Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An important conversation brewing

Check out the latest post from David Fitch, James McDonald’s Lost Vision For the Body of Christ? David is raising some important questions regarding leadership and government in the church and is hitting on some important themes, first and foremost the normative nature of servanthood as the mark of leadership. Here is a snippet:

This is why the NT uses the term diakonia (servant, slave) far more than any other term to describe leadership in the church. I take these words of Jesus to be an overthrow of all authoritarian leadership in the church. Instead we pastors are to be yielding, serving the local Body in submission to each other out of mutual submission to Jesus as our Lord and reigning King. We are to trust together that God the Holy Spirit is working in the arena of His people where Jesus is Lord (1 Cor 12). The pastor, prophet, teacher, even apostle or elder always serves in this pattern.
The comments already promise to be great fodder for further conversation.

1 comment:

vparunak said...

Fascinating conversation--thanks for the pointer. The author and most of the discussants correctly note that a) the NT pattern does recognize prominent people (elders) but b) their role is service and example, not hierarchical authority. But everyone in the conversation (pro- and con-MacDonald) seems to miss the underlying driver of the problem: commercialism, rooted in salaried elders in violation of Acts 20:33-35. Paid elders lead to pressure for large congregations to achieve financial stability, which leads to a need for special buildings, which incur their own costs, and pretty soon you've got a huge enterprise that requires centralized management. In addition, a "professional" pastor implies some special qualifications and training not available to others in the meeting. Obey Acts 20 and other passages (see discussion at http://www.cyber-chapel.org/Elders.pdf), leave money out of the picture, and many of the drivers for hierarchy vanish.