Monday, October 5, 2009

A Tri-Perspectivalism Perspectrive on Church Leadership

Are you a "king," "prophet," or "priest?"

In the above question I am not using these terms in the way they have usually been used within the charismatic movement. The reference is to John Frame's concept of "tri-perspectivalism," further developed by Drew Goodmason and David Fairchild. Mark Driscoll and the Act 29 Network also use this concept in their church government principles.

The concept was recently mediated to me via Tim Keller (Tim Keller is now blogging!). Keller says:
John Frame's 'tri-perspectivalism' helps me understand Willow. The Willow Creek style churches have a 'kingly' emphasis on leadership, strategic thinking, and wise administration. The danger there is that the mechanical obscures how organic and spontaneous church life can be. The Reformed churches have a 'prophetic' emphasis on preaching, teaching, and doctrine. The danger there is that we can have a naïve and unBiblical view that, if we just expound the Word faithfully, everything else in the church -- leader development, community building, stewardship of resources, unified vision -- will just happen by themselves. The emerging churches have a 'priestly' emphasis on community, liturgy and sacraments, service and justice. The danger there is to view 'community' as the magic bullet in the same way Reformed people view preaching.
So, how does a church community become balanced between the three streams listed above? The answer surely is to be led by a group of elders with all three ministry emphasises represented among the eldership in personalities, giftings and understanding.

I do not endorse a "co-equality" attitude in church government that suppresses differences in authority within leadership. Neither do I support authoritarian leadership that suppresses unity and diversity of counsel. I support balance: balance between pastor and elders, between prophets priest and kings, and between teaching and shepherding. And I support Jesus being in ultimate charge: He is the Priest, The Prophet and the King!

What do you think?