Saturday, September 8, 2012

Book Review: David Dickson. The Elder and His Work.

Each year our session (board of elders) chooses one book to study for our annual elders' retreat. On these yearly outings, we pray for our church, and discuss the spiritual task before us. This year we selected The Elder and His Work by David Dickson.

Although this brief work is written by a Scottish Presbyterian Elder from the 1800's, the subject matter of these 130 pages is timeless. Updated by Philip Graham Ryken and George Kennedy McFarland, the scope of this book covers all of the basic fields of ministry responsibility related to the office of Ruling Elder.

Dickson covers such topics as the character of the elder, his primary duties, ministering to the sick, church discipline, family worship, and more. Each of the updated chapters come with study questions provided by the modern editors. Here, I believe is the advance of this latest edition. These questions will provide your elders and mine great fodder for thought as we discuss and analyze the spiritual health of our own congregations today.

Yes, this book has some dated concepts. Particularly dated is the parish (proximate geography) visitation concept used in old Scotland. But I am sure that this work has challenged our elders to consider again our great, Scriptural calling and charge to lead our congregation with humility and wisdom.

Matthew Everhard is the Senior Pastor of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Florida.

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