Emerging Leadership in the Pauline Mission

Emerging Leadership in the Pauline Mission

Jack Barentsen, Pickwick

Jack Barentsen has developed at length what he terms the “Social Identity Model of Leadership” to demonstrate that “Paul attempted to establish some uniform patterns of leadership for his churches”.

The author bases his model on the New Testament letters of 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians and those addressed to Timothy.

Previous studies reflected a uniform structure of leadership but recent sociological emphasis indicates greater diversity than suggested from a purely theological perspective.

The early Corinthian experience shows that charismatic qualities were evident, while structuring and institutionalisation were thought “to take centre stage in Ephesus”.

Divisions in the Corinthian community were not solely theologically motivated but were also affected by social and ideological factors.

Paul’s style was participatory and empowering. Leaders from Jewish background became one faction and the Greco-Roman system of patronage was reflected among the house-churches of “higher status” members.

Barentsen acknowledges, yet sidesteps, the current, strong opinion that Ephesians and the letters to Timothy are pseudepigraphs (later letters not actually written by Paul himself). However, even if they are later postscripts, they give us a good idea of experiences during the formative years of organised Christianity.

John Atkinson

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