WHY PARACHURCH LEADERS MUST MEET.
THE SAME BIBLICAL QUALIFICATIONS AS CHURCH LEADERS

by

DARREL W. COX

Trinity Evangelic...
1994

2
INTRODUCTION
During this century the Church has witnessed an increased growth of specialized
Christian organizations popul...
I. Analysis of Parachurch Organizations
A. Definition of the Parachurch
B. The Relationship of Parachurch Organizations to...
A. Definition of the Parachurch
In many respects, the term ÒparachurchÓ is inadequate. As a compound word,
ÒparachurchÓ do...
organizations are subject to the same biblical leadership qualifications as leaders in local churches,
the question of whe...
the phenomena which we have come to understand as parachurch ministries would better be
described as specialized instituti...
Although the above definition of the church corresponds in some ways to the main
features of historic creeds, ambiguity re...
but not usually all three. Based on the categories listed in the National Evangelical: The
Evangelical Directory 1992-93 (...
with the horizontal/vertical position set forth above is one of equivocation between the universal
church (of which believ...
pillar and foundation of the truthÓ (I Tim. 3:15), it is only natural that a pure exposition
(preaching) and reception (he...
2. The Parachurch Organization in the Kingdom of God
Since a parachurch organization is not a church in a formal sense, it...
Jurisdictionally speaking, therefore, the authority or mandate for the parachurch to
participate in the mission of the loc...
synthesis of the categories that emerge from an analysis of the NT material on leadership. Using
the first few words of Ep...
as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers . . . .Ó Thus the
progressive description of the gr...
The same theme of divine authority is greeted enthusiastically throughout the NT. To
name just a few, the apostle Paul dec...
leadership, however, it prefers the concept of obedience in addition to submission. For example,
we observe Jesus telling ...
The commission of the apostles was unique in nature. First, it required no human
consultation (although it is significant ...
Rom. 1:1 Gal. 1:1 Eph. 1:1 Col. 1:1 I Tim. 1:1 II Tim. 1:1 Titus 1:1 -

ÒPaul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an ...
Elsewhere in the book of Acts, we see the appointment of elders by Barnabas and Paul
(Acts 14:23; 20:17 [elders had been a...
1:9-11; Lk. 3:21-22). Since biblically there is such a strong connection between GodÕs
commission and corresponding enable...
Although I will treat this topic later in a section dealing with the external signs of GodÕs
commission and enabling grace...
Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and
they took note that these me...
So far, I have examined the biblical categories that pertain to the commission and
enablement of the Christian leader. The...
deeds. As a result, it can be concluded that Ògood fruitÓ is the manifestation of a godly life, or
put another way, integr...
Although my purpose in this discussion does not include a thorough treatment of those passages,
the following observations...
a.
b.
c.
d.

husband of one wife
no drunkard
no lover of money
manages household/children well

The only other qualificati...
As we closely examine other portions of PaulÕs letters, character qualifications emerge
there as well. In a tone similar t...
is found in the Pastoral Epistles. As I noted in a previous section, Paul listed the ability to
teach49 as prerequisite to...
A third external sign of GodÕs commission and enabling grace is the evidence of spiritual
fullness in the life of a potent...
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

joy
peace
patience
kindness
goodness
faithfulness
gentleness
self-control

2.
3. gentle
4.
5.
6.
...
D. All Leaders Share Two Essential Purposes for Biblical Leadership Qualifications
As I have probed the various categories...
1. The Management of a Divine Trust
Throughout his letters in the NT, the apostle Paul frequently equates the Christian
le...
So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from
it. For we must all appear before th...
Finally, the closing chapter of Hebrews exhorts believers to imitate leaders on the basis of
the unchanging nature of Chri...
clause and consummate goal set forth in vs. 12 ff. Here we see that Christian leaders and
ministries are ordained by God t...
of God. He writes, ÒFor you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own
children, encouraging, comf...
seen in Acts 6:1-6) are also held to a high standard. In parachurch structures, this includes bookkeepers, administrative ...
exercise unquestioned authority. In this way, spiritual discipline and accountability can be
administered through a plural...
scriptural leadership qualifications. Correspondence between scriptural qualifications and
parachurch leaders is delimited...
Appendix A
Parachurch Organizations
Taken from Donald R. Brown, ed., National Evangelical Directory 1992-93
(Wheaton: Nati...
Bibliography
ÒCo-operating in World Evangelism: A Handbook on Church/Parachurch Relationships.Ó
Lausanne Occasional Papers...
White, Jerry. The Church & The Parachurch: An Uneasy Marriage. Portland: Multnomah
Press, 1983.
1

From the Greek preposit...
6

John Calvin used the expression Òmystical unionÓ (mystica unio) to describe Òthat joining together of Head and
members,...
20

Interestingly, the exercise of church discipline also points to the existence of some form of formal governmental
stru...
(Òand some as evangelistsÓ)
touj de poime/naj kaiìì didaska/louj
(Òand some as pastors and teachersÓ)
27

However, the LXX...
41

Lit. Òthe Anointed One,Ó descriptive of the Spirit-anointed leader in Is. 11:1-9; 61:1-7 and elsewhere throughout
the ...
54

The noun oi)kono/moj Òsteward,Ó occurs a total of 10 times in the NT. It is used four times in the gospel of Luke
as a...
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Parachurch

