The talk about how much scriptural and doctrinal/confessional knowledge and commitment are expected of REs as well as TEs got me wondering. It is purely anecdotal, but I get the impression that term-elders are more prevalent in the PCA than “life-term” elders (whatever non-term elders are called). I wonder if in terms of doctrinal/confessional stability, presbyterial stability (oversight of the gateway into the ministry of TE’s), are term-elders a little bit of a liability? Does a revolving door on the office of RE hinder rather than help a Church? Phrasing it that way allows one to consider implications at the local church level, the regional/presbytery level ans well as the church-wide level.
In practice I’ve been on both sides of the issue. When at the Canadian-American Reformed Church in Blue Bell, PA, I did terms as both elder and deacon. Actually, the Church was always small enough (sometimes there was only 1 deacon – makes for boring deaconal meetings), the deacon was added to the consistory, making the deacon basically an RE with a deaconal focus. Now I am back in the OPC and am an elder (not a term elder) at Trinity OPC in Hatboro, PA.