the life of God
Without being sidetracked by religious tradition."
By Charles Pinkney
God, finds His transforming way into the heart of people within churches who worship in more formal, liturgical ways. To the extent that the Word is taught and valued and the true worship of God is encouraged there is fruitfulness. The principle emphasis of these writings is that there is more, more, always more to be known and to be experienced. And these experiences are entirely consistent with apostolic teachings. The more freedom and liberty is given to the Holy Spirit, the more spiritual growth will be "experienced" when those believers gather together.
I will focus upon the negative attributes of the Religious paradigm which impact faith and spiritual growth. There are doctrines and practices familiar to us all, these are mostly the practices followed in the pastor-church house setting, that can actually keep individuals from ever experiencing the Kingdom of God or the greatest gift of God, salvation.
is only after we have
studied the Bible with
the intent to understand
that we begin to glimpse
and simplicity. It has
been called many things,
such as the "The Makers
users manual," "A
love letter from God,"
"A book that foretells
things to come."
CLERGY and LAITY TRADITION
will the kingdoms of this world give
way to the Kingdom of God? We have
the seen the evidence of religious rulers
who have sought to introduce a theocratic
kingdom upon the earth. The governence
of God's kingdom by human authority
has limitations and will always come
short of the Glory of God even though
our efforts have been founded upon good
intentions. Even with intentions based
upon Scriptural guidance. Formal theology
and ministry systems find themselves
at variance with the kingdom of God,
which is a spiritual kingdom outside
of the natural world philosophy and
did the clergy and the laity doctrine
come from? I can imagine through
my own decades of studying the Word
and watching religious scenes playing
out, how the world overtakes the Spiritual
side of Christian belief.
can not compare the forms of worship
described in the Epistles to the formal
church practices which are known today.
In the early days of the church there
was no formalized ministry, no theology
schools, no accreditation to ministry
credentials. There were only believers
who had been told the good news that
any person could receive the free gift
of salvation through the Son of God
and experience the powers of the
world to come, (The Kingdom of Heaven.)
heralded for the status of humanity
the earliest days of the Christian faith
the question has been asked and must
continue being asked, "Should we obey
God or man?" In order to distinguish
between these two voices something is
required of us:
WHAT IS MINISTRY
What is a Minister
In the New Testament texts, the word translated ministry is translated from service. The term ministry comes from Greek Diakonia. Thus ministry means service. Through the process of generations of religious practice, ministry has come to mean something else, something formal and liturgical. Within the context of "church" practices ministry has been restricted to that which is done behind a pulpit and then only by the few with "credentials."
is for all believers.
The Tradition of the Professional Clergy
The fortresses of institutional religion remain resistant and resolute. Institutional religion is the domain of the crow and not the eagle. Institutional religion is in descendancy but does not have the insight or grace to resign to its own demise. Old habits and traditions die hard.
We may well question the role and appropriateness of a trained clergy person. Some of these are not only brilliant communicators but men of compassion and dedication. These have their own fruitfulness in their calling and are beloved by those who they touch or disciple. But conversely there are others who may not even know God, in his promises and power. Unlike the apostle Paul who said I determine to know nothing among you but Jesus Christ crucified and to demonstrate the reality of his rulership by the power of God; these trained professionals presume to substitute sermonettes rather than demonstrating Spiritual understanding and the power of the Spirit. Many professional clergy assume their own pre-eminence owing to their credentials.
Examining The Clergy and the Laity
Clergy-Laity doctrine divides the
flock into two disparate parts.
Jesus came and ministered with meekness. He was a friend to sinners. He came to seek and to save and to serve. Modern church members tend to exalt leadership and place them on unrealistic pedestals and grant them unusual authority. Jesus taught us about those who lead: "Who is the greatest among you, Jesus said, shall be a servant to all." This might qualify as a template by which to measure the character and role of those in the role of clergy.
role and calling of a Spiritual shepherd
is truly a gift to the body he ministers
to (serves.) But he must minister that
gift outside of the parameters of religious
formalism. The shepherding gift brings
with it a necessary compassion and wisdom
to minister hope, encouragement, wisdom
to strengthen the flock.
religious tradition of "Clergy and Laity"
is not found in the Bible per se and
must be examined in the light of Scripture.
The practice no doubt made inroads into
common practice through the doctrine
of the five public ministry gifts (offices)
described in Ephesians chapter 4. The
five fold ministry has one aim; that
to build up all believers for the work
of the ministry until we all come to
the unity of the faith to the stature
of a mature man (Christ Jesus).
Throughout the apostolic letters we
are told that mature men of God were
to guide and direct and to maintain
purity of doctrine and practices. These
were to be overseers (Gr. presbuteros)
of the local flocks of God who met in
places having no resemblance to church
houses that are the norm today.
in faith and spiritual understanding
is recognized in elders or overseers.
The Trouble with Religion