A Guide to Christian Theology - Lesson 46
Importance of Church Leadership
From this lesson, you will gain insights into the principles of church leadership and polity. It explains the roles of elders and deacons, with elders primarily responsible for guiding church teaching and deacons serving as ministry team leaders. The lesson highlights the importance of active membership, mutual commitment, and participation in the church's ministry and mission. It encourages believers to use their gifts for ministry and emphasizes the need for clear church processes and bylaws to establish trust and commitment within the church community. Overall, this lesson provides a comprehensive understanding of church leadership and governance.
Importance of Church Leadership
I. Role of Permanent Officers in the Church
A. Elders as Guardians of Teaching
B. Deacons as Service Officers
II. Deacons as Ministry Team Leaders
A. Origin of the Office of Deacon in Acts 6
B. Responsibilities of Deacon Team Leaders
III. Organizational Structure of the Church
A. Single Board for Church Guidance
B. Hierarchy of Church Leadership
IV. The Role of Congregation and Membership
A. High View of Congregation
B. Importance of Church Membership
1. Historical Perspective on Membership
2. Mutual Commitment of Members
V. Involvement and Ministry within the Church
A. Emphasis on Active Participation
B. Every Believer's Ministry Based on Gifting
VI. Submission to Church Leadership
A. Responsible Submission to Church Leaders
VII. Principles of Polity and Bylaws
A. The Need for Defined Processes
1. Roles of Women in Leadership
2. Importance of Clear Processes
VIII. Role of Bylaws in Church Functionality
A. Bylaws and Church Functionality
B. Establishing a Community of Trust
IX. Commitment to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ
- In this lesson, explore the significance of systematic theology, blending academic insight with personal devotion. Learn to interpret biblical texts, understand how theology shapes beliefs, and fortify your faith against deception. This study fosters personal, biblical, and responsible theological growth, vital for spiritual development and discipleship.
- Learn diverse ways to tackle theological questions, focusing on Holy Spirit baptism. Understand deductive, inductive, and retro-abductive methods. Acts 17:11 and Acts 15 show how community perspectives contribute to nuanced theological discussions, promoting unity amidst differing viewpoints.
- This lesson provides insights into theological certainty levels, categorizing beliefs into "die for," "divide for," "debate for," and "decide for," highlighting essential doctrines, divisive issues, passionate debates, and less crucial matters, while underscoring the significance of understanding diverse perspectives and theological terms across different Christian tribes.
- Explore general revelation through creation and conscience (Psalm 19, Romans 1). Responding leads to God, though not salvation alone. Special revelation possible. Diverse salvation views, favoring knowing Jesus. Seared consciences don't always void salvation.
- Gain deep understanding of special revelation: history, divine acts, and communication revealing God's character and redemptive plan via Messiah. Lesson highlights Bible's key role, conveying God's nature, guidance, and transformative power, emphasizing ongoing divine-human communication.
- This lesson delves into the concept of divine inspiration in Scripture, citing 2 Timothy 3:15-16 and 2 Peter 1:16-21. It explains "God-breathed" as a term highlighting God's creative influence on words, rejecting mere concepts or dictation. Inspiration involves human authors, their personalities, and styles, conveying God's message to the entire church.
- In this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of God, including their definitions, biblical support, and implications and applications.
- In this lesson you will gain insight into the Bible's clarity, sufficiency, and authority, and the Canon.
- In this lesson, you'll grasp a deep understanding of God's character. His foremost quality is compassion, like a mother's love. He's gracious, patient, loving, faithful, and forgiving, extending favor even to the undeserving. Yet, He's just, not sparing the persistently rebellious. This lesson dispels misconceptions, urging contemplation of God's profound blend of love and justice.
- This lesson delves into holiness via Isaiah 6, emphasizing dedication over separation from sin. It challenges misconceptions and calls for church reform.
- This lesson delves into the fundamental characteristics of God, particularly the Trinity, emphasizing God's essential relational nature within Himself and its biblical implications, while also addressing theological controversies and highlighting the complexity of the Trinity.
