Leadership


John Calvin, commenting on 1 Timothy 3:1, “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task”:

A selection ought to be made in admitting bishops, because it is a laborious and difficult charge; and that they who aim at it should carefully consider with themselves, whether or not they were able to bear so heavy a burden. Ignorance is always rash; and a mature knowledge of things makes a man modest. How comes it that they who have neither ability nor wisdom often aspire so confidently to hold the reins of government, but because they rush forward with their eyes shut? On this subject Quintilian remarked, that the ignorant speak boldly, while the greatest orators tremble. For the purpose of restraining such rashness in desiring the office of a bishop, Paul states, first, that this is not an indolent rank, but a work; and next, that it is not any kind of work, but excellent, and therefore toilsome and full of difficulty, as it actually is. It is no light matter to be a representative of the Son of God, in discharging an office of such magnitude, the object of which is to erect and extend the kingdom of God, to procure the salvation of souls which the Lord himself hath purchased with his own blood, and to govern the Church, which is God’s inheritance.

Barack Obama has taken on a new role. I don’t just mean he has taken on the role of the presumptive President-elect. I mean he has moved from one realm of existence into another. He will no longer be a critic. He will be the criticized. To criticize leaders is easy. The phrase “Monday morning quarterbacking” comes from the idea of critiquing the football games from the previous day. It seems to come natural to humans. When we become Christians this sinful tendency is not taken from us.

Unless you have occupied a leadership position you will not fully understand this post. Sadly, it is true that churches are not immune from this. Church members tend to find it easy to criticize their pastors. But let one of those church members cross the line and become a pastor and suddenly he is no longer the critic, but the criticized. He must make the difficult decisions. He is the one who is called out in the middle of the night for a pastoral visit. He is the one who wrestles in prayer for the straying sheep. He is the one who now knows the sweat, blood, and tears of the struggle of leadership – and of being the criticized.

My guess is that the first time Obama must make the decision to send American troops into harm’s way (overtly or covertly) and hears of the death of some of those young men and women he will long for a time when he does not have to make such decisions. The same will be true when he must make a hard decision only to find he has made the wrong choice.

The glory of the Presidency won’t appear so glorious any longer. At that point there won’t be anyone else to criticize. He will come to a full realization that he is no longer a critic, but the criticized. Yes, the ambition for leadership is indeed an ambition to become the criticized.

Watch Voddie Baucham stand his ground on national television as he proclaims his convictions concerning the Biblical teaching of the role of women.

{HT: Victoria}

From Gill’s commentary on 1 Timothy 2:

“nor to usurp authority over the man;” as not in civil and political things, or in things relating to civil government; and in things domestic, or the affairs of the family; so not in things ecclesiastical, or what relate to the church and government of it; for one part of rule is to feed the church with knowledge and understanding; and for a woman to take upon her to do this, is to usurp an authority over the man: this therefore she ought not to do,…

“but the woman being deceived was in the transgression:”…Since not Adam, but Eve, was deceived, it appears that the man is the more proper person to bear rule and authority, as in civil and domestic, so in ecclesiastic affairs; and it is right for the woman to learn, and the man to teach: and seeing that Eve was the cause of transgression to Adam, and of punishment to him and his posterity, the subjection of the woman to the man was confirmed afresh: and she was brought into a more depressed state of dependence on him, and subjection to him; see Ge 3:16.

John Calvin, in his commentary on 1 Timothy 2, while addressing the specifics of women in leadership in the church, also addresses issues such as the leadership of Deborah:

12 But I suffer not a woman to teach. Not that he takes from them the charge of instructing their family, but only excludes them from the office of teaching, which God has committed to men only. On this subject we have explained our views in the exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. If any one bring forward, by way of objection, Deborah and others of the same class, of whom we read that they were at one time appointed by the command of God to govern the people, the answer is easy. Extraordinary acts done by God do not overturn the ordinary rules of government, by which he intended that we should be bound. Accordingly, if women at one time held the office of prophets and teachers, and that too when they were supernaturally called to it by the Spirit of God, He who is above all law might do this; but, being a peculiar case, “Because it is a peculiar and extraordinary case.” this is not opposed to the constant and ordinary system of government.

