Sunday, March 16, 2008

Principle or Faith?

In Courageous Leaders (see photo), James Halcomb, David Hamilton, and Howard Malmstadt state: “Through the Ten Commandments, God the Master Teacher trains His people how to think, ...” (Halcomb J, Hamilton D and Malmstadt H 2000:223). The important thing, they write, is “to train oneself in implicational thinking”. They make no reference to the first four commandments (the so-called “first table”, which deals with humanity’s responsibility to God), but plunge straight into the next six: “Let’s consider the final six commandments ...” They consider that all of these commandments have to do with the principle: “life is valuable” (:223). So, for instance, murder is forbidden because human life is “of immense worth” (:224); theft is forbidden because “objects represent [the investment of] life”; and so on. Yet consider another possibility. Given a faith in the God of the first four commandments, which includes a belief in His sovereign power over human circumstance, there then remains e.g. no need to remove troublesome people through murder, and no need to acquire more than one has through theft, as one is assured that every circumstance of life is under God’s good care. What does this have to do with Christian leadership? Following Halcomb, Hamilton, and Malmstadt, Christian leadership is about “implicational” principles which “drive every courageous leader” (:228). Following the second option, Christian leadership is about trust in a sovereign God. QUESTION: Should the Christian leader be driven by “implicational” principles, or by faith in a sovereign God? Does faith generate behaviour as suggested? Might the principle “life is valuable” be a mere “idol” in the presence of God Himself?

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