Monday, March 25, 2013

DRAFT: Towards a "Code of Ethics and “yardstick” Principles of Christian Service/Ministry and Leadership"

I have been reflecting in recent days on codes of ethics and principles of service/leadership to guide practice in ministry. The below is a draft I have developed. Thoughts are welcome:

>> From the first, Christian service and leadership have been focussed on pivotal ethical principles that guide service through integrity that serves by the courageous God-given, prophetic scriptural truth in love, power and purity. In the words of the Apostle Paul:
 “. . . our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life . . . .  Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.  But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.” [2 Cor 3:5 b – 6, 4:1 – 2, ESV. ]
That is, we must have convictions worth having through “the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” [2 Tim 3:15] and the courage and Spirit-anointed boldness to live, love, speak and serve by them. This, in the face of a long prophesied day in which “people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” [2 Tim 3:2 – 5.]

The apostolic counsel is thus, that by contrast -- through commitment to the scriptures as they teach truth, highlight and correct wrong and error, and train in righteousness -- we must more and more be “competent, equipped for every good work.” [2 Tim 3:15 – 17.]  Accordingly, we hereby solemnly commit ourselves to the following scripturally based “yardstick” ethical standards and principles of Christian service and leadership:

1] The priority of scripture, expressed through diligent, prayerful, obedient, lifelong, regular reading, study, reflection on and growing practice of the Word of God as recorded in the Bible, and especially through the saving, healing, delivering, liberating power of the gospel. [2 Tim 3:10 – 4:5, Psalm 1:1 – 6, Josh 1:8 – 9, Deut 17:14 – 20, Isa 58:1 – 14, Joel 2:11 – 21, 2 Chron 7:13 – 14, Neh. 1:1 – 11, 1 Jn 5:14 - 15.] As the Apostle Paul counsels:

2 Tim 2: 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. [Cf. 1 Tim 6:3 – 21, Ac 2:38 – 47 & 6:1 – 10 .]

2 Tim 3: 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom1  you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God2  may be competent, equipped for every good work. [Cf. Eph. 1:17 – 22, 4:9 – 24.]
. . . and, again:
1 Cor 15: 1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you-unless you believed in vain.
 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
. . . where, as Isaiah prophesied in the Scriptures, c. 700 BC:
      Isa 53: 1 Who has believed what he has heard from us?1
        And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
       2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
        and like a root out of dry ground;
        he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
        and no beauty that we should desire him.
       3 ​He was despised and rejected  by men;
        a man of sorrows,  and acquainted with  grief;
        and as one from whom men hide their faces
        he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
       4 ​Surely he has borne our griefs
        and carried our sorrows;
        yet we esteemed him stricken,
        smitten by God, and afflicted.
       5 ​But he was wounded for our transgressions;
        he was crushed for our iniquities;
        upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
        and with his stripes we are healed.
       6 ​​All we like sheep have gone astray;
        we have turned-every one-to his own way;
        and the LORD has laid on him
        the iniquity of us all. 
2] The neighbour-love principle as taught alike by Moses, Jesus and the Apostles, especially:
Lev 19: 17 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Matt 22: 37 And he [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Rom 13: 8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
3] Godly transformation of life to a life or purity in all areas, through the redemptive power of the gospel:
1 Cor 6: 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,  10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.  12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything . . . 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin  a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. [Cf. Eph 4:17 – 5:21, Titus 2:11 – 14, 2 Peter 1:1 – 12, 1 Tim 5:1 – 2, 2 Cor 1:3 – 4, Gal 6:1 – 5, Heb 10:19 – 39, etc.]
4] Bearing one another's burdens, encouragement, counsel and as appropriate, godly, loving restorative discipline:
Gal 6: 1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.
5] Godly leadership through loving, humble service by high-integrity example:
Luke 6: 39 He [Jesus] also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.
6] Promotion based on character, good stewardship over small things and diligence that serves God rather than the love of Money:
Luke 16: 10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”  [Cf. 1 Tim 6:3 – 10.]
7] Qualification for office based on character, well-deserved good reputation, maturity in the faith, quality of family life and competence:
1 Tim 3: 1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer1  must be above reproach, the husband of one wife,2  sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued,3  not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must4  be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.  >>

Of course, some looking on may need a backup on the grounding of and warrant for the Christian Faith that is being discussed. For such, I suggest here on in context as a good place to begin.

So, what do you think or suggest? END