Friday, January 29, 2010

Election of Ruling Elders in the ARP

The ARP Form of Government [link to PDF], 8.C.2.b reads:

"A congregational meeting may be held to select nominees [for Ruling Elders and/or Deacons] by ballot. A list of names of all persons eligible for nomination shall be provided, and at least twice the number of persons to be elected shall be nominated. The nominees shall be conferred with privately by the session, or Presbytery in the case of a new congregation, as to their qualifications and willingness to serve before being placed before the congregation for election. Any nominee receiving a majority of votes cast shall be declared elected." (emphasis added).

As I've been reading through the Form of Government of the ARP, several things have jumped out at me as, shall we say, curious. This is one of them. When a congregation is to elect new Ruling Elders, the ballot must contain twice as many names as REs to be elected. What that means is, if men in a congregation have discerned a call to the office of Ruling Elder and if a session, through much prayer and examination, has determined that these men are qualified to serve as REs, they are to nominate these men and then have half of them not be elected. How is this biblical? Half of the men who are otherwise qualified and deemed worthy by the session are told they cannot serve in the office to which God has called them.

My guess is that, at some point in ARP history, there was an abuse of the process for electing REs and this was the solution, but that's just my guess. I certainly cannot find a biblical rationale for this section of the Form of Government.

1 comment:

  1. We all know that a qualified candidate cannot be officially "called by God" until his name has been put into a hat, and drawn by lot! There is Biblical rationale for this!

    Just sayin'...