  1. 1. WHY PARACHURCH LEADERS MUST MEET. THE SAME BIBLICAL QUALIFICATIONS AS CHURCH LEADERS by DARREL W. COX Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Deerfield, Illinois
  2. 2. 1994 2
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION During this century the Church has witnessed an increased growth of specialized Christian organizations popularly coined Òparachurch.Ó These organizations have labored to establish theological institutions, Christian colleges, campus ministries, Bible societies, overseas mission boards, as well as a number of social and political action groups. The high degree of influence that these endeavors have exercised within the North American context is undebatable. Yet it is precisely this level of influence that provides the occasion to raise some necessary biblical and theological questions regarding the relationship of parachurch organizations to the local church -- particularly in the area of leadership qualifications. In this paper I demonstrate that parachurch leaders are subject to the same biblical standards as local church leaders -- and that the basis for this conclusion is rooted in the nature and purpose of Christian leadership. Necessarily, this task requires that I probe a series of related but broader theological questions like: What is a parachurch organization; in what ways is it similar or dissimilar to the local church; and what is a parachurch organizationÕs role in the kingdom of God? Similarly, I must also consider whether scriptural leadership qualifications should be applied to all Christian leadership positions, or whether there exist different qualifications for different forms of leadership. The plan of the paper is as follows: 1
  4. 4. I. Analysis of Parachurch Organizations A. Definition of the Parachurch B. The Relationship of Parachurch Organizations to the Church 1. The Distinguishing Marks of the Parachurch a. Organizational and Functional Similarities to the Local Church b. Organizational and Functional Distinctives 2. The Parachurch Organization in the Kingdom of God II. A Synthetic Analysis of NT Leadership Categories A. The Leader is Divinely Appointed 1. God Has Appointed All Leadership and Ministry Positions 2. The Unique Commission of the Apostles 3. Leaders are Recognized by Christian Believers B. The Leader is Divinely Enabled 1. The Basis for Divine Enablement is Grace 2. The Means of Enablement a. The Holy Spirit b. Encouragement and Comfort C. The Leader Shows External Signs of GodÕs Commission and Enabling Grace 1. Integrity of Character 2. Soundness of Doctrine 3. Spiritual Fullness D. All Leaders Share Two Essential Purposes for Biblical Leadership Qualifications 1. The Management of a Divine Trust 2. The Public Example of the Leader III. An Application of Biblical Leadership Qualifications to Parachurch Organizations A. The Nature and Purpose of Christian Leadership & Ministry IV. Conclusion I. ANALYSIS OF PARACHURCH ORGANIZATIONS 2
  5. 5. A. Definition of the Parachurch In many respects, the term ÒparachurchÓ is inadequate. As a compound word, ÒparachurchÓ does nothing to bridge the ambiguity surrounding the word ÒchurchÓ as well as its relationship to the preposition para.1 Additionally, unlike the terms presbyterian, episcopal, baptist, charismatic, or ecumenical, the word ÒparachurchÓ has no direct theological or linguistic ties to the text of the NT.2 On a popular level the word parachurch has come to stand loosely for an organization that shares certain key characteristics with the church, yet falls short of being a church in full organizational structure and function. Again, this popular definition reflects the same ambiguity inherent in the term parachurch -- it lacks clarification of the meaning of the term Òchurch,Ó and in this case the word is defined in negative terms instead of positive.3 For the purposes of this discussion, I suggest the following working definition: Parachurch organizations are specialized institutional ministries within the Kingdom of God, which are not under the direct authority of any one local church and do not attempt to fulfill all the functions of a local church, but whose leaders are recognized and approved by their local churches. By referring to parachurch organizations as specialized institutional ministries within the Kingdom of God, I have the following purposes in mind: (i) establish a definition that has fewer built-in ambiguities and difficulties than the term parachurch, and; (ii) recognize the temporal function and relationship that parachurch organizations have within the sphere of GodÕs reign. By characterizing the relationship of parachurch organizations to the local church as functionally close but jurisdictionally separate, I hope to demonstrate the unique nature of each institution. Finally, since the focus of this article is to demonstrate that leaders of parachurch 3
  6. 6. organizations are subject to the same biblical leadership qualifications as leaders in local churches, the question of whether parachurch organizations are legitimate and divinely ordained ministry structures is not directly discussed. Rather the discussion will focus on the nature and purposes of Christian leadership, a leadership that is by very nature recognized and validated within the context of the local church. The rationale for such close ecclesiastical ties will become clearer as I describe the parachurchÕs peculiar nature and its relationship to the church in more detail below. B. The Relationship of the Parachurch to the Church Since most of the literature written on parachurch organizations usually makes some passing reference to the relationship between the terms ÒparaÓ and Òchurch,Ó at least a partial discussion of what each term means when applied to the parachurch is appropriate. The expression Òpara-local church,Ó introduced in the notes of the previous section, is an attempt to distinguish between what theologians have often referred to as the Òinvisible churchÓ and the ÒvisibleÓ or local church.4 Identifying this distinction is important, for if ÒparachurchÓ is understood in the general context of the invisible church, the term is self-contradictory. How can 5 a ÒparachurchÓ organization be described in any sense as Òalong side of,Ó or ÒbesideÓ the invisible church? No matter how amiably the relationship might be portrayed, positionally such a relationship would place the organization outside of the body of Christ, and as such, the parachurch could no longer be considered a ÒChristian ministry.Ó The use of the expression Òpara-local churchÓ by White and others, however, seeks to narrow the relationship to the visible and local church, but still maintains a critical distinction. Yet this definition also suffers from its the inherent problems that arise as a result of its relationship to the term Òchurch.Ó I suggest that 4
  7. 7. the phenomena which we have come to understand as parachurch ministries would better be described as specialized institutional ministries. Such a designation would avoid the unnecessary confusion that results from ÒparaÓ or Òpara-localÓ church, while still accurately describing the distinct nature of the institution. Nevertheless, for the sake of continuity and ease of discussion with other literature, I will continue to use the term ÒparachurchÓ in this essay. Since there exits a biblical basis for describing the church as both visible and invisible, it is important not to equivocate between these two categories. Accordingly, a specific working definition of the church is also essential -- a definition that effectively encompasses both visible and invisible aspects, and that enables us to analyze better its relationship to the parachurch. Thus, I propose the following: The church is the assembly of redeemed people in heaven and earth, created by God through spiritual union6 with Christ. This definition is not far removed from the major concepts of the creedal statement in Constantinople (381), which was reaffirmed by the council at Ephesus (431) and Chalcedon (451); ÒWe believe . . . in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.Ó7 By describing the church as Òthe assembly,Ó8 I am affirming that the church is one. The statement Òin heaven and earthÓ indicates that the church is comprised of all true believers, whether past, present or future and, hence, is catholic (universal). Comprised of Òredeemed people,Ó the church is, therefore, holy. And since my definition states that the church is Òcreated by God through spiritual union with Christ,Ó I indirectly affirm the contents of Eph. 2:19-21, and that the church is thus apostolic.9 1. The Distinguishing Marks of the Parachurch 5
  8. 8. Although the above definition of the church corresponds in some ways to the main features of historic creeds, ambiguity remains regarding the relationship of the church to parachurch organizations. Accordingly, it is necessary to probe areas where the parachurch and the local church are similar, as well as areas where they vary. a. Organizational and Functional Similarities to the Local Church Parachurch organizations and the local church have a great deal in common. The most recognizable element is the substance of each -- namely, Christian believers. We must recognize, however, that, unlike the invisible church, which is comprised of all true believers from all times, a parachurch organization and the local church may include individuals who make an outward profession of faith in Christ, but in reality are Òfalse brothersÓ (see II Cor. 11:26; Gal. 2:4; I Jn. 2:19). Nonetheless, association in a local church and leadership involvement in a parachurch organization are predicated on the same assumption -- that one is a true Christian believer -- a supposition based on a transformed life (Gal. 5:22-23; II Cor. 13:5-6), and a sincere profession of faith (Rom. 10:9; I Tim. 6:12). Calvin made nearly the same observation when he wrote, [W]e recognize as members of the church those who, by confession of faith, by example of life, and by partaking of the sacraments, profess the same God and Christ with us.10 A second element of correspondence involves the mission of the local church and the local church. Broadly speaking, the mission of the local church is aimed in three conceptual directions -- upward (worship and ministry to God; Col. 3:16; Heb. 8:2); inward (nurture and admonition of believers; Phil. 2:4; I Thess. 5:14; II Tim. 4:2); and outward (evangelism and outreach to the world; Mk. 16:5, Rom. 15:16;11 Gal. 6:10).12 As Òministries,Ó many (see definition on page 3) many parachurch organizations focus their efforts in one or two of these conceptual directions, 6
  9. 9. but not usually all three. Based on the categories listed in the National Evangelical: The Evangelical Directory 1992-93 (Appendix A), the primary focus of parachurch ministry is evidently in the later two directions -- albeit in concentrated form.13 A third element of correspondence between the parachurch and the local church is the presence of an organized structure. The history of the church exhibits several forms of church structure, each claiming to represent the principles set forth in Scripture.14 Regardless of differences in form, some type of organizational structure must exist in the visible church.15 Even a casual reading of the book of Acts demonstrates the establishment of a discernible church structure such that by chapter 15 major doctrinal disputes are decided in committee by the Òapostles and eldersÓ (15:2, 4, 22).16 Although significant differences remain between the nature of parachurch and local church organizational structures (differences I will later discuss at length), their common mission(s) and common substance (Christian believers) necessitate some manner of order to accomplish their intended purposes. b. Organizational and Functional Distinctives Given the areas of correspondence (Christian believers, mission, and organized structure), some Christians have maintained that the parachurch is in reality a segment of the visible, local church. The local church, they argue, is a vertical expression of ministry, whose primary focus is ÒGodward.Ó The parachurch, on the other hand, is a horizontal expression of ministry, whose primary focus is Òmanward.Ó As a unit, both expressions comprise the whole visible church.17 While I concur that the parachurch is made up of believers who belong to the invisible church and that the visible, local church shares many features with the parachurch, the problem 7