- This lesson explores different approaches to knowing God, inspired by Thomas Aquinas, discusses the doctrine of immutability, and highlights how God can change in his attitude and actions based on biblical evidence, emphasizing the value of in-depth Bible study and open dialogue in understanding God's nature.
- This lesson covers key theological concepts: sovereignty, election, and free will. It explores differences between Calvinist and Wesleyan-Arminian views on God's sovereignty, impacting God's plan and human responsibility. Emphasis on defining terms to prevent disputes. Speaker is a "Calminian," blending Calvinism and Arminianism for a balanced perspective. Valuable insights into theological complexities and scripture interpretation.
- Exploring various theological views and problematic issues surrounding the concept of providence, we will gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of prayer in providence, as well as the compatibility of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.
- You will gain knowledge about anthropology and its biblical foundations, creation of human beings and the image of God in humans, fall and sin and their implications on human nature, redemption and sanctification, and human destiny and eschatology, including views on heaven and hell and the return of Christ.
- This lesson offers valuable insights into the multifaceted nature of providence and its profound implications for our comprehension of God's role in the world.
- The lesson touches upon various types of suffering, categorizing them into six different types: moral evil (e.g., rape), natural evil (e.g., cancer), persecution, sharing the suffering of another, punishment for sin, and suffering caused by the devil.
- Learn to discern God's will by cultivating a Christ-like character, living by moral principles, seeking counsel, embracing uniqueness, and praying. It's about aligning with your long-term happiness and godly desires, offering a balanced approach to life decisions.
- Explore Jesus' nature and incarnation. Learn how He balanced divine and human attributes, challenging traditional views. Reflect on His mission and ours, empowered by the Holy Spirit, bridging divinity and humanity.
- This lesson delves into the incarnation of Jesus, explaining his dual nature as both God and man during his earthly mission, supported by Old Testament, Gospel, and epistle references. It acknowledges the complexity of his divinity and humanity, even after his ascension.
- This lesson explores Jesus' dual nature, divine and human, delving into emotions, knowledge, sin, and his role as the Second Adam, offering theological insights.
- Learn about Jesus' life and mission, challenging traditional beliefs like the virgin birth. Explore his spiritual journey, resurrection, and more, fostering critical thinking and alternative perspectives.
- This lesson provides a comprehensive examination of atonement, its various dimensions, and the theological concepts surrounding it.
- Learn about the Holy Spirit, baptism, and its role in Christian faith. Understand diverse perspectives on its workings in believers' lives, emphasizing its incorporation at conversion and empowering influence, supported by biblical insights.
- Gain insight into the relationship between spirit baptism and conversion, the various terms used in Scripture, and the importance of ongoing fillings with the Holy Spirit for special ministry tasks, character, and as a command for all believers.
- This lesson explores the role of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. It challenges traditional definitions, proposing that any ability empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in ministry is a spiritual gift. The primary gift is the Holy Spirit himself.
- Learn about the theological debate on spiritual gifts like prophecy and miracles. Explore four perspectives: cessationism, continuationism, functional cessationism, and word of faith. The instructor, a continuationist, emphasizes discernment and scripture while promoting respectful dialogue among believers with differing views.
- This lesson explores the Bible's view of humanity, emphasizing humans as God's unique creation, made from dust and breath, in His image. It delves into human origins, our role as covenant partners, and the interaction between spirit and body, supported by biblical passages, offering a holistic perspective on being human in God's eyes.
- This lesson redefines humans as image-bearers of God, emphasizing the role of reflecting divine attributes in all work, gender equality, and growth in Christ-likeness. It promotes dignity for all, with potential for deeper reflection as faith matures.
- In this lesson you will explore the origin of sin, rejecting dualism in favor of a Christian perspective where sin arises from the choices of morally responsible creatures. The lesson introduces the idea of a pre-creation rebellion by Satan, emphasizing that humans are called to engage in spiritual warfare by doing good and promoting Shalom in the world.
- You will gain knowledge and insight into the nature, marks, purpose, structure, and sacraments of the Church and learn about the different views and definitions used to define it.
