Jun 5, 2009

D. Martyn Lloyd Jones on Clergy and Laity

Are we giving the members of the church an adequate opportunity to exercise their gifts? Are our churches corresponding to the life of the New Testament church? Or is there too much concentration in the hands of ministers and clergy? You say, "We provide opportunity for the gifts of others in week-night activities." But I still ask, Do we manifest the freedom of the New Testament church? . . . When one looks at the New Testament church and contrasts the church today, even our churches, with that church, one is appalled at the difference. In the New Testament church one sees vigor and activity; one sees a living community, conscious of its glory and of its responsibility, with the whole church, as it were, an evangelistic force. The notion of people belonging to the church in order to come to sit down and fold their arms and listen, with just two or three doing everything, is quite foreign to the New Testament, and it seems to me it is foreign to what has always been the characteristic of the church in times of revival and of reawakening (Knowing the Times [Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1989] pp.195-196).

Things that make me go hmmmm..


Jennifer said...

I am blessed to be part of a church that resembles the NT church more than most. We all are encouraged to use our gifts in both the Sunday gathering as well as smaller, more informal meetings. We are all on a first name basis with our leaders and never address them with the title "Pastor." We have also had an incredible contribution by a large number of people to the evangelistic effort. The evangelism is not led by any of our pastors - we have just taken upon ourselves as a church to do what we've been called to do. In spite of this, our senior pastor encouraged us this morning to become even more involved. So do not lose heart; active churches like this still exist.

James said...

Jen, you said that the exercise of the gifts is encouraged, in similar more informal meetings. This personifies the point Jones was making. There is a time and place set aside. You say that there is no usage of titles and imply that there is an equality between the "clergy" and "laity" yet refer to the office of a senior pastor. If an able man were to stand in the middle of a meeting and offer prayer that was not scheduled, or to suggest a hymn, what would the response be?

Jennifer said...

I said the use of gifts was encouraged in both the Sunday gathering as well as smaller, more informal meetings.

There is biblical credence to the idea of an office of senior pastor. We just do not address him as "Pastor Jones." We're on a first name basis with everyone. There have been plenty of times when we have offered something that was not "scheduled," however, it must be done during worship and not during the message. It must also be approved by a pastor before one goes to the microphone. This encourages orderliness in the meetings.

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