  10. 10. with the horizontal/vertical position set forth above is one of equivocation between the universal church (of which believers who operate parachurch structures are a part), and the visible, local church. As noted previously, this misconception can often be traced to the ambiguities bound up in the designation Òparachurch.Ó I recognize that the primary emphasis in parachurch organizations centers on the horizontal plane of outreach (manward). Nonetheless, the parachurch is different from the local church in nature, not only in its orientation of ministry. The reason: the parachurch is restricted from assuming all the functions of a local church (lest it become a church), and, unlike membership within the church universal, membership within a parachurch is non-obligatory for citizens of GodÕs Kingdom. However, one might question whether there exists a solid core of biblical criteria that establishes a distinction between the local church and the parachurch, and through which a positive identification or the ÒmarksÓ of the visible, local church might be determined. Calvin reflected on the second part of that question and wrote: From this the face of the church comes forth and becomes visible to our eyes. Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard,18 and the sacraments administered according to ChristÕs institution, there, it is not to be doubted, a church of God exists [cf. Eph. 2:20].19 Regarding the first mark, Calvin obviously had in mind such Scriptures as Acts 2:42, ÒThey devoted themselves to the apostlesÕ teaching . . .Ó (see also Acts 5:42), and the apostle PaulÕs address to the young church leader Timothy in II Tim. 4:2; ÒPreach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage -- with great patience and careful instruction.Ó Furthermore, considering that the Òhousehold of God, which is the churchÓ is Òthe 8
  11. 11. pillar and foundation of the truthÓ (I Tim. 3:15), it is only natural that a pure exposition (preaching) and reception (hearing) of that truth would be a chief characteristic. Furthermore, the significance of the sacraments (or if one prefers, ordinances) as a distinguishing mark of the life of a visible, local church is clear from such Scriptures as Matt. 26:26-29, I Cor. 11:23-26, and Matt. 28:19. Baptism, in this case, is an initiatory rite into the assembly of GodÕs people under the New Covenant (Acts 2:38; 8:12, 38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:33; Rom. 6:4; Eph. 4:5; Col. 2:12; I Pet. 3:21), and as such is clearly identified as a mark of the church. Submission to baptism and the LordÕs Supper are external signs of an inward submission to Christ and union with his body. This is precisely why withholding the LordÕs Supper has been a means of church discipline throughout the history of the church. If spiritual obedience and fellowship with the Lord is broken through unforsaken sin, the external and visible sign of that fellowship must not be allowed to continue -- otherwise the table of our Lord has been treated with contempt and judgment may follow (cf. I Cor. 11:27-34).20 We might conclude, therefore, that some parachurch organizations may come extremely close to functioning as local churches. In fact, if the people of God are assembling in a formal and regular manner to preach and hear the Word of God, administer the sacraments, and in our view, exercise some form of spiritual discipline,21 in essence they are a visible, local church regardless of their organizational title. If, however, an organization indiscriminately chooses among the various elements that comprise the church, that organization needs to reassess its purpose and identity in the light of Scripture, and choose whether they want to be a local church or a parachurch organization.22 9
  12. 12. 2. The Parachurch Organization in the Kingdom of God Since a parachurch organization is not a church in a formal sense, its participation in the mission of the local church raises a question of legitimacy in terms of mandate and accountability. The most frequently asked questions from local church leaders to parachurch structures are: Òwho gave you your mandate?Ó; Òto whom are you accountable in matters of doctrine, morals, administration and finances?Ó; and, Òwho checks up on you, hires you, fires you, or sets you straight?Ó23 These are serious questions, and for the parachurch and local church to cooperate smoothly together, they must be seriously considered and answered. The first issue, the question of mandate, has already been alluded to in large measure earlier in the discussion. The parachurch as composed of Christian believers is an integral part of the universal church and, as such, is a convergence of believers who have gathered to focus on specific forms of ministry. Earlier, I touched on the mission of the local church as directed upward (toward God), inward (toward one another), and outward (toward the world). I might add, however, that the goal of the local church is to find an adequate balance of growth in each of these three areas -- neither excluding one nor emphasizing another at the expense of the whole. 24 The goal of a parachurch structure, however, is just the opposite. Since it is not a church in the visible or local sense, it can afford the luxury of what might in other circumstances be an overemphasis in ministry. Specialization in ministry is precisely what enables parachurch structures to be so often effective in their mission. 10
  13. 13. Jurisdictionally speaking, therefore, the authority or mandate for the parachurch to participate in the mission of the local church proceeds from the same source that sanctions the visible church -- the kingdom of God. When Christ declared, ÒThe time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at handÓ (Mk. 1:15), he was declaring that the reign or kingly rule of God was breaking in to establish a new order.25 GodÕs new order includes a delegation of authority whereby the citizen of the kingdom is charismatically equipped to Òuse whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering GodÕs grace in its various formsÓ (I Pet. 4:10) -whether it is within the walls of the local assembly or without. II. A SYNTHETIC ANALYSIS OF NT LEADERSHIP CATEGORIES Granting the legitimacy of the parachurch structureÕs mandate and its authority to share in the mission of the local church, I nonetheless have left unanswered the second issue -- the question of accountability. Without doubt, this is a particularly thorny question in the context of leadership, and all the more so after we have established the case for a correspondence in mission between the parachurch and local church. Simply put, since parachurch structures share in the mission of the local church, are the leaders also subject to the same scriptural standards as leaders of the local church? This question becomes even more complicated when some leadership positions have little or no direct comparison to NT forms of leadership, or if their involvement in the actual work of the ministry is behind the scenes in an administrative, financial, or other supportive role. I propose that parachurch leaders are indeed subject to the scriptural standards of leadership, just as local church leaders are. The method I will use to demonstrate this will be a 11
  14. 14. synthesis of the categories that emerge from an analysis of the NT material on leadership. Using the first few words of Eph. 4:1 as a foundational model (ÒIt was he who gave . . .Ó), I will track the commission, the enablement, the accompanying external signs of GodÕs grace, and the essential purposes foundational to biblical leadership qualifications. From the evidence in these sections, I intend to demonstrate that the nature and purpose of Christian leadership is what necessitates scriptural leadership qualifications, and not merely the formal operation of leadership within the local church. This is not to say that the same standards are applied uniformly to all Christian leadership positions; it does mean, however, that when we apply biblical standards to parachurch leaders, we are more concerned with the nature and purpose of the leadership position than with whether it is located within a local church or parachurch structure. A. The Leader is Divinely Appointed At the heart of every leadership position are the issues of authority and legitimacy. The NT teaches us that the legitimacy of church leadership is rooted in the bestowal of GodÕs grace. Notice the close connection between the gift of grace in Eph. 4:7 (dwrea/) and the various ways in which that grace is described through vss. 8-11: First we note that grace Òwas givenÓ (e)do/qh; aorist passive indicative) to the Òone bodyÓ (eÁn sw_ma; vs. 4) according to the measure of ChristÕs gift. 26 This same verb is repeated in the aorist again in vs. 8 in a quotation of Ps. 68:1827 (which is applied to Christ), with the words Òhe gave (e)/dwken; aorist active indicative) gifts (do/mata) to men.Ó Similarly, vs. 11 repeats this verb in the aorist with, ÒHe gave (e)/dwken; aorist active indicative) some as apostles, and some 12
  15. 15. as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers . . . .Ó Thus the progressive description of the grace in vs. 7 is as follows: grace was given → he gave gifts to men → he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers. Each step in this progression describes more fully the nature of the grace given in vs. 7. This is undoubtedly the reason that the NRSV takes the liberty to translate vs. 11 in a descriptive sense; ÒThe gifts he gave were that some would be apostles . . . .Ó28 Most notable in this progressive description is the purpose clause in vs. 12, Òfor the equipping (proj ton katartismon) of the saints for the work of service,Ó followed by the consummate goal, Òto the building up (ei1j oi1kodomhn) of the body of Christ.Ó Thus, ChristÕs gift of grace to his people has as its final object their edification and growth toward maturity. Since the establishment of leadership within the NT is grounded in ChristÕs gift of grace to his body, I will now make some observations on the commission of leaders from the data in the NT. 1. God Has Appointed All Leadership and Ministry Positions Scripture makes it abundantly clear that God is the sovereign source of all authority. Psalm 22:8 declares, ÒFor dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nationsÓ (RSV). Likewise, Dan. 4:34-35 records: [H]is dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing; and he does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ÒWhat doest thou?Ó (RSV). 13
  16. 16. The same theme of divine authority is greeted enthusiastically throughout the NT. To name just a few, the apostle Paul declares, ÒGod, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can seeÓ (I Tim. 6:15-16). Jude likewise extols, Òto the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!Ó (Jude 25). It is clear from their acclamations that these NT authors understood that God alone is the final well-spring of all authority. In Num. 27:19-20 we observe an explicit relationship between a commission to leadership and a grant (delegation) of authority. God commanded Moses: Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him. Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him. A similar commission and delegation stands fixed in the created order itself. Man, who was created in GodÕs image and likeness, is granted authority to serve as GodÕs vice-regent over the earth (Gen. 1:26-28). This commission later extends to the formation of civil government,29 which the NT clearly describes as rooted in GodÕs commission and authority: Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves . . . . For he is GodÕs servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is GodÕs servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer (Rom. 13:1-5).30 In like fashion, Titus 3:1 and I Peter 2:13-14 command the believer to submit31 to rulers and authorities. When Scripture admonishes the believer to respond to the authority of spiritual 14
  17. 17. leadership, however, it prefers the concept of obedience in addition to submission. For example, we observe Jesus telling the disciples in Matt. 23:2-3, ÒThe scribes and Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe32 . . .Ó (NASB). Similarly, Heb. 13:17 reads, ÒObey (pei/qw) your leaders and submit33 to them . . .Ó (NASB). The use of u(pota/ssw, ÒsubmitÓ in reference to civil rulers may be related to the possibility that a civil ruler may command a believer to do something contrary to GodÕs will (cf. Acts 4:19-20; 5:29). Submission, therefore, is a respectful attitude or disposition that recognizes a realm of authority (as with a husband and wife, cf. Eph. 5:22, 24; Col. 3:18; I Pet. 3:1), not a call to unqualified obedience.34 Against this scriptural backdrop of God-ordained authority, we recognize that God has made specific appointments in the church, both for leadership and for ministry (I Cor. 12:27-31; Rom. 12:6-8). Although the jurisdiction of church leadership and ministry is distinct from civil authority, the source (divine authority) and grounds (divine grace) for each remain the same. 2. The Unique Commission of the Apostles A more specific form of divine commission emerges as we approach the Gospels. Clearly, ChristÕs leadership is a divine appointment par excellence. Here we observe a perfect delegation of full divine authority (Matt. 7:29; 28:18; Lk. 5:24; Jn. 5:27; Col. 2:10) matched with perfect accountability or obedience (Jn. 5:30; 7:17-18; 8:28-29; 12:49; Heb. 3:1-2). As the appointed ÒheadÓ over the church (Eph. 1:22), Christ was responsible to commission among men those who would serve as foundation stones in GodÕs living temple (Eph. 2:20); namely, the apostles. 15