He adds — what is closely allied to the office of teaching — and not to assume authority over the man; for the very reason, why they are forbidden to teach, is, that it is not permitted by their condition. They are subject, and to teach implies the rank of power or authority. Yet it may be thought that there is no great force in this argument; because even prophets and teachers are subject to kings and to other magistrates. I reply, there is no absurdity in the same person commanding and likewise obeying, when viewed in different relations. But this does not apply to the case of woman, who by nature (that is, by the ordinary law of God) is formed to obey; for γυναικοκρατία (the government of women) has always been regarded by all wise persons as a monstrous thing; and, therefore, so to speak, it will be a mingling of heaven and earth, if women usurp the right to teach. Accordingly, he bids them be “quiet,” that is, keep within their own rank. — “He therefore commands them to remain in silence; that is, to keep within their limits and the condition of their sex.”

13 For Adam was first created He assigns two reasons why women ought to be subject to men; because not only did God enact this law at the beginning, but he also inflicted it as a punishment on the woman. He accordingly shews that, although mankind had stood in their first and original uprightness, the true order of nature, which proceeded from the command of God, bears that women shall be subject. Nor is this inconsistent with the fact, that Adam, by falling from his first dignity, deprived himself of his authority; for in the ruins, which followed sin, there still linger some remains of the divine blessing, and it was not proper that woman, by her own fault, should make her condition better than before. Yet the reason that Paul assigns, that woman was second in the order of creation, appears not to be a very strong argument in favor of her subjection; for John the Baptist was before Christ in the order of time, and yet was greatly inferior in rank. But although Paul does not state all the circumstances which are related by Moses, yet he intended that his readers should take them into consideration. Now Moses shews that the woman was created afterwards, in order that she might be a kind of appendage to the man; and that she was joined to the man on the express condition, that she should be at hand to render obedience to him. Since, therefore, God did not create two chiefs of equal power, but added to the man an inferior aid, the Apostle justly reminds us of that order of creation in which the eternal and inviolable appointment of God is strikingly displayed.

While it is difficult to predict how a person from the 16th-century might address a contemporary issue, his writings and examples can shed light on his principles. John Knox spoke to the issue of women in leadership. Also, it should be noted, though I have read some of what Knox has written, I have not read all that he has written. An expert on Knox may correct my impressions of his views.

That having been said, Knox has been batted around on blogs concerning Palin. Some have tried to say that Knox cannot be used to argue against women in civil office because he accepted the legitimacy of Elizabeth’s rule. Some seem to think Knox is inconsistent and allows for women rulers when they are supportive of him. However, this misses Knox’s clear view of the Scriptures in regard to the argument and the complexity of having to live with the reality of women rulers.

Believing in God’s Sovereignty, Knox understands that God has raised these women up to authoritative positions for a reason. But this does not mean that we, as Christians, should try to argue that it is okay according to God’s revealed will that women seek and be given civil leadership. It seems that the majority of those who are now supportive of McCain/Palin are in disagreement with Knox. The following quote from Knox sets forth his approach in regard to Elizabeth.

If any think me either enemy to the person or yet to the regimen of her whom God hath now promoted, they are utterly deceived of me; for the miraculous work of God, comforting his afflicted by an infirm vessel, I do acknowledge, and the power of his most potent hand – raising up whom best pleaseth his mercy to suppress such as fight against his glory – I will obey, albeit that both nature and God’s most perfect ordinance repugn to such regimen. More plainly to speak, if queen Elizabeth shall confess that the extrordinary dispensation of God’s great mercy maketh that lawful unto her which both nature and God’s law do deny unto all women, then shall none in England be more willing to maintain her lawful authority than I shall be: but if – God’s wondrous work set aside – she ground, as God forbid, the justness of her title upon consuetude, laws or ordinances of men; then I am assured, that as such foolish presumption doth highly offend God’s supreme majesty, as do I greatly fear that her ingratitiude shall not long want punishment. (Knox’s History of the Reformation of Religion in Scotland, Published in 1831 by Blackie and Son, Glasgow)

One of the questions raised by current events is not whether we accept God’s Sovereignty in this but whether we should be supportive in promoting and electing a person that violates Scriptural principles concerning leadership positions? And, obviously, there needs to be further discussion regarding exactly what the Scriptural principles are regarding civil leadership.

Voddie Baucham says no. Read his blog here and here.

“The idea of unhesitating willingness to embrace responsibility without calculation of reward or risk” – Josiah Bunting, An Education for Our Time, p. 32.

“No one felicitated Robert E. Lee or Patrick Henry on his moral courage. Each simpy did what he thought he ought to do, regardless of the consequences, without any thought of personal gain. Provision for one exception is made, most beautifully expressed in Lee’s farewell to the Army of Northern Virginia: ‘the satisfaction that proceeds from consciousness of duty faithfully performed.'” – Bunting, Ibid., p. 36.