This is an explorative study of the relationship between power and servant leadership from a theological perspective. It is argued that Robert K. Greenleaf, Tom Marshall and Yvonne Bradley have provided useful theoretical perspectives on this relationship that may be used to generate important theological research questions. The nature of legitimate power is understood differently based on the underlying anthropology and worldview promoted by these theorists. For Greenleaf, servant leadership is synonymous with legitimate power. His theory of servant leadership is shaped by a religiously indeterminate moral vision of the world and includes a number of moral virtues. Bradley rejects Greenleaf’s model based on a conception of Christian Realism. For Marshall, legitimate power is identical with the character and virtues of servant leadership as this is revealed in Christ. For both Greenleaf and Marshall, the preferred mode of power is persuasion and moral modeling, yet under certain circumstances use of coercive power may be applied according to certain criteria. The study argues that the perspective of virtue ethics and phronetic analyses are useful to advance our understanding of both servant leadership and the dilemmas of power. Yet, such an approach also requires a systematical theological horizon that is sketched out by asking questions from the perspectives of Trinitarian theology, Christology and Eschatology.
Agosto, D. E. (2005). Servant Leadership: Jesus and Paul. Chalice Press.
Åkerlund, T. (2015). Son, Sent, and Servant. Johannine Perspectives on Servant Leadership Theory. Scandinavian Journal of Leadership and Theology, 2. DOI: https://doi.org/10.53311/sjlt.v2i1.9
Alvesson, M. & Einola, K. (2019). Warning for excessive positivity: Authentic leadership and other traps in leadership studies. The Leadership Quarterly, 30. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2019.04.001
Aquinas, T. (1981). The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas. Christian Classics.
Arand, C. P., Kolb, R. & Nestingen, J. A. (2012). The Lutheran Confessions: History and Theology of the Book of Concord (3rd edition). Fortress Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt22h6rzc
Atkinson, W. P. (2011). Baptism in the Spirit: Luke-Acts and the Dunn Debate. Wipf & Stock Pub. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1cg4msm
Banks, R. J., Ledbetter, B. M., Greenhalgh, D. C., Dyrness, W., Johnston, R., & Pree, M. D. (2016). Reviewing Leadership: A Christian Evaluation of Current Approaches (2nd ed). Baker Academic.
Bell, S. (2014). Servants and Friends. Andrews University Press.
Bradley, Y. (1994). Working in the Shadow: Machiavelli and Biblical and Secular Leadership Models. Journal of Christian Education, 38. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/002196579403700103
Bradley, Y. (1999). A Critique of Robert Greenleaf’s Concept of Leadership. Journal of Christian Education, 42. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/002196579904200207
Bretherton, L. (2010). Hospitality as Holiness. Ashgate Publishing Company.
Castelo, D. (2012). Revisioning Pentecostal Ethics—The Epicletic Community. CPT Press.
Clarke, A. D. (2013). A Pauline Theology of Church Leadership (1st ed.). Bloomsbury T&T Clark.
Eva, N., Mulyadi, R., Liden, R., van Dierendonck, D. & Sendyaja, S. (2019). Servant Leadership: A systematic review and call for future research. The Leadership Quarterly, 30. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2018.07.004
Flyvbjerg, B. (2001). Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How it Can Succeed Again (S. Sampson, Trans.; 1st edition). Cambridge University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511810503
Fraker, A. T., & Greenleaf, R. K. (Eds.). (1996). Seeker and Servant: Reflections on Religious Leadership (1st edition). Jossey-Bass.
Frick, D. M. (2004). Robert K. Greenleaf: A Life of Servant Leadership. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Greenleaf, R. (2013). Servant Retrospect & Prospect. The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.
Greenleaf, R., & Drucker, P. (1996). On Becoming a Servant Leader (1st edition). Jossey-Bass.
Greenleaf, R. K. (2002). Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness (25th Anniversary edition). Paulist Press.
Habets, M. (2016). Theosis in the Theology of Thomas Torrance (1st edition). Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315551173
Hackman, M. Z., & Johnson, C. E. (2003). Leadership: A Communication Perspective (4th edition). Waveland Press, Inc.
Kärkkainen, V.-M. (2014). Trinity and Revelation: A Constructive Christian Theology for the Pluralistic World, volume 2. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Kärkkainen, V.-M. (2016). Spirit and Salvation: A Constructive Christian Theology for the Pluralistic World, volume 4. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Kearsley, R. (2016). Church, Community and Power (1st edition). Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315572048
Keller Jr., J. A. (1986). Niebuhr, Tillich, and Whitehead on the Ethics of Power. American Journal of Theology & Philosophy, Vol. 7,(3), 132–148.