  18. 18. The commission of the apostles was unique in nature. First, it required no human consultation (although it is significant that Jesus did spend the prior evening praying to God; Lk. 6:12) or ratification. Furthermore, the commission of these first NT leaders appears to have been unilateral (Matt. 10:1-16; Mk. 3:13 ff.; Jn. 7:70; 13:18), and demonstrated GodÕs sovereign exercise of authority.35 Moreover, within this selected number of apostles there is evidence that Christ sovereignly chose to bring three apostles (Peter, James and John) into a closer circle of activities (like the transfiguration [Mk. 9:2 ff.], or the healing of JariusÕ daughter [Mk. 5:37 ff.]). Clearly, all the above choices were enacted on the basis of and in accordance with GodÕs own sovereign will and purposes.36 Perhaps the most dramatic commission in the NT is the apostle PaulÕs. Here we observe an obsessed enemy of the church37 sovereignly shaken from his Òignorance and unbeliefÓ (I Tim. 1:13), and commissioned to carry ChristÕs name Òbefore the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of IsraelÓ (Acts 9:15).38 It was to this commission that Paul repeatedly made appeal when circumstances necessitated a demonstration of divine authority. Observe both indirect statements and references in his opening address of NT letters: Miscellaneous References I Cor. 1:17 ÒFor Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel . . .Ó I Cor. 3:5 ÒWhat, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servant . . . as the Lord has assigned to each his task.Ó II Cor. 5:20 ÒWe are therefore ChristÕs ambassadors . . . .Ó Gal. 1:12 Ò. . . I received it [gospel] by revelation from Jesus Christ.Ó Eph. 3:7 ÒI became a servant of this gospel by the gift of GodÕs grace given me through the working of his power.Ó Col. 1:25 ÒI have become its [churchÕs] servant by the commission God gave me . . .Ó I Tim. 1:12 ÒI thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.Ó I Tim. 2:7 ÒAnd for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle . . . and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.Ó II Tim. 1:11 ÒAnd of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.Ó Opening Address in NT Letters 16
  19. 19. Rom. 1:1 Gal. 1:1 Eph. 1:1 Col. 1:1 I Tim. 1:1 II Tim. 1:1 Titus 1:1 - ÒPaul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of GodÓ ÒPaul, an apostle -- sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the FatherÓ ÒPaul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of GodÓ ÒPaul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of GodÓ ÒPaul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hopeÓ ÒPaul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of GodÓ ÒPaul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus ChristÓ There is no question that the apostle Paul understood the importance of his commission and delegated authority. As I will demonstrate later, this understanding serves as a backdrop for scriptural leadership qualifications. 3. Leaders are Recognized by Christian Believers As we move beyond the commission of Christ and the apostles, we see that other NT leadership positions are commissioned by God, but recognized by Christian believers. Put another way, the NT demonstrates instances where Christian leaders are chosen on the basis of divinely ordained criteria (qualifications) from among the general assembly of believers, and the decision is then ratified by existing Christian leadership.39 One example of this type of selection is in Acts 6:3-6, where the apostles were faced with administrative concerns that could cause them to Òneglect the ministry of the word of GodÓ (vs. 2). The Twelve gathered the disciples together and proposed that they choose seven men from among them who were Òknown to be full of the Spirit and wisdom,Ó and who could handle these administrative affairs (vs. 3). Interestingly, this group of disciples were genuinely included in the decision, for vs. 5 reads, Òthis proposal pleased the whole group.Ó They then proceeded to select seven men and present them before the apostles for approval (vs. 6). 17
  20. 20. Elsewhere in the book of Acts, we see the appointment of elders by Barnabas and Paul (Acts 14:23; 20:17 [elders had been appointed in Ephesus]). In similar fashion, Paul instructed Titus to appoint elders (Titus 1:5 ff.), and he provided Timothy with a list of qualifications necessary for selecting elders and deacons (I Tim. 3:1-12). In each of these cases, we see a clear shift to an active involvement of the people of God in the selection and approval of Christian leaders. B. The Leader is Divinely Enabled We have already observed a close connection between a divine commission to leadership and a delegation of authority. But a divine commission entails something more than a mere formal grant of representative authority -- it also includes the necessary means to carry out the appointed task. Examples from the OT are almost too numerous to mention: Joseph was empowered by God to fulfill his commission (Gen. 39:2; 41:39-40); MosesÕ leadership was divinely enabled (4:11 ff.); Bezalel was Òfilled with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of craftsÓ (Ex. 3:3) to accomplish his God-ordained work; IsraelÕs Kings, Saul and David, were both anointed with the Holy Spirit to enable them to fulfill their commissions (I Sam. 10:9-10; 11:6; 16:13); and God also appeared to Solomon in a dream and empowered him to fulfill the responsibilities of his position (I Kgs. 3:10-15). Moreover, every OT prophet whom God appointed also had GodÕs enabling power to fulfill that office.40 As we turn to the NT, we observe a strong continuity in GodÕs concern to provide power to Christian leaders. Even Christ41 himself did not enter into the responsibilities of his commission until he was anointed with the Holy Spirit at JohnÕs baptism (Matt. 3:13-17; Mk. 18
  21. 21. 1:9-11; Lk. 3:21-22). Since biblically there is such a strong connection between GodÕs commission and corresponding enablement, the following sections warrant our attention. 1. The Basis for Divine Enablement is Grace Just as Scripture grounds the commission of Christian leadership in ChristÕs gift of grace, so also it grounds the basis for a corresponding enablement in that same grace. Notice PaulÕs language when he makes an allusion to his ministry: Rom. 15:15,16 - Òbecause of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles . . .Ó I Cor. 3:10 ÒBy the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder . . .Ó I Cor. 15:10 ÒBut by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. I worked harder than all of them -- yet not I but the grace of God that was with me.Ó II Cor. 3:5, 6 - ÒNot that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competency comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant.Ó II Cor. 12:9 ÒBut he [the Lord] said to me, ÔMy grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Ó Eph. 3:2-5 ÒSurely you have heard about the administration of GodÕs grace that was given to me for you . . .Ó In each of these instances, we observe the principle that grace has a tangible effect on a leader. It was on the basis of grace that Paul is empowered as a Òminister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles,Ó and became an Òexpert builder.Ó Likewise it is grace that inspired him to Òwork harder than all of them,Ó and which made him ÒcompetentÓ as a minister of a new covenant. Most important, however, is PaulÕs record of the LordÕs reply that Òmy grace is sufficient for you.Ó Perhaps Christ had this all-sufficient provision in mind when he asked the disciples, ÒWhen I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anythingÓ (Lk. 22:35)? 2. The Means of Enablement a. The Holy Spirit 19
  22. 22. Although I will treat this topic later in a section dealing with the external signs of GodÕs commission and enabling grace, we ought to pause briefly to contemplate the relevance of the Holy Spirit as GodÕs means of enabling grace. As previously considered, leaders in the OT were anointed by GodÕs Spirit to function in their ordained roles. With certain exceptions, we observe this phenomenon mostly among key leadership positions. In the NT, however, we see the Holy Spirit anointing all of GodÕs people for works of service and ministry (Acts 2:17, 38; Rom. 12:68; I Cor. 12:4-11; I Thess. 4:8; I Pet. 2:5; Rev. 1:6). Hence, the author to the Hebrews writes, ÒMay the God of peace . . . equip you with everything good for doing his will . . .Ó (Heb. 13:2021). In a specific instance from the gospels, the apostles are told by Jesus, ÒI am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on highÓ (Lk. 24:49). Again Jesus states in Acts 1:8, ÒBut you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you . . . .Ó Reflecting on the fulfillment of this promise in his own life, the apostle Paul writes, ÒNow it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to comeÓ (II Cor. 1:22; italics mine). As we move beyond Acts 2, we observe a trail of effects that the anointing with the Spirit had on these early church leaders. Like King Saul before them, they experienced a tremendous shift in their disposition as a result of the Holy SpiritÕs coming upon them. Peter, who had once disowned the Lord (Jn. 18:17, 25-27) and stayed behind locked doors Òfor fear of the JewsÓ (Jn. 20:19), is now empowered to perform miracles (Acts 5:12-16), and to speak and suffer boldly in the name of Christ (Acts 2:14-41; 3:12-26; 4:8-21, 31; 5:17-42). So marked was his and the apostle JohnÕs fortitude that, ÒWhen they [rulers, elders, teachers of the law] saw the courage of 20
  23. 23. Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with JesusÓ (Acts 4:13). The same results of the SpiritÕs anointing are also evident in the ministry of the apostle Paul. Combined with AnaniasÕ commission to restore SaulÕs sight was the intention that Saul Òbe filled with the Holy SpiritÓ (Acts 9:17). This anointing provided the means whereby Paul could Òspeak boldly for the Lord,Ó and perform miraculous signs and wonders (Acts 14:3; see also 13:9 ff. and Rom. 15:9). Indeed, the same Spirit through whom Paul undoubtedly received strength (I Tim. 1:12a), was also the source of love (Rom. 5:5; I Thess. 4:9), true joy (I Thess. 1:6), and every other spiritual fruit in his life (Gal. 5:22-23). In short, the Holy Spirit is the One who actualizes the gift of ChristÕs grace to the people of God. b. Encouragement and Comfort A second means whereby God enables Christian leaders is through divine encouragement and comfort. This administration of grace is an indispensable part of a Christian leaderÕs provision. In the midst of PaulÕs trials during his imprisonment in Jerusalem, Scripture records that Òthe Lord stood near Paul and said, ÔTake courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in RomeÕÓ (Acts 23:11). Also, when it appeared as though Paul might perish beneath the ocean waves, an angel of God appeared and comforted him (Acts 27:23-24). Although most Christian leaders will not experience such dramatic forms of encouragement, nor should such be sought, all leaders should expect to learn to say with Paul, ÒBut the Lord stood at my side and gave me strengthÓ (II Tim. 4:17; see also II Cor. 1:3-5).42 C. The Leader Shows External Signs of GodÕs Commission and Enabling Grace 21
  24. 24. So far, I have examined the biblical categories that pertain to the commission and enablement of the Christian leader. The significance of these preceding sections for this discussion of leadership qualifications will become evident later when I discuss the nature and purpose of Christian leadership and ministry. In this section, however, I will synthesize the NT material that deals with external signs of GodÕs commission and enabling grace. Since postapostolic Christian leadership positions are commissioned by God but recognized by men, it is important to understand the biblical criteria whereby the people of God recognize and approve a Christian leader. I observe from Scripture that these visible (discernible) criteria fall into three basic categories: (1) Integrity of character; (2) Soundness of doctrine; and (3) Spiritual fullness. 1. Integrity of Character Perhaps the greatest key to recognizing GodÕs authorization of a leader is the sign of integrity of character. Jesus drew on this principle in MatthewÕs gospel when he said: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheepÕs clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit . . . So then you will recognize them by their fruits (Matt. 7:15-20; NASB). To describe further what he intended by Òbad fruitÓ in this context, Christ proceeded to warn of the many people who at the judgment will lay claim to having served him (Matt. 7:22). As a solid justification for his rejection of them, Christ will rejoin, ÒI never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessnessÓ (Matt. 7:23; italics mine). Clearly the Òbad fruitÓ of 7:17 coordinates with the practice of ÒlawlessnessÓ in 7:23.43 And just as fruit on a tree is visible and reveals the nature of the tree, so also the fruit or character of a individualÕs life is visible by oneÕs 22
  25. 25. deeds. As a result, it can be concluded that Ògood fruitÓ is the manifestation of a godly life, or put another way, integrity of character. Similarly, Christ warned his disciples not to do as the teachers of the law, because their actions were filled with hypocrisy and were done only to receive the praise of men (Matt. 23:37).44 Instead we observe Christ turning the tables on worldly leadership standards, declaring that, ÒIf anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of allÓ (Mk. 9:35). Yet Christ did not pronounce all of his lessons on integrity of character in a negative format. Sometimes his points were made in the context of an illustration in which he served as the model example. This is certainly the case in Jn. 13:3-17 when Peter balked at the thought of his ÒTeacherÓ and ÒLordÓ stooping to wash his dirty feet (vs. 13). Nevertheless, JesusÕ object lesson provided fertile ground for the following words: I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them (Jn. 13:15-17). In vss. 34-35 of this same chapter, Christ provided the engine that would effectively drive this model of servant-leadership. He declared to the apostles, ÒA new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.Ó Thus, integrity of character is visible in one way through a loving disposition to serve others. Such a disposition is prerequisite to the selection of Christian leadership. As we turn to the apostle PaulÕs writings, a wealth of information appears regarding the necessity of integrity in a Christian leader. Most pronounced, however, are the well-known passages in the Pastoral Epistles that list the various qualifications for elders and deacons. 23
  26. 26. Although my purpose in this discussion does not include a thorough treatment of those passages, the following observations are in order: (i) Each of the leadership qualifications in I Tim. 3:1-13 and Tit. 1:5-9 has points of similarity and dissimilarity. Note the following: Leadership Qualifications Similarities I Timothy Elders above reproach husband of one wife temperate sensible dignified serious hospitable apt teacher no drunkard not violent but gentle not quarrelsome no lover of money manage household & child. not recent convert (conceit) well thought of by outsiders Deacons blameless husband of one wife --- Titus Elders blameless husband of one wife --- --hospitable -give instruction in sound doctrine not addicted to much wine not be a drunkard -not violent --not greedy for gain not greedy for gain manage child. & household well child. believers/ not insubordinate -not be arrogant --- Dissimilarities not double-tongued hold to myst. of faith w/cl.cons. must be tested first womenÕs qualifications not quick-tempered a lover of goodness master of himself upright holy self-controlled (ii) Nearly all of these qualifications have to do with character45 -- either presented in the negative (e.g., not a drunkard, not greedy for gain) or in the positive (hospitable, above reproach). In any event, Paul obviously considers oneÕs character and reputation among men to be the central consideration in the appointment of a Christian leader. (iii) I am not certain of the significance that can be attached to the points of dissimilarity throughout. The following are qualifications that each list shares in common: 24
  27. 27. a. b. c. d. husband of one wife no drunkard no lover of money manages household/children well The only other qualification that the elder and deacon lists from I Timothy share in common is Òdignified/serious.Ó The elder lists from I Timothy and Titus46 share the following in common, distinct from the deacon list: a. b. c. d. hospitable not violent apt teacher not arrogant Paul apparently had different criteria for elders than he did for deacons -- a difference related to the authoritative position that elders occupied as evidenced by the necessity to be able to teach and not be a recent convert (the danger of conceit). Nonetheless, both leadership positions definitely emphasize integrity of character. (iv) Finally, the deacon list in I Timothy and the elder list in Titus contain qualifications that are unique to each. They are as follows: I Timothy a. not double-tongued b. hold to mysteries of the faith w/ clear conscience c. Must be tested first d. womenÕs qualifications47 Titus a. not quick-tempered b. a lover of goodness c. master of himself d. upright e. holy f. self-controlled Though these qualifications are applied to Christian leaders, that they describe the integrity of character to which all Christians should aspire is a valid observation. Along these lines Paul later writes to Timothy: In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work (II Tim. 2:20-21). 25
  28. 28. As we closely examine other portions of PaulÕs letters, character qualifications emerge there as well. In a tone similar to Titus 1:9, Paul commands Timothy, ÒAnd the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach othersÓ (II Tim. 2:2). Reminiscent of the elder qualifications above, the apostle further exhorts the young Timothy to make integrity of character a life-long pursuit in his service to God. He writes: Flee the evil desire of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. DonÕt have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the LordÕs servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful (II Tim. 2:22-24).48 Most revealing, however, are the times when the apostle appeals to character as an external sign of GodÕs commission and enabling grace in his own ministry. Although Paul elsewhere lays claim to the Òsigns that mark an apostleÓ (signs, wonders and miracles) as evidence of the genuineness of his call (II Cor. 12:12), he also points to the integrity with which he has discharged that calling: We put no stumbling block in anyoneÕs path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: . . . in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God . . .Ó (II Cor. 6:3-7). Thus, we see that it was of supreme importance to Paul that Christian leaders serve as examples of integrity before the people of God and the world. 2. Soundness of Doctrine A second important external sign of GodÕs commission and enabling grace is that the potential leader be sound in doctrine. Once again, the majority of NT data touching on this topic 26
  29. 29. is found in the Pastoral Epistles. As I noted in a previous section, Paul listed the ability to teach49 as prerequisite to the appointment of an elder. Nevertheless, we must not conclude that Paul did not view it as a premium that all of GodÕs people be sound in doctrine. The emphasis is on the leader, however, because the leader is the means whereby God brings the assembly into doctrinal maturity. This process is two-fold: First, as a steward or guardian of divine truth, the Christian leader is responsible to accurately explain the principles of GodÕs Word to people (II Tim. 2:15). Second, the Christian leader must be prepared to refute false doctrines that are damaging to peopleÕs lives (I Tim. 1:3 ff.; 4:3-6; 6:3-4; Tit. 1:10-11).50 Consequently, Paul commands Titus, ÒYou must teach what is in accord with sound doctrineÓ (Tit. 2:1); and likewise to Timothy, Òcorrect, rebuke and encourage -- with great patience and careful instructionÓ (II Tim. 4:2). Arriving at a definition of Òsound doctrineÓ has presented a challenge throughout the history of the church. Among Protestant evangelicals today, sound doctrine typically centers on issues that pertain to the character and nature of the God, the Person and work of Christ, and the authority and integrity of Scripture -- issues that most major church counsels have dealt with. In my view, the apostleÕs concern for sound doctrine relates to any issue that could result in a distorted view about God, or GodÕs salvation in Christ (I Cor. 15:1-8; Lk. 24:45-47). Without question, the apostle recognized that the Scriptures serve as the final arbiter between truth and error (II Tim. 3:15-17). 3. Spiritual Fullness 27
  30. 30. A third external sign of GodÕs commission and enabling grace is the evidence of spiritual fullness in the life of a potential leader. As noted in an earlier section, when the apostles were faced with an administrative dilemma in the early church they instructed the disciples to Òchoose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdomÓ (Acts 6:3). Obviously such a request was predicated on the assumption that spiritual fullness in an individualÕs life leaves marks that others can discern. Fortunately for us, two of the seven individuals chosen that day, Stephen and Philip, are discussed in greater detail later in the text. I believe that on the basis of these later details, we can synthesize the meaning of the phrase, Òfull of the Spirit and wisdom,Ó as it was applied to these early Christian leaders. Observe the various descriptions below: Stephen 1. full of faith (Acts 6:5; 7:59) 2. full of GodÕs grace (Acts 6:8) 3. full of GodÕs power [did Ògreat wonders and miraculous signsÓ] (Acts 6:8) 4. full of wisdom [the Jews could not Òstand up against his wisdom] (Acts 6:10) 5. full of peace [Òhis face was like the face of an angel] (Acts 6:15) 6. full of boldness and testimony [he testified to the leaders and rebuked them] (Acts 7:1-53) 7. receptive to God [Òfull of the Holy SpiritÓ Stephen saw the glory of God] (Acts 7:55-56) 8. full of forgiveness [ÒLord, do not hold this sin against themÓ] (Acts 7:60) Philip 1. full of boldness and testimony [went to Samaria and proclaimed the Christ] (Acts 8:5, 35) 2. full of GodÕs power [did miraculous signs] (Acts 8:6, 13) 3. receptive to God [ÒThe Spirit told51 Philip, ÔGo to that chariot and stay near itÕÓ] (Acts 8:29) With the exception of the working of wonders and miraculous signs, each of these marks of spiritual fullness are related to the character of an individual.52 Note that in Acts 11:24, Barnabas is also described as Òa good man (a)nhr a)gaqoj), full of the Holy Spirit and faith.Ó An examination of the fruit of spiritual fullness in Gal. 5:22, and the marks of heavenly wisdom in Jam. 3:17 further develop the relationship between spiritual fullness and character: Fruit of Spirit 1. love Wisdom from Above 1. pure 28
  31. 31. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. joy peace patience kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness self-control 2. 3. gentle 4. 5. 6. 7. peaceable willing to yield full of mercy and good fruits unwavering without hypocrisy Each of these lists is explicitly linked to the character of an individual by its context. In Gal. 5:19 the apostle contrasts the fruit of the Spirit against the acts of the flesh or Òsinful natureÓ (NIV). Correspondingly, James contrasts heavenly wisdom against a wisdom that is Òearthly, unspiritual, of the devil,Ó and that is marked by Òbitter envy, selfish ambition,Ó Òdisorder and every evil practiceÓ (Jam. 3:14-16). From the evidence we have observed elsewhere in Scripture, we can identify the Òwisdom that is from aboveÓ as originating from the Spirit who came down as a gift Òfrom the Father of heavenly lightsÓ (Jam. 1:17). Certainly, there is strong continuity in terms of fruit and its effects on an individualÕs character. From the content of these passages, therefore, we see that spiritual fullness is a description not just of the Holy SpiritÕs activity of empowerment for ministry (which is certainly the emphasis in Luke/Acts; cf. Lk. 3:21-23; 24:49; Acts 1:8; 10:38), but also of the SpiritÕs sanctifying work in the life of a believer.53 Apparently, this is why Jesus said to the disciples, ÒBut when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truthÓ (Jn. 16:13); and then later prayed to the Father, ÒSanctify them by the truth; your word is truthÓ (Jn. 17:17). GodÕs will is for all of his people to be Òtransformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the SpiritÓ (II Cor. 3:18). Therefore, spiritual fullness is a necessary prerequisite for leadership positions responsible in aiding GodÕs people in a progressive process of spiritual maturity. 29
  32. 32. D. All Leaders Share Two Essential Purposes for Biblical Leadership Qualifications As I have probed the various categories connected with the commission and enabling grace necessary to Christian leadership positions, several references surfaced regarding the responsibility connected with leadership roles. Among these I noted ChristÕs terrifying condemnation of IsraelÕs leadership: Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in menÕs faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying toÓ (Matt. 23:13). Coupled with the various parables given on the faithfulness which God requires of his servants (e.g., Matt. 24:42-51; Lk. 19:11-27), it is no small wonder that Christ told his disciples, ÒWhoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with muchÓ (Lk. 16:10). Scripture teaches, therefore, that two main reasons exist for leadership qualifications. The first is the principle that a Christian leader is the steward of a divine trust. Though ramifications for the principle of stewardship apply in the present, Scripture usually presents this principle within the context of the final judgment. The second reason for having qualifications is found in the principle that a Christian leader is a public example. Although this principle is closely related to the first, it differs in that it helps to explain the practical considerations for leadership qualifications. In the sections that follow, I will attempt to demonstrate the scriptural basis for each of these principles in its turn. 30
  33. 33. 1. The Management of a Divine Trust Throughout his letters in the NT, the apostle Paul frequently equates the Christian leaderÕs commission with the management of a divine trust. The most explicit references are made either to his own ministry, or to young TimothyÕs. On these occasions he writes: I Cor. 4:1-2: So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I Tim. 6:20: Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. II Tim. 1:14: Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you -- guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. II Tim. 4:5: But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. In a similar manner, PaulÕs departing exhortation to the Ephesian elders links the stewardship of a trust with the people of God. He declared, ÒKeep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own bloodÓ (Acts 20:28). This language is conceptually synonymous with PaulÕs description of an elder as ÒGodÕs stewardÓ54 in Tit. 1:7. Likewise Heb. 13:17 also identifies the people of God as the object of a leaderÕs stewardship.55 This is precisely why James exhorted the believers not to presumptuously enter into a leadership role (Jam. 3:1). Yet, for those who are faithful in the administration of GodÕs delegated authority, Paul elsewhere hints of the eschatological rewards that will be forthcoming (I Cor. 3:8-15; I Thess. 2:19). Such expectations, however, are tempered with the possibility of unfaithful service (I Cor. 3:15), resulting in burned or worthless work. Thus, Paul concludes: 31
  34. 34. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done in the body, whether good or bad (II Cor. 5:9-10). 2. The Public Example of the Leader The second reason for leadership qualifications is rooted in the very nature of Christian leadership as a public example. First, in the NT we see the apostle Paul boldly instructing the Corinthians to ÒFollow my example, as I follow the example of ChristÓ (I Cor. 11:1).56 Although the contexts and situations differ, PaulÕs uses nearly identical language of imitation and example for three other churches. Notice the following statements made by the apostles -- these are not arrogant claims, but rather PaulÕs sober realization that his characteristics can speak louder than words: Gal. 4:12: ÒI plead with you brothers, become like me, for I became like you.Ó Phil. 3:17: ÒJoin with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. I Thess. 1:5b-6: ÒYou know how we lived among you for your sake.57 You became imitators of us and of the Lord . . . .Ó II Thess. 3:7: ÒFor you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example.Ó Second, the NT exhorts Christian leaders to faithfully fulfill their commission as examples to GodÕs people. I Peter 5:3 entreats elders to ÒBe shepherds of GodÕs flock that is under your care, serving as overseers -- not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be . . . being examples to the flock.Ó Elsewhere, we observe Paul encouraging Christian leaders to do likewise (I Tim. 4:12, 15-16; Tit. 2:7-8), with sober instructions to rebuke publicly any elders who sin,58 Òso that the others may take warningÓ (I Tim. 5:20). 32
  35. 35. Finally, the closing chapter of Hebrews exhorts believers to imitate leaders on the basis of the unchanging nature of Christ (Heb. 13:7-8). In this way, we recognize that the example of leadership is as applicable today as it was then. III. AN APPLICATION OF BIBLICAL LEADERSHIP QUALIFICATIONS TO PARACHURCH ORGANIZATIONS A. The Nature and Purpose of Christian Leadership & Ministry In the second portion of this paper I attempted to trace the major scriptural categories foundational to Christian leadership. We observed that biblically God is the ultimate source of authority and that all leadership positions derive their legitimacy mediately or immediately from him. Moreover, in addition to the formal delegation of representative authority, God also supplies the necessary enablement a leader needs to faithfully fulfill the commission. Consequently, both the commission and the enablement are granted on the basis of divine grace. Furthermore, we observed that post-apostolic commissions to Christian leadership are generally recognized and validated among Christian believers, so there need to be discernible, external signs of GodÕs commission and enabling grace. I noted that Scripture points to integrity of character, soundness of doctrine, and spiritual fullness as those necessary external signs, and that they exist because the Christian leader is the steward of a divine trust, and serves as a public example. Now it is necessary to revisit the nature and purpose of Christian leadership and ministry, in order to make a proper application to leaders within parachurch structures. At the onset of the second major section of this paper, I linked the commission of Christian leadership to the gift of ChristÕs grace in Eph. 4:7-11. Significant to this section, however, was the purpose 33
  36. 36. clause and consummate goal set forth in vs. 12 ff. Here we see that Christian leaders and ministries are ordained by God to equip the saints for works of service, in order that the body of Christ might be built up. The goal of this ÒupbuildingÓ or ÒstrengtheningÓ (oi1kodomhn), is further described in vs. 13 by the conjunction me/xri Òuntil,Ó Òto the extent thatÓ unity is attained in the faith (th=j pi¿stewj), and in the knowledge of the Son of God. Such unity, vs. 13 further teaches, will result in maturity, which is nothing less than Òattaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.Ó59 Therefore, I contend that the nature and goal of Christian leadership and ministry are to bring people into maturity, or the fullness of Christ for their lives. Put another way, since the leader serves by example as well as instruction, his aim is to produce in others the same character qualities that are present in him; i.e., make other believers into potential leaders.60 Thus, the author to the Hebrews laments that this process has been retarded when he writes: In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of GodÕs word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evilÓ (Heb. 5:12-14). We see that this same purpose is clearly present in PaulÕs ministry when he writes, ÒWe proclaim him [Christ], admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect (mature, te/leioj) in ChristÓ (Col. 1:28; see also 4:12; I Cor. 14:20; and Jam. 1:4). The goal of Christian maturity, however, is not an optional calling reserved to a select number whom God will call into leadership positions. Rather, Paul presses the issue of maturity by confronting believers with their obligation toward God; namely, to live worthy of the Kingdom 34
  37. 37. of God. He writes, ÒFor you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and gloryÓ (I Thess. 2:11-12); and, ÒAs a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have receivedÓ (Phil. 4:1). The LordÕs Word for all of his people is nothing less than that they, ÒBe perfect (te/leioj), therefore, even as your heavenly Father is perfectÓ (Matt. 5:48). Therefore, scriptural leadership qualifications are not institutionally determined (locative), but are jurisdictionally based in the very fabric of the Kingdom of God. Put another way, any leader who undertakes the ministry of GodÕs Word is a de facto representative of GodÕs Kingdom and authority. As such, scriptural leadership qualifications outline the prerequisite and terminal objectives foundational to that delegated authority. Thus, just as the Kingdom gives rise to the local church and parachurch structures,61 so also the Kingdom provides the occasion for representative delegates who serve as heralds of the King. Scriptural leadership qualifications describe the prerequisite and ongoing nature and purpose of those representatives. It was observed from Scripture, however, that leadership qualifications do not appear to be uniformly applied to all leadership positions within the church. I noted that there were obvious differences between the qualifications for elders (I Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:5-9), and those for deacons (I Tim. 3:8-13). Such differences appear to indicate that any parachurch leader who exercises a pastoral or elder type of authority (e.g., teaches GodÕs Word and manages the spiritual development in others) is afforded more responsibility, and is therefore, more highly accountable (Jam. 3:1). Nonetheless, due to the visible nature of all leadership positions and the delicate nature of financial stewardship, even the administrative positions (perhaps deacons, as 35
  38. 38. seen in Acts 6:1-6) are also held to a high standard. In parachurch structures, this includes bookkeepers, administrative assistants, or traveling representatives of an organization. Regardless of the visible structure that they minister from within, by virtue of the message of the Kingdom, parachurch leaders are GodÕs representatives before the eyes of GodÕs assembly as well as the world. Accordingly, the issue of accountability within parachurch structures is really no different in principle from that of the local church. Since the commission and authority for Christian leadership in all its forms arises from God, the principles laid down in Scripture regarding delegated authority and corporate responsibility are applicable throughout the entire realm of GodÕs reign. This means that parachurch leaders, as subjects in GodÕs Kingdom (and hopefully members of a visible church), are under divine obligation to obey the principles of Scripture. Thus, there must be among leaders of parachurch organizations an attitude of submission to GodÕs principles of authority (out of reverence for Christ; Eph. 5:21), as well as a willingness to reprove others and themselves be reproved (Gal. 2:11 ff.). The earnestness with which certain parachurch structures have worked to establish strong ecclesiastical ties testifies to how a strong relationship with a local church makes spiritual accountability much more likely.62 Consequently, in practical outworking, every organization whose authority is derived from a jurisdictionally-based relationship to the Kingdom of God must, like the local church, construct a principled framework for implementing spiritual discipline and moral accountability. Such a framework serves as a means of spiritual protection for both leaders and layworkers within a Christian organization. For this type of framework to function adequately, however, the organizational structure in the parachurch must be decentralized, so that no one person can 36
  39. 39. exercise unquestioned authority. In this way, spiritual discipline and accountability can be administered through a plural and consensual framework.63 Thus, such an approach safeguards the integrity of disciplinary actions from the imbalances and biases that are inherent in an autocratic form of organizational structure -- a structure that is all-too-common in many parachurch organizations. Unfortunately, the decentralization of authority is perhaps the most difficult thing for visionary-minded and strong-willed leaders/founders of parachurch organizations to do. Yet, a reluctance in this area can end in shame and misery for both the leaders and the organization.64 IV. CONCLUSION The Scriptures provide us with necessary information regarding the nature and purpose of the church. With this information, we can largely determine the nature and corresponding purpose of parachurch structures. Moreover, Scripture also gives us an abundance of information about the nature and purpose of leadership within GodÕs Kingdom. The Christian leader is a servant and a herald of GodÕs message, with the appointed responsibilities of representing GodÕs will through his words and his deeds. In this way, the Christian leader serves as ChristÕs gift of grace to bring GodÕs people into full maturity. Biblical leadership qualifications enable the people of God to identify God-ordained leaders in their midst (via ÒfruitÓ), and serve as objective standards to be attained by all Christians. Since these qualifications are grounded in the nature and purpose of Christian leadership -- a leadership ordained within the realm of GodÕs reign -- they are jurisdictionally, not institutionally determined. As a result, all parachurch structures are under divine obligation to observe 37
