Authority and a Meme to remember.

April 24, 2007

The People formerly known as the congregation.

I have to admit that sometimes I think that blogging for me looks something like this.

Write a blog post,

Have Dad link to blog post

Get traffic.

I sometimes wish I didn’t have a stat counter. I want to write just because I want to, not because I want to have people read it, I mean I do want people to read it, but that shouldn’t drive me to it. Anyway, I’m tired so I’ll just quickly say what I wanted to say. Dan McDonald, a pastor who I hope begins blogging soon, left a comment at my Dad’s blog. You can read the whole thing there. He says a lot of what I felt was important to say so that people don’t go swinging too far out here.

What is the church. I am going to start reading my bible more (please pray for me on this one). But as far as I can tell the church has always existed, and it exists where two or more are gathered. A lot of the reaction seems to be people reacting to pastors, pastors reacting to people, and people reacting to each other. Dan points out that this is the function of broken people in a broken world. “I know church isn’t what it should be. That’s my fault- and yours. I stamped it with my pathologies, and so did you.”

One person went so far as to say there is no biblical role for pastors, I hate to say this, but in Ephesians it does say that God, “gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” What that meant in the context of a church legally prevented from owning propery is surely different from what it means now. But we all exist in different roles to build up and edify each other. It seems like so much of this is breaking down.

Perhaps this is just another step in what was started 400 years ago. The church becomes corrupt, the people revolt, and a reformation happens. The question is, what is lost? 400 years ago we lost unity as the body of Christ, I understand that there will probably not be reconciliation in my lifetime, though I would like to believe some seeds are being and will be planted. We also lost apostolic oversight in most of the protestant world. That means that there is no where to turn when a pastor decides to take on the role of a king. Without the structures of authority that were in place by 300 A.D. there is no recourse for those hurt by pastors, or for those appalled by what pastors do or how they live. No recourse except that of resorting to the temporal authorities, as the spiritual authorities have been removed, usually by the pastor in question.

I’m not sure if Dan would agree with me, this is the Anglican (and I know that it seems to be failing in the Anglican church as well) or almost Catholic side of me coming out. But that is another post.


  1. Liam,
    Thanks for your thoughts. Please bear with my hermeneutical overtures as I try to interpret some of what you wrote. Seems to me that one of the things you’re passionate about is the struggle for a unity within the body of Christ. Great. This is a biblical notion that is rooted in the person of Christ and should be prominent in the lives of those who follow in his footsteps. As the Eph passage you mention points out, the diversity of what God gives should lead us to a unity of faith. Woe is me – that which unifies us, I mean really unifies us – that is, God is there, redemption in Christ, etc. is often undermined for petty non-essentials that leave us in disarray and, I believe, are cause for God’s deep lament.

  2. Lliam,

    Intriguiing thoughts, too thoghtful for me to respond off the cuff. I am profoundly interested in the ideas raised about the cost of the Reformation and subsequent church splits ad nauseum in the subsequent history of Protestantism. I am a Presbyterian in good part becasue the structures of authority and accountability in our denomination provide the kind of oversight and protection against rogue pastors that have abused and incited the PFKATC.

    Thanks, Lliam.


  3. Liam

    Eventually it will change – about 3 years ago, my dad walked into an accountant’s office in Alberta to do a practice review, and he was asked if he was related to me.

    It was a nice switch. 🙂

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