first among equals?

In a comment in an earlier thread, Dan offers these observations and questions:

My question has to do with the definitions (as are popularly understood or employed) of authority, leadership, and decision-making. You stated in your example that “someone who is an expert has more authority in the area he has gained expertise.” Then you state that the theologian presumably has more knowledge and that should “carry weight,” but you backed off from authority. The congregation, you say, should make the decisions. But certain people have “spiritual leadership.” I’m probably pretty much on board with your ideas, but I think a little more definitive explanation should accompany words like authority, leadership, and decision-making if we are using them to distinguish activity or degree of control. Okay, I guess I have not yet formed a question. My question is how do you definitively distinguish between authority and leadership in the above areas. More precisely, what does it mean for a pastor, for example, to have responsibility of spiritual leadership, but not of a decision-making form? (especially in view of some verses that mention obeying your leaders.) Expound, if you will.

As I said in my initial response, this is an excellent question. It gets at the heart of church life and government.

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Canada Day

Today we had an inter-church picnic. Besides our church, there are two other independent Baptist churches in our city. They are both small mission works like us. Another church from an hour and a bit north of us also joined us. I didn’t count, but we had well over 50 people, maybe into the 60s.

To my state-side friends that might not seem like much. To us it seems a great blessing to be able to gather together, to fellowship, to hear the Word, to play games, to sing our anthem, to know that the gospel message that calls men OUT from the world and all the taints of worldliness is not something we hold to quiet and alone in our little, struggling churches, wondering if we are the only ones. No, it is the great God and Saviour of our souls that unites us, our Lord Jesus Christ. It is his church and we are grateful to be a part of it.


a Mohler interview worth reading

Hugh Hewitt is a talk-show host who I can’t get on my radio anymore. His show used to be available by a distant and scratchy signal from Seattle, but the station changed formats on him and he is no longer carried in the Seattle market (as far as I know). I keep up with his thinking by regular visits to his blog.

The other day, he interviewed Al Mohler on the subject of the changing views of young evangelical types. I think the whole transcript is worth reading, but a few highlights follow:

HH: As you talk with two distinct cohorts, the leadership elites in the Evangelical, with whom you are in daily contact, and your students, what are the reactions in those two groups to the events of November?

AM: Well, I’ll tell you, the older Evangelical leadership is in danger right now of looking really old, and old not just in chronological terms, but more or less, kind of acting as if the game hasn’t changed, as if we’re not looking at a brand new cultural challenge, and a new political reality. And so I would say that the younger Evangelicals that I look at every single day, and they are so deeply committed, so convictional, they’re basically wondering if a lot of the older Evangelical leaders are really looking to the future, or are really just kind of living in the 80s while the 80s are long gone. So I think there’s a crucial credibility issue there.

Hmmm… sound familiar?

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fastest growing ‘church’

Several news outlets have picked up on a document published by the liberal National Council of Churches, the 2008 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches.

If you haven’t seen the reports, which church do you think increased the most in 2006 according to self-reported statistics?

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more on the anglicans in Canada

While encouraged by the decisions of some Anglicans’ willingness to separate themselves from direct association with their compromised Canadian diocese, still their efforts likely don’t yet take them far enough. In an article in today’s Globe & Mail, more news about other congregations considering a split is offered. But there is this:

Conservative Anglicans want to separate without cutting their ties with the majority of the Anglican Church that share their traditional views, Bishop Donald Harvey, moderator of the recently formed Anglican Network in Canada, said yesterday in an interview from Newfoundland.

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anglican turmoil – deeper than same-sex?

The largest Anglican congregation in Canada, St. John’s, in the exclusive Shaughnessy district of Vancouver, BC, voted last Wednesday to break ties with its diocese and to join with a ‘competing’ diocese, that of the Southern Cone, basically a South American parallel to the Canadian branch of the church. [I don’t pretend to understand how dioceses work or how they are organized.] This decision is full of risk for the congregation as it looks like the liberal Canadian diocese will mount a fight for the buildings and property of the congregation.

As a fundamentalist, I certainly applaud any resistance to the anti-orthodox establishment of mainline churches. The issue precipitating the split is the same-sex marriage debate, but it appears that more is at stake.

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speaking of outrage

Here is an interesting post critiquing Christianity Today’s reporting of the recent ‘dis-invitation’ of an emerging church speaker at Cedarville.

The critique comes from a blog called “From the Lighthouse“. From the Lighthouse is the blog of Lighthouse Trails Publishing. The publishing company appears to be the work primarily of a couple named Dave and Deborah Dombroski. I don’t know a lot more about these individuals than appears on their web site, but their articles seem credible and dispassionate.

Does anyone know more about this organization?


Christians the cause of religious decline

In an article today in the National Post, a university professor lays the blame for religious decline squarely at the feet of Christians:

He said most people assume religious ignorance came about from the secularization of U.S. schools, particularly after the U.S. Supreme Court banned devotional Bible readings and prayer in the 1960s.

But he believes the problem can be traced back 100 years ago to changes in Christianity itself.

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