Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Leader-Servanthood and Servant-Leadership: Third Response to Reisinger, Ekklesia

As far as the general principles stated in Reisinger's third article, I find very little with which I disagree. I believe that Christ is the Lord of the church, and that the only goal of any system of church polity is to enact Christ's will. I am unapologetically a Baptist. I believe in congregationalism. I believe in church progress by consensus. Let us do the hard work of seeing the disciples come to affirm the movement of the Holy Spirit. One thing all must agree about the New Testament is the remarkable way it describes the congregational consensus of the New Testament churches. Acts 15 always amazes me...that the Pharisaical objectors apparently came behind the solution endorsed by the "committee" of apostles and elders. The "total democracy" section may be aimed at folks who see the church like I do, but I've decided not to take it that way. Total democracy is a horrible way to have a church—church is a theocracy, and Christ is in charge. I may believe that the majority of real, Spirit-led believers is better at finding God's will than one man or five men will be, but I will never believe that the majority is better at running the church than Christ is.

I think that many people are missing the real question behind the "elder wars" in Baptist life today. Who cares how many elders there are in a church? The real question is how many kinds of elders are there in the New Testament. Isn't it pretty hard to make a New Testament case for elders who aren't also pastors and overseers? But I digress...

There's a place or two where I think Reisinger might be hinting at something that I couldn't affirm, but all-in-all I like number 3. We need leaders who serve and servants who lead. May God give us more of them.

No comments: