Frank and I have very different views on the place of ecclesiology. I have a very low ecclesiology, almost consumed by my Christology. Frank seems to have a much higher view of the church, its role and especially its leaders than I do. This really is a quite influential difference.And the reason it needs to be addressed is not because of who said it, but because I'll bet a lot of people think this way about what I believe.
So in the spirit of a proper merciless beating, let's go at it one part at a time. Ignore the cartoons as they are merely ornaments and not commentary. I have a quote to keep up.
I have a very low ecclesiology, almost consumed by my Christology.I have no idea what that means, but it seems to me that an actually-high Christology will put the affections of Christ in the right places. Mind you: I didn't say "affections for Christ but the affections belonging to Christ.
My opinion is that an adequate Christology amplifies all the christological consequences -- and in this case, that would be the church. What we think of it, how we relate to it, whether we believe in it, how we stand trial with it and toward it, whether we endure it or nurture it or abandon it.
So while Michael says his Christology overshadows the church, I would say my Christology causes me to reconsider the church from Christ's perspective. I think that's a difference of opinion based on a difference in perception about the incarnation, and to say more than that would be to say something easily misinterpreted as unkind. The "low view" of church is a classic anabaptist consequence, which many baptists share. I can't fault Michael for being in that gaggle as that is my gaggle, too.
Frank seems to have a much higher view of the church, its role and especially its leaders than I do."Yes" before the comma, not so much after the comma. I have a high view of what the leaders are called to do. I have a high view of what a man must be -- by command of Scripture -- to lead the church, spiritually and personally.
But here's the thing: I have also spent the last 20 years leading people. There is nothing worse than leading people who, frankly, will not be lead. In a secular environment, you can just fire those people when they are sufficiently insubordinate -- something I have only had to do twice. You can't fire someone from the church -- even though bad pastors do it all the time.
In that, I think that the commands of Scripture to us are really very clear: be in submission to your leaders. They are men, and they will always make plenty of mistakes. You should love them for trying to serve Christ with their whole lives rather than with just their sunday mornings and wednesday nights. When I talk about how the layman should relate to the elders of his church, it's from the perspective that these men are called to do what it says in Titus and Timothy to do, and they can't do that if they people around them have their own ideas of how to accomplish that and fight them at every turn.
The back side of that, of course, is that they are actually called and required to be good leaders who are humble before God, and humble to men, and do not lord it over people, and take the commands to Titus and Timothy seriously. It's a one-way street, with Christ directing traffic, and we all need to follow Him or else it's just a wreck.
So again, I think a high Christology, which sees Christ's incarnation as a real thing that causes the church and requires the church as a necessary consequence of Emmanuel, causes a radical view of membership and leadership which, frankly, is a wrecking ball to the CEO pastor.
My wife and I joke all the time that a pastor is more like a kindergarten teacher than a CEO. He's more like a shepherd than he is like a king. Or at least he ought to be -- and the sheep need to follow him for their own good.