Have You Ever Looked In The Dictionary...?
Read This Carefully......
This one page of the dictionary defines some very important words for Christians, in a very truthful and practical sense.
Look carefully at the definitions above.
1. "clergy"---are people ordained for religious work---specifically--"priests/pastors" Notice that these two terms are spoken of in the same context---defined honestly, there is very little difference between a pastor and a priest, both functionally and traditionally. But the deeper understanding comes when we read the very next definition---
2. "cleric"--again, this word describes the job of a priest/pastor--a member of the clergy--but in this definition, the dictionary looks to the origin of this term...."originally, lot, allotment; first applied (in the Septuagint) to the Levites..."This is a very very important Biblical and historical point! The definitions of the functions of a priest/pastor---"pastoral authority"--come from the concept of the Levitical priesthood of the old covenant. This is clear and apparent if we look honestly at the traditional function and operation of "pastors" in our churches---it is openly taught to pastors--and here it is obvious as historical fact and modern function as the writers of the dictionary see it.
The historical fact is that the definitions of a "priest" as the local representative of the church come from the Roman empire church (which became the catholic institution). The Romans invented the idea of a priest--using the Levitical priesthood as the basis. The Levite of the old covenant was the "anointed, appointed, delegated authority" who had the right to do the ministry in the temple, and collect and live of the tithe. This definition and function of "ministry" as authority over the people (exactly what Jesus said ministry is NOT!)--tied to the collecting of tithe and all the "rights' that went along with it (specifically the sole right to teach within the church) was invented by the Romans, cemented into place by over 1,000 years of a catholic ("one universal") church in Europe, and not changed by the reformation at all (see these history documents).
The plain fact is that the priest of the catholic church, became the pastor of the protestant church.
3. "clerk"--notice the definitions of this word. In the modern sense, a "clerk" is a salesman---but look carefully at definitions 5 and 6. The archaic definition (the meaning of this word in the dark ages), was a clergyman. A "clerk" was another word for a clergyman---and definition number 6 gives us a better understanding--"person who can read and write..." In the dark ages, the priest of the local parish was one of the few people who understood how to read and write. It was an important function of the "clergy" of that day, to read and write documents for the common people. So now, understand how this translated to the church service. The priest of that day, being one of the few literate people in the village, obviously had the right to read scripture and teach the Bible (although the catholic institution kept strict control over the Bible, limiting even the priest in many ways). So again, we see a church tradition that "only the pastor/priest can teach the people"---as actually a dark ages concept that had to do with literacy.
Well, you may be asking, what is wrong with using the Levitical priesthood as the basis for operating the church?
Well, for one thing, the Bible, in the new covenant, very specifically does away with the Levitical priesthood.....
"For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law." (Hebrews 7:12)
Read Hebrews chapters 7-10. The new testament clearly does away with the Levitical priesthood, and gives us a new priesthood----which is a priesthood for every believer. The entire church is called a "priesthood"(1Peter 2) and we are all called "kings and priests" (Revelation 1, 5) and the new covenant ministry gifts are "given unto every one of us" (Ephesians 4). the functioning of the church in the Bible is on a "common level" (Acts 2, 4)---and there is not a hint of "pastoral authority" in the description of church operation found in 1Corinthians---simply the description of ministry and Spiritual gifts in all members of a "body"---Christ is the ONE and ONLY HEAD of the church---HE is the only ONE who has AUTHORITY OVER the church.
Now I know what you are thinking.
"You don't know my pastor He's a really nice guy---he's humble, he's a good man of God--he's not like those dark ages people--he's not like a catholic priest or old-time protestant pastor--he's a real modern, Spirit-filled, born-again, on-fire-for-Jesus kind of guy. He wants all of us to to be brothers and sisters in the Lord, and witness the Gospel and have a ministry and live out a priesthood"
Well, I am sure you are right! Most pastors today are really really great people--the finest Christians. And many of them teach the Bible directly and authentically want everyone to serve God and witness the Gospel.
But, if he is the priest---then you are not--to some degree.
If he has authority over you---then to some degree, the authority of God is not in your life.
He may shout from the pulpit every Sunday, that he wants all the church to be brothers and sisters--he is the servant to all the church--not the ruler.
But he is still standing in the pulpit, and apostleship is set aside yet another week, in order to hear the pastor speak.
"Brotherhood" is not supposed to be a "feeling"---it
is supposed to be an operational principle.