- This lecture discusses the leadership offices of a church, including eldership, deacons, and church members, and how they function according to biblical principles of polity, which prioritize following what the Bible prescribes, closely following what it describes, and using wisdom and being Spirit-led in matters it is silent about, all with the aim of effectively sharing the Gospel and achieving unity and focus.
- In this lesson, you will explore baptism's significance, modes, and theological perspectives, and learn its role in church membership, unity, discipleship, and spiritual growth.
- This lesson provides an overview of the historical, biblical, and theological aspects of Communion, including practical considerations for its practice.
- You will gain a good understanding of death and its theological implications, including the biblical view of death, consequences of death, and resurrection and the afterlife. The lesson covers the definition of death, cultural views, and the portrayal of death in the Old and New Testaments. You will also learn about the physical and spiritual consequences of death, as well as the Bible's teachings on resurrection and the afterlife.
- From this lesson, you gain insight into the biblical concept of God's Kingdom, its significance in Christian theology, and its impact on eschatology, social justice, and the Church's role.
- In this lesson, you gain insight into eschatology, examine biblical perspectives, explore key events like the Rapture, Tribulation, Millennium, and Final Judgment, and learn the significance of eschatology for today's believers.
- By studying the eternal state, you gain insights into the new heaven and earth, resurrection, judgment, and eternal life, deepening your understanding of Christian hope and assurance.
- Through this lesson, you gain insight into the crucial role of church leaders, their essential qualities, and the challenges they face, while discovering the importance of support and encouragement for their growth and effectiveness in ministry.
- In this lesson, you gain an understanding of the nature of Scripture and learn to interpret the Bible within its historical, literary, and canonical contexts while addressing challenges in biblical interpretation.
- This lesson delves into the structure and authority of a church, examining different leadership models and emphasizing the overarching role of scripture as the final authority, while also highlighting the need for congregational involvement in decision-making processes and the unique nature of the apostles in early church leadership.
- Learn Dr. Breshears' local church leadership principles: focus on equipping, inspiring, empowering, unifying, exemplifying, caring for, overseeing, and shepherding members. Rooted in biblical teachings, emphasizes servant leadership. The lesson discusses congregational decision-making, women in church leadership roles with respect for differing views.
- Learn about church leadership principles, roles of elders and deacons, active membership, mutual commitment, gift utilization, and clear processes in this comprehensive lesson.
- This lesson explores sacraments, focusing on baptism and diverse theological views. Baptism signifies a profound commitment to Christ within a believer community, emphasizing understanding and promptness post-conversion.
- In this lesson, you'll grasp the essence of baptism, its questions, and debates. Discover belief's role, its confession, and the link to repentance and faith. Explore diverse views on baptism performers, methods, and locations. Gain insights and wisdom for informed baptism decisions in your faith community.
- From this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of Communion, also known as the Lord's Supper or Eucharist. It will provide you with insights into the controversy surrounding its terminology and the theological background of Communion, primarily focusing on 1 Corinthians Chapters 10 and 11. You will learn about various theological perspectives on the real presence of Christ in the Communion elements and explore different viewpoints on the frequency, leadership, eligibility, and practical aspects of Communion. Overall, this lesson will equip you with the knowledge to better understand and participate in the Communion meal.
- This lesson delves into two ends: individual death and the end of the age. It explores human death, material and immaterial aspects (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Genesis 3), fear, loss of autonomy, cremation, death determination, rewards, and urges preparation to meet Jesus, facing the undeniable reality of death.
- Learn about the Kingdom of God, its aspects, Christ's return interpretations, and key concepts like inaugurated, Messianic, and millennium kingdoms. Emphasizing humility and mission in theological debates, it prepares you for insightful discussions on Christ's return and tribulation.
- Learn about Christian views on heaven and hell. Hell is punishment for those who reject Jesus; heaven is eternal bliss with Him on a renewed Earth. Explore differing views respectfully.
Understand the core topics of systematic theology, from what we know about God to the future state of humankind. Special emphasis is given to such topics as Christ, salvation, the church, and the future.
