HOW SCRIPTURAL IS THIS NOTION OF A 'CLERGYMAN'?
"...WHEN YE COME TOGETHER, EVERY ONE OF YOU HATH A PSALM, HATH A DOCTRINE, HATH A TONGUE, HATH A REVELATION, HATH AN INTERPRETATION. LET ALL THINGS BE DONE UNTO EDIFYING...LET THE PROPHETS SPEAK TWO OR THREE, AND LET OTHER JUDGE. IF ANY THING BE REVEALED TO ANOTHER THAT SITTETH BY, LET THE FIRST HOLD HIS PEACE. FOR YE MAY ALL PROPHESY ONE BY ONE, THAT ALL MAY LEARN, AND ALL MAY BE COMFORTED." (1 Corinthians 14: 26, 29-31).
In established churches things are normally done in a very inflexible and precise manner. We usually have one minister set over a congregation who preaches week-in week-out year-in year-out to the same people.
Unsurprisingly, all too often, this has a deadening effect on congregations.
The question I would ask is, is this the correct way? Is this the way the Lord wishes us to do things?
The text quoted above, I would say, gives us another scenario. It gives us a picture of members of the congregation prophesying (speaking, preaching, teaching). It is easy to see why this is a better way than the 'same-guy-droning-on' system which many of us are stuck with. The really sad thing is that just because it's been like this for a long time congregations want it to remain the same. Trying to tell people that the way things are done may not be scriptural is like banging your head against a brick wall. They don't think - they don't want to think - and that's the problem.
Ministers ignore this part of scripture. On the one hand they will seemingly whole-heartedly assure you that they would never ignore any part of the Bible. But, sorry to say, on the other hand, the reality is quite different.
In Roman Catholicism the clergy has had a strangle-hold over their followers for many centuries. The priests have an entirely un-scriptural power over them. Let us not forget that this system sprang up in the midst of the true Church. It always grows here, because that's where Satan sows his seeds. It began because people ignored parts of scripture. And for the same reason these weeds of error will always sprout in the Church.
It is our duty to rip them up.
How do we rip them up? We do this by prayerful meditation in the scripture so that we are not ignoring any part, and by exhorting one another. And if we exclude the members of the congregation from speaking publicly, from a practical point of view, we are greatly depriving the Church of much good, in that we are not utilizing a God-appointed means of his conveying his will to his Church. Does the above text not make this plain?
There are other advantages to be had from obeying this part of the scripture. It would show us who has the gifts and who has not. The present system is so lacking it's painful. Let me explain.
A man decides for one reason or another, that he'd like to be a minister. He inquires about what's required. He discovers that apart from making a profession of being a Christian, he must have some sort of academic qualification before he can start even training to be a minister. He goes and gets it - it often takes years. Years of wasted time. He then spends some more years 'training' to be a minister. More wasted time. He is then 'licensed' to preach - licensed! In other words if you don't have a 'licence' you're breaking some law if you preach. How un-scriptural is that?
It all boils down to this. These so-called ministers have been accepted as spiritual leaders. As soon as they are accepted to train as ministers they're in - very often even before anyone has heard them preaching. It's nothing to do with whether they've been sent or not - gifts or ability don't enter into it.
They have been set in place not by God's rules, but by man's.
At this point, I can almost hear the indignant voices crying out in protest. But I ask, is it possible to 'train' someone to be a minister? I say no. You can train anyone to be anything, from a postman to a king, but, my friends, the Bible asks the question: '...how shall they preach, except they be sent?' It is an anointing, a being sent of God: a miraculous thing. As everything God does is. Who is man to interfere? And what scriptural warrant does he have for this idea? And how scriptural is this notion of a 'clergyman' anyway? A man often dressed up in a crazy uniform being paid a salary to uphold an old un-scriptural system.
He who pays the piper calls the tune.
Remember the pharisees.