THE SECOND DAY OF AUGUST IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN.
There is much discussion today regarding church leadership and its exercise by male and female disciples. Unfortunately, this discussion often generates more heat than light. Needed instead are calm and thoughtful believers who can observe and discern biblical details, analyze the scripture data, successfully bridge the gap across twenty centuries, then work patiently with other brothers and sisters to faithfully apply ancient biblical principles to today’s circumstances. These were my goals when I prepared the power point study of the New Testament and especially Acts that I am sharing with you today. I hope you will find it useful–whether in your personal study or to share with others. This extensive power point study is located at: edwardfudge.com/church-leadership.
We begin with Jesus’ instructions concerning servant leadership, over against the world’s model in which strength dominates. We next examine each decision-making event throughout the Book of Acts and observe both the participants who decide and the decision-making process itself, remembering that these decisions often had the Holy Spirit’s endorsement. We note the presence or absence of “elders” throughout the N.T., ask if and how “elders” relate to an office (such as our modern day aldermen — from “elder-men”), and if and how they relate to a spiritual family (where “elders” = seniors), what other leadership models the N.T. offers besides “elders,” and what spiritual leaders in the N.T. actually DO, regardless of what they are CALLED.
The second half of this study concerns women’s service (including leadership) in the New Testament. We look carefully at the two passages thought by many to exclude women from leadeship service. Finally, rather than merely pool our opinions about what is proper, or wrangle about the differences in those opinions, we look at what gifted women actually DID in the churches of the first-century, and work forward from that point. The result is a richer understanding that includes biblical teaching on calling and giftedness, always for God’s glory and his people’s upbuilding.