When looking at some of our brethren writings in the 19th and early 20th century, we may find some very conservative views.
Today we look at the way Frank George Jannaway looked at some Presiding Brethren.
Presiding Brethren’s Failings
An Ecclesia does wrong in appointing as Presiding brother (or “overseer”; 1 Tim. iii. 1, R.V. margin) one whose only qualifications are age, appearance, eloquence, or social position. Only those should be appointed who possess the qualifications named in the Scriptures. The reasons for such are many.
How can a brother exhort to separation from the world if he himself is a member of some worldly society — Political, Municipal, Friendly, or otherwise?
How can a brother exhort on Malachi iii. 16, or Hebrews x. 25, who seldom attends the week-night meetings, and rarely on Sunday evenings, unless he is down to lecture?
How can a brother exhort on Eph. vi. 4, or 1 Tim. iii. 4, 5, who tolerates unruly children, or does not rule his own household?
How can a brother exhort on Eph. v. 25, or 1 Pet. iii.7, who treats his own wife simply as a convenience or a housekeeper, and is forgetful of the latter part of Malachi ii. 14?
How can a brother exhort on 1 John ii. 15, or Romans xii. 2, who is a habitue of “picture theatres” and similar “entertainments”?
How can a brother exhort on Phil. iv. 8, who is to be seen during the weekend making a smoke-hole of his mouth, or leaning over a public-house bar?
How can a brother exhort on Prov. xxiii. 4 who, although comfortably situated, neglects the week-day meetings in order to make money?
Yes, he can exhort, and he may be allowed to — but only by an unfaithful Ecclesia, which will soon become a second Laodicea unless it repent.
Frank George Jannaway