That is the lead-in for an ad in a recent issue of the "Firm Foundation." That is an arresting attention-getting question, especially if you have any aspirations about becoming a "church officer" in either or both classifications. If you have aspirations for becoming a "duly constituted church official," there is some hope for you. The ad continues: "Who trains deacons to serve? How do elders learn to teach and lead?" Good questions, right? See how your heart beats faster if you answered "yes" to the first question -- at the heading of this article. Are you ready for the answer? Here it comes: "We train them by correspondence." And to assure the reader, they claim that "Over 1700 have enrolled since 1978." They have an amazing track record. Merely by correspondence they have trained over 1700 candidates for these church offices. It appears that this is a complete training program--all by correspondence and nothing else is necessary.
When one graduates from this correspondence training course, he (she?) is fully trained and qualified! Surely, they would not take anyone into either the "deacon training" or the "elder training" who is not otherwise qualified for the official church position. Reckon a woman could enroll?
They tell us it is all based on "Sound doctrine." So the imprimatur is stamped on this program!
And the "only cost is an $8.00 textbook." Ain't that something? No question about the zeal and admirable desire and intentions of these brethren. That must be some "textbook," and you can be sure that the book isn't the Bible. Everything the New Testament says about deacons and elders would not even fill one page of The Examiner. Yet these brethren have a whole textbook on the matter. One of my good brethren wrote a sort of textbook (maybe it was a "Bible" for many!) several years ago called "Scriptural Elders and Deacons." It has about 300 pages! At least 95% of it is unadulterated human opinion. It even tells you how to operate "the local church" corporation when you have no church or corporate officials. It can be done by the "Men's Business Meeting." I suspect that this "$8.00 textbook" is about like that one.
This correspondence training course is available from the "Southern California School of Evangelism...Buena Park, California." That assures you that it is "sound doctrine" indeed. Well, here is the solution, guaranteed, for training all future deacons and elders. I can relax now and have confidence in our future! Correspondence trained deacons and elders! They should be the best. The apostle Paul really missed out on it. I wonder if they "certify" those who complete the course? Surely they give an impressive diploma. Come to think of it, I believe I will enroll.
-- W.W. Wow