Resources From This Podcast
Biblical Eldership, by Alexander Strauch
The School of the Shepherds
Equal Yet Different, by Alexander Strauch
The Hospitality Commands, by Alexander Strauch
When the Church Was a Family, by Joseph Hellerman
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Topics Covered In This Week’s Podcast
02:55 About the ministry and Biblical Eldership
06:20 The vocabulary the New Testament uses for church leaders
12:39 Family as an extension of the church
17:43 How elders and deacons can manage their households well
24:06 Should elders step down if their children are nonbelievers? On Titus 1:6
30:26 Important words for fathers
39:17 Equal Yet Different and The Hospitality Command
I’m Chap Bettis, and you’re listening to The Disciple-Making Parent, where we seek to equip parents and churches to pass the gospel to their children.
How important is the local church in your life? And when you think of your church, what metaphors come to mind? Is one of the first ones the household of God? And for that matter, what does leadership in the home have to do with leadership in the church?
Hi, my name is Chap Bettis and I’m the author of The Disciple-Making Parent. And in today’s podcast, we’re going to be talking with Alexander Strauch about two households: your household, and also the household of God- God’s household- and the overlap between the two. Alexander Strauch is well-known for his book, Biblical Eldership. It was published over 30 years ago and has influenced many people to start thinking about the role of biblical shepherds or elders. It was influential in my own life years ago, and he’s continued to be a prolific author of many, many other works, including two that we mention in the interview: Equal Yet Different and The Hospitality Commands.
He served faithfully as an elder in his own church before stepping down 10 years ago, and he’s been married for 53 years and has four children and now 15 grandchildren. So it was a true joy to talk with him over Zoom.
Well, before we start, I want to remind you that we give away the audio book of The Disciple-Making Parent absolutely free. So we are on a mission to equip parents to pass the gospel to their children, and The Disciple-Making Parent is the centerpiece of our ministry. It’s been endorsed by Al Mohler, Tim Challies among others. You can have the audio book for free. Simply email email@example.com, letting us know you heard about the offer on the podcast, and we’re going to send you the audio book absolutely free.
But for now, let’s listen to my conversation with Alexander Strauch about your household, the household of God, and its leaders.
Chap: Well, it’s a joy to have on The Disciple-Making Parent Podcast Alex Strauch, and it’s just such a privilege to talk with him. He’s the author of numerous books, and we’ll be talking about how they’ve influenced me and others as well. He’s been married 52 years. He’s got four children, 15 grandchildren, and now retired from being an elder and doing the ministry full time. So welcome. Welcome to the podcast.
Alexander Strauch: Good to see you dear brother.
Chap: Well, let’s just talk a little bit about your ministry and tell people about it if they haven’t heard. And we can talk about your popular book, Biblical Eldership. I’m going to hold this up for the YouTube video. This is my copy from 1995. It is well highlighted, well pored-over, just really, really was helpful as a young pastor. In 1992, I was 30. And it was just such a help. So just introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about your ministry and the book and testimonies that you’ve received back from that.
Alexander Strauch: Well, thank you. I’ve been at Littleton Bible Chapel for 51 or 52 years. I’ve been part of the leadership and the teaching of the ministry. Although I retired officially from being a pastor-elder 10 years ago, I’m still very involved in the church and trying to plant other churches out of our church Just planted one three years ago that’s doing very, very well. And I went with that church plant to help. My main ministry now is writing. And I travel and speak and then work in our local church. So basically it keeps me out of trouble.
Chap: Well, talk a little bit about the book Biblical Eldership. You wrote that years ago.
Alexander Strauch: Yes, it’s over 30 years old!
Chap: And it’s had quite an influence. What prompted you to write it? And what are some testimonies?
Alexander Strauch: What prompted me to write it was the absolute, total confusion over this subject. By the way, the same is true of deacons. And I had looked through many books because I was given a series at our church on the church ecclesiology, and I got to the church governance and I read so many things.
Most of it’s from a denominational background and they defend denominational polity, which of course is understandable. However, I didn’t find one single book that exegeted or expounded all the passages. And that’s what started me thinking. I had in seminary seen how they just outright rejected any kind of a plurality of leadership. It was almost like heresy, but I saw it in the Bible very clearly. And I couldn’t see anything about the ordained clergy. So that really started my interest. Something was up here.