Klauss, B., & Heusser, R. (1998). Charismatic Leadership Theory—A Shadow Side Confessed. Pneuma, 20 (1), 161–174. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/157007498X00126
Land, S. (1993). Pentecostal Spirituality: A Passion for the Kingdom. Sheffield Academic Press.
Land, S. (2010). Pentecostal Spirituality: A Passion for the Kingdom. CPT Press.
Lingenfelter, S. G. (1996). Agents of Transformation: A Guide for Effective Cross-Cultural Ministry. Baker Academic.
Lingenfelter, S. G. (2008). Leading Cross-Culturally: Covenant Relationships for Effective Christian Leadership. Baker Academic.
Lingenfelter, S. G. (2018). Leadership in the Way of the Cross: Forging Ministry from the Crucible of Crisis. Cascade Books, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers.
Macchia, F. D. (2006). Baptized in the Spirit: A Global Pentecostal Theology. Zondervan Publishers.
Machiavelli, N. (2003). The Prince. Penguin Classics. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1522/cla.man.pri
MacIntyre, A. C. (2007). After virtue: A study in moral theory. University of Notre Dame Press.
Marshall, T. (2003). Understanding Leadership. Baker Books.
Moltmann, J. (1981). The Trinity and the Kingdom: The Doctrine of God (1st edition). Harper & Row.
Moore, G. (2019). Virtue at Work: Ethics for Individuals, Managers, and Organizations. Oxford University Press.
Niewold, J. (2007). Beyond Servant Leadership. Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership, 1(1).
Qviller, B., & Machiavelli, N. (1999). Innledende essay (Introduction). In: Fyrsten.
Rasmusson, A. (2002). Revolutionary Subordination: A Biblical Concept of Resistance in the Theology of John Howard Yoder. In: Peace in Europe, Peace in the World: Conflict Resolution and the Use of Violence. Südwind Verlag.
San Juan, K. S. (2005). Re-Imagining Power in Leadership: Reflection, Integration, and Servant-Leadership. The International Journal of Servant-Leadership, 1.
Sinnott-Armstrong, W. (2019). Consequentialism. In: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consequentialism/
Steenwyk, M. V., Fitch, D. E. & Kim, J. (2013). The Kingdom of God: Embracing the Subversive Power of Repentance. IVP Books.
Sykes, S. (2006). Power and Christian Theology (1st edition). Continuum.
Syse, H. (2009). Måtehold i grådighetens tid. Cappelen Damm.
Tangen, K. I. (2018a). Leadership as Idolatry. The case of Stalinism and beyond. Scandinavian Journal of Leadership and Theology, 5 (1). DOI: https://doi.org/10.53311/sjlt.v4.24
Tangen, K. I. (2018b). Leadership as Participation in Christ: Paul’s Theology of Leadership in the Letter to the Philippians. Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership, 8 (1).
Tangen, K. I. (2018c). Leadership as Participation in the Hospitality of God. A Reading of Luke-Acts. Journal of Pentecostal Theology, 27 (2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/17455251-02702010
Volf, M. (1997). After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Weber, M. (2009). The Theory of Social and Economic Organization (Reprint edition). Free Press. Wells, M. A. (2004). Servant leadership: A theological analysis of Robert K. Greenleaf’s concept of human transformation. PhD-dissertation.
Willgren, D. (2017). Women, Power, and the Bible in Early Anabaptist History. Scandinavian Journal of Leadership and Theology, 4. DOI: https://doi.org/10.53311/sjlt.v4.27
Williams, B. D., McKibben, M. T., Joannides, K. (1994). Oriented Leadership: Why Every Christian Needs It (1st edition). Orthodox Church in America.
Wilson, K. R. (2010). Steward Leadership: Characteristics of the Steward Leader in Christian Nonprofit Organizations. PhD-dissertation.
Wilson, K. R. (2016). Steward Leadership in the Nonprofit Organization. IVP Books.
Yoder, J. H. (1994). The Politics of Jesus (2nd edition). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Yong, A. (2003). Beyond the Impasse: Beyond a Pneumatological Theology of Religions (1st edition). Baker Academic.
Yong, A. (2010). In the Days of Caesar: Pentecostalism and Political Theology. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Yong, A., & Anderson, J. A. (2014). Renewing Christian Theology: Systematics for a Global Christianity. Baylor University Press.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Copyright (c) 2021 Karl Inge Tangen