Jared Smith on Eldership

4. The Church Is Designed After The Model Of The Family Unit, Not The Jewish Synagogue

The Jewish Synagogue was not ordained by God as a religious institution. It came into existence as a result of God’s judgment upon the nation—The divinely instituted temple had been destroyed, the people of God scattered, and in desperation the scattered Jews established tiny groups which became known as synagogues. During the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles, the Jewish Synagogue always stood against the Lord and His church. Never does the Word of God identify the Jewish Synagogue as the prototype for the church.

In fact, there are only four religious institutions ordained by God, and the Jewish Synagogue is not one of them:

The two central institutions, the Tabernacle and the Temple, were established by God for National Israel and no longer exist today. The first institution, the Family Unit, has been an active center for corporate worship throughout history to the present day. The last institution, the Christian Church, is the new house of witness instituted by Christ during His earthly ministry. I contend the church has been designed after the structure of the family unit, for
they both share the same intrinsic characteristics. This fully accords with the meaning of the term elder and its use throughout the Old and New Testament scriptures. Dr. Marvin Wilson affirms this point in his book “Our Father Abraham”, p. 216:

“Foundational to all theory on the biblical concept of the family is the Jewish teaching that the home is more important than the synagogue. In Jewish tradition, the center of religious life has always been the home. The Church has yet to grapple seriously with this crucial concept.”

This fourth reason Baptist churches should not appoint elders is because the church has been designed after the model of the family unit, not the Jewish Synagogue. Authority, in household or church, is vested in a single leader—husband/father; bishop/pastor; assisted by a wife/mother; set of deacons. This is the simplest and most natural form of government instituted by Jehovah Himself. The simplicity of this type of governance is affirmed by the fifth reason Baptist churches should not appoint elders—the early churches were small and never needed a set of appointed elders.