It may be objected that there really doesn’t need to be instruction specific to Formal Associations to determine leadership because every Pastor or Elder in good standing in their own churches should be eligible for church leadership and assumed to be fit to serve in associational positions by reason of the commendation of his own local church. My response would be that in a perfect church in a perfect world that would be true, but not in this present evil age, in this present imperfectly sanctified state of the church. As there may be spiritually unhealthy local churches in any Church Association, there may be a significant number of Biblically unqualified Pastors eligible for Association leadership. There is just too much opportunity in Formal Church Associations for men to obtain positions of influence and power far in excess of what their gifts and graces would otherwise call for. All that is really required to take a place of influence and leadership in a Church Association is the desire to do so and the skills of a church politician or parliamentarian.Gordon's concerns have been realized in my own denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, where, from the local associations to the national level, good ol' boy networks seem to be the norm rather than the exception.
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