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Governance Egalitarianism in Jesus' Teaching

Cllve Beed and Cara Beed


Governance egalitarianism has been defined as a situation where all members of an organization have something approximating equal say in determining policy of the group. Nowadays, it is practiced mainly in worker cooperatives, and in some voluntary organizations, like amateur sports and recreation clubs. It has been alleged that Jesus encouraged governance egalitarianism within his movement, but this contention has been challenged. This paper revisits the matter, looks at earlier arguments, and examines scriptural material relevant to the issue. On the basis of reasssessing the arguments, and of Jesus’ alleged sayings and behavior as interpreted by Matthew, the conclusion is that Jesus did seek to mould a movement in which he expected his followers to practice governance egalitarianism among themselves. That people of different status coexisted within the Jesus movement does not tell against the conclusion. Nor do arguments that Jesus sought to foster this mode of governance in a patriarchical society undermine the judgment, although the role of women in the Jesus movement is not examined.

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