Thursday, September 08, 2005

Your life: a ministry

Every Christian has a ministry.

One of the results of the Reformation and the return to the Bible as our source of faith and practice was the return to the concept of the priesthood of all believers. A proper understanding of this leads one to the conclusion that all Christians are ministers of the Gospel to those God places in front of them and that evangelism is not just for the professionals. Just because I am not playing on the PGA tour with Tiger Woods does not mean I do not know how to play golf! It might also be noted that in God’s providence if you want to learn to play you will have more access to me. You do not have to be a church professional to serve God. Until the breakthrough of the Reformation, this was not taken for granted. The Reformers threw out the two-tiered system of religious professionals versus lay believers rejecting the spiritual elitism this fostered. The effects of this abomination remain to this day as witnessed by the testimony of my Grandfather that none of our ancestors were in the clergy, as they were not of this class. In the Middle Ages the word “vocation” was used strictly of religious callings, priest, monk, or nun, Martin Luther deliberately chose the same term for the occupation of being a merchant, farmer, weaver, homemaker, baker or seller of bread; maybe even a dentist if they had one. He clearly wanted the lowliest Christian to understand that they had a ministry where they stood and wherever God took them, does “not many noble, not many wise but God has chosen the things that are not,” etc. etc. come to mind? Prior to the Reformation, Christianity was thought to consist wholly in the observance of certain holy days, rites fasts and vestures. These observances had won for themselves the exalted title of being the spiritual life and the perfect life. As a result, obedience to God in ordinary life was devalued. They admired the monks and those in church office, and falsely imagined that the activities of such men were more acceptable to God. The Reformers hearts went out to these devout but devalued laypeople, and they strove to restore spiritual significance to the activities of ordinary life. Calvin articulated a view of ordinary work so distinctive that it later came to be called the “ Protestant work ethic”. If you are the person God uses to lead a person to Himself, you will be the most important person in that life; do not underestimate your calling: the general one of sharing the Gospel, which all Christians possess. Dentistry is not my ministry; it is merely the conduit through which I access my ministry! Those of you who know me personally are aware that I have a fairly extensive theological library and have actually read most of the books. I have read a book recently that I feel is one of the best written and most needed for Christians to not just read, but make a cornerstone in their studies. If you understand its’ teachings, you will be able to not only compete but also win in the world of philosophical ideas. It will help you to develop a Christian worldview and begin to know how to recognize the ice below the waterline. (see Titanic article) The book is TOTAL TRUTH, by Nancy Pearcey.Get it, read it, study it. This is not a read and shelve it book, I am on my fourth read through.

We have heard the joyful sound, Jesus saves, Jesus saves.