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Friday, December 3, 2010

Simple Church Minute 23--seminary and Bible schools

23—seminary and Bible schools
My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute.
            Where did the idea come from that a believer cannot preach, baptize, administer communion, or lead other believers without certain formal education and/or formal approval of an organization?
            You can’t find it in the Bible—the early church spread quickly with a small group of persons that Jesus mentored.  Jesus, though, directed the disciples and others to be a new God’s people, based on faith, not on ceremony, status, but by the Holy Spirit.  Jesus taught a shared life to the disciples, and they taught the same.  People became believers, shared the life of the church, became experienced believers, where others could learn from him or her by word and example in a relational, living, working context.
            When Roman emperor Constantine (quote) converted (unquote), pagan orators soon converted and brought their attraction to logic and philosophy, and priests became trained in liturgy and ritual, mainly borrowed stylistically from paganism.  Around 1200 AD, the first universities began to form around the ideas of Aristotle, Abelard, and Aquinas.  After the Reformation, Protestantism promoted a well educated clergy class. In many places, the Protestant minister was the highest educated person in town.  Catholicism followed suit.  In the U.S., the first universities were founded by Calvinists who hired the highest educated individuals without regard to belief.  Those people renounced orthodox theology and Christian ethical standards, the legacy of which resides in the Ivy League, first, and the public university systems.  From that came the formation of Christian liberal arts colleges and the Bible school, which concentrated on Christian studies, over a shorter period of time, for the purpose of training missionaries, ministers, and parachurch workers.  Parachurch was a new construct—a Christian organization for a certain purpose that did not consider itself a church.  For all the positives of these various institutions, they were not the example Jesus gave us.
            You can email me at  You can find out more about organic church* at or locally at (local website).
On the recording, at this time, it says, “house churches.”  While that phrasing is OK, to say “organic church” is better.  I comment on that in blip 94.

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