So anyway, after doing this series and not been able to find any exegetical books, I said, “Well, no one else is doing it; I could do it.” And the Lord put a flame in my heart. And my original thought was to build or to write a book that would literally take you through every single passage on this topic, keep my ideas, my practices totally out of the book. And I think that’s what made us successful. It’s an exegetical work. It’s really a biblical theology and people that love the Bible have to admit, Boy, this is pretty clear what the Bible says.
And then we have a workbook with it and we have a website that has become very popular, biblicaleldership.com. We have The School of the Shepherds on that. So that’s probably going to be my lifelong work.
Chap: Well, it served me so well years ago as young elder in the church. And I think it actually relates a lot to parenting as well; we’re going to talk about the church as a household and just the need for spiritual fathers, but let’s just start with some basics here and talk about what are the words used for congregational leadership in the New Testament? How do they give us a full picture of what a leader should be? And then we’re going to transition and think about how that applies to the home as well. But let’s just start, because there’s all sorts of denominations out there with all sorts of labels for leaders of their denomination.
Alexander Strauch: Well, you really have to start with Matthew 23. Jesus is comparing his followers to the present-day Pharisees, religious leaders, and leaders of the Gentiles. There are about five passages in the gospel where Jesus shows this contrast between his style of leadership and the normal typical rule down from the top of the pyramid, the apex of the pyramid, rule down on the people. Jesus actually forbid that. And in Matthew 23 he says, I don’t want you to be like the Pharisees. Don’t go around and special garments. Don’t be having special titles for yourself, chief seats. And he says, You are brothers.
So let me give you four things that come out of those four or five stories, including washing the disciples’ feet. Four key words. Are you ready for it? Humility. Servanthood. Brotherly equality. And Christ-like love. Four key words that super-saturate the New Testament epistles. So Jesus specifically said You are not to be like the kings of the Gentiles. You are not to be like the religious rulers who are all consumed with themselves and with titles and special clothes and all of that.
So when you come from the gospels to the epistles and the book of Acts, you see none of those drapings among God’s people. And it’s a people’s movement. And so the terms used are elder. Which comes out of the Old Testament. And it’s used over a hundred times. People think it’s a new, radical idea. They haven’t read the Old Testament. Israel was a great family and it was led by its elders- community elders- and its priests. And the other word is episkopos, which is “overseer.” There’s actually another word, steward in Titus 1:7.
These are the terms used. They do not have a special religious meaning. They’re actually very common terms. And what we see in the New Testament (and I don’t see how you can’t see it) is a plurality of elders, a plurality of overseers, a plurality of stewards. It’s just right through the whole New Testament. Two key verses: Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5:1-2, both Peter and Paul to the preeminent apostles, give to the elders of the church the duty to shepherd the church of God. To no other person or group do we have the two great apostles giving the pastoral oversight of the church, but to the elders or overseers of the church. And again, a lot of this really is following Jesus’ teaching. You are not to be like the kings and the rulers of this world. They love to rule down. They want to be at the top of the pyramid and the people are below. So it’s a different style of leadership. We call it servant leadership. I think it’s a good term, and it’s brotherly leadership. And all of this comes back to your topic, the church of the family.
I don’t know if you’ve read any of Joe Hellerman’s books. Oh, he has two excellent books. This was his PhD. He did his PhD at UCLA on the city of Philippi. And he shows you what leadership was in the Greco-Roman world at Philippi. And then he compares it to the book of Philippians and the comparison is total. It’s an unbelievable book and I would highly recommend Joe’s two books.
Now, his second book was When the Church Was a Family. Lots and lots of information on the whole concept of family and the Greco-Roman world. And then he compares it to the New Testament or the Christian family. These are exquisite works. I recommend them all the time. And in fact, I’ve given lots of Joe’s books out.
Chap: That’s great. It makes me want to go and read that. And I appreciate what you said. So the idea of elder-older– so someone who is spiritually mature, and then also overseeing, so we’re to we’re to oversee. And then in that passage in Acts 20, he says, shepherd the flock, and also in 1 Peter, right? Shepherd the flock.
Shepherd the flock.
