Review of Elders in the Life of the Church


Elders in the life of the church is ultimately a book about church polity. Over the last several years I have read a few of them and this is one of the better ones I have come across. It points to the role of elders in the church and not just that of a senior pastor, but an actual board of elders (not just deacons). It comes from a very faithful camp which is the 9 Marks publishing camp, I tend to love just about everything that they put out. They do a lot of publishing with Crossway but this work was picked up by Kregel Academic (another great publisher).

This work is coauthored by Phil Newton and Matt Schmucker each of them tackles different chapters throughout the book. I have had the pleasure of actually sitting down and having a meal with Matt during a 9 Marks Weekender, so I was able to find his chapters a little more relatable. Not to take anything away from Phil, who did a stellar job expressing his points in the book.

The book itself is just over 240 pages long, it is not the shortest book ever written and it is not the longest. It is however a very thorough treatment of the role of elders in the local church. If you are looking for a quicker read there is a book entitled Church Elders that I have heard is good as well (it’s on the to be read list).

In one chapter there is coverage on why many American Baptist churches have drifted away from a plurality of elders and the history of it. When it comes to the chapters some are longer than others, so I wouldn’t say this is a devotional type of reading.

This is a book I would recommend to a church/pastor considering changing over to becoming elder lead/congregational ruled church. It is a very good book with lots of great insights. I think it instills a lot of good theology behind eldership and would do any church good to either reenforce what it already believes or to come under some new teaching. I highly recommend this work especially to my fellow Baptist brethren.

I received a copy of this work in exchange for a fair and balanced review. I was not required to give a positive review of this work.

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