The clergy / laity problem

From Jason White:

In some ways, I believe that the way seminaries are “training pastors” is undermining development of healthy, interactive, communal church bodies. They way we teach ministry here creates a distinction between clergy and laity. Because of this distinction it seems that the focus is put on the pastor to study a text and give it to the congregation in a nice packaged form, on top of doing other duties like visiting people in the hospital, deacons meetings, and all the other stuff they do that isn’t found anywhere in Scripture. The church body expects the pastor to do these things because they’re paying him. In turn, they get lazy. They diverge into coming to church on Sunday and Wednesday to “hear a message”, or “get blessed”, or “hear some good preachin’…”, do these terms sound familiar? Its become a take, take, take relationship. Whatever happened to the take, give, give, give, tell, tell, tell relationship? My point is not to bash Seminary in general, its to expose the fact that we’re doing something wrong. And its affecting the body in such a way that we’re removing the headship of Christ from the church and replacing him with a well-dressed, polished speaker.


From Dave Black:

One of the reasons I oppose the professionalization of pastoral ministry is because I believe that Jesus would have opposed it. He demonstrated that kingdom ministry meant personal interest in other people as demonstrated by intercessory prayer and by deeds of selfless love. He prayed for His disciples on the night He was betrayed, and He constantly showed personal and even sacrificial interest in the well-being of others. His ministry was person-centered. The practical effect of Christ's ministry upon ecclesiology is twofold: All believers are priests by the fact that they are one with Christ, and all believers are ambassadors for Christ because He Himself has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation. As Catholic theologian Hans Küng puts it in his voluminous work The Church (p. 473):

"The abolition of a special priestly caste and its replacement by the priesthood of the one new and eternal high priest has as its strange and yet logical consequence the fact that all believers share in a universal priesthood."

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