How then to Lead the Church? Part I

It could be quite possible that the church today, so-called, meets Biblical definitions only by eisegesis. That is, our current general church system seeks to legitimize itself by attaching labels from scripture to already entrenched hierarchies.

Theologians, scholars, and other churchy-sounding people will turn to Paul’s first letter to Timothy and also his letter to Titus to make claims bolstering one position or another in regard to today’s modern church. Some even go as far as to say that today’s church needs restructuring based on a particular viewpoint.

Whatever viewpoint is taken one underlying premise is always present. Whether a church-model of elder leadership, Purpose driven©, seeker-friendly, or liturgical is undertaken, all have a point of commonality. It matters not whether a congregation meets in a stadium, specifically designed church buildings, or rented schools. They all share a presupposition. Though they each may say something differently while insisting on the validity of their existence as a church, none can find a claim, a rightfully true claim, for their existence and governing in scripture.

After Pentecost, the church in Jerusalem was huge in numbers. They often gathered in the temple complex and increased in number daily. This is arguably the largest New Testament (NT) church. It was not to last, however, as the church soon became complacent, often arguing amongst themselves, and failed to carry out the charge of Jesus to spread the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8). Persecution soon followed and the believers were scattered, never to meet again in the same strength of numbers.

The Biblical data points to other congregations, Antioch-Syria being primary. The numbers seem to be small, however, in comparison to the immediate Post-Pentecost Jerusalem church. In the light of the Saul (later known as Paul) led persecution the church as a body left Jerusalem and separated into numerous parts that were not easily identified by would-be persecutors. It seems quite likely as well that the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD was certainly mark of the end of any large numbered churches if they existed up to that point.

Paul went on what we call missionary journeys. On these trips he met in synagogues to present the gospel. Those that believed formed groups of believers in those cities – churches. These churches networked with each other across Asia Minor, Macedonia, Greece, all the way to Rome.

As Paul took the good news to the Roman Empire, he trained people in the understanding of Jesus Christ and Christ’s purpose. These newly trained leaders would have to be resilient, intelligent, discerning, and highly motivated. They could ill-afford to undertake overt action in the political climate of Rome. To do so would jeopardize the safety of the church.

It is evident that the churches did convene councils to discuss points of contention, theology, and doctrines. Any authority to which may be ascribed to these councils seems to disappear after Paul and Barnabas separate (see Acts 15).

How then was the church led in the NT? How does that impact what church has become today? (to be continued)

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5 thoughts on “How then to Lead the Church? Part I

  1. Thanks Scott, for posting that.
    I’d like to reply, but I do want to hear part 2 first. But I will add one thing….. the Church is not buildings or organisations or commitees…. the Church is PEOPLE…. and not just any people, but BELIEVERS!!!!! Sadly, there are many in the so called church who do not really believe in what the Bible teaches.
    But Jesus said HE would build HIS church!!

  2. “It is evident that the churches did convene councils to discuss points of contention, theology, and doctrines. Any authority to which may be ascribed to these councils seems to disappear after Paul and Barnabas separate (see Acts 15).”

    I had not noticed this before! Great post by the way.

    Acts 4
    … “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3Therefore, brothers,[b] pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. ”

    So who did the picking of deacons in these verses?

    “7And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.”

    One has to wonder if the priests who held power as Jews became elders? Or deacons.

    Can’t wait for part 2

  3. Jeanette: I agree with that.

    Lindon: Perhaps you mean Acts 6? LOL While not discounting that perhaps some of the seven chosen as deacons were priests there is nothing to suggest elders had yet entered the equation at this point. It also doesn’t seem to be so much a power struggle as it was a neglect issue.

    All: Expect part two in another day or two.

  4. Pingback: How then to Lead the Church? Part II « Through the Veil

  5. Pingback: How then to Lead the Church? Part III (aka...last one) « Through the Veil

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