questions on church leadership

Recently I started a personal study on "what does the Bible say about church leaders." I was born and raised a presbyterian, and believe in ordination. My driving question is, "are there multiple levels of the eldership or deaconate?" Along with this I have other questions in mine - such as, "What is the role of the Old Testament models of leadership (King, Prophet, Priest) for the New Administration of Grace?" "How do the leaders relate to one another?" "What is the role and need of denominations?" Considering the rise of such movements as Together for the Gospel, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, The Gospel Coalition, Acts 29, etc.

This study was sparked by a few comments my friend Sam DeSocio made regarding the differences between the OPC, RPCNA and the PCA. Now, I am not a theonomist by any stretch of the imagination as I see a fulfillment in the civil and ceremonial laws with Christ's atoning death, yet I believe in a covenantal understanding of the scriptures. Therefore the Old Testament has some value and is needed in any discussion of leaders.

thoughts? any questions to add? Scripture passages or books to refer to?


sdesocio said...

I hope my comments were not rude ones.
In the OT there might have been a sinful hierarchy between kings, priest, and prophets. But in their spheres each was acting on behalf of God.

Wouldn't we say that the leadership model we get from the OT is all three together in the prophetic understanding of Christ?

Robbie said...

They were not rude by any imagination of the word. Your comments that I have in mind are specifically ones pertaining to the OPC's 3 tier officers, the RPCNA 2.4 tier, and the PCA's solid 2 tier church organization. Along with that I am trying to figure out women deacons (I am complementarian, but so is Driscoll and he allows deaconesses.... trying to figure out my consistency in this.)

To cap it off you are absolutely right that Christ is all three offices today (and praise the Lord for a King like Jesus). I am wondering however if it sets forth a model for elders and deacons to follow today. I know in Exodus 18 Moses sets up some sort of government for Israel... Does that pertain to us as well? (Again I am not a theonomist, but it is hard to seperate government leaders from church leaders at this time.)

MarkPele said...

I've spent a lot of time on this very issue. I've been led to the conclusion that the Old Testament leadership (prophet, priest, king) don't directly map to the new covenant leaders. Those who want to map them usually do so to make wild claims about the offices in the new church.

So, here's my theory, there is one "office" in the church in terms of authority. Elder. Deacons don't have authority as the RPCNA Testimony says, and that is precisely why they can be women. But, deacons don't need to be elected. You've got offices like Treasurer, SS Secretary and others that are appointed by the session or voted in congregational meetings.

What got me there is this question: is Acts 6 talking about deacons or elders, and what are the implications of each. There are more than you would think at first blush.