Debate about church order has gone on for centuries within Christianity, and an end is nowhere in sight. Perhaps that is good, since the debate shows the weaknesses of many ideas that need correction. Corporate Decision-Making examines church order from a careful exegetical perspective, with particular attention to the social world of the New Testament. While most works about church government address structure and qualities of leadership, Brown deals with the interaction of the people of the church, both with their leaders and with one another, in setting policy.
In brief, though all believers in the young church of the New Testament revered Christ and his Word as authoritative, not all church decisions were "top down" from earthly leaders. On the contrary, many were "from the bottom up." This should come as no surprise to those familiar with Jesus' admonition in the Gospels, "You have one teacher, and you are all brothers."