We learn most from those we copy or imitate though most think education is mostly about information. It’s not. It’s mostly about imitation and emulation. (Tweet that.)

The reason I like Douglas Campbell’s Pauline Dogmatics is because so much of it touches ground where churches and pastors dwell.

It touches ground on leaders for two major reasons: he knows God is often if not mostly mediated to us through humans and he knows that leaders are to be imitated. His point is that there are some farther along and they can help those who are not as far along in Christlikeness.

Some today are Christian anarchists when it comes to leadership and believe in a radical democracy without leaders, but many of those ironically are forming their own power by being anti power and anarchists. The fact is that groups have leaders and radical democracies last days not years. The church has leaders.

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Yes, we are relational to the core: the “second personal.” We are formed by others before we individuate, and individuation is not individuaism but a dyadic or more formed interpersonal person. Those with whom we relate shape, if not determine, who we become. No one is an island to herself or himself. Campbell, thus, makes four major points:

  1. At the heart of Christianity is community, the community of the divine communion and God’s summons to us to join it.
  2. At the heart of community is interpersonal relating to the point that we can see that this is what a person is, a relational entity.
  3. At the heart of relating is-once our incapacity has been healed-a learn-ing process, a process that also leads to our growth in freedom.
  4. And at the heart oflearningis our copying ofleaders, which is to say, our of those who are better at relating than we are and who thereby mediate Jesus to us, assisted by the Spirit.

The essence of leadership in the New Testament texts of Paul is gift-giving, or spiritual gifts. Each is called to give for the sake of others. Campbell thinks there were four major gifts: apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers. And he summarizes how these church communities of inter-related humans were formed:

Apostles arrive, converts are made (appropriately), and the community is established. The Apostles nurture the community and navigate its particuilar diverse formation. Presumably they continue to evangelize as and when they can too. The communityis grown by its own Evangelists. It is nurtured and guided by its Teachers and Prophets. Other diverse and more specialized leadership roles and gifts emerge, e.g., service,encouragement, giving,organizing, and showing mercy.