As I mentioned in the first post in this series, I want to highlight some of the comments that have been left on my blog posts during the past week. Hopefully, this will give more visibility to some of the reasons that I love blogging – dialog and interaction.
The first comment that I want to highlight comes from Lora on my post “Start loving your neighbor by getting to know your actual neighbors.” She writes:
I am seeing in certain circles a disdain for putting feet to our faith. I recently heard a pastor say that to want to make an impact on your community was Marxism and social justice. He was actually preaching out of Romans on zeal without knowledge and said that to want to impact your city showed that you had zeal without knowledge. Using the terms Marxism and social justice when you are discussing the government trying to meet every need is appropriate, but I was quite stunned to hear it applied to the church meeting needs. Such statements aren’t being backed up with scripture obviously, but I have heard some in that camp state that when scripture talks about the widows and orphans it is only talking about those within the body of Christ.
This topic is huge. The discussion alone registers on the Richter Scale.
I think A-Love, hitting on the ‘title’, makes legitimate sense. There’s power in titles. It’s an American phenomenon. It adds weight to a position, or it can equally demean someone else. It’s amazing what a title does. Or a corner office. But, you’re right. The essence is simply about removing ‘control’ from the list of must-haves and allow for the Body to move per the Head’s request. Some thoughts:
1. It makes people feel comfortable to know where they stand. If ‘that guy’s’ the leader, then I feel safe.
2. If someone else is doing the ‘leading’, then they don’t have to.
3. (this one is more internally related) Ministers have done a great job setting up a hierarchy, creating job security, and limiting access to the power in church, all for the sake of protecting their futures.
In many ways we resemble a Catholic set up where we’d admit it or not. We’ve got this guy (or several guys) going to God on our behalf, telling us what to do, and making us wait with bated breath as to our next steps. We don’t train people to get up and move, nor do they always act like they want to, but you’re right…
…it needs to happen in order to change things.
Jack left this comment on my post “New Testament Foundations for Itinerant Servants: Paul’s Letters“:
Reading Phil 1 Paul illustrates his lack of competition or rivalry between other brothers. Phil 1:18. He had reason to be jealous or angry at certain brothers per Phil 1:15-17, but he restrained himself and rejoiced in the fact that Christ was proclaimed.
Whether itinerant or not, we all can glean from that example.
What is remarkable, is that nowhere do the epistles directly address elders/pastors with responsibility to solve/resolve church issues. That is explicitly directed to all of the saints. If there were a hierarchy where the saints were “under” the leadership (decision making, authority, etc.), then these letters would be an incredible affront to their position.
Imagine a denominational leader today addressing the general church body without at least acknowledging the responsibility of the “leadership” to address the concerns of the letter. What a slight! How they would be seen as overstepping their authority and meddling.
Look at the number and extent of problems in Corinth, and yet, nothing is directed to the “leadership” to “fix.” Pretty amazing. I’m surprised no one seems to notice how glaringly obvious the differences are between our day and the NT era is in terms of the lack of hierarchy and the lack of recognition of pastoral authority/repsonibility for the actions of the church.