Proposition 2: The Scriptures teach that the elders of a local church are authorized to assemble privately to make decisions in matters of judgment for the local church before and without calling together the whole congregation.
Root of the Problem: Eph 4 says elders bring people to “the unity of the faith.” But many see elders as a board of directors whose job is balancing a check-book, buying supplies, and managing property. Nothing to do with “faith” at all. If you had to work a full-time job and then run a business after-hours, you wouldn’t have time to teach, study, pray or visit much either. This is why you hear so many complaints about preachers doing the work of elders. What a sad waste of the talents of many good men, and what a loss to a congregation.
The work of elders is much more important. They can make the difference between saints falling away or getting to heaven. They are too busy teaching, studying, praying, visiting, rebuking, encouraging, and counseling to privately decide all matters of judgment. The spiritual leaders (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers) in Eph 4:11 lead in “the faith.” Do they “make decisions” as they lead? In some limited ways. Evangelists decide how to present a lesson to convert the sinner. Teachers decide what topics to present in class. Do evangelists and teachers privately decide matters of judgment for the church? No, leadership in the faith isn’t private decision-making in collective judgment. Why can’t we see the same for elders?