By Mike Willis
Scriptural Elders And Deacons
by H E. Phillips
When Cogdill Foundations secured the right to re-print this book by Brother Phillips, no one could have been more delighted than I was. There have been few books which I have considered to be worth enough of my time to outline, but this was one of them. I thought enough of this book to prepare a 31 page, single-spaced, typed outline of the book because it was out of print; I did not have a copy of it, and I thought the material was valuable.
Phillips used several chapters discussing the nature of church government, including a discussion of perverted organizations, the no-elder theory, and the scripturally organized church. Under this section, Brother Phillips answered some of the no-eldership arguments propagated by the Sentinel of Truth even before they were making them. The book also contains sections on the relationship of apostles, elders, and preachers, the eldership and the apostasy, scriptural appellatives for elders, etc. However, the meat of this book is in its thorough examination of the qualifications of the elders; clearly, one-third of the 312 page book deals with the qualifications. Our brother handled this section masterfully; he treated the subjects scholarly, but practically. His manner of considering the alternatives from which one could choose, examining the weaknesses and advantages of each position, and then forthrightly stating his own position, leaving one with no doubt about where the author stood is,”commendable. One some occasions, the former editor of Searching The Scriptures plainly acknowledges that he does not know enough about the mooted point to speak dogmatically about it. You will appreciate the disposition reflected in the book.
Inasmuch as the qualifications of the elders and deacons overlap, Brother Phillips gives less time to the study of the office of the deacon than he does to that of the eldership. A short chapter is included on the duties and the office of the deacon. One chapter is even included to discuss the wives of the church officers.
In his “Introduction To Second Edition,” our brother said, “The only changes I would attempt to make if I were to write another such volume now would be to include a chapter or two on the false doctrine that the church of our Lord is not an organized, functional entity, and some additional study on the super-organizational structure of liberal churches as they accelerate their speed toward complete apostasy…. I hope to publish another volume on this subject viewing it from current objections and problems.” I look forward to receiving a copy of this future volume alluded to by our brother and hope that those near to him will encourage him to accomplish his plans.
I would be tempted to recommend this book because of my personal love for Brother Phillips, as would anyone who personally knows him would be, or because it is published by Cogdill Foundations with which I have some association. However, though these might be motives for recommending a book, however illegitimate they might be, they are not motives for buying a book. I have not recommended the book for these reasons. A person buys a book because of the utility he receives from it. There is no other uninspired book on the eldership to my knowledge which will profit you more than this one; it far” surpasses those written by H. E. Winkler or J. W. McGarvey. This is the reason that I recommend this book to you.
Truth Magazine, XVIII:50, p. 2
October 24, 1974