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It’s Mutual |Practical Polity

Further Exploration into Christ Centred Polity via Maturity Metrics

Ideal for those well acquainted with our thought process at Ammi Ruhama Community and with other Christian Communities

Introductory Notes

In my last analysis and proposition, I posited that what we need is a Christ Centred Polity which works from the ‘least of these,’ to the greatest. In this series I would like to take it a step further and explore what the scriptures say about the body of Christ that would lead us to make the appropriate changes. I will address the power dynamics between the clergy and the laity and whether or not that is an accurate dichotomy or if that is an extra-biblical designation and many other practical applications of Christ Centred Polity.

Maturity Metrics

If one searches ‘leadership,’ in any Christian forum what we get is a lot of classic Bible passages relating to the qualifications of elders and deacons. We might get a nod towards living an ascetic moral life, and doing our gosh darn best to give more than we take. What we don’t get, however, either by pure neglect, ignorant oversight or an omitting, “I thought it was obvious so I didn’t write about it” excuse, is the call and expectation for leaders to exemplify every passage that tells us how to organise as the body in love, faith and hope. By omitting this crucial step we create a world of problems for ourselves–some of which are detailed in the last two articles. The truth is that there is no such thing as a ‘leadership,’ verse. The whole Bible is a leadership text. The way we know that it has not been treated as such is that we all just read that last sentence and thought, “well…what about everybody else”. This is an appropriate response because of our worldly ideas about leadership. You have heard it said that leadership is exclusive; a title and position enshrined in organisational structures, rules, laws, agreements, paycheques and follower counts. But I tell you that the whole Bible is a leadership text meant to raise up the reader to the full knowledge of God and, as a result, to full reproducing maturity in Christ. In this way, leadership is defined as those who seem influential due to their maturity in the ways of Christ. Therefore, the degree that we allow the Holy Spirit of God to form us through the scriptures is the measure of how truly influential we are for God’s Kingdom and not our own. The maturity metric must be the one and only metric we hold for recognising leaders. Since it is a scale, there can be any amount of influential people in the fellowship building God’s Kingdom without there being too many proverbial chef’s in the kitchen. The truth is that there are never too many chefs in the kitchen only too many who believe themselves to be the only chef.

The breakdown in communication about leadership, as I have said, happens when we consider what the world believes about what it means to be a leader; namely to influence people to do what I want them to do. If this is our operational definition of leadership then the Bible is certainly not that kind of leadership text. However, if we adopt Jesus’ definition of leadership, namely that the first shall be last and the last shall be first, then literally anyone can be a leader in the body of Christ. Our metrics need only change.

Christ Centred Polity places the most mature in Christ in the place of highest influence for the Kingdom. This may or may not be the one with the highest educational degree, financial sense, innate leadership ability, life experience, dashing smile, manly/womanly form, highest follower count or any other superfluous metric. What counts is what is in their heart and life.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7 English Standard Version

In the maturity metric, verses like the one above cease to be about ‘leadership,’ and begin to ring true for every single believer. For many, especially in the leadership world, this verse and verses like it have come to mean, “God sees if you will be a good leader or not,” but if that is the case and maturity is our metric for leadership then there are Christians today who will never reach their full potential in Christ because we would never consider them to be leaders in the conventional sense.

When Samuel was about to pick literally anyone but David, God intervened to remind him--your thoughts are not my thoughts nor are your ways my ways. I see the heart of each of these men and they are full of wickedness, so I have rejected them. For my part, I have selected a man after my own heart. Yes, Samuel was looking for the next King of Israel, but he was also looking for God’s pick. God’s pick was a humble shepherd who was likely the illegitimate child of Jesse kept out of sight of the holy man of God while a legitimate son of Jesse was chosen for the honourable role of King of the People of God.

All of the things that Jesse thought disqualified David from being a man of influence became all of the reasons he was such a beloved King by God and his people. He was personable, humble, without pride to dance before God–to show that he was just a man; equal to every other person among the people of God who have received mercy.

Essence, Station, Opportunity and Kingdom Influence

Equality in essence, station and opportunity are essential to the Christ Centred Polity. In essence, no one is more valuable than another, in station we all hold the office of priest/ess with Christ as our High Priest, in opportunity all have a right to manifest the Spirit of God in life and before the fellowship according to how He shows up in our lives. Where we vary is in ‘Kingdom,’ influence. Keeping in mind a wholistic view of Church polity; that it is far more than answering the question of who holds the reins, but a question of church structure and culture, we can examine the functioning body of Christ in the word.

2 responses to “It’s Mutual |Practical Polity”

  1. Excellent article – I read it all and even discussed some points of it with my husband.
    I was very surprised that you called David a possibly illegitimate son of Jesse? Where did you get that idea? 😲

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I would be interested in any thoughts or ideas that you or your husband had in connection to it!

      I was surprised the first time I encountered David’s birth as well, but it is not original to me. Many scholars believe that the fact that Jesse didn’t show David to Samuel that it was an indication that he was not legitimate–not just because he was watching the sheep. The other source we would point to is David’s confession in Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me”. This is either an indication that David’s mother strayed and had a a son, or that Jesse had an affair that produced an illegitimate son. I think it makes more sense to the way the Bible refers to the throne as the stump of Jesse.


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