Summary: Every member ministry.
Reading: 1 Peter chapter 2 verses 4-10.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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?
• 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:
• 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!)