PCA pastor and colleague, Wes White, has written a very thoughtful piece about the role that ruling elders play in checking the spread of theological error in the church. Some ruling elders are very astute and/or well read in a theological sense. When they attend presbytery they serve with gusto and often have much to contribute. Others are more passive either not attending presbytery at all (i.e. don't like the politics, don't understand the theology, or just cannot get the time off from work). In my experience about 25% fall into the first category while the rest fall into the second category. I am not criticizing anyone but rather making a general observation about the state of affairs in the church.
Just like pastors, ruling elders are called to be shepherds of the flock. That means caring for souls via home visits, hospital visits, one-on-one counseling, AND guarding the flock from theological errors that may creep into the church. Those errors may enter through a well-meaning layman, a Christian education curriculum, or a PASTOR.
Ruling elders, you are on the front line to protect your flock in the event that your pastor strays from the confessions. How will you know whether or not he is straying unless you are familiar with those standards and the issues of the day? You have taken vows to maintain "the peace, purity and unity of the church" and that calls for being ever vigilant.
I am grateful for the ruling elders of my church who are anything but "Yes Men." They are serious and sober-minded, thoughtful, willing to learn, and willing to serve - in the church, at presbytery, and General Assembly. I am blessed.
Pastors, encourage your ruling elders to read the following post. Dust off your BCO and remind them that there is more to being an elder than voting on budgets and programs. Teach them about their calling to be shepherds. Teach them as well, about the theological issues of the day.
We need more solid ruling elders to stand in the gap and defend the church.
Are Teaching Elders More Qualified to Deal with FV than Ruling Elders?