  40. 40. scriptural leadership qualifications. Correspondence between scriptural qualifications and parachurch leaders is delimited on the basis of function and responsibility, and must be roughly equated with that of the pastor/elder (spiritual oversight and development) or the deacon (administrative and other supportive roles). Although the parachurch is jurisdictionally separated from any one local church, accountability is best established through strong ecclesiastical ties and the decentralization of the organizational structure. Even with the establishment of a biblical framework, however, final heart-felt obedience to scriptural principles rests to a large degree on each individual, Òwho must give an accountÓ (Heb. 13:11). 38
  41. 41. Appendix A Parachurch Organizations Taken from Donald R. Brown, ed., National Evangelical Directory 1992-93 (Wheaton: National Assoc. of Evangelicals, 1993). Advertising & Graphic Arts Organizations Advertising & Graphic Arts Service Organizations Arts in Ministry Agencies Magazine and Miscellaneous Publishing Organizations Missions/Relief Organizations Foreign Missions Home Missions International Relief & Development Organizations Mission Support Service Organizations Rescue, Inner City Missions Translating, Bible Missions Christian Camp, Conference & Retreat Centers Consulting/Legal Assistance Organizations Church Growth Organizations Financial Consulting Organizations Legal Services Organizations Management/Personnel/Public Relations Consulting Programs Political & Advocacy Organizations Outreach Ministries Athlete Outreach Ministries Business Outreach Ministries Church Planting Service Organizations Evangelism/Discipleship Ministries Handicap/Disabled Outreach Ministries Military Outreach Ministries Performing Arts Outreach Ministries Prison/Ex-Offender Outreach Ministries Specialized Ministries Youth & Campus Outreach Ministries Counseling/Guidance Organizations Adoption/Crisis/Pregnancy Counseling Agencies Alcohol/Drug Counseling Agencies Career Guidance Service Organizations Chaplaincy Organizations Counseling & Counseling Associations Financial Planning/Advisement Organizations Education/Christian Education Bible Colleges Christian Colleges Seminaries & Graduate Schools Christian Day School Associations Christian Education/Sunday School Organizations Educational Support Organizations Special Education Institutes Training & Seminar Ministries Professional Support Organizations Fellowship Organizations Professional Organizations Research Organizations Theological Societies Social Support Service Organizations Child Abuse/Orphanage/Foster Care Agencies Family Ministries WomenÕs Concerns Organizations Health Care Services Health Care Support Organizations Mental Health Care Centers Nursing Home & Retirement Care Centers Media: Audio/Visual Production Organizations Audio Cassette/Record Production & Distribution Organizations Film Radio, TV & Video Production & Distribution Organizations NRB Film, Radio, TV & Video Program Producers & Distributors NRB Radio Program Producers Media: Print Organizations Bible/Literature Agencies Book/Music Publishers & Distributors Magazines 46
  42. 42. Bibliography ÒCo-operating in World Evangelism: A Handbook on Church/Parachurch Relationships.Ó Lausanne Occasional Papers, Committee for World Evangelization, n.s. 24 (c. 1983). Bauer, Walter, William F. Arndt, Wilbur F. Gingrich, and Frederick W. Danker, eds. A GreekEnglish Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 2nd rev. ed. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1979. Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion. Ed. Ford Lewis Battles. Vol. II. Trans. John T. McNeil. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1960. Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994. Ladd, George Eldon. A Theology of the New Testament. Ed. Donald A. Hagner. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1993. Leith, John H, ed. Creeds of the Churches. 3d ed. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1982. Morris, Leon. ÒChurch Government.Ó Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Ed. Walter A. Elwell. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984. Muck, Terry C., ed. ÒWilliam Franklin Graham: Seventy Exceptional Years.Ó Christianity Today, November 18 1988, 17-23. OÕBrien, P. T. ÒThe Church as a Heavenly and Eschatological Entity.Ó The Church in the World: An International Study. Ed. D. A. Carson. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987. ______. ÒThe Church.Ó Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. Eds. Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, Daniel G. Reid. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993. Oden, Thomas C. The Transforming Power of Grace. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993. Omanson, R. L. ÒThe Church.Ó Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Ed. Walter A. Elwell. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984. Schaff, Philip, ed. The Creeds of Christendom. 6th ed. Vol. 3. The Evangelical Protestant Creeds. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990. SnyderÕs, Howard. The Problem of Wineskins: Church Structure in a Technological Age. Downers Grover: InterVarsity Press, 1975. Stronstad, Roger. The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke. Peabody: Hendrickson Pub., 1984. 47
  43. 43. White, Jerry. The Church & The Parachurch: An Uneasy Marriage. Portland: Multnomah Press, 1983. 1 From the Greek preposition para/ meaning at or by (the side of), beside, near, or with. Walter Bauer, William F. Arndt, Wilbur F. Gingrich, and Frederick W. Danker, eds., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 2nd rev. ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1979), 610. Hereafter BAGD. 2 Although para/ is a common NT preposition, nowhere in the NT does the term occur in conjunction with e)kklhsi¿a. 3 A good example is Jerry White, whose full working definition of a parachurch is Òany spiritual ministry whose organization is not under the control or authority of a local congregation.Ó Jerry White, The Church & The Parachurch: An Uneasy Marriage. (Portland: Multnomah Press, 1983), 19. White also recognizes that the term parachurch is inadequate and, borrowing a phrase from Lorne Sanny, president of the Navigators (19, n. 2), offers the alternative Òpara-local churchÓ in its place. In his views, Òthis designation is less ambiguousÓ than the term ÒchurchÓ (Ibid.). By shifting the name of the parachurch to para-local church, White appears to be narrowing the definition of ÒchurchÓ in this context from the invisible or universal church, of which all of GodÕs people are a part, to the visible and local congregation. 4 The distinction between the invisible church and the visible or local church is based on my examination of the 114 uses of e)kklhsi¿a throughout the NT. P. T. OÕBrien, however, argues that the times where the NT uses e)kklhsi¿a in a wider sense than a local congregation or house-church (which occurs a clear 94 times), it is pointing to a heavenly and eschatological entity, rather than the more traditional interpretation of a universal, invisible church. In OÕBrienÕs view, this interpretation better fits the primary NT (and apostolic FathersÕ) use of e)kklhsi¿a as ÒgatheringÓ or Òassembly,Ó and better accounts for the heavenly plane context that surrounds such passages as Col. 1:18. (See P. T. OÕBrien, ÒThe Church,Ó in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, eds. Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, Daniel G. Reid [Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993], 125-126, and P. T. OÕBrien, ÒThe Church as a Heavenly and Eschatological Entity,Ó in The Church in the World: An International Study, ed. D. A. Carson [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987], 88-119). The more traditional distinction of universal/invisible and local/visible gained acceptance through the writings of the Reformers, who claimed that the invisible or universal church was the true church (and thus represented the elect), and Òin whose number are also included the dead.Ó John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. Ford Lewis Battles, vol. II, trans. John T. McNeil (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1960), 4.1.2, 7. See also R. L. Omanson, ÒThe Church,Ó in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984), 231. Even if OÕBrien is correct in his position, however, there is still a sense in which one must view the church as invisible (from an earthly standpoint) and universal (with regard to the scope of all true believers who belong to the heavenly assembly). His perspective would simply affect whether there exists a uniform denotation for e)kklhsi¿a throughout the NT corpus. For example, in the 114 times that e)kklhsi¿a appears in the NT, 15 of the occurrences clearly refer to the church as conceptually universal/invisible (or heavenly). The following are some of the more prominent examples: Matt. 16:18 - Òand on this rock I will build my church . . .Ó Eph. 1:22 - Òand appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body . . .Ó Col. 1:18 - ÒAnd he is the head of the body, the church . . .Ó I Tim. 3:15 - ÒGodÕs household, which is the church of the living God . . .Ó Heb. 12:23 - ÒYou have come . . . to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.Ó The remainder that speak of the universal and invisible essence of the church are I Cor. 10:32; Eph. 3:10, 21; 5:23, 24, 25, 27, 29, 32; Col. 1:24. It is worth noting that every occurrence of e)kklhsi¿a in Ephesians is intended in the universal/invisible sense. Among the remaining occurrences of e)kklhsi¿a in the NT, five refer to the visible church, but are merged with universal/invisible overtones (Acts 20:28; I Cor. 11:22; 15:9; Gal. 1:13; and Phil. 3:6). Three references are to secular assemblies (Acts 19:32, 39, 40), while two occurrences are to the assembly of the OT people of God (Acts 7:38; Heb. 2:12 [although it can be argued that the quote from Ps. 22:22 in Heb. 2:12 speaks prophetically of the NT church]). Accordingly, we are left with 89 occurrences of e)kklhsi¿a (the majority) in the NT, which make a direct reference to visible, local assemblies. See also James 2:2 where sunagwgh/ is used to refer to a visible, local assembly (note the shift to e)kklhsi¿a again in 5:14). 5 48
  44. 44. 6 John Calvin used the expression Òmystical unionÓ (mystica unio) to describe Òthat joining together of Head and members, that indwelling of Christ in our heartsÓ where ÒChrist, having been made ours, makes us sharers with him in the gifts with which he has been endowed.Ó Calvin, Institutes, 3.11.10. Yet, due to the connotations that are associated with this expression today, the term ÒspiritualÓ is a more adequate substitute. 7 John H. Leith, ed., Creeds of the Churches, 3d ed., (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1982), 33, and Omanson 1984, 231. 8 Moreover, by using the term ÒassemblyÓ I am attempting to capture the primary sense in which e)kklhsi¿a is used both in the LXX when translating the Hebrew lfhfq, (e.g. Deut. 23:2; I Chron. 13:2; Mic. 2:5) as well as in its use throughout the NT and the apostolic fathers. 9 ÒConsequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with GodÕs people and members of GodÕs household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the LordÓ (Eph. 2:19-21; see also Heb. 2:3-4, italics mine). 10 Calvin, Institutes, 4.1.8. 11 Interestingly, Rom. 15:16 describes the apostle PaulÕs priestly ministry to God via evangelism to the Gentiles. This Scripture demonstrates the principle that every aspect of the mission of the church is ultimately a ministry unto the Lord (cf. Matt. 25:40; Heb. 6:10). 12 These categories are very similar to those set forth by Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 867-868. 13 Some categories listed in the Appendix appear to be more culturally related than scripturally mandated. As we will discuss later, however, cultural relevancy is the chief characteristic of the parachurch organization. Those organizations whose mission is not in some way related to the stated mission of the local church must of necessity be outside the category of Òministry.Ó 14 See Leon Morris, ÒChurch GovernmentÓ in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 238-242. 15 By Òorganized structureÓ I am describing the systematic ordering of the parts of a whole, which in an ecclesiastical setting involves leadership roles and forms of government. 16 As we will observe in more detail later, what some might label ÒdeaconsÓ were appointed by the apostles in Acts 6:3ff. Paul himself is careful to appoint elders in the churches (Acts 14:23), while exhorting Timothy and Titus to do likewise (I Tim. 3:1-13; Tit. 1:5-9). Clearly the early church had an organized structure. 17 According to this perspective the name ÒparachurchÓ or its equivalent is illegitimate on all occasions. For a condensed overview of this position see Appendix A of ÒCo-operating in World Evangelism: A Handbook on Church/Parachurch Relationships,Ó in Lausanne Occasional Papers, Committee for World Evangelization, n.s. 24 (c. 1983), 83-92. 18 Calvin later explains what he means by the Word of God Òpurely preachedÓ when he states, ÒWhat is more, some fault may creep into the administration of either doctrine or sacraments, but this ought not to estrange us from communion with the church. For not all the articles of true doctrine are of the same sort. Some are so necessary to know that they should be certain and unquestioned by all men as the proper principles of religion. Such are: God is one; Christ is God and the Son of God; our salvation rests in GodÕs mercy; and the like.Ó Calvin, Institutes, 4.1.12 19 Ibid., 4.1.9. Note that the Augsburg Confession (1530) similarly states: ÒBut the Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught (recte [Germ. ed., rein, ÒpurelyÓ] doceture) and the Sacraments rightly administered (Germ. ed,. laut des Evangelii, Òaccording to the GospelÓ). Philip Schaff, ed., The Creeds of Christendom, 6th ed., vol. 3, The Evangelical Protestant Creeds, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 11-12. 49
