How we relate to leaders

We’ve taken time in recent posts to show that leadership is not about hierarchy, inner circles, power or control. Leaders are not to Lord it over the church, nor to rely on their position or charisma to push things through. Church leadership should not be authoritarian.  Leaders and teachers are gifts to the church and so we should focus on being gifts rather than on status and titles (cf Ephesians 4:11). Continue reading

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Complementarianism – a family perspectice

For most of my adult life, one of the most potentially contentious conversations in church life has been the question of men and women in church leadership.  Women have been allowed to preach in the Methodist Church and some other denominations for a long time, they have also served as ministers/pastors in those contexts.  However, it was only in the 1990s that the Church of England allowed women to be ordained into the clergy and very recently indeed that the bar was lifted on women bishops.

Generally speaking the view within independent evangelicalism has remained that eldership and public teaching roles should be restricted to men, though some churches have started to include female elders.  A lot more churches would include female deacons but there are still some who see this role as male only. Continue reading

A gift to the church – more on church leaders

Last Sunday I preached about the role of leaders in the church and I focused on Ephesians 4:11 which says:

“ Now, these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.”

We saw that Continue reading

Leaders

When I first came to Bearwood Chapel, one of the things I said at the start was that I cannot guarantee that I will get everything right.  I am human and fallible, I will make mistakes. So, the promise I made was that when I get things wrong I will be the first to hold my hand up.

I’m reflecting on that for two reasons as we talk about leaders in the church. First of all, I have always felt that an important requirement of leadership is that leaders should be teachable. We must not put them on a pedestal and infallible. Continue reading

Male and Female He created them

“Why are all the elders in your church male?” This is a question that you will get if you are complementarian.  I have written on what I believe the Bible teaches on male and female relationships in the home and in the church in two e-books available from our publications page: Continue reading

Do I have to choose? Both and v either or

You have got two – or even three – different urgent priorities. All are important, all are worth doing. Which do you choose?

Common wisdom says you have to prioritise. However,  there is a good argument for doing all of them. Why do I say that?  Continue reading

Paul’s “Women Problem” and #churchtoo (part 1)

“What do we do with 1 Timothy 2:15? How does it fit with Paul’s theology?” asked one of our Union Learning Community students?

This is the verse that goes:

15 But women will be saved through childbearing,[a] assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty

It’s the kind of verse that preachers hope someone else on the teaching team will get.  It’s not just something for theological students to puzzle over before sitting their exams. You will have read my recent post that picked up on the #churchtoo hashtag and one of the arguments being made is that the cover for sexual harassment and abuse in the church is provided by our theology. Therefore, the answer is to change our theology and to stop interpreting the Bible, especially verses like this so literally. Continue reading