Christ is pre-eminently their leader. He is the “leader and completer of faith” (Hebrews 12 v. 2) The Holy Spirit is also a leader. “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are Sons of God” (Romans 8 v. 14)
The scriptures show that leadership is a principle with God (Hebrews 13:7, 17) and He provides His people with leaders from among them to show them the way and to protect them. The idea is that the leader goes before, according to the pattern of Christ and in doing so, he suffers.
There were great leaders in Old Testament times e.g.; Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Samuel, David, and the Prophets. It was an unbroken line of men with moral power through self judgment, who knew the mind of God for His people. Likewise, in New Testament times there were the apostles and particularly Paul whose ministry constitutes so much of the New Testament (Colossians 1:25).
Christ in His faithful love continued to provide leaders for His church, many in obscurity perhaps, but also ones such as Luther, Wycliffe, and many others. In 1828 there was a spontaneous movement among many devout Christians to separate from the established churches and distinctive leadership was provided by the Lord in J.N. Darby. This character of leadership continues to the present day.
Leadership also has a place in each of the localities of the Exclusive Brethren in persons of moral worth who are committed to care for the welfare of their brethren.
Exclusive Brethren Leaders are not selected by vote and are not formally ordained. However, Exclusive Brethren respect the gain and virtue of leadership, and leaders are identified by their love and care, and ministry to the Exclusive Brethren. ” A man’s gift maketh room for him.” ( Proverbs 18:16)
This unbroken line of divinely accredited universal leadership has been bitterly attacked because the leaders have been marked by purity, unselfishness, and refusal to compromise the principles that govern the basis of Christian fellowship and the house of God.