Reply to the main thread of at least 2 different peers. In your replies, choose 2 of the following tasks to guide your replies: (1) someone to whom you can add a significant contribution to his/her thinking, (2) someone who makes a point which you do not understand, or (3) someone you disagree with on a point and can challenge in a loving/considerate manner.
Reply to Dennis
I am in support of the view that “theology of the cross” is a good foundational starting point for understanding Christian leadership. As discussed by the two Germans theologians Luther and Bonhoeffer who came before us. At this point in time as it relates to Christian leadership discussions, I do not support the view of theology of glory as being the foundation of Christian leadership. The theology of the cross is a good foundational starting point for understanding Christian leadership because, it talks about God’s power being manifested in us even in our weakness. As Christian leaders, when we are weak God works through us. Luther points to our need of Christ’s suffering to relieve our suffering which is a starting point for understanding suffering from the cross of Christ. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
As discussed by Steve Nichols in week one power point presentation on the subject Theological Foundations of Christian leadership, it is important to first attempt to distinguish between a Christian leadership and secular leadership. In a secular leadership setting, the ability to lead others is generally seen by how much power one has and how well she/he successfully exercise that power to get things done. For example, establishing a successful business, serving as a leader of an organization which successfully met its goals in a timely manner. On the other hand, Christian leadership, as indicated by Luther and Bonhoeffer, leadership is Christ center in that a Christian leader should submit himself to the will of Christ by allowing himself to be used just like Christ wants him to be used. The main point about Christian leadership is not about power or self-gratification. It is not all about controlling others or by telling your congregation to just follow your vision, but it is about recognizing our weakness as leaders and putting God in control because it is all about Him.
In short, the biblical foundation of Christian leadership should focus on the humiliation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and allowing Christ to oversee us as we lead our congregations and fellowship with one another. A clear Christian leadership was demonstrated by Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s willingness to return to Germany, to face Hitler and the cruel Nazi regime when he had the opportunity to have remained in the free world where he had the chance to tour the country and be respected. But even in the face of danger of death by Hitler’ forces, Bonhoeffer chose to return to Germany and suffered for the cross, so the Jesus’s name might be glorified.
Nichols, S., J. (2013). Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life: From the Cross, For the World.
Crossway, Wheaton, IL 6018
Reply to Karen
Central to Christian faith is the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus. His ministry while on Earth, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday transformed the world from a dispensation of law to the dispensation of grace. In this context, the theology of the crossis the essential starting point for Christian leadership.
As we have learned from Luther, the distractions of this world lead us away from God’s plan and purpose. By focusing on the cross, we are able to glorify God through His grace! “In other words, we are right with God through what Christ does and not what we do.”Luther’s deep study of the Word lead to a life altering revelation of the paradox of God. Understanding that God cannot be explained through the finite mind of people, nor can He be limited by the finite understanding of people, the theology of the cross, allows for believing in the Spirit of a limitless God. The implications Christian leaders is to rely on a greater understanding than our limited experiences. Fully relying on wisdom and truth, seeking God’s guidance in decision making, and keeping a clear focus on the vision and mission is the role of the leader.
People can only lead when they are in relationship with people who can follow. Bonhoeffer described ways in which God created us for relationship – not only with Him, but with each other. He did not create us to walk in faith independently. “Let me phrase it as follows: For Dietrich Bonhoeffer,the key to Christian community is learning to let Christ be the mediator of our relationships.”
The biblical foundation of Christian leadership is found through God’s commands for people. He is a God of order, of relationships, and of correction. He is a God of truth, righteousness, and complete reliance on Him. When we focus on His will and way, we see how to lead others. Looking at the examples of Jesus on his disciples, we see the heart of a teacher and servant leader. Jesus gave his life as the ultimate sacrifice. Leaders are called to serve; lay down their own lives for the mission. By focusing on the theology of the cross, it is not about being a respecter of individual persons, but fulfilling our God-given plans.
Shaw, Mark. 10 Great Ideas from Church History: A Decision-Maker’s Guide to Shaping Your Church.Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997.
Mark Shaw, 10 Great Ideas from Church History: A Decision-Maker’s Guide to Shaping Your Church, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press), 22.
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