SPECIAL TOPIC: ORDINATION (from 1 Tim. 4:14)

I must admit that I bring some frustration to this topic. I have a theological bias against the "clergy/laity" dichotomy that has developed in Christianity. I believe that all believers are called and gifted for maturity and ministry (cf. 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4:11-12). Believers are saints and ministers! They are saved to serve!

The Reformation concept of "the priesthood of the believer," first articulated by Martin Luther, misses the biblical point—all believers are to function as priests (cf. Exod. 19:5-6; Num. 16:3). Biblically it must be "the priesthood of believers"!

Now in saying this I also realize that God calls believers to lead believers (cf. Num. 16:11). There is no question that some are called and equipped to direct, guide, motivate, exhort, and organize the people of God (i.e.,  Eph. 4:11).

However, these leaders are not special believers, or privileged believers, but servant leaders (cf. Matt. 18:1-4; 20:20-28; 23:11). Modern ordination tends to depreciate several biblical truths:

1. all believers are servant ministers

2. all believers are gifted for ministry

Ordination has developed from an unofficial affirmation of giftedness and a prayerful commitment to a specific ministry task (i.e., Acts 13:1-3) into an elaborate, high-walled elitism! This concept must be changed; this paradigm must be reevaluated; this unbiblical development must be challenged!  Modern Christianity has based so much tradition and elitism on such a small biblical base (i.e., Acts 13:1-3; 1 Tim. 4:14; 5:22; 2 Tim. 1:6). So, where is the authority, in clear NT passages or in denominational traditions?

This diversity and ambiguity illustrates the lack of organization in the first century church. The early church was much more dynamic and regularly used the spiritual gifts of believers (cf. 1 Corinthians 14). The NT is simply not written to advocate or delineate a governmental model (i.e., polity) or ordinational procedure.

Copyright © 2014 Bible Lessons International