Workplace Issues and Faith
11/10/10 at 11:39 PM 0 Comments

No Division Between Clergy and Laity

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written by Ed Silvoso
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There is no way our "pros" can win by themselves; every player in the Church must be engaged.

But Peter raised him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am just a man" (Acts 10:26).

The Early Church was led by "uneducated and untrained men" whose only (but most effective) credential was "that they had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13, NKJV). Uneducated does not mean illiterate. The apostles knew how to read and write, and some of them even had business experience, but they had no formal education in religious matters.

This informal form of Church leadership continued during the first few centuries and coincided with an era of rapid expansion of Christianity. Eventually, a division of the Church into clergy and laity was created—a division that severely damaged the effectiveness of the Church by confining to a few, by virtue of their training, the mission that belongs to everyone, by reason of their calling. The wall that was thrown up between these two groups inside the Church—with clergy being superior in rank—is unbiblical. The division is also a corruption of the Early Church model, established as it was with the help of secular rulers, who wanted to use the Church for political purposes.

There is no question that the Lord has provided for governmental offices in the Church for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry (see Eph. 4:7-16). The existence of these offices and the need to fill them are undeniable. But there is no basis for the mistaken belief that only members of the so-called clergy should occupy these offices.

The Church is not egalitarian when it comes to government; the existence of these offices attests to that. Nevertheless, divinely ordained levels of leadership should never preclude the Church from vigorously exercising the priesthood entrusted to all believers. Neither should we confine our priesthood as ministry solely to the Lord. Instead, our efforts must also be directed toward the lost. Doing so will result in our cities being filled with the teaching of the apostles by everyday Christians who minister to everybody, everywhere, on a daily basis. This becomes an absolute necessity when seen in the context of a plentiful harvest!

The need to fill the city with the gospel makes the elimination of this division imperative because it puts an unbearable share of the ministry on a few. For cities to be reached, this has to change. Otherwise, the Church will continue to resemble a World Cup final, where 22 exhausted soccer players in desperate need of rest are being watched by thousands of overweight spectators desperately in need of some exercise. Moreover, in the case of the Church, the opposing team does not have just 22 players but hundreds of thousands! There is no way our "pros" can win this match by themselves—every player in the Church must be active and on the field!

Prayer Evangelism written by Ed Silvoso. Copyright 2000 Gospel Light/Regal Books, Ventura, CA 93003. Used by Permission.   Content distributed by > used for non-profit teaching purposes only.

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