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Summary: Every member ministry.

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Reading: 1 Peter chapter 2 verses 4-10.

Ill:

• The greatest wall ever built by human hands;

• Stretches 1500 miles along the northern boundary of China.

• It was begun in the third century B.C. by the emperor Shih Huang Ti,

• It was built in defence against the Huns, who threatened to invade.

Ill:

• The largest wall ever built by living creatures is the Great Barrier Reef

• Off the north-eastern coast of Australia.

• Extending 1250 miles, the reef has been built up through the centuries with “bricks”

• Made from the skeletons and remains of marine animals and organisms.

Ill:

• The deepest gap ever carved out of nature is the Grand Canyon,

• Which ranges from 4 to 18 miles wide and 5300 feet deep.

• It has been gouged out over time primarily by the Colorado River,

• Which erodes more than half a million tons of sediment a day.

Walls. Barriers. Gaps. They all do the same thing—divide.

• But the most imposing divisions mankind will ever know are the invisible ones;

• And you and I are their architects.

• Brick by brick, with each sharp word or wrong attitude or action,

• We erect a barrier, we build a wall.

• And left un-dealt with,

• Our relationships erode and a gap is formed, separating us from each other.

Relational barriers exist not only between individuals, but also between groups of people:

• For many centuries in this country;

• An ecclesiastical wall separated the clergy from the laity.

One example:

• In the 15,00’s Only the priests were allowed to have a Bible;

• And then only in Latin.

The religious institution called the ‘Church’ had become corrupt;

• Ill: Tyndale: “I will build my Church”.

• This corrupt system held the power over the very people they were supposed to help.

• It is thanks to men like John Wycliffe, William Tyndale And the many men & women;

• That we will never know about but who gave their lives spreading this book.

• That this particular barrier was eventually broken down,

• Most of us don’t think twice about having a Bible in English that we can read.

In the 1800s there was another major barrier:

• A barrier between the Clergy-Laity.

• Between the two there was a dividing wall.

• This gap led to people leaving the established Church,

• And forming independent Churches.

Once again we take Churches like this one for granted:

• We fail to appreciate the persecution and stigma and the criticism,

• That our founding-fathers experienced!

In the 1800’s (and it is still true today):

• The Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church were and are made up of;

• Bishops, priests, deacons and lay people,

• But only the clergy i.e. bishops, priests and deacons are ordained,

• That means ONLY they are;

• Recognised and given authority to do certain tasks,

• e.g. baptise or give communion etc.

• Christian’s who were not ordained as ministers (‘the laity’ i.e. the average person),

• Have always been restricted, limited in their Church activities.

Ill:

• No matter how well a person might know their Bible,

• No matter how godly their life may be,

• No matter how gifted that individual was,

• It all countered for little unless they had been ordained.

Question: What is ordination?

Answer:

• Ordination involves a period of training and exams,

• You need to gain certain qualifications and pass certain tests and interviews.

• If you achieve that,

• Then you may be recognised or ordained as a minister, or a priest or a vicar etc.

• And then and only then you are allowed to practices certain tasks;

• E.g. baptism, communion etc.

Now I am not on a knock others platform tonight:

Ill:

• I regularly work with other denominations:

• Perhaps more so than anyone else here.

• SO I am not out to knock them,

• Just to remind you of why we do what we do.

NOW I BELIEVE:

• That there is no Biblical basis for ordination,

• It is not taught in the Bible, it is an artificial distinction:

• I agree that we all benefit from training and studying & gaining insights from others,

• I spent several years of my life, training for Christian ministry myself.

• But I cannot find any teaching about clerical ‘ordination’ in my New Testament!

• It is built entirely on church tradition and ecclesiastical customs.

Churches like this one:

• Especially my background i.e. Christian Brethren Church,

• We very much owe our origin to the years of 1825 to 1830.

• Although any good book on Church history will inform you,

• That groups of Christians had met this way long, long before that (always!)

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