Weekly Sabbath Survey
Ministry & Ministers — 2-22-2014
In the very early First Century Church, Believers began to set apart people among themselves as leaders, as God spoke to them. Sometimes they drew lots. Or, God named who would be “separated out” to be used in ministry on missionary journeys and other purposes. An example is Paul and Barnabas, Acts 13:2, where God spoke to the church at Antioch to separate these two men for service. Also, deacons, male and female, were appointed for service. During that time the recognized ministries of Apostles, Prophets, Pastors (teachers) and Evangelists (missionaries) worked together with equal authority among the people. Each one was deemed called and anointed by God for the ministry.
As time went on through history the original apostles had all died, The Church abandoned its Jewish roots and Gentiles were running it. The men placed in leadership positions came to be called “clergy” and the rest of us, including elders and deacons were “laity.” (This is not the pattern of equality set forth in the New Testament nor in the First Church.) These clergy-men were called priests. They were “ordained” by other priests. This is when ‘ordination’ by man took the place of the calling and anointing of God. The ‘priests’ were a sort club, and it was difficult to get into.
In time these clergy-men rose to great prominence in every area of public life. By paying large sums of money to the other leaders some were voted into high positions over others. The leadership in the church was of the wealthy ruling class and the laity were below them in every way. The highest church offices were political plumbs to be sought and bought. Men in these offices were so powerful they were greatly feared. They had the monarch’s ear, and sometimes dictated national policy, and even who lived and who died. The result was a corrupt church and corrupt governments all over Europe. What is ordained by God is spiritual; but sadly, what is ordained by flesh is flesh.
This practice of elevating people over other people, and the sinful results it brought, continued for many centuries. We not only honored the ones who were clergy, we actually ‘adored’ some of them. Because these men were up so high, they were desperate to keep themselves there. Many of these people took some very hard falls. They were at times, publicly accused and humiliated, other times assassinated by their enemies. The intrigue never stopped. Today, it is more common for such adored and admired leaders to be brought down by scandal.
All this produced a laity who to this day does not see themselves as needing to do anything in the work of God’s Kingdom. We were taught the ‘ministers’ took care of that. So we were lulled into a state of apathy by expecting the preacher to do everything. He’s the only ‘minister’ in the building! This error could be avoided completely by holding to the Believer’s Priesthood that Peter taught, that we are all a part of ‘the ministry’. Some ministries are more visible than others, some more admired, but everyone should be in a ministry. This is the true priesthood, for which every Blood Bought Believer is qualified, as stated by Peter.
Another helpful thing might be to realize that the Greek words for ‘ministry’ and ‘minister’ can be translated into English as SERVICE and SERVANT. These words don’t have the prestige or holy ring that ‘minister’ or ‘reverend’ do. But it is a better way to convey the meaning of working for God.
So, we are all just servants. We are servants of the Lord and each other, and of mankind in general as we work with unbelievers and ‘preach’ the Gospel. We must carefully regard each other with appreciation and honor. We must also keep in mind that we are all saved by grace and hopefully doing the best we can in service to our Lord and King.
A priest is one who goes into God’s presence to represent the people, then comes forth into the presence of the people to represent God. You may be the only ‘priest’ another person knows. ~author unknown~
Charlene Reams Manning
Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
Forward any WSS you feel has merit. (without changes, please)
Comments are welcome. Subscribe or contact me at: RedHen1944@aol.com