So who are elders of a church? Should we respect them? What about respecting elders of churches that are not our own? Or what about respecting elders of churches that we believe, for all intents and purposes, are not shepherding the flock as they should be?
DO NOT TOUCH THE LORD'S ANOINTED
I think that something for us to consider as a good example is David and Saul. King Saul did not like David. He hated him. He was not a good king. He was, in fact, a wicked king. But when David found King Saul asleep in a cave, instead of taking his life, he spared his life.
"Dare I touch the Lord's anointed?", David realized. In other words, although Saul was a wicked king, he was still anointed by God and given the office of king, and that is to be respected.
Likewise, let's jump back in time when Bill Clinton was president. Probably none of my blog readers like Bill Clinton. But if he were president, and I were to meet him and talk to him, I would dress up in a tuxedo and call him "sir" and "Mr. President."
But what about respecting elders of churches that we are not members of, and that we may even be suspicious of? I think the following example will suffice: If I were to meet Presidente Fidel Castro of Communist Cuba, I would still dress up in a tuxedo and use respectful language with him. Although he is, indeed, a wicked man, his office of President is still to be respected, and, therefore, he is to be respected.
And I would say this: I think even more should we respect men who are elders. True, some elders may not be good elders; some may not be shepherding their flock as they should, keeping the flock pure and practicing church discipline; and some may not even be biblically qualified. Yet, God has still established them and anointed them by setting them apart as elders. In fact, God even warned Israel to not get a king, but they would not listen. Yet, David still called Saul the Lord's Anointed, and he would not dare touch him.
We need to respect elders, whether they be of our own local church, or others; whether we have concerns and/or problems with elders of other local churches, or not. The fact is, God has anointed them, so we need to speak to them with reverence and respect.
We dare not touch the Lord's Anointed.