On Church Leadership (an email exchange with Sándor Abonyi of Hungary) Pt.3: “Form Follows Function”

As Sándor’s and my conversation continued, I responded to what he had shared within a few weeks. In his reply, he interjected his further thoughts and comments into the body of what I had written. What follows is that composite email, with Sándor’s remarks in blue.

[For the earlier parts of this conversation, please see Part 1 and Part 2.]

~ ~ ~

Hi Sándor,

Greetings in our Lord Jesus!  I want to apologize, first of all, for taking so long in getting back to you.  Life got rather busy here, and it has taken a bit to get caught back up.  I pray that all is well with you and your family at this time!

Many thanks, and you don’t need to apologize because of your engagement.

I wanted to reply to the attachment that you sent with this email.  I have read it a few times and I appreciate what you have written.  I understand what you are saying as to a plural eldership representing POSSIBILITY and not solutions.  That is a very good way of putting it and an important distinction (difference).

Yes I think similarly.

In some ways it reminds me of the way that the Lord brought forth creation.  He first created the environments, be it the sky, the waters, or the earth, as the POSSIBILITY, or the WINESKIN, and then He filled it with the living things afterwards, i.e. the birds, the fish, the animals, in their respective days.

Very good seeing and association. I appreciate that!

I believe the Lord often works this way, and as long as the structures are understood as possibilities rather than solutions, then the Lord can be sought to fill the possibilities with His SOLUTION, which is Himself!

The other way that I believe the Lord works is along the line of the principle of, “Form follows function.”  It seems when the Lord brings forth His church organically, that the functioning of His Body precedes the form of the Body.  In this case elders are functioning in an eldership capacity as simple brothers, and are only recognized officially as elders afterwards.  This seems to be a common way that Paul sought to establish the churches.  After ministering in a city for a season, he would leave the church there to function without recognized leadership.  Later he would return and see those who were functioning as the responsible brothers in their midst, and then officially ordain them.  In this way the form of the church followed the functioning of the church.

YES! I agree on this totally.  I see this way as a fundamental apostolic principle.  Also, according to my vision after the Word, the eldership is NOT only ONE of the POSSIBILITIES, but the single POSSIBILITY.  Only the eldership can be the FORM for the HEADSHIP of CHRIST over them.  JESUS CHRIST is the primary PASTOR and not any man pastor.  SEE 1 Pt 5.1- 4. and 1 Samuel 8.4–7.  I see in 1 Samuel 8.7 that any man (pastor – „king”) over the elders means the rejection of CHRIST’S HEADSHIP.

    1 Sám. 8:7 „And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”

I believe that the Lord may work by the “form” preceding the “content” (“possibility” preceding “solution”) as you have expressed, or according to the principle of “form follows function” as I’ve mentioned, or possibly even an overlapping of the two, in order to obtain what He desires.  I think that is important to keep in mind so that we don’t lock ourselves in on only one way and possibly miss the specific way and working of the Lord in each situation.

As I said in my earlier email, the most essential principle is the living Headship of Christ. If He is being sought and surrendered to in all things, the proper arrangement will come into being naturally by His hand.

YES! I agree on that.

Also, in regards to the Headship of Christ, I recently stumbled across a teaching I had written about four years ago for a seminar I was giving on, “The Headship of Christ in the Gathering of the Church”.  I uploaded the teaching to my blog as a permanent page under the “Other Writings” section and thought I would share the link with you in case you would like to read it.  It outlines some fundamental principles that I believe are significant for the Body to function under the Headship of Christ as it assembles.  It also brings in the matter of plural leadership.  The link is here: https://christcenteredchristianity.com/other-writings/the-headship-of-christ-in-the-gathering-of-the-church/

I started to read it and thinking to translate that.

So, that is all I have for now.  Thanks again for sending along the attachments and the link to your book.  I have been edified by them!

I am glad If you could use it.

God bless you and your family!

Many thanks, and you too!

Love in Him,

~ ~ ~

So, in light of this conversation, what do you think about how the Lord brings about form and function within His church?  Please feel free to share your thoughts and/or experiences in this regard.

Part 4 will follow in which we touch on the question of “chief among equals?” Hmmm. 🙂

About David Bolton

Following Him who is the Way; learning of Him who is the Truth; living by Him who is the Life. - John 14:6
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1 Response to On Church Leadership (an email exchange with Sándor Abonyi of Hungary) Pt.3: “Form Follows Function”

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