“Wherever the pulpit is going, that’s where the church is going.”
That statement appeared in my Twitter feed not long ago. Unfortunately, it’s true. In our modern-day top-down hierarchal church structures, one man or one woman is at the helm, driving the entire institution. Far from being an accomplishment to be celebrated, this structure is a symptom of something gone terribly wrong in the history of the church. The centrality of the pulpit and the person behind it has crippled and rendered lame, the functioning of the one anothers within the body of Christ. The priesthood of every believer has been reduced to a priesthood of a select few. Let’s talk about it.
The two blog posts I reference in this episode that this episode is based on:
Welcome to episode 4 of The UnSunday Show. Let’s talk about leaders and leadership. I believe we read our 21st century model of institutional Christianity back into Scripture when we talk about leaders and leadership. I believe our present-day top-down authority systems are in opposition to the leadership model we’ve been given in the New Testament. Our top-down hierarchy model in modern-day institutional church settings is in direct opposition to Jesus’ instruction that within his assembly, “it shall not be so among you.” Let’s talk about it.
Welcome to episode 3 of the new UnSunday Show! This episode is an episode from my old Ekklesia Podcast that I brought over to share with you.
We hear it all the time and it’s used in so many ways that we don’t think to question it. We assume it’s true because we’ve been told it is for so long. I’m talking about the clergy/laity distinction. Far from being a help, the clergy/laity caste system stands in the way of a church where every believer is a priest. It reduces the priesthood of all believers to a priesthood of a select few “professional” Christians. It creates an “us and them” mentality that adds a new layer of separation within the the assembly and renders most of the church passive while the professional segment of the church assumes more and more power.
I am more convinced more than ever that the clergy/laity distinction and its resulting top-down authority structure is a key enabler of abuse in the church that needs jettisoned.
Welcome to episode 2 of this newly launched UnSunday Show! In this episode, I begin taking a look at pastors. What does the New Testament say about pastors? What is an elder? What is a bishop? What is an overseer? The New Testament letters use these terms to describe certain individuals within the assembly, but how do we know who’s who and how do we sort it out? Does the New Testament employ these terms as honorific titles and/or career paths to be pursued?
These are subjects we will return to often as we continue to peel back layers of church tradition and ask honest questions about some of our practices and assumptions within 21st century institutional Christianity. Here’s a paper I wrote containing some of the issues I talk about in this episode: