Just got off the phone with my friend Ben Merkle, er, Dr. Benjamin Merkle, Associate Professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Two of the things we talked about were his first book, The Elder and Overseer: One Office in the Early Church, and the high cost of heating his house this winter. So I thought I’d help him out and encourage anyone out there who is interested in the topic of church polity, elders, or church leadership in general to take a look at his book and consider purchasing a copy.
If you’re wondering what the big deal is about elders and churches, especially if you have Baptist leanings and “elder” is a foreign term to you, consider also his more recent book, 40 Questions About Elders and Deacons. Ben has dealt with almost any question you might have about the topic, including the sticky issues, and with questions you may not have known existed, but are worth knowing about.
Ben did his Ph. D. on the topic of church polity, and to my everlasting shame I once asked him years ago as we were standing in front of my house in Grand Rapids, “Why?” I know better now. Church polity does matter, and you can learn a lot about it from Ben and his books.