The Priority Of The New Testament In Developing A Christian Philosophy Of Leadership -- By: Brian H. Wagner

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 16:49 (Dec 2012)
Article: The Priority Of The New Testament In Developing A Christian Philosophy Of Leadership
Author: Brian H. Wagner


The Priority Of The New Testament In Developing A Christian Philosophy Of Leadership

Brian H. Wagner

Brian H. Wagner, M.Div., Th.M., instructor of church history and theology, Virginia Baptist College, Fredericksburg, Virginia; and, Ph.D. student, Piedmont Baptist Graduate School, Winston Salem, North Carolina

A proper biblical philosophy of leadership appropriate for today must have a dispensational perspective. All scripture is profitable. The Old Testament proffers many helpful principles and examples of leadership, but it is the New Testament that only has, along with its own principles and examples, the many divine commands of leadership that should be heeded today.1 Jesus said to His apostles, the cofounders of His church, that they were to teach future Christian disciples “to observe whatever” He gave as commands to them (Matt 28:20).2 The commands of Christ concerning leadership must take priority in any philosophy of biblical leadership for this dispensation of the church. Some of these commands are found within the New Testament Gospels when Christ began training the apostles to be future church leaders. Many more are located in the New Testament Epistles, where Christ—by the Holy Spirit—revealed through the apostles even more instructions for leadership of His church.

In this article the following definition serves as a summation of a biblical philosophy of leadership: Christian leadership is the reproducing of humble servanthood in the lives of others by a leader’s own following of Christ, being connected to the eldership of His local church, and utilizing primarily a ministry of the word and prayer. The definition is decidedly Christian and positive. Granted, the verbal idea “to lead” can have negative nuances (e.g. “She led him around by the nose”), and it even has such in the Bible (e.g. “and [they] led him away to be crucified,” Matt 27:31). Nevertheless, the term leadership is almost universally regarded as a

positive expression, thus, it would be better to preserve or redeem this term’s positive connotations and only to use terms such as coercion, manipulation, deception, force, and oppression when describing negative influences that bring one to fulfill another’s objective (i.e. negative leadership).

Moreover, if truly positive, this term must then be described biblically, for it is only in agreement with God’s special revelation that true discernment of real value can be made for any act...

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