Biblical Leadership Theme Reports
We can do it today.
LEAD 510 Biblical Leadership Theme Report Rubric
The student will submit two (2) 5-page reports pertaining to the major leadership themes stemming from the Forrest/Roden textbook reading assignments. Each paper must contain a title page, 1-page introduction, 3-page summary analyses of major leadership themes, and a 1-page conclusion and bibliography/reference page. The report must be in the style format pertaining to the student’s degree program
After reading through the 19 chapters of the O.T. and the 14 chapters dedicated to the N.T. provide a concise summary of 3 major themes per testament. Summarize each theme but more importantly provide an analysis identifying the reasons why each theme is especially important to you or to our generation in regards to practicing Godly leadership no matter the context of one’s vocation or location.
LIBERTYUNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF DIVINITY
Biblical Leadership Themes of the Old Testament
Submitted to Dr. Nemitz in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the completion of the course
LEAD 510-B01 LUO
Biblical Foundations of Christian Leadership
Frank V. Acevedo
February 25, 2018
Contrary to the pagan view of the world’s social institutions, the concept of leadership is not the product of rational fallen men. Leadership is the outworking of the authority structure inherent within the very nature of the Christian God. It is because of man’s ontological standing before God in covenant that he is obligated as the creature, in all things through obedience, specifically obedience to God’s commandments.[footnoteRef:1] The covenant made on Mount Sinai temporally expressed this covenantal obligation towards God. God spoke saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exod 20:2, ESV).[footnoteRef:2] This covenant made between Israel and God contained a relational pattern that the Hebrews would have understood in that one of the covenanting members having demonstrated loyalty and trustworthiness by rescuing or coming to the aid of a weaker member would, in turn, become the benefactor of said weaker member.[footnoteRef:3] Therefore, to understand leadership in its proper context, God’s sovereign lordship over all creation must be presupposed in all aspects of Christian Theism. Leadership being a communicable attribute of God, therefore, must be defined by and subsequently regulated by the word of God. [1: K. Scott Oliphint, Covenantal Apologetics: Principles and Practice in Defense of Our Faith (Wheaton: Crossway, 2013), 50.] [2: Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016).] [3: Douglas K. Stuart, Exodus, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2006), 44
God’s Sovereign Leadership
The fact that God is sovereign over all of his creation is no small thing. In fact, if the believer rejects this metaphysical starting point, they will, in turn, develop leadership attributes, characteristics, and styles based on humanistic philosophies of reality, knowledge, and ethics. This pattern of non-Christian thought began in the Garden of Eden at the fall of Adam, and has since passed on to all men (Gen 5:1-5).[footnoteRef:4] At this point, a distinction between God’s sovereign will and man’s duties and responsibilities within God’s providence needs to be clarified. The scriptures teach that “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut 29:29). God’s sovereign will as it pertains to leadership includes actions that may seem contrary to Christian ethics even to the raising up of pagan rulers. According to Pettus, [4: Gary DeMar, ed., Pushing the Antithesis: The Apologetic Methodology of Greg L. Bahnsen (Powder Springs: American Vision, 2007), 97–101.]
leaders are appointed by God for his purposes (2 Sam. 7:7, tsaba). These include pagan rulers and the kings of Israel, as well as other administrative and spiritual leadership of the chosen nation. He sets up and puts down kings, judges, princes, and nations (Job12:17, 19, malak; Nah. 1:14, tsaba).[footnoteRef:5] [5: David Pettus, “A Concept Study: Leadership in Old Testament Hebrew,” in Biblical Leadership: Theology for The Everyday Leader, ed. Benjamin Forrest and Chet Roden (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2017), 31.]
Having this understanding, the believer is not to operate as though God’s sovereign will, is what establishes approved examples from which they are to emulate in their decision-making process. Again, it is the law of God that regulates the Christian’s duties. Therefore, while God raises and deposes rulers and leaders, the believer is to follow the instructions and pattern given in the scriptures for establishing those who would seek to rule over them. One such pattern comes from Jethro and Moses.
In the example of Jethro and Moses, there is the beginning of the constituting of the Hebrew Republic. After being released from their four-hundred-year enslavement under the Egyptians, the Hebrew people are finally free. What was once a small family unit gathered under the authority of the patriarchs, is now a nation headed for the land that God had promised to give them. At this point, God had not formally given them his law. However, the troubles and injuries that are inherent within a civil populace were still there and it was to the leadership of Moses that everyone turned.[footnoteRef:6] [6: Jennifer E. Noonan et al., “Jethro, Moses, and Humility: Leadership in the Pentateuch,” in Biblical Leadership: Theology for The Everyday Leader, ed. Benjamin Forrest and Chet Roden (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2017), 75-76.]
