Friday, March 30, 2007

Over at The Assembling of the Church, Alan Knox has an ongoing discussion regarding the function of the overseer.

I began a comment there, which I soon realised was getting too long. So I will say what I want to say on my own space.

It seems to me much misunderstanding of leadership, and many other Biblical subjects, comes from our penchant of interpreting Scripture from the understanding of the meaning of words used in our respective cultures, or from an understanding programmed into us by the church culture of our earlier days. Very little of the understanding of leadership congregations have comes from personal Bible study and investigation. There seems to be very few Bereans.

Much misunderstanding comes from not interpreting Scripture by Scripture, especially evading what Jesus had to say about subjects, such as leadership, as if what the apostles later wrote overrules, or even negates, Jesus words.

Even more importantly, the over-riding context of a book of Scripture is not taken into account, which in the case of Hebrews, from which some of the discussion regarding the "overseer" on Alan's blog emanates, is mainly the salvation and perseverance of those people of God being addressed.

Far too many are being appointed to the task of overseer, because they have great "reputation", magnificent oratorical skills, have a good "presence" in the pulpit, have an alphabet of letters after their name, or because a supervisory body has recommended them. It may be that they are regarded as an able defender of a particular theological label.

I humbly submit that the reason the overseer is an overseer ought to be because he has demonstrated to the local body to which he belongs, and that for a number of years, his focus on Christ in his daily involvement with people, his consistency seeking to persuade to be "looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of the faith", rather than haranguing them to obey man-made rules and to perform like trained seals, according to his expectations, rules and regulations, or those of a particular denomination or ism.

He must be recognised as an overseer, because of his love for the Scriptures, his love for his brethren, his example in the community and the congregation, his humility, his ability, and willingness to serve the congregation without recognition, without compensation,without title, without his ego being massaged by fawning admirers. He will be recognised as an overseer, by his congregational brethren, because of his servanthood, his own obvious self perception that he is no more or no less a member of Christ's Body, but personally held to greater accountability to the Shepherd of the flock etc.

His persuasion will NEVER be by virtue of imagined inherent authority in the "position" of the overseer, nor by his denomination spin on what an overseer is, but by the authority of Scripture.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Its hard to get back to the business of blogging when one has been enjoying being part of the Body, face to face.

It's interesting how, whilst we have been involved elsewhere, the issue of leadership has come up more than once. One of the common threads in conversations with a brother and sister with whom we have spent some time lately is the fact that our Lord, Jesus, declared that He came as a servant, not as the Boss, Managing Director, or CEO. (Matt.20:25-28 ISV)

Then we see John's statement in John 3:30; and I love the way the ISV says it, "He must become more important, but I must become less important". Isn't that great?

The motivation for these discussions has been the question: " Why are there so many sermons, being preached recently where it's clearly evident that there is a huge contradiction between what is preached and the words of Jesus and John?"

Friday, March 23, 2007

I like to think that I have a sense of humor and can enjoy a good laugh, but I've just read a blog in which the Christian author of a Christian blog uses the most dismissive sarcasm to describe another brothers point of view. It is the more offensive when this person is supposed to love the same doctrines of grace as I.

I love a laugh, but never at the expense of a Christian brother, even if I do disagree with him. After all, someone once said truthfully, "Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit". How true. Grace, the free and unmerited favor or beneficence of God, and graciousness, excellence of manners or social conduct, and the quality of being kind and gentle, are related!

How sad when Christians are unable, or are unwilling, to show this fruit of a regenerate heart.
How does one begin "blogging"? I didn't know what the word meant a couple of years ago even though using computers since the Commodore 64 and being connected to the internet for ten years.

I am so thankful that the blogosphere has allowed this old curmudgeon from the upside down part of the world to know that he's not alone in his ponderings. I would like to converse about almost anything, but especially the love of my life the Body of Christ. I want to hear what others think, so, will probably ask many questions.

It was my nervous privilege of preaching, for the first time, at the age of seventeen, and then sporadically until twenty-five, and for most of the fourty-three ensuing years. The older I get the more concerned I am that the simplicity that is in Christ is being drowned by a web of sophistication, ambition, and ecclesiastical formalism, which is quenching the Holy Spirit. I am concerned that many leaders seem to have the idea that our immutable God has lost His power to still do the amazing deeds of yesteryear, that somehow the days of the Great Reformation were a full stop instead of an exclamation mark!