list of Jewish leaders.

My first reaction was to label them as Jewish to "legitimise" the sending of Paul and Barnabus.

My second reaction was to realise that the "church" was little more than twelve months old (acts 11:26). Perhaps one of the reasons that Paul and Barnabus did not move on after establishing churches is that they could not appoint elders straight away.

The reformed doctrine of election assumes a mixed "harvest" and it requires time not only to build up the new converts but to look for fruit and to see those who will endure (Parable of the sower).

Would you agree that the perseverance of the saints requires a little time to sort out those likely to endure?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
It's sort of looking at the issue through a strange lens. Elders are called elders due to maturity and spiritual fruit and not, per se, because they've been voted by the congregation as "most likely regenerate."

Paul lays out the qualities of Elders in his Epistles to Timothy and Titus. There's no need to speculate as to what the qualifications are.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Eoghan -

To follow up on what Rich said, with which I agree, I'm not sure where 1) you get that these men mentioned at the start of Acts 13 were elders in the official sense (there is no such statement to that effect anywhere in the chapter) and 2) you think they're each Jewish. I'll grant you that the court member of Herod's court was likely to be, and certainly Barnabas and Simeon were - but I don't see why Lucius would be assumed to be Jewish.

Even if they were, though, the question of their eldership is really not established in any sense. The church was, indeed, just starting - and these men were, it seems likely, obviously gifted men (Barnabas had been a disciple so he was well known, and I assume Manaen, being of Herod's court, was surely known for some time). For all we know Lucius of Cyrene may have been a recognized prophet. At any rate, as Rich said, the idea of a 'most likely to be regenerate' contest of some kind is highly unlikely. The men who came to be elders in the early church would have been chosen according to the criteria expressed in the pastoral epistles (one of which qualifications is 'not a new convert').

T
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
One of the remarkable things about the list in Acts 13 is that apart from Barnabas and Saul/Paul, you have one man who was noted by the color of his skin ("Simeon who was called Niger"), one was possibly of a non-Jewish background ("Lucius of Cyrene"), and one was of a royal household ("Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch"). Taken together with a former persecutor of the church, you have an interesting cross-section of the early church as the gospel is about to go out on the first missionary journey.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
One of the remarkable things about the list in Acts 13 is that apart from Barnabas and Saul/Paul, you have one man who was noted by the color of his skin ("Simeon who was called Niger"), one was possibly of a non-Jewish background ("Lucius of Cyrene"), and one was of a royal household ("Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch"). Taken together with a former persecutor of the church, you have an interesting cross-section of the early church as the gospel is about to go out on the first missionary journey.

Exactly! Pretty diverse if you ask me, and a witness to the unity of the body despite social and cultural differences. Certainly anything but a monolithic assemblage of Jews...Galatians 3:28 in action.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
I too have read more than once (wish I could remember where) that this was likely an ethnically diverse group, probably not all Jewish.
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
I think that they were Hellenistic Jews scattered after the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 11:19-20). You must remember that the gospel has not been preched to the gentiles up to now. The Ethiopian, yes, Cornelius's company, yes, and now the men of Cyprus and Cyrene have established a church at Antioch.

It is quite clear that any mature believer at this point was Jewish. Using the term elder in the loosest sense they would have been Jewish and a Christian.

Hereafter we have a Gentile church growing numerically and in maturity (with a few hick-ups).
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
I think that they were Hellenistic Jews scattered after the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 11:19-20). You must remember that the gospel has not been preched to the gentiles up to now. The Ethiopian, yes, Cornelius's company, yes, and now the men of Cyprus and Cyrene have established a church at Antioch.

Except for the fact that Cornelius was a gentile, I guess I'd be happy to agree with you that the gospel had not been preached to the gentiles, and that there were no mature gentile believers.

What makes you believe that all the men listed were Hellenistic Jews scattered in the persecution of Stephen? What authors advocate this? Just curious if you're getting this from anybody but the Hebrew Roots or Messianic Judaism movements, because it's far from clear or even necessary to conclude as you have from the Biblical text itself.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
It is quite clear that any mature believer at this point was Jewish.

If it was that clear you would think that everyone would agree with you. But, for the sake of argument, let's say you are correct. What is your point?
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
As I came to the setting aside of Barnabus and Paul by the Antioch church it struck me that this was a list of Jewish leaders.

My first reaction was to label them as Jewish to "legitimise" the sending of Paul and Barnabus.

My second reaction was to realise that the "church" was little more than twelve months old (acts 11:26). Perhaps one of the reasons that Paul and Barnabus did not move on after establishing churches is that they could not appoint elders straight away.

The reformed doctrine of election assumes a mixed "harvest" and it requires time not only to build up the new converts but to look for fruit and to see those who will endure (Parable of the sower).

Would you agree that the perseverance of the saints requires a little time to sort out those likely to endure?

I guess my "point" was that the list of Jews might be taken as a sensitivity to possible Jewish recrimination from Jerusalem. Yet there was no real pool of mature Gentiles to drawn on.

1. We know that Paul advocated a policy of not giving office to recent converts.
2. Was this done in the light of the parable of the sower? (i.e. could you give office to a seed that fell on rocky soil, or seed that would be choked by weeds?)
3. If the parable of the sower is relevant is this part (not all but part) of the reason why no recent convert should be given office
4. In breaching 1 Tim 3:6 would we be sowing tares into office

I recall being asked to comment of a DVD I had watched with my church. It was part testimony part exhortation, I could not really call it preaching (not with him driving a car through traffic, the whole time he was talking to camera). Anyway at one point he told how, as a convert of 7 days, at a meeting in Wales, he had been told in a prophetic word that he would have an international ministry. I said in the context of 1 Tim 3:6 this seemed to go against Scripture. I said a bit more but I started there - and you should have seen the jaw of the pastors wife drop!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top