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« The Image of Protestant Evangelical Worship, pt 8 | Main | The Image of Protestant Evangelical Worship, pt 9 »

June 06, 2005

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Yes. I have felt like my calling to be a pastor had become insignificant and commone. "Everyone's a minister" we now say (but, I'm the only one in my church doing any ministering?). The pastor is "one of the guys."

I am "one of the guys," and I hope others will "minister," but I have been divinely called, appointed, and ordained to shepherd a flock, lead a church, and preach the Word. NOT everyone is called to do that. NOT everyone can do that. I am sure NOT everyone wants to do that :)!

The question for me is: is the distinction between clergy and layity done with an attitude of exclusion or benificiating(is this even a word?). When the distinction is made in order to exclude it should be rethought, because that was not what Christ was about. We should seek out and reaffirm the ways in which the distinction is made for the benifit of others. Most often it is a heart attitude though, just like many other things.

I've been ordained as a Presbyterian minister since 1992. However, in that time, I've been working in national and state roles. In my local congregations my ordination has often been secondary and I have functioned as a leader despite being ordained. I've been reminded that being given a commission by the church does not remove me from the people. In my local church at present, I'm supporting the leaders of house churches in their role, so that they can disciple, pastor and teach in their own context.

Our church also has an equal proportion of lay and clergy at it's regional, state and national gatherings. But what happens is that clergy have a higher impact on decisions made at these levels.
I'm presently part of a conversation on ordination, specified ministries, and the ministry of all God's people, in the Uniting Church in Australia. We have a web site at http://assembly.uca.org.au/converse/ that is designed to resource conversation on the issues you raise.

If we take seriously Eph.4:11f concerning the 5 - fold ministry offices as The Church's directive defining “leadership - clergy” in the body of Christ this conflect would fade. There is I think an overlooked element in the instruction. Those given the tasks are "gifts" to the Church as equippers. We often mouth these words speaking them like the TV or radio disclaimer guys at the end of commercials fortheequippingthesaintsfortheworkofservice.

We like to pontificate the words of Peter that we are a “royal priesthood”. The truth conveyed through Peter’s pen lies in Deut.19:5-6. The intent of Yahweh's choosing - delivering Israel meant each member of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’s, decedents were to be priests. However the task fell to Moses and the Tribe of Levi by default. Peter declares, we restored through Christ must understand we are a Royal priesthood.

The reformation made the Body aware again of our status. When we study the priesthood of Yahweh displayed through the Tribe of Israel our dynamic for living opens up. We are ALL priests Deut.19,1st Peter 2 The priesthood were not just men sacrificing at the Alter. Every aspect of livelihood were among there ranks. The butcher the baker the candlestick maker (to use an old nursery rhyme). This included teachers etc seen in the 5 - fold list. As with any community, some members work within the community to prepare said community to serve as a part of the productivity the community needs to survive. There in lies the paradox of “clergy and laity”. Maybe if we changed our terminally and activities invalved to Biblical categories the “gap” would not be.
Pastor Art

What we often fail to recognize is that the truth of the matter lies in a dynamic tension between the preisthood of all beleivers and those uniquely called to the office of the priesthood. Israel was to be a Kingdom of priests served by a priesthood. It is the same today. We are a pristhood of believers to the world who are in turn served by a priesthood. This has been the classical understanding of the priesthood, it just got lost and the priesthood of all believers was obscurred because, for the most part, Christian Europe lost a sense of the mission of all believers. Once we lose our sense of mission we lose our notion of priesthood.

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