The example of Moses and Jethro, reveals a problem that plagues both young and old leaders alike that being the matter of a leader trying to do everything on their own. Moses who had been the Israelite leader from the beginning had to overcome deficiencies in his reputation among the Israelites. He also had a continual struggle with demonstrating patience towards the people of God, even having to overcome his reluctance to lead them in the first place. Nevertheless, there he was sitting as a judge over them. Moses before the full establishment of civil authority within the Hebrew community wore the hats of prophet, priest, and king. Not surprisingly, Moses took on too much and was in danger of compromising his mission and losing control and the confidence of those he was leading. Any leader no matter how experienced they are can succumb to burnout if they do not learn to share the workload.[footnoteRef:7] Jethro demonstrates how God often utilizes resources for his people from the least expected people and places.[footnoteRef:8] In this case, God uses him to establish God’s prescription for civil authority that of a decentralized form of the judiciary.[footnoteRef:9] A leader who is prideful or set on gaining notoriety at the expense of others will end up hurting their subordinates and their superiors alike. The subordinate is to be discipled by their leader. They are to be given everything that they need to succeed in their task whether it is material support, correction, or to be tested and challenged. They must be allowed to do the task that they have been hired to do. Wragg states it this way, “At every level of the Christian life there is the potential to influence others for their good or to their detriment. Leaders bear a profound burden, knowing that people have pledged their loyalty and often will follow blindly.”[footnoteRef:10] Moses demonstrates the proper attitude that a leader should have when receiving constructive criticism and feedback, that of humility. Moses understood that Jethro was right. This comes from understand the first leadership theme that God is sovereign. Moses spoke with God regularly and he knew that God had not only given him this enormous responsibility but he also promised him that he would be with him throughout the mission. He did not shrug the advice of someone who was outside of the covenant community and instead he knew from God’s revelation that Jethro’s counsel was sound and in accordance with the God’s character. [7: Ibid., 79.] [8: Ibid., 78.] [9: Enoch Cobb Wines, Commentaries on the Laws of the Ancient Hebrews: With an Introductory Essay on Civil Society and Government (Philadelphia: W.S.& A. Martien, 1859), 526.] [10: Jerry Wragg, Exemplary Spiritual Leadership: Facing the Challenges, Escaping the Dangers, Ministry Mission (Leominster: Day One, 2010), 14.]
Christian leaders are not in the place of God and they should seek the help needed when the task becomes bigger than they can and should handle. However, there is another hazard that comes with delegating authority, that is that a leader must never delegate responsibility, a faithful leader understands that the Glory belongs to God but the mantle of responsibility lies at their feet. The was another Old Testament leader who understood the errors of his people, took responsibility, and sought to correct them through a collective effort. His name was Nehemiah.
Nehemiah was a captive Hebrew in exile as part of the remnant leftover from the Babylonian conquest of Judah. The calling of both Ezra and Nehemiah complement one another and demonstrate the symbiotic nature and sphere sovereignty of God’s ordained social institutions. Ezra as a priest had the mission of ensuring that the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of God’s people was established and conforming to the Law of God. Nehemiah as governor representing the civil sphere had the mission of rebuilding the walls around the city, which provided security so that the people of God would be unhindered to worship their God freely.[footnoteRef:11] Nehemiah’s example demonstrates essential characteristics that a model leader should endeavor to emulate, that of preparedness, prayerfulness, proper motivation, visionary, action-oriented, able to work as a team, compassionate, and able to work within adversity.[footnoteRef:12] Nehemiah was a man who was responsible and prepared despite his difficult circumstances. He sought God’s face understanding that God’s promises were reliable and he saw that the time was near for the Israelites to return to Jerusalem. He had a right view of authority when he sought permission to go to Jerusalem even though God had ordained their release at seventy years. He sought to work corporately with others despite local opposition He had a vision with purpose in the task of rebuilding the walls and establishing security so that the people of God could resume worship at the temple without trouble. These leadership qualities though not exhaustive can only be effective through a Christian leader whose mindset presupposes the creator/creature covenant distinction that has God sovereign and Lord of all creation and whose promises never fail. This mindset instills confidence in both the leader and to those who follow him. [11: Kenneth A. Mathews, “The Historical Books,” in Holman Concise Bible Commentary, ed. David S. Dockery (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 183.] [12: Edwin M. Yamauchi, “A Model Leader: Leadership in Nehemiah,” in Biblical Leadership: Theology for The Everyday Leader, ed. Benjamin Forrest and Chet Roden (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2017), 267-273.]
