by Jonathan Brenneman (Author), Arnolda Brenneman (Illustrator), Jan C. McLarty (Editor), Brian Hogan (Foreword), Dr. Jonathan Welton (Preface)
http://amzn.to/1JZLAmM [Kindle edition, $2.99]
[Instead of looking to the church to define church leadership, this book looks to Jesus and the Bible.]
I Am Persuaded is based on Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 23:
Matthew 23:8-12(Good News Bible)
"You must not be called ‘Teacher,’ because you are all equal and have only one Teacher. And you must not call anyone here on earth ‘Father,’ because you have only the one Father in heaven. Nor should you be called ‘Leader,’ because your one and only leader is the Messiah. The greatest one among you must be your servant. Whoever makes himself great will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be made great."
This in-depth word study uncovers a strong hierarchical bias in many English translations to show that the teachings of the epistles closely agree with the teachings of Jesus. It also illustrates the truths discussed with stories from the lives of real modern-day apostles and church planters. I Am Persuaded:
• Examines the differing language that the Bible uses for those in secular authority and for those who are esteemed in the church
• Uncovers an authoritarian and hierarchical bias in translation by showing how the same words were translated in different contexts
• Shows where the word “office” was arbitrarily added by translators in the English New Testament
• Shows where the same concept was translated as meaning “ruling” in one scripture, but “helping” in another
• Shows how one word was arbitrarily transliterated in a few places instead of being translated as it normally is, in order to give the appearance of another “office”- deaconship
• Explains why the most biblical answer to the question “Who is your pastor” is “My pastor is Jesus”
• Shows how many words thought to be different positions in the church are really used interchangeably in the New Testament
• Gives surprising biblical insight in the meaning of the word “bishop” and how you can "bishop" Jesus
• Explains how we are to understand the phrase “first in the church” in the light of Jesus’ teaching
• Tells how scriptural metaphors for the church like the “body of Christ” and “God’s building” fit closely with a non-hierarchical paradigm and with the teaching of Jesus
And so much more! I Am Persuaded goes on to scrutinize the idea of “spiritual covering” and then to offer a more balanced and biblical view of “spiritual fathering”, highlighting the dangers of ignoring Jesus’ warning “call no man father”. It finishes with the encouraging stories of two modern day leaders who were sent by God and changed nations, because they obeyed God rather than their human church leaders. These stories are great encouragement for anyone who has been taught that they must seek their leader’s approval in order to obey God.
I Am Persuaded expresses thanks to God for the secondary roles of human leaders in discipleship, while at the same time focusing on the primary role of God himself as our Father, Guide, and Teacher.
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