Healy on “new, apostolic forms of leadership”

[O]ne way for us all to work together to become the one body of Christ is to develop new, apostolic forms of leadership. I confess I have no real idea what they might be, beyond looking apostolic. That is, leaders should strive to lead by saintly example, by persuasion, by attraction to ‘the obedience of faith’ through Christian kindness, hospitality, and — something so often lacking — simple joy. If leaders are to make truly authoritative judgments about the working of the Spirit, they must first listen carefully to the church. This is not, to repeat, because the church is a kind of democracy or because each of us is entitled to voice our opinions about all kinds of matters. The reason for listening is not grounded in the kind of thing the church is at all; it is grounded in the way the Holy Spirit. works. The Holy Spirit works within the church and for the church, not only in the leaders, but in every baptized person, and in the world more generally. So leaders must listen and make room for everyone to be properly heard, for they will learn something. And in listening, they will display their faith to those they lead, who may, in their turn, learn something about that faith and how to exercise it. One thing they may learn, as all Christians should, is that well-intentioned disagreement about Christian matters should never be grounds for withholding mutual kindness and love.

— Nicholas M. Healy. “By the Working of the Holy Spirit”: The Crisis of Authority in the Christian Churches. Anglican Theological Review 88:5-24. 2006. (Emphasis mine.)

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