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Were the apostles laymen ?

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  • Were the apostles laymen ?

    lay·man
    ˈlāmən/
    noun
    1. 1.
      a nonordained member of a church.
    2. 2.
      a person without professional or specialized knowledge in a particular subject.
      "the book seems well suited to the interested layman"
    I do not agree that the apostles were laymen. They certainly WERE ordained, but not by men, but by God Himself.

    Also they certainly had specialized knowledge about The Lord Jesus. They walked and talked with Him for three years. They then continued to walk and talk with His Holy Spirit. BUT that special knowledge is available to anyone who would seek His face.

    No university or Bible college can claim a teacher like the Holy Spirit. He is the very best teacher and no mere man can come close to being like Him.

    Paul never introduces himself as a tent maker. But he introduces himself as an apostle called by The Lord Jesus Christ himself.

    He was NOT a tent maker that preached the gospel, but he was an apostle that also made tents.

    But this man makes many good points about many current pastors.


    "The APOSTLES Were LAYMEN"
    -Extracts by Philip Lancaster.

    The world and the church agree about how you should address me.
    My proper name and title, by unanimous consent, is: The Reverend
    Mister Philip H. Lancaster.

    I am one of the elite cadre of persons who has the right to be
    addressed as Reverend" ("Worthy of reverence; revered. A member
    of the clergy.") This distinction is mine because I successfully
    completed a three-year graduate program in theology (I'm also a
    "Master of Divinity") and passed a theological exam before a body
    of ministers and elders. Upon passing that examination I was
    ordained and granted the privilege of being addressed as Reverend.
    This distinction also entitled me to be the pastor of a church: its
    preacher, the one who oversees the church ordinances, and the
    one privileged to "pronounce the benediction."

    According to the church and the world, I am one set apart. I am a
    member of the clergy, and my title distinguishes me as such.
    Sounds pretty good, huh?

    Yes, it sounds good to modern ears. But there is a little problem:
    the title and what it implies is an affront to Jesus Christ and an
    insult to every other man in the church.

    As an expression of my submission to my Lord I renounce the
    title and resist its implications.

    Jesus said, "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only
    one Master and you are all brothers" (Matt. 23). Our Lord goes on
    to forbid other honorific titles among his people, the church, and
    then concludes, "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and
    whoever humbles himself will be exalted" (v. 12).

    Jesus explicitly forbade setting any man apart in the church by
    means of a special title-and yet the church has done it since not
    long after the apostolic age. Why is such a practice such an
    affront to Christ? Because he alone is Head and Master of his church.

    The concept of a professional clergy, which corrupted the church
    within a few centuries of the apostles, was a direct expression of
    worldly concepts of leadership and power. Whereas Jesus had
    adorned himself with a towel and became a servant to his followers
    (John 13), "clergymen" began to adorn themselves with special
    robes and collars and assumed a place of superiority over the
    congregation of the church. Although later the Reformation removed
    some of the worst abuses of this clerical system, it retained the
    distinction between the "clergy" and the "laity", a distinction which
    survives to this day.

    Do we see any evidence of a clergy/laity distinction in the New
    Testament? None whatsoever. We see quite the opposite: the
    church leaders were ordinary men who humbly served the flock
    and who neither sought nor accepted any special status, title or
    dress that set them apart from the rest of the brothers.
    Unschooled, Ordinary Men.

    Consider the Apostles. These men were hand-picked by Jesus
    himself to be the foundation of his church, the human agents
    through whom he would establish the household of God on earth
    (Eph. 2:20). These were the very agents of divine revelation, the
    human authorities by which the church received its order and
    direction. Certainly the Apostles were the most important leaders
    the church has ever had. Surely if any men deserved special title,
    position and rank it was these men. But were the Apostles clergymen?

    To the contrary, we find clear evidence that the Apostles, though
    exercising their leadership role and its attendant authority, were
    not a special class among Christians, a professional spiritual elite.
    Let's look at just some of the evidence.

    In Acts 4:13 we read of the reaction of the Sanhedrin (the Jewish
    clergy) to Peter and John: "When they saw the courage of Peter
    and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men,
    they were astonished and they took note that these men had
    been with Jesus." What distinguished the Apostles was not their
    training and credentials; it was that they had spiritual power
    because they had been with Jesus and he was with them still by the Spirit.

