Don't blame 'elders for life'

Regarding the Presbyterian Church of Australia, some people blame the whole policy of 'elders of for life' for all sorts of difficulties that come up in local churches.

I don't think that's right. I don't necessarily think 'elders for life' is right, either; but I don't think it's justifiable to blame 'elders for life'.

You see just because someone is an elder of the PCA for life, doesn't mean they have to remain an elder of any one particular local church for life. That is an unwarranted assumption.

Moreover, just because there may be no legal reason why an elder ought not step down from a leadership team, doesn't mean there is no other reason for them to step down. Presbyterians very quickly get bogged down in needing a legal reason for everything and that's very unhealthy. You could simply be persuaded that it doesn't honour the Lord and benefit the church for your to continue in a particular role.

This means that elderships, churches, presbyteries and ministers need to be brave enough to speak the truth to one another, not as a legal ruling, but as truthful words spoken in love. It is our failure to be firm, loving and honest with each other in our churches that means 'elders for life' becomes a bad thing, not the rule in and of itself.