Leadership transition

{Written as a lecture for an old course: "Biblical Backgrounds" and largely unchanged}

- There are marked changes in leadership structure in the old and new testaments

- The patriarchs were head of households and this leadership structure extended into Egypt

- With Moses the structure changed. He was leader and law maker

- he spoke face to face with God, Unique until Jesus

- At the same time the priest began to have a normative role in the religious life of the people

- they were to be the interface between God and the people.

- they were also the repository of what to do to please God

- The Judges carried on the role of law mediator that Moses began

- they decided disputes between the people

- by divine intervention they also protected and delivered God's people from their oppressors

- Theirs was a very charismatic leadership - God empowered, they were larger than life and they had a following for that reason.

- The last Judge was Samuel - priest prophet and judge, king maker

- Saul forms the link in leadership between the judges and the kings

- He carried on a charismatic leadership - the Israelites flocked to him as leader rather than king

- It seems clear that in early life he continued his normal life despite being king

- In later life he forms a court and starts acting like a king

- In David we begin to the real line of kings

- David is important as the archetypal king. All future kings are compared against David

- the coming messiah is described against the example of David

- David was different from the majority of the kings because he had a great emphasis on God in his life.

- even kings like Hezekiah and Josiah didn't have the sort of personal relationship with God.

- David is described as having a "heart after God"

- his life is a description of a man trying to live with God

- he shows extreme enthusiasm for God, so much so that in at least one case it brings the censure of his wife

- David is unique both in his response to the giving of the kingdom and his response to his sin.

- however the reader should be aware that some of the build up of David may be rose coloured glasses

- It is interesting that the later work of Chronicles omits the Bathsheba incident. This work also glosses over other weaknesses of David

- even so David remains a remarkable man

- as I have said elsewhere the king is important because to a great extent he determined the religious purity of the people

- In the new testament leadership of the church is based in the twelve.

- The leader of the church at that time was James the brother of Jesus

- there is no real explanation of why he was chosen, considering the varied press of the family of Jesus not understanding him, his mother understanding but no mention of the rest, this is a minor puzzle

- Simon-Peter was not the leader, he was given some responsibility to the gentiles but not the leadership

- Matthias who was selected by lot to replace Judas is just a name

- The great name in all this is of course Paul, appointed by God to the gentiles

- This is surprising since the closeness of the apostles to the life and teaching of Jesus remained an important source of authority until well after the canon formed in 4th century AD

- Paul gained his authority very much from his ability.

- He was a pharisee trained under the leading pharisee of the day Gamaliel

- He demonstrated his ability in his work among the gentile churches

- despite this there still remained the worry in his mind that he was teaching the wrong thing.

- a worry that seemed to become concrete when he returned to Jerusalem to sort out issues of the Law and how they applied to gentile converts

- The major mover in all events of the first century church was the Holy Spirit.

- He began the ministry of the church at pentecost Acts 2

- encouraged and supported them under persecution

- underwrote their ministry by miracles

- commissioned and sent them out

- redirected their efforts and removed their bigotry

- but then that is another course...


This essay was developed as a lecture and so the references are not as good as they should be. As far as I am aware the material  of the course was based on the following books:

"The New Bible Dictionary" (InterVarsity Press 1962)

"The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible" (Abingdon Press 1962)

"The Lion Handbook of the Bible" (Lion Publishing 1973)

"The Story of Jericho" 2nd Ed. by J. Garstang and J.B.E. Garstang (Marshall Morgan and Scott 1948)

"How to Read the New Testament" by Etienne Charpentier (SCM Press 1981)

"A Way into the Old Testament" by C.R. Biggs and A.L.G Catlin (Uniting Church Press 1983)

"The New Testament Environment" by Eduard Lohse (SCM Press 1976)

"How to Read the Old Testament" by Etienne Charpentier (SCM Press 1981)

"The Background of the Gospels" by W. Fairweather (T & T Clark 1911)

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