Plural eldership – principle or practice

At our Union Learning Community today we ended up talking about how we approach the question of plral leadership. We spent a little bit of time talking about approaches that emphasise a single leader within the hierarchy. What We actually tried to do here was be fully empathetic with the view and understand the arguments for it ( I may try and include a post on this sometime). This was stretching. However, I think that our group remained convinced at the end that leadership in general and leadership in particular should be plural.  Continue reading


Sabbath Rest

Coming up we have an article on  Creation, work and rest. In it I mention a couple of differing views on the Sabbath day. It is worth noting that we have to take a step a little further back when thinking about how to apply this. Here are some questions to think through that different Christians take different views on. Continue reading

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

Complementarianism – a family perspective

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


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

What does it mean to “touch the Lord’s anointed”?

In 2 Samuel 1:14, David asks the Amalekite messenger:

                         “Why were you not afraid to kill the Lord’s anointed one?”

The phrasing is familiar because in 1 Samuel when David and his followers have the opportunity to kill Saul themselves, David tells Abishai:

“Don’t kill him. For who can remain innocent after attacking the Lord’s anointed one?”

Here, the phrase “the anointed one” is seen to refer to the chosen king over Israel although Psalm 105 refers plurally to the whole of Israel as the Lord’s anointed ones and so under his protection. 

Is there a relevant application of the command not to touch, attack, kill or destroy the Lord’s anointed one for today’s church?  On Sunday, we primarily focused on a “How much more” application. If David could say this of a flawed man like Saul, then how much more should our concern be for Christ’s honour as the perfect and eternal King? Continue reading