Wisdom in Leadership
The book of Ecclesiastes is a book that presents two narratives, one a narrative of what life is like when lived apart from a creator/creature covenantal presupposition and what life is like when lived according to God’s prescription within his economy.[footnoteRef:13] The first narrative describes the experiences of life as foolishness and vain. There is a similar narrative found in the New Testament explicitly in Christ’s parable of the sower. He states, “And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature” (Luke 8:14). The first narrative describes the fallen world in whose delight is everything under the sun. However, none of these delights can bring meaning to life. This life is all there seems to be. Death brings everything to a close, and it is ever looming over man. The injustice that comes before death is not any better. Being a good person grants no one special favors in this life because the good and the bad suffer and perish together. Therefore, the only thing left to do is to enjoy life while there is still time and live for the moment.[footnoteRef:14] This outlook is the predicament of this fallen world. The Christian leader can quickly fall into despair if he walks by sight and not by faith (Ps 73). As leaders in any field, Christians are to emulate the wisdom of the second narrative, which is to fear God and obey his commandments. The first witness that all men see in a Christian is his life. A Christian leader understanding that God is sovereign and all men are his image bearers will seek to work diligently, provide for his subordinates, pay them on time, correct them when necessary, and reward faithful service (Lev 19:3; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Rom 13:3; Heb 12:3-17; and Matt 20:25-28). [13: Tremper Longman III, “Leading in a fallen World: Leadership in Ecclesiastes,” in Biblical Leadership: Theology for The Everyday Leader, ed. Benjamin Forrest and Chet Roden (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2017), 175-176.] [14: Ibid., 174.]
Leadership is the outworking of the authority structure inherent within the very nature of the Christian God. It is only in Christian Theism where the proper view of authority is manifested and understood correctly. The Fifth Commandment summarizes these principles by which authority and therefore leadership are regulated. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exod 20:12). The case laws in the scriptures help the believer to define and apply these principles concerning authority and leadership. The idea of Father and Mother in this commandment include parents and everyone who is greater in age, gifting, and those who are in authority over someone in any of God’s ordained social and civil institutions. (Gen 4:20-22, 45:8; Isa 49:23; 2 Kgs 2:12, 5:13, 13:14; Prov 23:22, 25; Eph 6:1-2; 1 Tim 5:1-2; and Gal. 4:19). The Christian leader is to model himself as if he were a parent so that he may know how to walk towards those who are in his charge. He is to have compassion for them and to be able to disciple his subordinates within the proper context of servant leadership so that his subordinates would be motivated to do their job well, not out of coercion or fear, but out of respect and honor as if he was to them a father figure (Num 11:11-12; 2 Kgs 5:13; Eph 6:4; 1 Cor 4:14-16; 2 Cor 12:14; and 1 Thess 2:7-8, 11). This mindset concerning leadership is the common thread among the leaders that God raised and used in the Old Testament. Whether it is like Moses who willingly received counsel and adjusted his mission for the betterment of everyone around him or like Nehemiah who knew his calling before God, trusted in his promises, and with purpose, direction, and vision organized the people of God to repair their relationship with the living God. Finally, a Christian leader must understand that this world is fallen and he must be the light which reflects the goodness and mercy of God wherever his profession may take him.
DeMar, Gary, ed. Pushing the Antithesis: The Apologetic Methodology of Greg L. Bahnsen. Powder Springs: American Vision, 2007.
Forrest, Benjamin, and Chet Roden, eds. Biblical Leadership: Theology for the Everyday Leader. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2017.
Mathews, Kenneth A. “The Historical Books.” In Holman Concise Bible Commentary, edited by David S. Dockery. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998.
Oliphint, K. Scott. Covenantal Apologetics: Principles and Practice in Defense of Our Faith. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013.
Stuart, Douglas K. Exodus. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2006.
Wines, Enoch Cobb. Commentaries on the Laws of the Ancient Hebrews: With an Introductory Essay on Civil Society and Government. Philadelphia: W.S.& A. Martien, 1859.
Wragg, Jerry. Exemplary Spiritual Leadership: Facing the Challenges, Escaping the Dangers. Ministry Mission. Leominster: Day One, 2010.