A New Look at Old Qualifications

Charles Swindoll, on his blog, began a recent post thusly:
When is the last time you thought about the character quality of sensibility? As pastors, we’re charged with the task, remember? “The overseer must be . . . sensible” (Titus 1:7-8). Sophron is the term. It has in mind “thinking appropriately.” It means you’re not given to extremes. You’re able to see between the lines and apply some common sense.
He goes on, as always, to share helpful and wise insight...for living (see what I did there?). You can read the rest of the post here.

As all wisdom does, Dr. Swindoll's post got me thinking. Here's the passage he refers to, which sets forth general qualifications for leadership of the church:
For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled (Titus 1:7-8, NASB).
A parallel passage, of course, is found in 1 Timothy 3:
An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil (1 Timothy 3:2-7, NASB).
Interestingly (I think), some of those characteristics are more often considered--and others more often assumed, dismissed, or overlooked--than others. At least in my experience.

Here are the characteristics I think tend to be given more weight in choosing or approving leaders in the church these days:

not addicted to wine
not pugnacious/peaceable
loving what is good
devout
the husband of one wife
temperate
respectable
manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity
not a new convert
a good reputation with those outside the church

And here are the characteristics I think tend to be more often assumed, dismissed, or overlooked in choosing or approving leaders in the church these days:

above reproach
not self-willed
not quick-tempered
free from the love of money/not fond of sordid gain
hospitable
sensible
self-controlled
prudent
able to teach
gentle.

What's the point? I'm not really sure. It seems obvious to me that "above reproach" is nearly impossible to find these days, as we Christians seem to have a problem with everyone but ourselves. "Not self-willed" kinda goes against the grain of what we think leadership IS. The same, I guess, with "not quick-tempered." And "hospitable" never even enters into the equation these days; we gloss right over it because (at least partly) hospitality is not a value in our culture.

And, I wonder, too, if most of us generally are willing to settle (or, show grace) in some areas but not in others. That is, a pastor or leader in the church needs to be 100 percent teetotaler (in some traditions, at least), but as long as he or she is quick-tempered only 50 or 60 percent of the time, we're okay with that.

Of course, maybe you see it entirely different than I do....which wouldn't surprise me at all. So, what do you think?

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