I listened to a sermon yesterday by a preacher for the churches of Christ that made me scratch my head at one point. I can’t say I know much at all about the congregation (although I have my ideas), but what I do know is that they listened to a sermon that I believe missed the point. The preacher was preaching from verses in Acts 1. A great place to study with great points mind you! But the confusion came in when the church, led by Peter’s understanding of the need to replace Judas’ apostleship (bishoprick), needed to choose between Barsabas and Matthias in Acts 1:15-26. The result was that the church ended up casting lots to help reveal God’s will in choosing between the two men.
So the question was/is/may be asked why doesn’t the church do such things today? Is it a reflection of a lack of faith, trust or willingness to allow God to choose if we do not do such things when it comes to leadership or other issues in life? The answer is a resounding, “No!”
For one, the situation in Acts 1 called for the replacement of Judas, and replacing Judas meant that only “one office” was available while two men were candidates. That’s a problem that needed a solution and a solution was found. When it comes to leadership today, the office an elder/pastor/bishop is not restricted to the necessity of one man being chosen…hence no need to roll the dice to choose only one. As a matter of fact the evidence found points in the opposite direction – a plurality of men need to be chosen, not a single individual.
For another reason, there is no need for dice because the qualifications for elders/pastors/bishops are given in the scriptures (1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9). Once men have been found who desire to serve the church, the church needs to pray and spend time of great care before the men are given this position of great responsibility. Not one time did Paul tell Timothy or Titus to leave the choosing of these leaders up to the roll of the dice, but rather that the decision should be made carefully keeping in mind the qualifications and the works (ultimately the revealed heart) of the men (1 Timothy 5:22, 24-25).
When one reads the scriptures found in God’s word there are always lessons to be learned, but not always actions to be copied. To say that one must roll the dice to make a decision of a spiritual matter because the apostles did such does necessarily hold water. Did not Gideon (Judges 6:37-40) use fleece to make a decision? Yes, he did, but that doesn’t mean we need to do the same, does it? Different means were used in the past to make a multitude of spiritual decisions, but why try to use them when it comes to appointing leadership in the church after the clear qualifications and directions have already been given? The apostles were not playing games when they rolled the dice nor is the Spirit of God when He has revealed the will of God through God’s word for God’s church (1 Timothy 3:14-15).
When it comes to making major spiritual decisions the scriptures encourage prayer, careful consideration and the study of God’s word; but I see no evidence that the word of God encourages people today to cast lots when it to comes to choosing the leadership in the church. Why roll the dice when you can open the book? Let no one confuse you, a person shows a faith pleasing to God when they simply follow the word that He has given in the scriptures (Romans 10:17).