Some of you know that I’m a PhD student in biblical theology (or if you didn’t know, you can just read the little blurb about me in the right-hand sidebar). Some of you also know that I’m studying under David Alan Black. If you don’t know him, check out his blog and search for his name on amazon.com.
He has written books covering many areas of New Testament and Greek studies. And, these are the kinds of books that anyone can pick up and read and instantly use. He has a knack for explaining difficult concepts in a way that anyone can understand.
So, what does this New Testament scholar think about the church? Well, he shared some of his “convictions” yesterday on his blog (Monday, July 9, 2012 at 4:02 p.m.):
- I am convinced that the house church rather than the sanctuary church was the New Testament norm.
- I am convinced of the normalcy of tent making leadership.
- I am convinced that the church exists in part to equip all of its members for ministry.
- I am convinced that the leadership of the church should be shared for the health of the congregation.
- I am convinced that top-down structures of leadership are unquestionably more efficient — efficient in doing almost everything than equipping, which is the primary task of leadership.
- I am convinced that the process of appointing new elders is best done on the basis of recognizing who is already serving as an elder in the church.
- I am convinced that any local church that takes seriously Jesus as the Senior Pastor will not permit one man to become the titular head of the church.
- I am convinced that the essential qualifications for ministry in the church have little or nothing to do with formal education and everything to do with spiritual maturity.
- I am convinced that the church is a multigenerational family, and hence one of the things that makes the church the church is the presence of children, parents, and other adults.
- I am convinced that because every local church has all the spiritual gifts it needs to be complete in Christ, believers should be exposed to the full expression of the charisms (grace-gifts) when they gather, in contrast to specialized ministries that center around singularly gifted people.
- I am convinced that the local church is the scriptural locus for growing to maturity in Christ, and that no other training agency is absolutely needed.
- I am convinced that the local church ought to be the best Bible school going.
- I am convinced that Paul’s letters were not intended to be studied by ordinands in a theological college but were intended to be read and studied in the midst of the noisy life of the church.
- I am convinced that the church is a theocracy directly under its Head (Jesus Christ), and that the will of the Head is not mediated through various levels of church government but comes directly to all His subjects.
- I am convinced that the goal of leadership is not to make people dependent upon its leaders but dependent upon the Head.
- I am convinced that since all believers are “joints” in the body, ministry is every believer’s task.
- I am convinced that pastor-teachers, as precious gifts of Christ to His church, are to tend the flock of God by both personal care and biblical instruction, equipping God’s people for works of service both in the church and in the world.
- I am convinced that the role of pastor-teacher is a settled ministry in a local congregation.
- I am convinced that leaders should communicate that every part of the body is interrelated to the other parts and indispensable; every member will be appreciated, every charism will be treasured.
- I am convinced that the whole church, the community of all the saints together, is the clergy appointed by God for ministry. The fundamental premise upon which I operate is that each believer in the church needs to be equipped for his or her own ministry both in the church and in the world. If the church is to become what God intended it to be, it must become a ministerium of all who have placed their faith in Christ. The whole people of God must be transformed into a ministering people. Nothing short of this will restore the church to its proper role in the kingdom of God.
I truly appreciate Dave sharing his “convictions” with us. I also appreciate that these convictions come out of years of study and life serving others around the world in the name of Jesus Christ. But, more than all that, I appreciate that he continues to work with, to serve, and to co-labor with brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with his convictions.