“The Titus Mandate” by Ted Bigelow

CAN YOU SPOT THE WOLVES?

Titus 1:5  This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you.”  THE TITUS MANDATE


The Titus Mandate by Ted Bigelow
/CreateSpace/January 2011/ISBN: 978-1-4538-3127-4/352 pages/paperback/$14.95

All Christians want to be a part of a safe and Godly church so that they can invest in its ministries and mission without fear or compromise.  Yet thousands of real churches, perhaps yours, have been infiltrated by dangerous men.  Many Christians have bee so hurt by these wolves that they have left church, vowing never to return.  Other sheep, unaware of what they are witnessing week by week, pay the wolves to preach their error.

Through reading this book, Christians will be equipped to:

  • Understand the Biblical reasonless for most negative church experiences and gain Scriptural wisdom about their church trials
  • Trust in the Lord whose wisdom brings such trials into His children’s lives, enabling them to move forward in their walks with Christ.
  • Discern safe church from unsafe churches.
  • Participate in church in a way that draws them closer to the Lord.

Taking the truth from Scripture and applying it in the church is easier said than done, so The Titus Mandate provides specific instruction on how to live out God’s principles that make church a secure place.  One’s confidence in church will be restored as God’s ways are explained, applied, and contrasted with those ways that bring danger.  The Titus Mandate is a rescue plan for Christians and their churches.  Readers will be able to feel confident that the leadership they have chosen will be trustworthy shepherds for their families.

BOOK OVERVIEW:

The Titus Mandate is divided into four related parts:

Part 1 — Defining The Titus Mandate

We who love the Lord need a great church—a joyful place to be built up in our faith… a place where we are taught to apply our spiritual privileges in Christ. Why then have so many ended up disappointed, or worse, deeply hurt? It’s likely they didn’t know The Titus Mandate, the Apostle Paul’s simple plan from the New Testament book of Titus that rescues Christians from spiritual danger, and makes church the great place God intends it to be. If your church is out of step with The Titus Mandate, it may be in for a surprise, for it too needs some measure of spiritual rescue.

Part 2 — Embracing The Titus Mandate

Since obeying Scripture is easier said than done, The Titus Mandate provides specific instruction on how to live out God’s principles that make your church a safe place for Christians who desire to obey the Lord. Always provocative and always surprising, the New Testament provides several “living laboratories” of churches in crisis and the godly solutions provided by the apostles. Because spiritual danger comes to every church in unmarked packages, believers need the straight forward wisdom of The Titus Mandate in order to expose spiritual danger before it gains a foothold. You can follow Titus’s ministry and apply his principles that ensure spiritual safety for you, your family, and your church.

Part 3 — Defending The Titus Mandate

In addition to understanding church problems and their timeless biblical solutions, The Titus Mandate applies the New Testament’s no-nonsense counsel to today’s unsafe church practices. By engaging everybody—from skeptics to theologians—The Titus Mandate envelops the Church of Jesus Christ in the warm and safe sheepfold of good and godly shepherding.

Part 4 — Implementing The Titus Mandate

Just as Titus implemented Paul’s mandate for churches in the First Century, Christians today are taking up the call to see the church shepherded by godly and qualified leadership. The final section of The Titus Mandate provides the steps necessary for every church to adopt the apostolic practice of elder-ship.

Bio:

Ted Bigelow is Lead Pastor of Grace Church in Hartford, CT, USA. He has been in full-time ministry since 1997, serving in both established and new churches. He has preached the gospel of Jesus Christ in the former Soviet Union, Africa, Western and Eastern Europe, and Central America. He has taught at the seminary level both in the United States and abroad, and carries on ministry correspondence with missionaries around the world. Prior to entering pastoral ministry, he worked in marketing and sales, project management, statistical forecasting, and consulted for the U.S. Government. In his years prior to entering seminary he was a professor of Business and Statistics at a college in southwestern United States. He has three theological post-graduate degrees:  Master of Divinity, The Master’s Seminary, 1996; Master of Theology, The Master’s Seminary, 1997; and Doctor of Ministry, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2005.

Endorsements:

“The modern church is bombarded with human ideas and ideals about how the church should be governed and operated. The Titus Mandate is a clear call to establish church leadership in accord with Scripture. I have had the blessing of serving as a pastor for 14 years alongside Godly elders and can attest to the blessing that it is to follow the pattern established in the New Testament. This book will challenge your thinking and encourage your church to uphold God’s plan for the church, not human wisdom or latest fads, but rather God’s best!”  — Don Stevenson, Pastor, Riverbend Bible Church, New Zealand Senior Lecturer, The Shepherd’s Bible College

“What does the Apostle Paul have in view for the Church of Crete when he says, “set in order” (Titus 1:5)? Pastor Ted Bigelow has written a persuasive and passionate biblical apologia for the biblical role of an elder. Any pastor, deacon, or local church member seeking to understand elder-ship will, with the noble Bereans, be well to read the book carefully and examine the Scriptures “to see whether these things are true” (Acts 17:11) in order to improve their understanding about biblical church leadership. In addition to treating the Titus passage, the author explores implications, many of which are where leadership issues often lie. I highly recommend this book to churches so that they can find out for themselves if leadership is their underlying problem. Chances are it is.”  — Dr. Dave Deuel, Director, TMAI, Missions Organization

Q&A with Ted Bigelow:

Q:  Your book discusses how so many have been hurt by the church today. Have you had any personal experiences that affected your knowledge of this?

Indeed! One time especially. Now I can say, many years later, that I am thankful to the Lord for this, but at the time I was hurt, confused, and there was no one to go to for counsel.

I had been so scared to bring up the issue I had with a pastor in our church that I had waited a year to speak to him. When I did, my own pastor hung up on me, and I was devastated! There were other men who were leaders in that church, so I went to one of them and asked for his help, but he told me that this problem shouldn’t get in the way of the pastor’s successful ministry. I didn’t share the issue with anybody else but, when I tried to talk to the pastor again privately, he and the other leaders literally kicked me and my wife out of church. That really hurt us, and it took several years of being under godly leaders before my heart sort of thawed and began to see perhaps why the Lord allowed us to go through that. The pastor left ministry soon after and, sadly, many aspects of his life fell apart.

Q:  Who is qualified to be a shepherd in the church? Where are these qualifications found in Scripture?

Before any man can serve the Lord in church leadership, he must meet a list of 26 requirements in his life. When a man meets all these requirements, he is to be recognized by the sheep as a truly qualified shepherd. The list is found in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. It is stringent and weeds out a lot of men who might like to be church leaders. But this list also motivates men to become more like Christ, the True Shepherd of the flock. It provides a God-given target for men to aim their lives and ministry. Furthermore, this list is the same for every church in every culture, because every man who grows in Christ-likeness looks more and more like the qualities of this list.

Q:  How does a great church begin to lose the Gospel?

A great church loses the Gospel by violating God’s word on safety and protection. You see, when a great church makes its decisions using the world’s methods, the sheep treat each other in a worldly way. Instead of preferring each other as more important than one’s self, church decisions are made selfishly, instead of in the manner of preference (Philippians 2:3-4).

Furthermore, a great church marks its own obsolescence when it makes leadership positions a matter of popular vote and not biblical qualification. Leaders are relegated to consultancy not shepherding, while their policies are up for public review and possible censure. The kind of men who succeed well at popularity are never those who confront sin and error, and yet this is exactly what God requires from a leader.

The Titus Mandate relieves the stress of complying with the world’s methods and enables both sheep and shepherds to put into motion all the competency and power God’s Word grants them.

Q:  What is the priesthood of the believer and why is it needed in the church today?

Like a little pill that eradicates a deadly disease, the priesthood of every individual believer is a tool of healing in your church in the hands of a mighty God. Just as Jesus has made all Christians “a kingdom, priests to his God and Father” (Revelation 1:6), so we are “being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5). We offer ourselves to Him in prayer and obedience. Only a church that pursues obedience to God in all things is a safe church for the priest of Jesus Christ. The priest of Jesus Christ must represent Him and say, “No compromise allowed!”

Where there is compromise, the believer has authority to call the church to obey Christ’s Word because he or she is empowered by their mighty priesthood. It is an honor bestowed by Christ upon every genuine Christian and authorizes each Christian to demand that God’s Word is obeyed in every aspect of personal and church life. Without believers living up to their priesthood, every church corrupts itself.

Q:  Will my church be void of disagreements if it follows the model of leadership from Titus?

No church will be void of disagreements in this life but, in spite of our tendency to disagree, Jesus Christ nonetheless commands us:

“…that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).

In order for that to happen, we need to live together in a church that, first, has a single leadership team—the kind commanded by Paul in The Titus Mandate. Secondly, we need a way of handling our disagreements so that everybody submits their own roles and responsibilities to Scripture, not personal preference. Since God shows us who and how decisions are to be made in His church, we need to esteem His ways in Scripture as higher than our own.

Q:  How can readers find a church that follows the guidelines for leadership as expressed in The Titus Mandate?

It’s actually really easy; in fact, you can find out in two questions. First, ask if the leaders are appointed by the qualifications in Scripture or by votes. And second, ask if the leaders must receive approval from other people before they can make a decision. If they must do this, they don’t have the authority God wants true elders to have.

My Review:

The book blurb from The Titus Mandate  by Ted Bigelow talks about churches being infiltrated by dangerous men, wolves in sheep’s clothing.   The warning is about false prophets, teaching things they shouldn’t be teaching for the sake of dishonest gain (from Titus 1:11).  Another warning is in 1 John 4:1, which tells us not to believe every spirit, but to test them to see if they are of God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world, saying Jesus Christ has not come in the flesh.  There are several other passages that warn against false teachings and prophets.

Thus the reason for the book, The Titus Mandate, which will help equip you to spot and protect the church from wolves, those who preach false doctrine, leading people astray from the truth of the Gospel.

The mandate is the appointment of elders in every church.  Ted goes into great detail in his book about the reason for elders in the first place, how the elders work to bring stability, the stipulations under which they must qualify, and how they are chosen.

I totally agree with the appointment of elders for the sake of unity, protection, rescue, and restoration of churches at large.   I do have a problem with some of Ted’s selection of  Scriptures that he uses in some of the areas he teaches on, along with some confusing contradictions (in my opinion), but again, I do agree with most of what he writes. Based on Scripture, the election of elders should be discussed and implemented in every church for the sake of the Gospel and protecting the people from false doctrines being preached.

If your church does not have elders, this could be a beginning book to start the exploration and instituting of elders.  Elders in the church are Scriptural, as they follow God’s leadership for the church.

This book was provided by Audra Jennings of The B&B Media Group, Inc., in exchange for my honest review.


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