Alexander Strauch: Although the two words are used interchangeably, they don’t have the same meaning. Elder emphasizes dignity, wisdom, experience, community leader. Overseer emphasizes function. They watch over, they are guardians, protectors, superintendents.
So, although the words are used interchangeably, which is pretty much agreed upon by most people, each one has a different nuance.
Chap: Well, I could sit and talk to you about church all day, but let’s think specifically about the family and talk a little bit about the church- both as the household of God, and then thinking about how men should be the spiritual leaders of their home.
Alexander Strauch: Yes. Well, there is a complete interconnection between the individual family, which Al Mohler calls “the natural family”- we usually use the term nuclear, but the natural family. A man or woman and children. And it could be a mother-in-law or parents in the family. That is the family by the biblical standards.
The local church is an extended family. That’s why it’s called the household of God. 1 Timothy 3:15. And the individual family is to support the larger family, which is the local household of God: church. And then the larger family is to support and care for the individual family. That’s why it’s so important for every family to be a part of the local church. Because if you have great troubles in your family, the local church is there, the local extended family is there to support you and help you. I think of how many women are deserted by their husbands. Well, I think of the different women in our church. We helped them financially. We helped them with providing fathers and taking the children on trips. . .
And so the larger family cares for the smaller family, and the smaller family- the individual family- supports the church. They are totally integrated. Totally integrated. And that’s why when you go through the New Testament, “brothers and sisters” is used over 250 times. We are brothers and sisters to one another. And by the way, I might want to comment, that’s real brothers and sisters. Not blood brothers and sisters, not DNA brothers and sisters, but the Holy Spirit brothers and sisters. Every believer has the indwelling, empowering presence of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit connects us together. It’s real, not just a metaphor. We are really connected together and together we’re all connected to Christ, our head.
So this is a real family and I’ve have to say this: it’s an eternal family. So my mother, my father and my brother, they’re all dead. I have no DNA family left, but I have large eternal family. We are all connected by the Spirit of the living God, and we will be together for eternity in God’s home.
Chap: That’s really helpful because I think even today, there’s such an emphasis on the natural family, the biological family ,and parents can get so caught up in that. You’ve never done enough for your children. There’s always one more sports activity. There’s always one more skill they could learn. So to actually say, No, this is your natural family that needs to be connected with your eternal family. That’s just really helpful. And that our families are living for something greater than them. So that’s just vitally…
Alexander Strauch: Well, in raising our four children, I have to tell you, we did not raise them just as Mom and Dad, but as a whole church. The elders in our church, our kids call aunt and uncle, and still to this day, the retired ones, they just love them. And all the other young people in our church, which my children which are in the mid to late forties. Those kids they grew up in the church are still their lifelong friends and their children are all friends today. We actually have a very unique situation. We’ve had three generations of elders. No one ever left the church, the first generation’s all dead, but they were all there. I’m the second generation, we’re all there to help. And we have a third generation of elders that are leading the church and doing a great job. And so we have perpetuated a real family church and I don’t think this is wrong. I think it’s right that many of the young people have found their spouses in our church and grew up together.
Think of Israel, a great family. And they were not to marry outside the nation. It was forbidden by the Lord. So it’s a wonderful thing for the people of God to find their spouses in the local church. Even if it’s not your own local church, another good Christian local church. That’s why camps and a bigger activities with other churches- it’s a good thing.
Chap: That’s great. That’s just really helpful. Well, one of the qualifications qualities for an elder and deacon is that they manage their household well. Let me read this. This is 1 Timothy chapter 3, verse 4. “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity, keeping his children submissive. For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care for God’s church?” And then for deacons, it says, “Let the deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their households well.” What would you help us understand that passage?
I was just talking to a pastor this week. I said to him, “Would you say you manage your household well?” And he said, “Oh, I hope so.” What do you, what do you think Paul is saying there? And why is it important? And of course Titus begins with the qualities in the family first. And I wonder how our thinking would be different if Titus came in our Bibles before Timothy. So what’s your understanding of that passage?
