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THE dear friends of the I.B.S.A. properly feel a responsibility in respect to their voting for Class Elders and Deacons and for everything that they do especially in the name of the Lord. We have already suggested that it would be unwise, perhaps unkind, to enforce parliamentary rules in respect to Church meetings, when perhaps only a few are really acquainted with such rules. The rules are, of course, good, wise and generally profitable. The spirit of parliamentary rules should apply everywhere; for they are built on the Golden Rule basis of protecting the interests of all and getting through with the business with the least friction and delay.
With the Lord's people, however, love is always to have the first place. While love is always in accord with the Golden Rule, it is always at liberty to do more than even-handed justice. So all of the Lord's brethren should be quite willing to deny themselves a little preference in the interest of another where no principle would be involved. [R5369 : page 381] Love, joy, peace, should prevail in every Class. Everything tending toward these and in fullest harmony with loyalty toward God and His Word should be cherished.
Several recent letters make further inquiry respecting Church elections, methods of nominating, etc., and inquire whether or not it would be improper to follow a little different method of nominating than that suggested in STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Vol. VI. We answer that in all such matters the will of the Class is the law. The Lord left the matter in the hands of the Church; and each little section, or part, of the Church has fullest authority to follow the Divine arrangement, according to its judgment.
In certain cases we believe it a very good plan to nominate Elders and Deacons by ballot, first deciding how many are desired for the term. Suppose that two Elders and five Deacons were considered a proper supply for the Class. Then, in balloting, each consecrated person should consider the Lord's will in respect to the nomination he would make. He may write the names of two nominees for Elder and five nominees for Deacon. Or, unless there were objection to it, he may give his two votes for one Elder and his five votes for one Deacon, or divide those votes in any way that he may choose. In this way, minorities in the Class would have an opportunity of being represented among the Elders.
When the balloting is finished and the account made up, the two Elders who have received the largest number of nominating ballots should be considered the choice of the Class; and similarly the five Deacons. Then it would be in order to have a vote. It is usually both pleasant and appropriate to make elections of those receiving [R5369 : page 382] the highest number of ballots unanimous by a vote with the outstretched hand.
Do not forget that the object always sought after is not how you can accomplish your will, but how you can give to every brother and sister the fullest opportunity for representation and have the same for yourself, especially with a view to doing the Lord's will. No matter how the results are reached, if they express satisfactorily the judgment of the majority, or all or nearly all of the Class, the matter is thoroughly legal, and in harmony with the principles laid down in the Bible.
"Let brotherly love continue." Let us seek to lay down our lives for the brethren. We cannot serve the Lord directly, but can serve Him indirectly, by serving the brethren and by manifesting our patience and sympathy and love for them.