First published 11/05/12
The following article is not - in the main - aimed at 'people'. What it is principally designed to do is highlight the damage that a system is doing to both 'clergy' and 'laity'.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Pet 2:9
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. Rom 12:6
The one-man-band form of ministry is destructive for both those who occupy pulpits and those who sit in pews. (In fact the pulpit/pew architecture in our churches is a contradiction of what the Bible teaches.)
The dangers to clergy is that they are forced into a relative isolation from the rest of the congregation and can easily fall victim to overload and stress. They are also an easy target for spiritual attack. (How many manse families have suffer from this problem; and how many churches have been brought low if/when the pulpit person becomes ill, or falls from grace for one reason or another?)
Many clergy are obliged, by the position in which the church structures place them, to perform in roles which are outwith their gifting and calling. How many good preachers do not have pastoral gifting? And how many sensitive caring pastors do not have preaching abilities? And yet they are obliged to fulfil functions for which are beyond their callings.
With regard to the pews, what opportunity is given to believers to fully exercise their gifts and callings bestowed on them by the Lord? Additionally there is the great danger of become dependent on one person only to hear what the Lord is saying to the church. This becomes a huge problem if that person drifts away from the Lord.
Two great problems very often arise.
Scenario 1. The person in the pulpit is a Spirit-filled earnest honest-to-God preacher who repeatedly, but to no real effect, urges the congregation and every member of it to accept the responsibility and calling of Christ in the Great Commission in the situations and with the abilities which God has given them.
Result: A stressed-out, over-worked, frustrated pulpit person.
Scenario 2. A congregation is full of committed and gifted believers who are earnestly seeking to outwork their respective ministries but are offered no real scope to do so.
Result: A serious diminution of the work of extending the Kingdom and a suppression of the gifts and abilities which God has bestowed within the ministry of all believers. (In one of the worst-case scenarios, those who have returned from active missionary service are relegated to become passive observers on the back pews.)
Thankfully there are at least some who are honest enough to Scripture, acute enough to realise, and bold enough to say that the centuries-old system – which not even the Reformation corrected – is totally unbiblical, and is causing the most serious and lasting damage to the extension of the Kingdom of God, the saving of souls and the building up of the body of Christ.
One of these is Jon Zens.
Dr. Jon Zens has a wide-ranging theological background. He holds a B.A. in Biblical studies from Covenant College, a M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, and a D.Min. from the California Graduate School of Theology.
For the last thirty years, Jon has been the editor of a magazine entitled Searching Together. He's not only a NT scholar, but he's an expert on church history. Jon also served as a pastor for a number of years, but moved on after concluding that full reformation within the existing institutional church system was unworkable.
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Peter made the connection: we must do the same
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The Gifts of the Holy Spirit has, and continues to be a subject of much controversy, mis-understanding and abuse. In a day when the Christian church needs to be all the God intends for her, Ray Borlase defends his corner. (Author: Ray Borlase)
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I will set a Plumb Line amongst My People
When the foundations are faulty it is pointless to fiddle with the superstructure. The problem needs to identified and remedied before the building can be soundly restored. (Author: )
It's right to allow calls to gay ministers
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What is Next for Rick Warren?
Roger Oakland sees the drive for 'peace and unity' as the bait which will draw Christian churches and believers into a multi-faith mix. (Author: Roger Oakland)
Q 'n' A sessions after Sunday sermons?
The apostle Paul advised his audience to 'check him out'. Surely contemporary preaching should be subject to the same scrutiny? (Author: Christians Together)
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Facts about Islam
Dr. Peter Hammond outlines the normative progression of Islamic influence and behaviour in countries in relation to the demographic statistics. (Author: Christians Together)
Ten things everyone needs to know about Islam
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Obstacles to Spiritual Growth: An Overview
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The Platypus Challenge
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The problems afflicting Wycliffe Bible Translators (WBT) are continuing to run over the concerns that basic words such as ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ have been removed in order not to offend Muslims are growing. (Author: Christians Together)
To whom it may concern
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Truth, error and deception
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Will the church be all-conquering before Jesus comes back?
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Something biblical; or just more of the same?
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Rick Warren builds bridge to Islam
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Reformation document is damaging the church
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Off Message: attacks from the inside?
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Depression and the Christian (1)
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Prophecy fulfilled: rumours of wars arising
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A situation; a request
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Leaven in the lump, and tares amongst wheat
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When everything shakes, in whom do we trust?
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David Pawson's Fireside Chats
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The 'Left Behind' doctrine relaunched
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Christian Survival Resource
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The 'Emerging' Church and Straw Men
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Disarming of The Church
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