Alexander Strauch: Well, what it tells me is that conducting a church, leading a church, is more like leading a family than leading in the military or a corporation. And so Paul is concerned. And remember what Peter says- 1 Peter 5:3- “Do not Lord it over those in your charge, but being an example.” Elders are examples of the Christian life. So when he says an elder/overseer must be above reproach, the very first thing he says in specific terms is, husband of one wife. Or faithful to your wife. That’s the first specific qualification. The overarching one, above reproach. In other words, the church is a family. And how can we have leaders who have broken families, divorce situations, or adulterous situation in any way with credibility lead the church? So, the first thing Paul’s concerned about is the marriage. It’s got to be above reproach.
Then, as you said, Titus, the family, because the church is a family. If you’ve got a discombobulated family, a dysfunctional family coming apart at the seams, I simply don’t know how you would be an example to God’s people. You would actually be a disgrace. You’d be an offense to the church. So in the eyes of the apostle, who really knows what the church is, the leaders have to be exemplary in the area of marriage and their family. That they show that they can lead it. Because the logic is if you can’t run your own family, if it’s falling apart, how can you run the family of God? You can’t.
Chap: I agree. And what you’re highlighting is that the dynamics are different. For example, I had one business leader tell me- and his company was probably $20 million- but he said “It’s actually harder to raise my three children than it is to run my company.”
Alexander Strauch: I believe that
Chap: Because when when you’re as a CEO, when you say, You will work late, everybody says, Yes, sir. And they work late because their paycheck is dependent upon it. But when you say that to your 15-year-old teenage girl, she might not say Yes, sir. And so it’s much more relationally intense and persuasive and all those things you talked about before, which is example, which is humility, love. . .
Alexander Strauch: Servanthood.
Chap: Yeah, just all those things that bring over to the home. So you can dislike your boss at work, still obey him, obey her, and they can get results, but that just doesn’t happen in the home. As I’m sure you know, there may be a while where the family is sort of submitting, but when those children get to be teenagers it’s going to come out that there hasn’t been love in the home. Yeah, so it’s just a completely different dynamic.
Alexander Strauch: Totally. Isn’t it interesting. I have to read all these books on leadership. I never read them all the way I read the front, the back, get some things. It’s too boring. But I see very little emphasis on the style of leadership. It’s more like fathering than a CEO. But you get all these people talking about the Carver model, the CEO model, the policy snake model- none of that is New Testament! I don’t know why they just don’t trust their New Testament; that’s where we get God’s guidance on these subjects.
Chap: I’ve been thinking about even how that plays out in larger churches and needing to multiply spiritual fathers and spiritual mothers. And my experience has been in smaller churches, but as I interact now with larger churches, I realized that there was a dynamic in our smaller church, it’s the family dynamic. Don’t give me too much trouble on the phrase I’m going to use, but there’s a “godly coercion” that happens in a in a smaller church where you can, out of love, go up to a young guy and go, Hey, you should be at that conference or You should do this or whatever, because it’s out of love and it’s spiritual fathers who are persuading. So maybe that’s a better word, godly persuasion, as opposed to that. That family dynamic, I think, is harder to recreate in larger in churches.
Well, Titus 1:6 seems to say that if a father does not have believing children, he should step down. And I love how you explained it on your website on biblical eldership. I went and listened to that before. “If anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife and his children are believers, not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.” What’s your understanding of that passage? And what’s the encouragement to us as dads?
Alexander Strauch: Well, I’ve written on it at several levels, a more scholarly level, a more popular level. And there is real disagreement over the passage and the disagreement comes largely over the word pistos. Does it mean faithful, reliable? Or does it mean believer? It can meet either one of those depending on context. So in contrast to pistos you have not you have debauchery, insubordination, very strong terms. So without going into a lot of detail, I think the contrast helps us to understand. He’s not simply talking about a believing child. He’s talking about child is totally out of control and probably not a child. He’s talking about someone who is at least in his teenage years that is a disgrace to the parents and to the Christian faith. So I take it- and I’ve noticed more modern commentaries take it to be- he’s contrasting the child who obeys the parents, faithful to the parents, and the child who’s like the prodigal son.
