Categories
Christianity Godfidence Theology

First Among Equals

I have to add more to my look at Biblical church Leadership by examining the concept of primus inter pares or “First among equals,” a phrase which indicates that a person is the most senior of a group of people sharing the same rank or office[i].

There are many men whom I greatly respect that believe the Bible sets forth the method of leadership to be a plurality of elders with a “first among equals” among them. To put this in practical terms if the apostle Paul, Charles Spurgeon and I were the elders of a church, Paul would be our first among equals, although we would all hold the same rank we would defer to Paul in many cases as he an Apostle. Although we would each be accountable to and submitted to one another it would be obvious that Paul would in many ways be in charge.

Now that example breaks down in the fact that Paul was an apostle appointed by Christ and would there for not fit the normal Elder model, but I hope you understand my point. Also, as a point of practicality in a new church plant this first among equals is normally the planter of the church as they are acting as the apostle and brining the message of Christ to the body.

“Where does this appear in the Bible?” you ask? While not being expressly stated the idea comes from Peter in many ways. In Luke 22:32 “but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Jesus places him in a position to be the one who strengthen the rest of the disciples.

Additionally each time the Apostles are listed Peter is named first. (Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, Acts 1:13) Paul lists Peter, James and John as ‘pillars’ in the Jerusalem church. James and Peter seem to take a leading role in the Jerusalem council of Acts 15.

Eric Rung over at Authentic Truth has this to add:

The concept of the “first among equals” can be discerned by the way a congregation is to honor their elders. 1 Timothy 5:17 says “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.” It is imperative in Scripture that all elders must be able to teach. But not all elders desire to work primarily at preaching and teaching. There are those who are particularly gifted in this area and have a strong desire to do so. These men should be recognized by the congregation and should receive double honor for their work.[ii]


Of course this first among equals view is not without its detractors and I believe it will take humility on the part of the man who would be the first to humble himself to his fellow elders however I also believe it is some thing of a natural tendency of man. There are certain types of men who seem to rise to leadership when it is available and these are the type of men who must be most cautious when it comes to working with their fellows.



 

[i] “Primus inter pares.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 19 Apr 2008, 16:18 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 23 Apr 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Primus_inter_pares&oldid=206712145>.

 

[ii] http://authentictruth.blogspot.com/2007/03/biblical-church-leadership-pt-5.html

Categories
Christianity Family Life Godfidence

Memories in the corner of my mind…

9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.

10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.

11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

12 Praise be to you, O LORD;
teach me your decrees.

— Psalm 119

Some time ago I set out on a large task, to memorize an entire book of the Bible, in the interest of complete disclosure I chose Jude. Well it was some time ago and I fell off the wagon and left this task undone. Well I picked it up again and I am almost halfway done.

I don’t say this for a pat on the back but to encourage everyone to do this. Very often I have memorized a single verse of scripture and then I don’t know the context in which it was written. I don’t believe the Bible is to be used as a book of proverbs where you can more readily pull separate saying from it. In reading and reading and saying and repeating the book of Jude I have a greater understanding of its context. I don’t simply repeat it as a mantra but I find myself saying it as if I were Jude speaking it to those ‘dear friends’ to whom the letter was addressed.

How can we hold up proper doctrine as Paul and Jude requires us to do if we don’t even know what God has to say? Maybe you can’t memorize an entire book but start somewhere, memorize a verse and then the next and the next.

Categories
Christianity Godfidence Theology

Arrogance on My Part

I had something of an interesting revelation the other day about my pride.  I am sure we are all familiar with the shame we feel after a particular sin or ‘spritiual bad day’ where we just don’t want to face our father.  It is just like report card day when I was in school. 

Categories
News Politics

Tax Day

Well again I don’t like to be all political but this is the only time of the year it seems you can get people to pay attention. There will be news stories of Post Offices being open late so people can file. There may even be a few stories about how much the squeeze is being put to the ‘middle class’ and all candidates will be promising that if elected they will only tax the rich and most of us don’t consider ourselves rich.

According to the Tax foundation, a non-partisan group. Tax freedom day will not happen for most of us for a few more weeks. Tax freedom day is the day you would be done paying taxes if you paid every penny you earned from January 1. This year it is April 23 as an average. You can check out their site for more information and your states specific freedom day. But think about it, if we had to pay every penny we made to the government until we had paid our taxes we wouldn’t be done until almost 4 months into the year.  It is longer than it takes us to pay for our housing, food, health care, and recreation.

You know when my family was spending more than we took in I had a few choices, get a new job, demand more money or cut back on spending.  If you can’t demand more money from your boss, and you can’t find a new job you have to cut back on spending.  I wish the government didn’t have the power to demand more money from it’s bosses (us) and would realize there is a need to cut spending so we could all hold on to what we earn.  Think of what you could do with an extra 4 months worth of pay a year.  I bet you could spend it better than uncle Sam.

The Tax Foundation

Categories
Church Family Life Godfidence Misc Suburban Missionary

Suburban Missionary

“You feel called to Africa but you haven’t gone across the street” — Many Pastors across America.

I have heard the above quote many a times in my life from a preacher who is trying to convince people to witness to their neighbors. Although I have a great numbers of problems with modern evangelism techniques I am beginning to feel the heart of the preachers who have shouted this to their congregation.

Categories
Christianity Godfidence Theology

Good News V. Good Advice

Good News V. Good Advice

Jesus answered:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.  This is the first and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.”

It has recently become fashionable for Christians to say quote this scripture as though the Gospel or good news is that we no longer have to obey the law but simply love God. That takes this verse out of its context and neglects the fact that Jesus followed this with “All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments.” So, it seems, in the place of the Law we are preaching Law-lite. We neglect to include all the details of the law that “Love the Lord” summarizes we are left to find those rules on our own and if we do so we will be fine. That makes the Gospel good advice and not good news.

Luther when told by his Cardinal to simply “love God” his response was “Love God? Sometimes I hate him.” We are not capable of loving God or our neighbor in the way the Law commands by our very nature. If it were possible for us to fulfill the Law then we would have no need of a savior, only a helper.

By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. – I Cor. 15:2-6

The Good News is an event that occurred outside of our influence that we not reap the rewards of, not advice to be followed. We are sent to be his witnesses not his advice givers, witnesses implies a fact and not merely an opinion. The problem that arises when we reduce the Gospel, or Christianity, to a set of morals or a ‘better way to live’ is that it then becomes a subjective matter of opinion. The response “Well that is good for you but not for me” becomes perfectly valid, however when we are no longer discussing opinions, plans, advice or ideas, but historical facts then we are no longer dealing with the subjective. When we focus no longer on our ability, or lack there of to follow the gospel but on the grace of God and the sacrifice of his Son then we are truly talking about good news and not simply good advice.

Categories
Emergence Godfidence

How do we think about God?

Peanuts theology comicEveryone thinks theologically whether a Christian, Pagan, or Atheist and whether the thoughts are conscious or subconscious.  The question is how does one think about God and what influences the direction of those thoughts.  I, of course, will take this topic from the view of a Christian as I believe it to be the only Way to believe, and there will still be plenty of room for divergence of thought down this path.