I came across a new blog today, Unlikely Christians, and I really like it. Written by three guys, one a Southeastern Seminary grad and two current students, I really appreciate their thinking. I read this afternoon as series, Rethinking "Clergy/Laity", that was great. I would commend the entire series of six short blog posts to you:
Rethinking “Clergy/Laity” – On the danger of the issue (pt. 1)
Rethinking “Clergy/Laity” – A Call to Ministry? (pt. 2)
Rethinking “Clergy/Ministry” – Where are my fireworks? (pt. 3)
Rethinking “Clergy/Laity” – Professional Christians and the Levitical Priesthood (pt. 4)
Rethinking “Clergy/Laity” – Priesthood of Pastors? (pt. 5)
Rethinking “Clergy/Laity” – Let’s not get carried away (pt. 6)
I loved this line from the series:
The Israelites had their professional ministers, so we must have ours. Just like the Israelites we pay them to do the ministry. As such, most of our Protestant churches are functionally Catholic. The paid staff are the professional Christians.
In spite of our profession of a "priesthood of all believers", I think that quote is truer than many of us would like to admit. I would suggest that much of our church practices are a weird blend of Catholic traditions, Protestant theology and a misapplication of Old Testament doctrines to the New Covenant church.
Here is another great line, and it captures the spirit I hope I and other exhibit:
We believe the Bible, and because of this we believe in elders and deacons. There are clear leadership roles given in Scripture that every church should embody (1 Tim. 3:1-7, Tit. 1:5-8, 1 Tim. 3:8-13, Acts 6:1-6). We just want to challenge churches to examine themselves in light of Scripture, and ask whether what they’re doing is truly biblical, or if it’s some sort of secular, Americanized leadership model that has been baptized in religious language and assumed as biblical because “that’s how we’ve always done it.” These are difficult questions to ask.
Again, that is what this line of thinking I have been trying to follow for the last year is about. I am not seeking to cast off all authority, all practices, scrap the whole thing and start all over. What I am asking is if the way we traditionally "do" church has its basis in the Scripture or in a tradition that is basically adopted from Rome. What I have concluded is that more often than not, our church practices in reality are simply variations on Roman practices that we have "Protestantized".
Anyway, I liked the posts a lot and I appreciate the direct and concise writing style. Questioning our church traditions is not some subversive plot and in fact often yields a more faithful vision of ministry. I am looking forward to reading more from these three brothers.