“But what we do claim is that the New Testament is clear concerning how the local church is to be governed and that the Scriptures themselves are sufficient to instruct us in this matter.” This is the foundation of Dean Holzer’s book Church Leadership: What Does the Bible Say About it?
If ever there was any doubt that church leadership was not based on what the Scriptures say but on culture, tradition, or contemporary social trends, Holzer lays them to rest rather forcefully. The author makes his case using 5 key aspects of church leadership – the plurality of elders; the nature of New Testament churches; the scriptural basis for male leadership; the qualities of elders; and the relationship between elders and the congregation.
Holzer’s argument for the plurality of elders asserts that this is a cross-cultural model and one for all time. Could he have placed it side-by-side with other models to show how this is so? This is a question that could be raised, but Holzer’s progression of thought makes for a compelling case for elder plurality.
The writer thoughtfully introduces the nature of New Testament churches to prepare the reader to understand when “the true nature of the New Testament churches is understood, the nature of the way in which the local churches themselves are to be led also becomes more clear.” Holzer surveys what the family of God looks like; and points to how churches allowed the degradation of the marks of the early church, trading leadership into the hands of the power-hungry. The challenge, according to Dean Holzer, is to return to the Bible to test our traditions and seek to obey God.
Male leadership, in today’s church, is an issue most avoid addressing. Holzer dives right into the deep end. His interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35; and 1 Timothy 2:11-14 may ruffle up some feathers but make for compelling reading and serious thought. Here is a writer who is not afraid to talk about how God has called the men to be leaders in the local church and points out that this is not “inequality of dignity” but one of roles – God-called roles.
Holzer’s survey of the qualifications of elders is a succinct one. Not leaving out any, and yet with brevity, he clearly presents that any who is called to be an elder must possess. The call for elders to be ones who not only hold fast to sound doctrine but also exhort with it is indeed a clarion call!
What makes Holzer’s small book on church leadership more special is the section on how vital it is for congregations to look to the elders for wisdom and for the elders to look to the congregation for support. The role that the congregation plays in appointing elders, obeying them, protecting them, and even supporting them is well written and does present a call for churches to obey.
This book is a must-read for elders, pastors, those considering eldership, and congregations.
Find this book here: ‘Church Leadership: What Does the Bible Say About it?‘