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36 Theological Questions We Ask Our Elders

(And You Should Ask Yourself)

Leadership matters like nothing else. If you need convincing, spend some time in Galatians 5, specifically verses 16-25. Who or what is leading you? Based on this passage, how concerned would you be if your spouse was led by their flesh? How many of you would be thrilled to hear your daughter was dating someone who was committed to following their flesh? Believe me, leadership matters.

How We Pick Our Elders at Watermark

Eleven years ago when we were prayerfully selecting men who would lead us as a body, I gave a message titled, “Introducing our Elders: A Great Day or the Beginning of the End,” which you can find here. The process of selecting our Elders is another post for another day (here’s some insight into our thinking on Elder selection and roles but because I have been recently asked by several friends, I wanted to share some of the questions we asked every man we considered so that they could share with us their “leadership take” on these topics.

We knew that our Elders’ positions on these topics would have ripple effects in our body, city, and world for generations to come, and so we carefully listened to every man as he articulated from God’s word his understanding of the Spirit’s opinion on each of these issues. Before we started building our body, we wanted to interview the future architects. What was their blueprint on truth in each of the following culturally demanding, doctrine-shaping questions?

36 Questions We Ask Our Elders and You Should Ask Yourself

Please give a short paragraph answer as well as a longer more in depth answer of each of the following. Answers should be given both pastorally and theologically. Be able to defend and explain your position from Scripture . Be able to explain the weakness of your position as well as articulate the best arguments against each of your beliefs.

  1. Divorce and Remarriage. Is there an allowable basis, and if so what is it? Can a person who divorced be remarried?
  2. The Gifts. Are they all still being used?
  3. What is the purpose/calling of an Elder?
  4. End times. What is the rapture? What is the millennium kingdom? How do the church and Israel play out during these events?
  5. Women in the Church. What role should/can they play? Should/can they teach, and if so is there any restriction? Can they be an Elder/overseer?
  6. What is the difference between Dispensational and Covenant Theology?
  7. What is the purpose of the Church? When did it begin? How do you measure its success?
  8. How do I /can I know God’s will? What is God’s will for our lives?
  9. Calvinism/Arminianism. Historical background. What is predestination & election, and why do they matter?
  10. Share the gospel: Lead me to Christ (Romans Road, Bridge Illustration, etc.).
  11. Is Contemporary Worship, even if Anthropocentric, okay?
  12. Do I have a guardian angel? Can I be one?
  13. Is it okay for Christians to date non-Christians?
  14. What is the purpose of missions?
  15. Do babies who die go to heaven?
  16. How do you know the bible is God’s word…why is it different than other books that claim to be divine?
  17. Explain the hypostatic union.
  18. Do Christians need to obey the Old Testament Law?
  19. What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? How do you live the spiritual life?
  20. Aren’t all religions basically the same? What makes Christianity different? What is your basic understanding of Muslim, Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, New Age Movement, and Unitarianism?
  21. Be able to discuss the philosophies of the day (post-modernism, fatalism, nihilism, naturalism, relativism, etc.)
  22. Why do trials occur and suffering happen? What is the purpose of James 5?
  23. What is God’s position on homosexuality? Are people born this way? How do you answer those who believe that redefining marriage to include same-gender couples (or any other redefinition of marriage)?
  24. Why does doctrinal competency matter?
  25. What is a seeker church? Are we one? Is that good or bad?
  26. Is it okay for believers to drink? What does the bible say about areas of conscience?
  27. Is tithing biblical? What is different between Old and New Testament giving?
  28. Is debt biblically allowable? Should Christians have debt? Are there different types of debt?
  29. Should we ever recommend a licensed counselor? What does it mean to counsel biblically?
  30. What is community?
  31. What is accountability? Are there any areas that are off-limits within an accountability relationship?
  32. Should we be a place that is “confidential” or “safe”? What is the difference?
  33. Baptism: Who is it for? Should people baptized as infants be baptized again?
  34. Differentiate between creation, evolution, and theories of Genesis 1.
  35. Is it okay for believers to use contraception? Artificially inseminate? Freeze embryos?
  36. Read the Manhattan Declaration. Should believers sign this document? Why or why not?

It’s Never too Late to Grow As an “Elder”

If you want something to do in your time with the Lord in the days (weeks/months?) ahead, grab this list and get busy with your community wrestling with what the Spirit says about each of these issues. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that He has recorded His thoughts in His word and His thoughts are going to run contrary to the world’s and our flesh’s leanings (Prov 14:12). I pray your study and alignment with the Spirit’s leadership in each of these areas will lead to great days in your life and in the lives of those you lead. Leadership matters like nothing else.