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Friday, December 3, 2010

Simple Church Minute 4--ordination

This is read at a really fast pace to get into 2 minutes.

My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute.
            In the early church, elders came about through time.  In the world, an elder meant one of the older, experienced persons.  In the church, it meant one not just physically older, but experienced as a believer, who had grown to spiritual maturity.  It was not a title as used today.  There are three places where elders were recognized, and in one, First Timothy chapter 3 verse 1, there had been 14 years between the time of the founding of the church and the recognition of elders.  This recognition was only recognizing seniority and godly service these persons had been doing in all those intervening years.  A believer should be growing day by day into this role from the day of first believing on Jesus to the day one passes away, without regard to whether there is any person to comment on it.
            The word “ordain” did not mean to place into an official position.  In the early church, there was only one office—head of the church, occupied by Jesus.  Ordain meant to recognize and endorse what was already taking place, insofar as believers desiring to serve Jesus.  How did ordination get its meaning of placing a person into an official position?  The ordination ceremony was borrowed from the Roman ceremony for appointing civil servants, even to some of the words used in it.  By the 3rd century, ordination became a ritual that marked a person passing from laity to clergy.  After the Edict of Milan, which made Christianity legal in the Roman Empire, church leadership became interconnected with the societal structure of Rome.  Gregory of Nyassa said the priest, as was the title at the time, by ordination was (quote) invisibly but actually a different, better man. (unquote)
            That was far from what the apostles taught the early believers.  First Peter 5 verses 2 and 3 directed, which commands, “shepherd, serve, willingly, not dishonest, eagerly, not as lords, examples.”  This is not to be critical of traditional church pastors; almost all honestly desire to see the church of Jesus go forward.  Its just that there isn’t solid scriptural precedent for our traditional structure.
            You can email me at  For more info on organic church*, visit or (an area’s 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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