Page 10 - May 2023 - Truth & Tidings
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that recognition and respect be given to   ing to the church in multitudinous ways
        the plurality of brothers who lead them   and a further example of God’s loving
        (1Th 5:12-13). Peter exhorts the elders   wisdom to us.  Stemming from a plurality
        (plural) who were among his readers (1Pe   of leadership, the church receives a better
        5:1). Obviously, a young church may not   variety of teaching, which is necessary in
        immediately have elders, and one indi-  view of the diverse needs of the body. The
        vidual (e.g., a missionary who plants a   work of leading the flock is simply too
        church) may occupy that role on his own   big for one person anyhow. Sharing that
        at times. But God’s intention, according   burden better serves the flock – different
        to Scripture, is for multiple brothers to   leaders’ personalities and experience mesh
        ultimately take on that work as a shared   better with those of different believers –
        responsibility.                       and helps mitigate burnout among the
          In any given Christian assembly, one   leadership (cf. Gal 6:2).
        overseer may possess more godly wisdom   Another preserving blessing in plural-
        than his brothers. He may have more ex-  ity, to both the church and the leadership
        perience and greater biblical understand-  itself, is that the elders are accountable to
        ing. Not only should this be respected, but   one another. They shepherd, challenge
        others would be foolish to ignore it. But   and balance one another, preserving the
        no brother is at liberty to habitually throw   church from adopting an unnecessar-
        his weight around in the decision-making   ily extreme position. And where there is
        process. God’s model for a New Testament   freedom for frank discussion within the
        church doesn’t include the position of a   group, without grudges and judgmental
        Senior Pastor who automatically has more   attitudes, the church is bound to reap the
        authority because of his title. But please   benefits of a more informed decision-mak-
        note: some brothers who reject that title   ing ability (Pro 11:14). When a problem
        are nonetheless guilty of the same egre-  with a difficult believer arises, confronting
        gious error. Not by title but perhaps by   it as a group can help to diffuse a “me vs.
        force of personality, they think they can   him” situation; there may be more liberty
        always get their way on important deci-  to reason with the believer from varying
        sions, and that their way is always better.   angles. When one man – even a good
        “Such wisdom does not come down from   man – is allowed to run the church his
        above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic”   way, there is a greater risk of the church
        (Jas 3:15).                           becoming a cult of personality drawn to
                                              that leader instead of to Christ (cf. 1Co
        The Practical Wisdom of               3:4,21-23).
        Plurality                               To brothers who are good leaders –
          The wisdom that is from above is meek,   maybe better leaders than those with you
        has ears to hear the perspective of oth-  – continue being a good leader by ensuring
        ers, and recognizes that, even if you are   you share the work with others.
        always right (which you’re not), running   ³ Some of the points that follow are helpfully
        roughshod over your brothers will be to   articulated by Dave Harvey in The Plurality
        the long-term detriment of the church (cf.   Principle (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2021).
                                              Although it still reflects, in my opinion,
        Gal 5:15). Leadership that is truly shared,   common traps of evangelical ecclesiology, the
        in practice and not only in name, is a bless-  book is helpful on its main theme.

        138 TRUTH kTidings   May  2023
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