Debate about church order has gone on for centuries within Christianity, and an end is nowhere in sight. Perhaps that is good, since the debate shows the weaknesses of many ideas that need correction. Corporate Decision-Making in the Church of the New Testament examines church order from a careful exegetical perspective, with particular attention to the social world of the New Testament. While most works about church government address structure and qualities of leadership, Jeff Brown deals with the interaction of the people of the church, both with their leaders and with one another, in setting policy.
In brief, though all believers in the young church of the New Testament revered Christ and his Word as authoritative, not all church decisions were “from the top down” from earthly leaders. On the contrary, many were “from the bottom up”. This should come as no surprise to those familiar with Jesus’ admonition in the Gospels, “You have one teacher, and you are all brothers”.
Foreword by Kevin Bauder
List of Abbreviations
1. Historical Background
2. The First Century CE Cultural Background for the Concept of Corporate Decision-Making
3. Theological Concepts Entering into Corporate Decision-Making
4. Scripture Passages Directly Relating to Corporate Decision-Making
5. Reflection of the New Testament Pattern in Christian Documents from 95 CE to 350 CE
Appendix: Flow Chart of Church Decision-Making – Phil Siefkes
Endorsements and Reviews
[This] carefully examines the historical and cultural background of those New Testament passages that reflect corporate decision-making in the early Christian congregations. Clear and detailed exegesis of key sections of the book of Acts and well as 1 and 2 Corinthians demonstrate his conclusions. I was impressed by the author’s familiarity with the literature written on his chosen subject. I highly recommend this book.
Myron J. Houghton, Chair of the Department of Systematic Theology, Faith Baptist Theological Seminary
Jeff Brown examines New Testament texts that relate to the specific interaction between Christian congregations and their leaders in the process of decision-making, and he also presents a wealth of information that provides background for and insight into his examination. Anyone who is serious about studying decision-making and leadership in the church will have to interact with this book.
W. Edward Glenny, Professor of Greek and New Testament, Northwestern College