Now there’s another issue, and it’s theological. It’s an impossible demand. And it can cause terrible hypocrisy, because any Christian father can say, “Oh, well, my children have professed faith.” Of course, four-year-olds, five-year-olds, all profess faith I’ve never heard of a child in a Christian home that hasn’t professed faith. You want to be with Dad and Mom in heaven, or you want to go to hell with the devil? I’m going to heaven, I’ll tell you that. So they make professions. We don’t really know the reality of those until later, that’s just the way it is. Some kids keep their profession all their life, no problem. But I’ve seen in our church, and I’ve talked to many, many people- You get kids at 18, they leave for college. They leave for the service. I saw this in my own growing up days, with dear, dear friends, that’s when they turn away from the Lord.
Now a little bit of a side trail here, four or five young men I grew up with as teenagers at camp in church- at 18, my closest friend went into the military and didn’t come back to the Lord or really was saved until his late fifties as a result of cancer. Two others went into debauchery just as you read there, drunkenness, ruined marriages, horrible lives, drunken lives. In their fifties, they came to Christ. In fact, it was just thrilling. One day, one of them called me and said, “Alex, do you think I could be saved? I’ve rejected the Lord all my life.” I said, “Of course you can be. The thief on the cross is an example.”
So when a person comes to Christ at 5 years old, 20 years old, 50, that’s not in our hands. Now you deal with family matters. We can’t control all these things. A parent wo thinks they can control these things is in for a real surprise. We teach the gospel, we model the gospel. We build strong relationships with our children. We’re approachable. We do all the right skillful things. They may even be our friends. They may love us. But they just don’t believe. So I think it’s an impossible demand. And what happens is it turns into hypocrisy where the parents say, “Oh no, no. They’re saved. They were saved when they’re 5 and 6 and baptized at 11. They’ll come back to the Lord,” when maybe they’d never really been saved. So I just think it’s very dangerous. And I do know a church where if your children aren’t saved by 18 or a professing believer, you can’t be an elder. I do know an actual church; you might even know it too. Well, I think that produces a terrible hypocrisy and a very dangerous things, false professions.
Chap: And probably also pressure this weird pressure on the child. My Dad’s going to have to step down in public. There’s all this weirdness. So thank you. That’s dangerous. I really appreciate that. I agree with that. I’ve said it this way when I’ve done seminars: our children’s salvation is by faith, not by works, not by their works and not by our works. Even as we’re faithful, you just talked about being faithful, we can’t do enough that they’re going to follow Christ and that would really be an impossible demand on the child.
Alexander Strauch: And you know, some children are saved at 18 or 19 or early twenties, during college. So we’re forced to put an age on it so we can get credibility to become an elder. In Bible interpretation, if your interpretation leads to all kinds of complex hornet’s nests of problems, you’d better reconsider that interpretation. And this interpretation leads to unsolvable problems and creates an atmosphere that I think is very destructive personally.
Chap: I agree. Well, talk to dads. You’ve got four children, you’ve got 15 grandchildren, talk to dads. What would you say to them? You know, the ministry is The Disciple-Making Parent. We want to do all that we can to pass the gospel to their kids. Given the world that we’re in today, and I’ve got to believe as a grandfather, and I just think as I get older, it distresses me more and more. What are some exhortations that you would give, if you could sit down with fathers and say “Listen, these things are important.”
Alexander Strauch: Okay. A couple of key words. First one is relationship. Little children have to do what you say. You can spank them. You can be a spirit crushing giant and get them to do whatever you want. But that’s different than building a relationship where you enjoy being with one another and your children enjoy you and want to be with you. So I have four children, they’re all adults today and they love being with us. They love going to dinner with us and coming over to our house all the time. We’re very, very close.
The other word is approachable. Approachable. You want to be approachable. So your kids start the teen years, tween years, they’re going to hear curse words at school. They’re going to hear a lot of things today that didn’t even exist when I was in high school or junior high. It didn’t exist. They’re all seeing pornography with their friends. Put it right in your face. We let our children know, you’re going to hear these words. What do these words mean? You’re going to hear about sex. You come to us. We’re not going to a bawl you out; we’re going to explain these things to you.
If you get pregnant- we have four daughters. This can happen to good girls, moment of passion and craziness. You come to us, don’t go to your friends. They don’t know anything. So we’ve always been very approachable parents. They feel very comfortable. We’re not harsh. I never yelled at my children.