A Guide to Christian Theology
Dr. Gerry Breshears
Importance of Church Leadership
Okay, Gary's principal for local church leadership. Authorities of the congregation as a whole, just filling some blanks. There are certain officers in the church that is a role that is bigger than an individual. Those permanent officers are elders and Deacons, there's a fill in. And elders, no matter what you call them, this is the group of people that guide and guard the teaching of the church, are married men. Responsible Deacons, which is more of a service office is men and women. I think both those of those. In our church, what we call Deacons, I think they're ministry team leaders. I think that's the best way to do it.
So in Acts chapter six, which is often seen to be the beginning of the office of Deacon, they're responsible for food distribution. It's a team, and the Deacon is a team leader for that team. And that's an official thing. So we have a student ministry team, we have a worship team, we have a preaching team. We have quite a few different teams in our church. And we'd have a Deacon, though to use that title would be somebody who is the team leader, that responsibly administer specific service or ministry, assisting elders, free them for the work that they do per Acts chapter six.
So Deacons are ministry team leaders. I'm very much in favor of a single Board to guide and guard the role of the church as a whole. I do believe there are offices. I think that they're at the top level of the church. You have elders, but you also have evangelists. You also have prophets to the top of the church. And I don't think a prophet is under the elders because I think prophets can bring scriptural teaching to the elders. So I seem to be more parallel. I'm less hierarchical in my structure of the church than a lot of people.
And then underneath that, we have the congregation and I have a high view of the congregation in my view. And I think membership, again, that's another blank, membership. That's what I see in Acts 2:42, they devoted themselves to the teaching of the elders and the life of the church. And we're in a very low commitment culture here, at least in my part of the world. And I was a part of the movement that three or four decades ago said, "Membership is a bad thing." And so we dropped a lot of church membership and I think we made a mistake at that point because what membership meant at that point is you get the right hand of fellowship and offering envelopes. And membership means you commit to regular giving to the church and you go through a class or something like that, and it really became meaningless. I think membership is a mutual commitment, people to the life of the church. And then the church gives primary commitment to the members to equip and care for those people.
So we give more commitment to equipping and care for members of the church than we do for regular attenders. And we give more to regular attenders than we do for community around us. So I think membership is a mutual public commitment to participation in the community ministry and mission investing, passion, service, resources, relationships for kingdom community. I think everybody should be a member of a church. And this isn't signing a covenant. I think signing a covenant is a fine thing to do, and I don't think it's a matter of making a commitment to give to the church. So again, I think that's a fine thing to do. Membership is a devotion to the ministry and life of that church where there's a priority given to that.
So I've invested a good part of my life in the community of the church as a whole. And when I see the church is being reduced to a Sunday morning meeting that I go to three times out of eight or something like that, we're not living at a church anymore. I think we need to bring membership back up to a higher level. And not just coming to a Sunday morning, but being involved in service and volunteering in the church and the ministry of the church inside the building and out.
I think every minister, every believer has a ministry growing from his or her gifting. And there is a responsibility honored to submit to the leaders. Not a silent, "Sure, whatever you say," but deferring in judgment to the leaders above us.
So those are my principles of polity. And again, all of these could be expanded at great length, but these are places. If you disagree with me, probably frankly I won't know about it. But if you want to send me an email and disagree publicly, I'm very open to that. I enjoy conversations about things. And if we disagree, okay, we're going to be great friends and disagree about these things and probably both profit from the disagreement.
But where you agree with me or not, these are kinds of questions that you have to decide for your local church. For example, elders. Either you have women elders or you don't. "Well, we're going to stand in the middle." You can't. You have women elders, or you don't. And as far as the roles of leadership and how things are done, you need to have a defined process or you've got anarchy. And anarchy, "Oh, just be organic." No, that means some powerful voice runs everything. Try to think these things through in such a way that serves the kingdom of God. So principle of polity bylaws will give you processes to deal with things. They will not save you from disaster. But good bylaws with good people will really help the church function clearly and well, and establish a community of trust, which is what this is all about. And commitment to the kingdom of Jesus Christ.