  45. 45. 20 Interestingly, the exercise of church discipline also points to the existence of some form of formal governmental structure -- an aspect necessary, but not unique, to the local church. 21 The first Scottish Confession (1560) reads nearly the same as Calvin and the Augsburg, adding as a third mark, ÒEcclesiastical discipline uprightlie ministred, as Goddis Worde prescribes, whereby vice is repressed, and vertew nurished.Ó Ibid., 461-462. With the absence of church discipline, there cannot be effective discipleship. Likewise, without a church government there can be no effective church discipline. 22 In Howard SnyderÕs, The Problem of Wineskins: Church Structure in a Technological Age (Downers Grover: InterVarsity Press, 1975), 161, denominations are set forth as parachurch structures -- a position I am apprehensive to adopt. If by a denomination Snyder is pointing to a conceptual entity or structure (i.e., the relinquishing of individual self-government under Christ to form a more sovereign union), I agree with him. But if he is pointing to a federation of visible assemblies that have strong (formal) doctrinal and ecclesiastical ties, I disagree. 23 Lausanne Occasional Papers c. 1983, 32. Of course, the very same questions can be posed to leaders of local churches, in which case a biblical basis for their specific mandate and methods of moral accountability should likewise be set forth. 24 Grudem, 868-869. 25 George Eldon LaddÕs dynamic concept of the Kingdom is based on jurisdiction, and in my view is correct. He states, ÒThe Kingdom is primarily the dynamic reign or kingly rule of God, and derivatively, the sphere in which the rule is experienced. In biblical idiom, the Kingdom is not identified with its subjects. They are the people of GodÕs rule who enter it, live under it, and are governed by it. The church is the community of the Kingdom but never the Kingdom itself. JesusÕ disciples belong to the Kingdom as the Kingdom belongs to them; but they are not the Kingdom. The Kingdom is the rule of God; the church is a society of women and men.Ó George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, ed. Donald A. Hagner, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1993), 109. 26 7 ¸Eniìì de e(ka/st% h(mw_n e)do/qh ÒBut to each one of us was givenÓ)  h( xa/rij (ÒgraceÓ)  kata (Òaccording toÓ)  to me/tron th=j dwrea=j (Òthe measure of the giftÓ)  tou= Xristou=. . . (Òof ChristÓ)  8 eÃdwken (Òhe gaveÓ) ↓ do/mata toiÍj a)nqrw¯poij. (Ògifts to menÓ)  11 kaiìì au)toj eÃdwken (Òand he gaveÓ)  ↓ touj men a)posto/louj, (Òsome as apostlesÓ) touj de profh/taj, (Òsome as prophetsÓ) touj de eu)aggelista/j, 50
  46. 46. (Òand some as evangelistsÓ) touj de poime/naj kaiìì didaska/louj (Òand some as pastors and teachersÓ) 27 However, the LXX (in this case, 67:19) reads, eÃlabej do/mata e)n a)nqrw¯p%, Òyou received gifts in (among) men,Ó emphasizing ChristÕs reception of gifts, whereas the apostle Paul applies this passage in terms of ChristÕs bestowal of those gifts received. 28 We might also note that the use of the aorist for the verb di/dwmi (ÒI giveÓ) in this context, points to the reality of what was accomplished (past) in the resurrection of Christ. 29 It is possible that Gen. 9:6 is a grant of civil authority to execute GodÕs sanctions on the earth after the Fall. 30 Verse 4, which describes the civil ruler as ÒGodÕs servant, an agent of wrath,Ó coordinates with and explains 12:19, which states, ÒDo not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for GodÕs wrath, for it is written: ÔIt is mine to avenge; I will repay,Õ says the Lord.Ó Here the apostle admonishes believers not to step outside of their jurisdiction, which is the essence of revenge. 31 In Rom. 13:1, 5, Titus 3:1 and I Pet. 2:13-14 the term used is u(pota/ssw, meaning Òto subject oneself, be subjected or subordinated.Ó BAGD, 848. The term is used a total of 37 times in the NT and falls into five general categories: (1) Submission in human relationships (Lk. 2:51 [Christ submitted to his parents]; I Cor. 14:32, 34; 16:16; Eph. 5:21; 24; Col. 3:18; Tit. 2:5, 9; I Pet. 2:18; 3:1, 5; 5:5). (2) The creation submitted to Christ & Christ submitted to God (Lk. 10:17, 20; I Cor. 15:27 [3x], 28 [bis]; Eph. 1:22; Phil. 3:21; Heb. 2:5, 8 [3x]; I Pet. 3:22). (3) Human submission to God (Rom. 8:7; 10:3; Heb. 12:9; Jam. 4:7). (4) Submission to rulers and authorities (Rom. 13:1, 5; Titus 3:1; I Pet. 2:13). (5) The creation subject to frustration by God (Rom 8:20 [bis]). The majority of these occurrences have to do with submission within the realm of authority. 32 Thre/w, Òkeep, observe, fulfill, pay attention to,Ó esp. of law and teaching, BAGD, 815. 33 A NT hapax legomenon, u(pei/kw Òyield, fig. give way, submit to someoneÕs authority,Ó Ibid., 838. 34 Note that u(pota/ssw is used regarding submission to the household of Stephanas and Òeveryone who joins in the work, and labors at itÓ (I Cor. 16:15-16). 35 The exception is Acts 1:23-26 where Matthias is selected among the disciples. It is interesting, however, that the decision to add Matthias was grounded in PeterÕs understanding of Spirit-inspired Scripture (Acts 1:16, 20), and was fulfilled in prayer and the casting of lots (1:24-26). 36 See also Acts 15:6, 13; Gal. 2:9, as well as Lk. 22:31 and Jn. 21:15ff. 37 ÒAnd I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme; and in raging fury against them, I persecuted them even to foreign citiesÓ (Acts 26:11, RSV). 38 See Acts 22:6-21; 26:12-18 for more details. Unlike the original twelve, there appears to be a measure of community involvement in the recognition of PaulÕs call. Acts 13:2 states, ÒWhile they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ÔSet apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.Õ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.Ó Most likely the phrase, Òthe Holy Spirit saidÓ was a prophetic word given by one of the prophets mentioned in verse one. Note that in Acts 21:10-11, the prophet Agabus prophesied to Paul with the phrase, ÒThe Holy Spirit says . . . .Ó 39 This is not to suggest that every leadership position must of necessity be chosen by the assembly. Instead, I am merely pointing to the human element evident in the selection of leadership outside the circle of apostles. 40 See Jer. 1:5-10; Ez. 1:3; Dan. 1:17; 2:28; Hos. 1:1; Joel 1:1; Jon. 1:1; Mic. 1:1; Zeph. 1:1; Hag. 1:1; Zech. 1:7; Mal. 1:1. 51
  47. 47. 41 Lit. Òthe Anointed One,Ó descriptive of the Spirit-anointed leader in Is. 11:1-9; 61:1-7 and elsewhere throughout the OT. 42 Certainly there was great strengthening in the hour of his trial, when ÒStephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of GodÓ (Acts 7:55). Encouragement on the whole, however, is granted by God through the fellowship of His people; ÒLet us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approachingÓ (Heb. 10:25; see also 13:9). 43 Lawlessness or a)nomi¿a in Matt. 7:23 is used only another 14 times in the NT: Matt. 13:41; 23:28; 24:12; Rom. 4:7; 6:19 (bis); II Cor. 6:14; II Thess. 2:3, 7; Tit. 2:14; Heb. 1:9; 10:17; I Jn. 3:4 (bis). 44 Frightening indeed are the woes pronounced against those who Òshut the kingdom of heaven in menÕs facesÓ through their hypocritical leadership (Matt. 23:13; see vss. 15-36). 45 With the possible exception of the requirement of being an Òapt teacherÓ as an elder (I Tim. 3:2; Tit. 1:9). 46 In my view, presbu/teroj (ÒelderÓ) in Tit. 1:5 is equated with e)pi/skopoj (ÒoverseerÓ) in 1:7 with the explanatory connective deiÍ gar, ÒforÓ: 5 Appoint elders in every city  6 if any man be above reproach   For (deiÍ gar) ↓ ↓ the overseer must be above reproach as GodÕs steward 47 Gunai=kaj, ÒwomenÓ can be Òwomen deaconsÓ or Òwives.Ó In my view, the context appears to favor the latter. 48 Clearly, Timothy (and Titus) have already been tested and approved by Paul before appointment to such leadership positions. Evidence for this approval is in Phil 2:22, ÒBut you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospelÓ; and II Cor. 8:23, ÒAs for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you . . . .Ó Note also Rom. 16:10, ÒGreet Apelles, tested and approved in Christ.Ó 49 More specifically, the elder is required to be Òan apt teacher,Ó who is able to Òhold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also confute those who contradict itÓ (I Tim. 3:2; Tit. 1:9). 50 Paul did not question whether false doctrines would emerge within the assembly of GodÕs people. He warns the Ephesian elders, ÒI know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tearsÓ (Acts 20:29-31). 51 We observe this same receptivity to GodÕs Spirit in the apostle Peter in Acts 10:19. 52 Even in the case of being full of GodÕs power we observe an influence on the character of an individual (cf. Rom. 1:16). The working of signs and wonders by Stephen and Philip in these instances were just one of several different manifestations of GodÕs power (I Cor. 12:7-11). 53 For a thorough discussion on the Lukan/Pauline distinction in emphasis of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, see Roger StronstadÕs published M.A. thesis, The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke (Peabody: Hendrickson Pub., 1984). 52
  48. 48. 54 The noun oi)kono/moj Òsteward,Ó occurs a total of 10 times in the NT. It is used four times in the gospel of Luke as a steward in JesusÕ parables (Lk. 12:42; 16:1, 3, 8). Once it is used in Romans regarding Erastus, the Òcity treasurerÓ (Rom. 16:23). Twice it is used in I Corinthians 4:1, 2 regarding the apostle PaulÕs own ministry (note this reference in the text above). Galatians 4:2 uses it once to describe the steward who manages a young sonÕs affairs until he comes of age. And in addition to the reference under consideration (Tit. 1:7), I Peter 4:10 uses it as a general exhortation, with the grace of God as the object; ÒAs each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of GodÓ (NASB). 55 ÓObey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an accountÓ (NASB). 56 In this context, the content of PaulÕs example is clearly explained in the previous verse, ÒFor I am not seeking my own good but the good of the many . . . .Ó Undoubtedly Paul is thinking of ChristÕs attitude as recorded in Matt. 20:28, Òthe Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.Ó 57 Paul is explicit about how he lived among the Thessalonians in I Thess. 2:10; ÒYou are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.Ó 58 Most likely, the apostle had in mind serious charges that were public in nature (see preceding verse 19). 59 Note that Eph. 4:14-15 goes on to describe doctrinal fidelity as a result of maturity in Christ. 60 It is interesting to note that in Tit. 2:1, PaulÕs admonition on what should be taught to older men is very similar to the character qualifications for elders previously listed in chapter one. 61 Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, 111. 62 For example, I have heard reports that the well-known Christian musical artist Michael Card submits all of his song lyrics to the elders and pastor of his home church for evaluation before they are recorded and released. Card undoubtedly recognizes that spiritual accountability in his ÒministryÓ is best accomplished through strong ecclesiastical ties. Similar ties are visible between the Evangelical Free Church denomination and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL), as well as various denominational Christian Colleges. 63 The importance of a consensual framework within the community of GodÕs people is seen in other aspects of the Christian life. For further discussion on this point, see the introduction to Thomas C. OdenÕs, The Transforming Power of Grace (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993). 64 No one needs to be reminded of the problems that have occurred since the late 1980Õs among a variety of television-based parachurch structures that did not implement or observe a biblical framework for moral accountability. A positive example of a parachurch organization that did implement such a framework is seen in Billy Graham Ministries. For a detailed interview and discussion of how this framework was established see Terry C. Muck, ed., ÒWilliam Franklin Graham: Seventy Exceptional Years,Ó Christianity Today, November 18 1988, 17-23. 53

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