Monday, March 27, 2023

Yes, there is a hierarchical order, but…

Familial language, however, does not preclude hierarchical order, as if calling each other “brother” automatically distributed theological insight and practical wisdom in an equal measure to all. Luke’s sort ofhierarchy is not the kind that so worries postmoderns of various stripes but the kind that is inevitably a necessary part of any communal organization. Even the Quakers have leaders. The more difficult issue is that systematizing Luke’s structure of authority has proved notoriously difficult for modern scholars of his work. To be sure, there are the twelve (with Matthias for Judas), Peter, James, Paul, Stephen, elders, deacons, and so on. But beyond the most obvious observations, arranging these various people and offices into clear tiers has simply not been possible. Still, what is obvious from Acts is Luke's conviction that the new society cannot flourish without orders of authority that guarantee both the movement’s continuity with the earthly Jesus and the pattern of life that is its ethic.—One True Life: The Stoics and Early Christians as Rival Traditions, 139

<idle musing>
Perhaps because it is intended to be difficult? The point, after all, is to advance the kingdom of God, not the hierarchy of leaders. Christ is the leader, the ruler, the potentate, the king. The rest are simply to advance his will. After all, isn't he the one who said that the first would be last? Didn't he also say that the one who would be a leader must be the servant?

That kinda turns all the human hierarchies on their heads.

Just an
</idle musing>

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