Corinthian Elders


Corinthian Elders
"knowledge makes arrogant but love edifies"

[81 pages]
by Jack Fortenberry
Bridgepointe Publishing Company; 2008
ISBN: 978-0-615-26282-6

In his first chapter, the author paints a picture of the Church rekindled, evangelism focused, contrasted to the world, unstoppable.  A second chapter opens in thesis to explain, My optimism in the painted picture comes from a belief that God is continuing to work in His church by moving us toward a more biblical role for elders.
The picture of reformation or transformation?

 Leading Can Be [Is] Misleading:

book coverInclination of the "natural man" is to invest eye & ear with a physical presence, supporting podium personality before parousia (the presence of Christ). In writing Corinthian Elders, the author presents a plain case from Paul's letters to ekklesia in Corinth and Colossae to end all teacher-preacher focus, let no one boast in men. Possible two steps forward, then one again back, re-opening eyes upon men as brother Fortenberry then suggests for us:
Because our joy will only be fulfilled in Him [Christ], John 15:11, it would be helpful for us to look less to eloquent and mighty teachers, as Apollos is described in Acts 18:24, for our understanding and knowledge of Jesus and more to God's word and each other. [p.21]  {emphasis ours}
  from page 26:

      question:  Don't we need seminary trained men in order to teach accurately?

      answer:  Certainly seminary trained men are a blessing. …

Let us hope they are all so.  However, seminary training remains antithesis to the letter-essay pleas from both brothers Jack and Paul, with formal/degreed education in theology having become a common cornerstone in our focus with a sermon or a teacher.

 The Money:

Although the author discerns well in that  He [Jesus Christ] did not intend for them to collect money in exchange for God's word…, the content & exegesis of this chapter [p.53-58] appears weak under narrow scope. To augment this section, it may be needful for the reader to further explore both the practice lived by Jesus Christ regarding the "money bag" and for elder's/disciple's expectation regarding provision: from God or from men?

 Reform or Transform?

The book's author succinctly points out the pathology & etiology of heresy in the church [p.33-34]; confesses weakness of/in an organized worship service [p.37]; shines light into the empty room of church offices and upon the wrong turn often assumed via weak English translation of Hebrews 13:7 [p.37]; offers apologetic for consensus in one mind/accord [p.45-51]; openly shares in our completeness (wholeness) in Christ [p.59-64]; and, more than once challenges our latent trepidation surrounding I Corinthians chapter 14.

Even at under one hundred pages, there remains room for more clarity to definition for elders & others leading (being ahead, rather than being a head) as a servant [Luke 22, etc.]; and also, possibly, essential in an elder's teaching the flock by way of reminder. [II Peter 1 & 3, etc.]

Because this book often wrestles between common practice and what is in truth, the flavor brought to the reader is more in reformation than for transformation. Nevertheless, we thank God and commend this letter for boldness in each place whereupon our brother Jack Fortenberry has written by the Spirit of Christ in love for our correction.