Guiding Theological Themes
As we attempt to live out this life in the Spirit communally, here are some of the theological themes and principles we hope will guide us.
1. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our Community-
The Apostles placed great emphasis on the role of the Spirit in the life of the Church in general, and in the place of discernment in particular. (1 John 2:20-27, 1 John 4:1-6). We acknowledge not only the place of the Spirit in our community, but our radical dependence on Him to point us to Jesus, and to lead us into those places where He is bringing healing and wholeness in the world.
2. The Love of Jesus for our Community outweighs our love for our Community-
As much as we love and want the best for our community, and as much as we may feel we have metaphorically bled for our church, we strive to keep in mind that Christ has literally bled, and died, for it. His love for and investment in our community is much greater than ours will ever be. Remaining mindful of that fact brings a certain freedom in the face of tough decisions-we can rest them in the hands of the God who went to such great lengths to make our community possible. It’s His church, He will build it… we merely join in the process and cooperate as best we can.
3. The Bible is Authoritative-
Without getting into the debate over words like “infallible” or inerrant, the very least we want to affirm is that Scripture is authoritative for the Church today. That is, if the person of Jesus is the primary revelation of God to mankind, then Scripture becomes indispensable in that it is there where we find not only the narrative of God’s redemption (the OT) culminating in the person of Christ (The Gospels), but the outworking of Christ’s work in the new Community of the Church (The Epistles). Where the Bible speaks, we listen and weigh carefully for our context what it says. (Acts 2:42, 2 Tim 3:14-16)
4. Leadership is biblical, as is the priesthood of the believer
Though it’s a controversial statement in many circles today, the concept of leadership in the Church is biblical. Hebrews 13:17 encourages us all to “Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God.” I Thess 5:12-13 says “Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work.”
And yet we recognize the priesthood of all those in our community who are truly “in Christ” (1 Peter 5:2-9). God speaks not only to and through leaders, and so those to whom leadership is entrusted have a responsibility to be good listeners for the voice of God through the mouths and lives of others in the community.
5. Leadership ought to seek consensus, and not lead in a heavy-handed manner
Jesus enjoined to lead in a manner different than the leadership we see all around us where leaders “lord it over” those they lead. (Mark 10:45-45) He said it ought not be so among His community. In that we seek first to be servants of one another, we not only seek for consensus and for opposing/alternative voices to be heard, but we seek to do so in a humble and Christ-like way, with gentleness. (2 Cor 10:1, Col 3:12, 1 Tim 6:11)