Day One, 144 pages, £7.00
This is a book for elders or anyone with leadership responsibilities within a church. Many such may baulk at the prospect of reassessing their church’s governance, but all will benefit from the advice offered by this book.
Temple begins by suggesting five levels of biblical guidance: precepts, principles, precedents, guidelines and freedoms. The practices advocated in the book are justified with reference to one or more of these levels.
For example, he describes principles as, ‘biblical laws aimed at the local church and which must be observed by every church in all ages’ (pp.23-24).
The longest chapter covers the role of elders, while others focus on deacons and the congregation. Other aspects of church life addressed include meetings and ministries.
The book is wonderfully thought-provoking. You may not agree with his view on a particular matter, but Temple certainly makes you think. For example, he states that whereas a deacon fulfils a biblical office, the Bible nowhere envisages a diaconate. Instead, elders head the various ministries of the church, assisted by one or more individual deacons and team members, leaving little room for a diaconate.
A great virtue of the book is its brevity: 114 pages, plus appendices that include a suggested constitution. Busy church officers would be tackling only a slim volume.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The book will be worthless if it does not assist office bearers to change the way their church is governed. Those engaged in church planting, or involved in a church with a new pastor after a long interregnum, or connected with a church entering a new phase of its life, would also benefit from reading.
Elders need all the biblical help they can get in these challenging times. This will help an eldership reassess its leadership role in the light of Scripture.