New Testament Elders
A Book Review of: “Corinthian Elders” by Jack Fortenberry
In his book”Corinthian Elders,” Jack Fortenberry delivers one more strong defense for the functioning of elders in the New Testament fashion. This book is a “biblical examination” of specific Pauline rhetoric on the teaching and practice of church leadership.
Fortenberry skillfully expounds on the various events that caused divisions throughout the local churches of the New Testament. In particular, he draws our attention to the unhealthy desire and practice of leaders that was wreaking havoc on first-century churches and still plagues us today.
The author crafts a vivid account of the issues facing these churches and presents the reader with solid evidence as to how authority “over” the saints severs the branches from the Vine that is Christ.
Are there leaders in the New Testament church? Absolutely. However, this leadership looks like Christ and allows others to know Christ as head of the church. It makes room for all the gifts to be equally shared among the saints.
Fortenberry suggests that this is one of the greatest threats to the unity in the church at Corinth: division caused by an infatuation with eloquent preachers and teachers.
“by submitting to leaders as a substitute for our fellowship with one another, we will loosen our hold on Christ.” (p.43)
I have read many books on church restoration and organic church life. I recommend this little book to those who are convinced that something is definitely wrong with the top-down model of leadership within the church today and rightfully need to be persuaded by the very words of Scripture that there is another way.
If you are the least bit concerned about the centrality and supremacy of Christ being known in the local church, then give this book a read with your New Testament in hand.
I also recommend reading:
The Untold Story of the New Testament Church: An Extraordinary Guide to Understanding the New Testament
Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices
Reimagining Church: Pursuing the Dream of Organic Christianity
The Normal Christian Church Life
Going to the Root: Nine Proposals for Radical Church Renewal
Paul’s Idea of Community: The Early House Churches in Their Cultural Setting, Revised Edition