And even in discipline, we’re very, very cautious with discipline. Each child is completely different. Some respond to spanking. For some, that makes them angry. You do much better just sitting and reasoning talking to them. So we were very approachable with the children. Then we know from Ephesians that particularly fathers, we must be teaching fathers.
In other words, the Deuteronomy 6 passage. We have all these situations in life. We’re getting all ready to go to bed or we get up in the morning. Everyone’s got to get out to school. Even worse, get up to church Sunday morning with five women getting through one bathroom. I’ll tell you, that’s a test of your sanctification right there. I always got ready the night before, but anyway, in normal life, you’re really teaching and you’re modeling for them the Christian life.
And they should know doctrine, they should know the Bible. And so one thing we did as parents, 95% successful is that we always ate dinner together at night. And during that time, I try to always engage you when they were little. And I found little kids love questions. I ask questions and talk about what’s going on in the political world, the religious world, and then have a little study together when they were little. It was just, you know, five minutes or less as they got older, we got, you know, we went through the book of Revelation, the book of Proverbs. I played a test walking through the whole Bible with the Bible characters. And so they’ve grownup and then I would pray for each child every night. So they grew up seeing their father pray for them every night teach them.
So you want to be a teaching parent, not a bully, but someone who just very natural. You’re in the car together. And you say, Boy, aren’t you thankful to, the Lord for this wonderful car we have? It hasn’t broken down in two months. It’s such a wonderful thing. And then you pull up to the house and you say, Oh, the Lord has given us such a wonderful warm house. And it’s 20 below zero. So anyway, you’re just a teacher all the time, a consummate teacher, and that’s what Deuteronomy 6 and the normal flow of life.
You are not only teaching, but living it; Boy, you’d better live it. Not just to have a bunch of empty words, the kids hate your guts. That’s all counterproductive. So you’ve got to live what you say so your children can’t say you’re a hypocrite. And they know. They live with you. They know if there’s the two different people, the one guy in church who’s friendly with everyone and the one guy at home and neglects them. So those are some basic things, but building relationships is so important.
Rules and regulations only take you so far. I told you about these friends of mine. We grew up together. In two of the cases, two of the brothers, they’re both dead now, but did come to Christ. They had a father that preached a lot but was a very cold father who didn’t communicate, had no warmth, everything they did was wrong and sinful. They wouldn’t have a television or newspaper. I mean, they had rules and regulations; it took a year to get to know all the rules and regulations. The father was a big voice at church and a big speaker and would go out and witness in the park verbally, but they didn’t like their father. They couldn’t wait. Every one of them got out of the home actually before 18. So he had a big profession and I think he was sincere. But he didn’t understand children at all. Children, aren’t robots, and they’re not just going to do what you say and you all of a sudden find out they have their own will. And that will has to be skillfully dealt with, not beaten. So there’s a heavy price to pay for heavy handed, highly controlling discipline in the home.
Chap: That’s good. That’s really good. Just a number of those things, whether it’s the relationship, the affection and not being heavy-handed, I think that’s the thing that surprises you. At least it did me. If you have structure and order for young children, you’re like, “Oh, I have this thing down,” you know? Then of course they grow up, which you want them to do. And it becomes a lot more complex and that’s, and that’s great because you want them to be individuals and on their own. But we need to talk about things a lot more. So, especially being a teacher.
Alexander Strauch: Well in this approachable thing I would put with approachable, fairness. So you’ve enforced discipline. They came in late, they’re 16, 17. They came in really late way beyond what they’re supposed to. And so you have this heavy discipline. You’re not going to drive your car. You’re not going to be doing this now for the next couple of weeks. And they appeal to you- “This is too harsh, Dad, we’ve got this and that.” And can you be fair to say, “Okay, okay. Let’s work out some other deal.” Then they feel a sense of reasonableness.
That’s a good word. So there was a missionary, he had three children. He was a very rigid, rigid missionary. I knew him. I knew his wife very well, his wife wasn’t this way. And he drove all three girls out of the home. With all those rules and regulations and this very fanatical, rigid life. So anyway, on his death bed- two of them come to our church today- on his death bed he said to his daughters, “I’ve been an unreasonable man.” Wow. What a confession. “I’ve been an unreasonable man.” What a price he paid! The kids paid. Don’t be an unreasonable father, you have to change your discipline. Or if the kids say, “Dad, that’s really not fair.” “Okay, well, what else can we do together?” Let them know they’ve got a voice.
