the weblog of Alan Knox

Gifting vs. Office…

Posted by on Nov 21, 2006 in elders, office, spiritual gifts | 2 comments

This is the first series of posts inspired by papers or conversations at the Evangelical Theological Society meeting this year. One of the first presentations that I heard was Harold W. Hoehner’s “Can a Woman be a Pastor-Teacher?” (If you can find this paper online, please let me know.) Apart from the provocative title, the content provided many opportunities for discussion. Hoehner’s premise was that we must not confuse spiritual gifting with office. Now, while I do not like the term “office”, I will use it for this discussion. His conclusion was that pastoring and teaching are both spiritual gifts, not offices. Since the Holy Spirit gifts different believers with different gifts, He may – and probably does – endow women with the gift of pastoring-teaching.

This series will center around the differences between gifting by the Spirit and office within the church. Is there a difference? Should someone holding a certain office always have certain gifts? Should someone with certain gifts always hold a certain office? If you think of other questions, please add them in the comments.


2 Comments

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  1. 12-12-2006

    Thought I’d share a more general concern with the use of the term office in the church. Schweizer expresses a textual concern with the term ‘office’. He points out that the Greek term for office (αρχη) is only used for “Jewish and Gentile authorities” and that the more appropriate New Testament term is the Greek term for service: διακονος. He then adds that “official priesthood, which exists to conciliate and mediate between God and the community, is found in Judaism and paganism; but since Jesus Christ there has been only one such office – that of Jesus himself. It is shared by the whole Church, and never by one church member as distinct from others.” Thus to identify some specific gift as an office runs the risk of setting up a clergy-laity division which is only seen in the New Testament when referring to the Jewish and Gentile priests. As he states: “it is nowhere forgotten that such renunciation of titles, honors, and offices testifies to the Church’s newness in contrast to the old religious or secular order.” [1]

    [1] Edward Schweizer, Church Order in the New Testament, trans. Frank Clarke (Naperville, IL: Alec R. Allenson, 1961), 171-180. I would not agree with Schweizer on many issues, but in this case, I think he has a very good point.

  2. 12-12-2006

    Hey Mael,
    Welcome to my blog and thank you for the comment. Based on what you quoted, I think I would agree with Schweizer on this point as well.
    - Alan

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  1. The Assembling of the Church | Gifting vs. Office - [...] In response, I wrote a blog series describing and interacting with Hoehner’s view. (”Gifting vs. Office,” “Gifting vs. Office …