Myth #3, The Clergy – Laity Divide

Sorry about Wonderwhat being down last week.  Technical issues which have now been rectified were to blame.

vestmentsI have received a lot of invitations over the years, invitations that you have NOT received.  Do you know why?  They were invitations to honor the clergy among us, of which I am perceived to be.  You didn’t get the invite to be honored (or fed or given a plaque or ride on a plane) because YOU are perceived to be laity.  Of course…if the one doing the inviting were to interrogate me first…do a little research beyond the fact that I’m listed as a pastor in a church…they would probably rescind the offer.  As soon as it was discovered that I didn’t attend a seminary or a Bible college, I would be promptly demoted to the position of “lay minister”, because, of course, I didn’t receive official training for my status.   That’s the way it works, you see.  I have a friend who was informed by someone who was inquiring about Eastgate that we aren’t an actual church, because the pastor hasn’t been officially ordained and lacks the proper training.

Hey…I’ll be the first in line to complain about the lead pastor at Eastgate, and his lack of skills (bow-hunting and nun-chuck skills come readily to mind).  BUT…is it really a Biblical mandate that a specific class of people receive official training for a “spiritual vocation”?  Is there really a distinction between a “clergy class” and a “laity”?

The word “clergy” comes from the Greek word “kleros“…it means first and foremost, an alloted portion, or we could say “an inheritance”.  It’s used in 1 Pet 5:3, Pete encourages leaders not to “lord over” “those entrusted to them”.  The word he used for “those entrusted” is “kleros”.  Break it down…who is Peter calling “clergy” in this verse?

Col 1:12 is another passage where this word kleros shows up.  There, it’s translated as “inheritance”.  So…substitute the word “clergy” for the word “inheritance” as you read it.  Who is the clergy in this passage?

We’ll unpack this on Sunday morning as we take on the myth of the clergy/laity divide…and we may also consider the concept of “secular and spiritual” along with it.

See you then.

CORRECTION: Just to qualify, based on Mike’s comment…I want to clarify that I in no way mean to denigrate those who have paid the cost of formal training, nor do I mean to imply that there is no value in being educated to the best of our ability to do so.  My issue is with what essentially a class distinction between those who occupy supposed offices and the general community of the church.  There is no premium on ignorance…but does that entitle a person to elevated status among the saints?