Chap: Wow, that’s just making me tear up because that is the last thing you want to have to say on your death bed. You want to be surrounded by family and loved ones, but to confess sin like that.
Well, before we hit record, you told me a little bit about being a prolific author, but let’s highlight two resources: Equal Yet Different and The Hospitality Command. So talk a little bit about those, why you wrote those.
Alexander Strauch: Yes. We noticed our young people coming back from Christian colleges as feminists and mad at us because they said we didn’t teach the right thing about men and women. And so we’ve got these huge tomes on biblical manhood or womanhood, 400 to 500 pages, a lot of text and material. They’re never going to read that. We needed at this time- I think I wrote this 20 years ago- we needed a book for high schoolers and college students. And I did this book Equal Yet Different, but look at the subtitle, A Brief Study of the Biblical Passages on Gender.
So I take them through every passage and the major arguments, starting with Jesus Christ himself, going back all the way to Genesis 2 and 3. Brief, I put it in a story-like manner, easy. to read, The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood uses this book.
And the other one, a major part of our ministry, I think it’s helped our children, is our hospitality ministry. My wife loves that and we still carry it on. But when our children were small, those four girls learned hospitality. And so I wrote this little booklet, The Hospitality Commands. There are five commands to hospitality, and then the subtitle is Building Loving Christian Community and Building Bridges to Friends and Neighbors. Again, I take you through all the passages, how hospitality builds community. And you know in our hospitality, we always have other children over. They’re playing with all the other children. They get to know other children, love other children, makes it a fun day for them on Sunday. Sunday was usually our big day. Of course we had other times, but we always had people over on Sunday after church and for the children, it was a lot of fun. And if we missed it, “What’s wrong, is Daddy backslidden or something. We’re not having having people over today!” *laughs*
Chap: Well, that’s great because hospitality is a way to minister to all sorts of people. So other families, singles, older, younger. But the family is involved. In the preparation on Saturday we would always get our kids involved. And so as a way to serve together as a family, it’s a way to serve the church. It’s an easy way. You’re doing something all together. With parents now being distracted and being divvied up all different ways, this is something we can do together to serve others. I think that’s an easy way just to serve. But again, not to harp on the dads, but we have to be willing to have people into our castle. We come home to retreat from the world. And now if I’m actually going to have people in, it’s work, hospitality is work, right? But it’s also service as well.
Right. So it’s also service as well.
Alexander Strauch: You know, when raising our four daughters, they’ve seen many missionaries in our home and when they’re in the home, I get them to talk about what the culture’s like, the food’s like, what the people are like, very educational for the children.
Chap: Yeah. we used to, while we were sitting around the table, they would have to ask one question. We prepped them. And so their favorite question was, did you have any pets when you were growing up? So that was okay. Yes, you can listen mostly, but sometimes you do have to interact.
Well, thank you so much for the time. Where can people find out more about you and your ministry if they want to dig into these books and find out more about training for elders?
Alexander Strauch: Just go to biblicaleldership.com.
Chap: Super. Well, thank you. Thank you for your ministry. Thank you for writing that years ago, your writing ministry and the way you’ve served the Lord, I know it’s going to be a blessing for people to listen to this interview.
Alexander Strauch: Well, thanks for having me on because my subject is really totally interrelated with your subject.
Let me just give you one more thought. It appears to me, the Lord gives his servants a special message, something you’re interested in all your life.. We need a lot of other doctrines and things to know, but we always come back to something that’s in our heart. So to me, it’s been this whole thing of eldership what it is and how it can bless the church and what elders should be. And it’s all interrelated with the family because the elders are leaders of the larger family. And there is not a separate issue.
Chap: I agree one hundred percent. So yeah, Thank you for that encouragement, and calling parents and encouraging parents to disciple their kids, especially the culture that we’re living in today is definitely on my heart.
So thank you. Thanks again.
Alexander Strauch Alright. Thank you.
Chap: You’ve been listening to The Disciple-Making Parent podcast. For more information about the book, The Disciple-Making Parent, visit thedisciplemakingparent.com