Mike Grew up in Glen Cove and even attended Vacation Bible School at the Chapel as a child. He came to the Lord in October of 1974 and was baptized at the Chapel. Michael was an Interstate Tractor Trailer Driver for 40+ meals and is now retired. At one point in his life, Michael rebelled against the lord, but after repenting and returning he found himself again at the Chapel. He has an active evangelistic internet ministry, especially desiring to reach the Jewish people. As he matured, the Elders invited him to join them in serving the Lord here in Sea Cliff. Email:[email protected]
James grew up nearby in Locust Valley and has been a life-long attender of the Chapel. Coming to the Lord here at the Chapel and baptized here. He has served the assembly in many ways through the years, and the Elders invited him to join them in serving the Lord here, like his father before him. Email: [email protected]
David grew up in Massachusetts and came to Long Island to attend Webb Institute of Naval Architecture. His senior year he put his trust in Jesus through a combined ministry of the Sea Cliff Gospel Chapel and Glen Cove Community Gospel Church. He was baptized at the Chapel and while working as a Naval Architect in NYC, decided he wanted to delve into the Word more deeply. He took a leave of absence to attend Trinity Evangelical Divinity School near Chicago, eventually graduating with a Master of Divinity. The Elders at Sea Cliff invited him to serve the Lord full time here in Sea Cliff as a Commended Worker, and eventually an Elder. David is happily married with2 boys and 2 grand-daughters. Email:[email protected]
PLURALITY OF ELDERSHIP
At Sea Cliff Gospel Chapel we don’t have one “pastor”. We have Elders who do undertake the function of a pastor. Watch this following video for a brief introduction to the subject.
First, why plurality? For many, the simple statements of Scripture and early church practice are sufficient. However, for those who have only known a form of leadership in which the “Pastor” is the both the chief administrator and primary preacher, the question can be “How could things be done any other way?”
The Case for Plurality
1. The teaching of Christ: In Matt. 23:8-10, our Lord forbids the taking of religious titles to His followers because “…one is your Teacher, the Christ, and all you are brethren.” The specific mention of the titles Rabbi, father and teacher could well be applied to Jews, Roman Catholics and Protestants, but the point is that ANY title that separates men into a ministerial class is forbidden by the Lord.
2. The example of the early church: The normal configuration of local churches in New Testament days is expressed in Phil. 1:1 “To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.” The word “bishops” is synonymous to “elders.” Note that the descriptions are plural, yet it is one local church in Philippi (e.g., I Thess 5:12; Heb 13:7,17).
3. The teaching and practice of the apostles: Paul instructed Titus to “… appoint elders in every city as I commanded you.” (Titus 1:5). Revisiting young churches in Galatia, Paul and Barnabas followed a consistent pattern: “So when they had appointed elders in every church …“ (Acts 14:23). Peter gave a special charge to “The elders who are among you….” (I Peter 5:1). There is no hint that without a central figure such as an ordained Minister or Pastor, the church is incomplete. In the letter of James, often thought to be the earliest written epistle, ailing believers were instructed: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church …” (James 5:14). In all cases, there was a plurality.
4. The Biblical teaching regarding safety in a plurality: Prov. 11:14 says: “ Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” No matter how wise and godly any man might be, he is nevertheless subject to being deceived and erring in judgment. Some will object that even a king as supreme can have counselors. But it is one thing to solicit wise counsel while reserving the final decision to oneself, and quite another to seek God’s will by praying and working together in a true team toward unanimity or consensus.
5. The doctrine of the priesthood of all believers requires that church leaders be ordinary people and not a separate clergy class. The spirit and intent of numerous passages such as I Peter 2:5, 9; I Corinthians 14:26; Ephesians 4:11-16 and Revelation 1:5-6 assume that every Christian believer is a holy priest with spiritual functions to perform in the church, and that these are not limited to peripheral and non- essential duties, but to the very heart of fellowship with God and the issues of the assembly.
6. The confirmation of history: In the many revivals and reformations, a return to the Word of God and a moving of the Spirit of God have always been ac- companied by an increased openness to involvement by ordinary believers. Usually, though, this trend has been partial, and the machinery of organized religious systems has resented intrusion into the “priestly office.”
7. Practical considerations: Where religious persecution is formidable, the clergy style of church government cannot prosper. Believers must meet quietly, often in homes and leadership functions are necessarily the responsibility of ordinary working people. On the other hand, in western evangelicalism, one often sees the disruption caused by a transition in leadership. Contrast the “empty pulpit” with trial sermons preached by candidating applicants imported from afar, with the quiet transition within a leadership team as younger men grow into shepherding and replacing those moving away or going to be with the Lord.