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Feb 23, 2007


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will spotts

"[O]ne people without distinction except in function"

Question for you: isn't the functional distinction the distinction out of which all the others grow? Historic Reformed teaching on vocation redresses this somewhat - but the continued functional distinction seems to have led us to essentially the exact same clergy-laity split. Is that teaching sufficient? I mean specifically, won't it always lead down the same path - and wasn't it the grounds for Clement's distinction? (Wasn't this a reference to the Priests, Levites, versus the Congregation?)

I ask because when I was young I got the distinct impression that our concept of clergy and laity was warped . . . clergy were people we paid to be holy for us. I made the tactical error of expressing this suspicion at an age where the observation would not be well-received. As I've thought about it, it reflects a human tendency toward hero worship on the one hand, and privilege on the other - that Jesus seems rather to oppose.

So my question: is there a way around the functional distinction, or is it possible to have such a pronounced distinction without making two tiers of Christian?

Michael Kruse

I think it has everything to do with how we see the mission of the church. I wrote yesterday about the division between evangelism and social justice, and how Ron Sider reconciled them by saying they are two wings of a bird. But does evangelism combined with social justice sum up the work of Christians?

I think Gods mission in the world is not salvation or correcting social evils. God's mission in the world is a world filled with images of Himself, in community with Him and with each, exercises co-creative stewardship of the world. Salvation and correcting social evils are the means to the vision God has for the created order. Our primary mission in life is to live in community and exercise co-creative stewardship right here and now as evidence of the coming New Creation. That is the ground out of which evangelism and stewarship grow.

Stevens is going to unfold this stuff more as we move along but I think central to overcoming the elevation of a separate caste called "clergy" is to locate the mission of disciples in their work done in diaspora during the week not as ekklesia on Sunday.

The questions you are asking are basically what he has written this book to address.

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