I would like to finish my “War with the Dugans” with this post, and then return to the inane chatter that exemplifies this blog.
Let’s start with what I learned:
- Never end a blog post with “feel free to lay into me” on a Friday, because the comment notification emails when you open your Outlook Monday morning will be staggering.
Now to end the topic, let’s look at the comments to my comments, and then I’ll comment on them(confused yet?):
We are 2000 years away from Paul, so don't have any apostles anymore (I know the word means "missionary"), but I'm talking apostle in the sense of people who have seen Jesus (which includes Paul on the road to Damascus). You only get to do the Apostolic Era once.So, the issue is what do you do after that. The Roman Catholics can trace their leadership back to the Apostle Peter, so they say. But, let me end with leadership is good! Now, define leadership!
Good point! There is currently no direct, one-person-between-you-and-God bridge of authority that was present in the beginning of the church. So what? Titus wasn’t an apostle, was he? He was the one helping to designate leaders on Crete(which is I think where this conversation started)(not that the conversation started ON Crete, but the subject first involved the situation on Crete, maybe). Paul(the only Apostle connected with the Cretan Church) just set out the qualifications. Spiritual gifts are a symbiosis of the “helper” coming alongside you to enable you to more effectively be a part of the work God is doing.
So to address that point made by Linda, I would say we should follow the example of Titus, and appoint elders and leaders by using the checklist provided by Paul. The situation is thus: spiritually mature leader, with advice from his leader and divinely inspired scripture chooses local leaders. That is the example shown by Scripture itself. But of course you can play it out however your leadership style demands.
Presbo’s would have the Council of Elders be the “Titus” of the story.
Baptists would probably have the Pastors nominate and elders approve, and thus have an even larger amount of people be the “Titus”
But either way, you need someone(or group) to decide who the elders and leaders are. Otherwise you get a situation like most car dealerships, where the gooback with the most sales the most consistently is the “Sales Manager.” And nobody wants that.
*(that’s pretty unfair of me, isn’t it? To suggest a new line of discussion in the same post as I supposedly tie off all the loose ends of the previous two and end the discussion itself?)
Now to tie up the loose ends and finish’er off.
“I hope nothing I've said led you to believe that leadership isn't an important gift of the Spirit or that leaders aren't necessary in the church.Nothing could be further from the truth and I would even argue that it's precisely because of the great importance of leadership that we should involve the body of Christ in that process as much as we can.”
- I agree it’s important, and part of the reason I have posted so much on this subject is because I agree. But because I believe, and believe that the Bible shows, that leadership is a dichotomy of contradictions, and to limit that to one specific style of leadership would be to restrict the full flow of spiritual leading.Like I said initially, the method of leadership will not define the success or failure of body of believers. And that is the point the ultimately I come back to. There is nothing inherently wrong with a Congregationalist or Presbyterian style of leadership, and I’m not trying to argue that. But I’m also making the point that there is nothing inherently wrong with a more stratified leadership method either. I just don’t think you can pigeonhole the issue that neatly, because to do so would be to open yourself up to different, but equally devastating failures. There are potential pitfalls for any leadership method.
“I believe the authority a leader has is spiritual authority which is the authority to lead us to the final authority which is God's Word.”
- Again, I can’t disagree with the points being made, as they are sound. But again, the dichotomy: John 3:5Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. We have an essential part of our nature that is spirit, but we as fallible and ignorant of the whole scope of eternity cannot absolutely state where the spirit ends. Therefore we cannot clearly delineate where the spiritual authority would no longer be applicable, except where there is clear Biblical instruction on that. All we can do is judge by the standard made clear to us in the Word: 3:21But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. Again, it comes back to the heart of the leaders themselves. There are many examples of Godly leaders using and working within all leadership styles to the glory and success of the Gospel. And there are equally many examples of leaders(be they presbyter, head pastor, or Cardinal) using their leadership system to benefit their own agendas and twist the work of the Gospel so out of shape as to be instantly recognizable as rotten fruits.
But it sure makes it tough to have a real, one-on-one relationship with God when there's someone (or a group of leaders) in the way telling me that I need to be depending on them first for God's words to me.
- Acts 17:11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.If the actions of these Bereans was important enough to be noted in by Luke in Acts, then here is where we have a clear Biblical example to follow. They were actually lifted up by the Luke for their behavior. I don’t think I would take task with Nikki, and therefore keep myself from war with the Wallace Clan.
My whole motivation has been to try and separate leadership style and organization from the one thing that is clearly and explicitly stated in the Bible:
The heart is where everything starts and ends. And while you can’t look into a person’s heart, and you can see their actions and words checking them for Spiritual Fruit, and thereby judge their heart.