    My interlinear Greek-English New Testament suggests these
    words for those translated "unschooled" and "ordinary" above:
    "unlettered" and "laymen". The Apostles were perceived by the
    clergy of their day as "uneducated laymen"! How could these men
    count for anything? Who could take them seriously? The Lord
    Jesus could, and did; and he built his church on the work of these
    ordinary men.

    Nor do we find the Apostles claiming any special rank and
    recognition for themselves. Paul called himself the "least of all
    God's people" (Eph. 3: and refused even the honor to which he
    was due by virtue of his role (1 Cor. 9:12). Peter, when addressing
    the church leaders, referred to himself simply as "a fellow elder"
    (1 Pet. 5:1). When the Apostles and elders gathered in Jerusalem
    for a critical doctrinal debate, the Apostles submitted to one
    another, and the letter which the council sent to the churches went
    out in the name of "the apostles and elders, your brothers" (Acts 15:23).

    A Brotherhood

    The church is a brotherhood, a family, in which there are no classes
    of people... The New Testament prescription for leadership in the
    local church is a body of elders, a plurality of leaders who function
    as brothers, submitting to one another, with no one man in a superior
    position to another. (You can study these passages and meditate
    on their implications in regard to leadership structure: Acts 14:23;
    20:17-31; Phil. 1:1; 1 Thess. 5:12,13; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Tit. 1:5-9;
    Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:1-4.)

    The clergy system is a direct attack upon the very nature of the
    body of Christ. It introduces a false concept of a special spiritual
    class, with the accompanying temptation to pride and abuse of
    power that comes when one man is exalted positionally over
    others. It also leads to passivity on the part of those who are, by
    implication at least, "second class" in the church. Members of the
    body do not use their gifts to carry on ministry since the
    professional "minister" is doing the work.

    Perhaps the worst result of the clergy system is that it stifles the
    spiritual development of the men of the congregation. God's plan is
    that ordinary, unschooled men can become elders, overseers and
    shepherds (pastors) of God's flock. They can grow in grace, can
    learn their Bibles, can develop leadership in their families-to the
    point that they can be recognized and set apart to pastor the
    church as a part of the body of elders. They do not have to go to
    Bible college or seminary. They can strive through on-the-job
    training to be leaders in the congregation. However, the clergy
    system removes this possibility from most men and smothers the
    godly ambition to servant-leadership. So men are unchallenged,
    and the congregation is weakened-not mention its families whose
    leaders are given no practical incentive for spiritual growth.

    Can you see how all this fits with a return to what we have called
    "the family-based church"? We must get away from the single
    pastor model in which he inevitably becomes a program manager,
    an executive in a bureaucracy. We must return to the concept of
    brotherhood where the church is seem as a family and no one
    man has a position by which he dominates others. We must
    abandon the model that burns out one man and leaves the rest
    unchallenged.

    Starting A Church

    Now here is what encourages me about all this. This non-clerical,
    family-based model of the church is one that can be reproduced
    by the hundreds and thousand around the nation (and the world).
    Any group of godly men who are committed to each other as
    brothers, who share the same scriptural understanding of the
    church, who are prepared to submit themselves to one another in
    the Lord-any such handful of men can constitute themselves a
    church and begin this adventure of seeing a family-based church
    in their community.

    You see, they do not need "a pastor" (meaning a clergy-type
    professional preacher) to start a church. Better that they do not
    have such a man, unless he is willing to function by the
    brotherhood model endorsed by the Apostles.

    "You mean you can just up and start a church with a few families?"
    Yes, you can....

    The critical ingredient for successfully shaping a biblical church is
    the attitude of the men of the group. They must be absolutely
    committed to the Lord Jesus and his Word, ready to submit their
    own minds and wills to Scripture. They must also be committed to
    one another, ready to yield to one another in love. They must not
    seek a place of prominence over the others. They must cultivate
    an attitude of sacrifice and service on behalf of the whole group.

