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« Tradition 1 for the church | Main | 3rd tradition talks about a "willingness" »

14 December 2009


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"I do not positions given in Scripture, only gifts to be used to serve."

So where does authority come in? I think there are positions mentioned in the Bible. Authority was given for some to be apostles, for example.

However, I agree with your overall concern that people should be using their gifts whether it comes with a title or not. If you have the gift of teaching, you don't have to be a teacher with a class to use that gift.

There's a gal in our Bible study who's in her mid-80s. She had pneumonia and ended up in the hospital so our study group went and visited her together. As we sat around talking, she'd say things that were clearly teaching from her to us. It was really delightful because despite her painful circumstances, her gift was still bubbling up out of her. She probably didn't even think about the fact that she was teaching us, but she was.

I think there are positions, but the focus shouldn't be on the positions nor on those with positions. The focus should be on the wholeness of the group such that it grows in love and unity and thereby glorifies God. Such a focus requires an understanding of and regular use of gifts. But at the same time it doesn't glorify the gifts either because they're not the point any more than positions are. The point is the health of the body such that it can give glory to God. No, actually the point is giving glory to God, and a chief means of doing that is the health of the body.

Stephen Grant

Malana, I do agree. My problem is not the desire to be an elder, to me that means that they desire to grow and be around for a while. My issue is with elders ruling and making a position of elder. I don't think it is a "Western corporate" model because the problems go back to the end of the 1st century (and certainly by Constantine) In some ways it goes to the disciples: "Who will sit on your right and your left in glory?" My original post tries to point out how elders in AA lead without governance and suggests that the church learn from the traditions of AA which seem to be in line with the teachings and example of Jesus.

Malana Ganz

1 Tim 3:1 tells us that he who desires to be an elder wants something good, so that means that God is happy when people have a dream of how to serve the body and are willing to grow in their character and faithfulness and servanthood and love to be eligible. I think the issue is that the western church is built on a corporate model. Pastoring, "eldering" "deaconing" are the results of God growing character in one and seeing one's willingness to serve. I think people need to get over the use of the Biblical terminology and learn and do what it really means, not what our culture has morphed it into. Do you agree?

Stephen Grant

I do not have a problem with elders as such, simply the idea of governance. I struggle with the position of pastor not the gifting of pastor. I want people to pastor and prophecy and evangelize. I do not want the actions to become positions that people strive to obtain. I do not want people to see pastoring as synonymous with governing. I do not want the words "be a" to be placed in front of it. I do not positions given in Scripture, only gifts to be used to serve. I do not see elders as ruling... I think we've secularized the idea of the elder and de-sanctified it. It is a shame...

Malana Ganz

so how do you explain the disciples being told to ordain elders? Are you differentiating between the scriptures and the applications?

Stephen Grant

By the end of the first century the church was already governed by bishops etc... the evolution or devolution had already occurred. People were seeing positions in the church as positions of governance.

Malana Ganz

unsure what you mean by "in a generation they forgot how" - can you explain?

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