n HTS : Theological Studies - Leadership succession patterns in the apostolic church as a template for critique of contemporary charismatic leadership succession patterns : original research




The pattern of leadership succession observed globally in most contemporary Pentecostal movements and churches can be characterised as dynastic succession. Yet historic modern Pentecostalism (in the Azusa tradition) prided itself on being biblical. This article explores the biblical sources, examining first the leadership structure and then the leadership succession patterns in the apostolic church as well as the extra-biblical sources of the apostolic patristic era. Our findings from this New Testament (and patristic sources) survey of leadership succession in the apostolic church and post-apostolic churches furnish a template for critical evaluation of the prevalent succession approaches of contemporary Pentecostal groups. Critical elements of apostolic and leadership structure and succession patterns are highlighted, and needed inferences are drawn for the re-shaping of leadership and its succession in contemporary Christian ministries and churches.


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