    The men of the forming church can meet regularly to pray for the
    body, to discuss the spiritual and physical needs of the member
    families, to study the Bible, to oversee and shepherd the little flock
    of God. (In time they will need to recognize elders from among
    themselves and appoint deacons to assist the elders.) If several
    men are able to so devote themselves to the Lord and to one
    another, there is no reason they cannot see a solid church
    established in their midst.

    Forget the "Reverend" business. The Lord chooses ordinary,
    working men and makes them extraordinary. That could be you!

    NOTE: what are your thoughts about this ?
    Last edited by Lou Newton; December 8, 2016, 04:10 PM.

  • #2
    I get what the author is saying. From man's perspective the apostles were laymen, because they were unlettered and not initiated into the clergy. Even Paul was a Pharisee, who were learned but the Pharisees were a sect of the lay people, not the clergy.

    However, God's perspective is what counts. The apostles were saints who had the mind of Christ. Is there anything more we could desire?

    There are many clergy who are not saints, who pretend to be in the vanity of their minds. We would be wise to cultivate a worldview and manner of speaking and doing that holds men who don't seek God in a frame that is alien to our thinking.

    I like "forget the Reverend" message, and the exhortation to congregate in the Spirit rather than the name of man, and avoid top-down ecclesiastical government which is the way of the world. The kingdom of Judah suffered greatly when King David sinned. This is a grave warning to us. Christ is our king, we ought to seek no other.

    A congregation needs a government to be able to manage its own affairs, and to execute judgement internally, to safeguard its religion and keep it pure. But it does not wield authority with the sword of man, rather the sword of the Spirit, to discern its parts and maintain purity, and build up its members in Christ.

    The way of Rome Papal is gross error. It is very obviously a government of man and demons. Rome Papal has been puffed up and apostate from its beginning, even early orthodox bishops wrote letters rebuking its error of inappropriately taking authority to itself. This led to an immense empire of tyranny, and to the worst democide (murder by government) in history; and astonishingly it is still going strong today.

    Institutions of man are corruptible, they rise and fall and change hands for good or ill, while man tries to preserve them (codify them) in the dead form of the letter. The kingdom of God is eternal and a living way. The body of Christ is alive, and doesn't belong under the letter.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Baruch View Post
      I get what the author is saying. From man's perspective the apostles were laymen, because they were unlettered and not initiated into the clergy. Even Paul was a Pharisee, who were learned but the Pharisees were a sect of the lay people, not the clergy.

      However, God's perspective is what counts. The apostles were saints who had the mind of Christ. Is there anything more we could desire?

      There are many clergy who are not saints, who pretend to be in the vanity of their minds. We would be wise to cultivate a worldview and manner of speaking and doing that holds men who don't seek God in a frame that is alien to our thinking.

      I like "forget the Reverend" message, and the exhortation to congregate in the Spirit rather than the name of man, and avoid top-down ecclesiastical government which is the way of the world. The kingdom of Judah suffered greatly when King David sinned. This is a grave warning to us. Christ is our king, we ought to seek no other.

      A congregation needs a government to be able to manage its own affairs, and to execute judgement internally, to safeguard its religion and keep it pure. But it does not wield authority with the sword of man, rather the sword of the Spirit, to discern its parts and maintain purity, and build up its members in Christ.

      The way of Rome Papal is gross error. It is very obviously a government of man and demons. Rome Papal has been puffed up and apostate from its beginning, even early orthodox bishops wrote letters rebuking its error of inappropriately taking authority to itself. This led to an immense empire of tyranny, and to the worst democide (murder by government) in history; and astonishingly it is still going strong today.

      Institutions of man are corruptible, they rise and fall and change hands for good or ill, while man tries to preserve them (codify them) in the dead form of the letter. The kingdom of God is eternal and a living way. The body of Christ is alive, and doesn't belong under the letter.
      It seems we agree, thanks for the reply Barry.

      Certainly there is much evidence that the RCC is responsible for more murders than any other organization or government. Not only deaths, but extremely painful and cruel deaths. They burnt people at the stake, pulled human beings apart by a rack, and simply preformed torture on people. How they justified this is beyond me. There is no example of Jesus killing or preforming torture on anyone who did not follow Him. This should make it easy for anyone seeking the truth that the Pope was not a follower of Christ.

      Comment


      • #4
        I will bump this to one more day in case someone has not read it yet.

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