Acts The Church and Ministerial Training

Kaitiaki's picture

Basically this is just a "what do we learn about the Church from Acts?" thread. As we watch Paul and Barnabas and then Paul and Silas building the Church in Acts, what can we learn about their concept of the Church as a whole? Robert suggested my original plan was too cumbersome so asked me to create new threads.

Thread Moderator: Kaitiaki

There are two aspects to this thread: the training of the local congregation (for the work of ministry - as in Ephesians) and the theological training of ministers (or pastors).

Acts shows us local congregations that trained young men (and women) for every appropriate aspect of Church work. That included the work of ministry and missions. Discuss this statement. Do you think it is valid? What implications (if any) are there for the present system in almost every denomination of sending young men to a seminary to be trained? How does your Church seek to apply those implications in the way they train ministers and missionaries?

CLARK E. WADE's picture

Quite profound...

Hi brother,

I thought your paragraph here brother was quite profound:

Justin: You and I have agreed on the point that written revelation, the scriptures, the Bible, have become a frequent point of idolatry in the Christian tradition. I believe this is especially true of the Protestant tradition, which in stripping away tradition as relevant to meaning in revelation has come dangerously close to abandoning the contextual relevance of any given statement, passage, or book. It is only under the paradigm of scriptural inerrancy that Bibliolatry can take place, because it turns a written document--and not the Spirit of God which inspired the document, nor the Christ who made that Spirit accessible, nor the God who is revealed not in scripture alone but in Christ and Spirit, in scripture and out of scripture--into the final authority on the Divine, and by extension THE DIVINE itself. I suspect that the creation of the New Testament, while well-intended as a means of establishing an orthodoxy against those who desired to take the church in unhealthy directions, was the beginning of a return to "the Law," and allowed people to substitute written instructions for spiritual encounters with the sacred.

Clark: That's a tough nut to chew on regarding our idolatry of the bible. When one brings this issue up, there are always plenty of raised eyebrows and hard stares. William Law dedicated an entire book on this subject now entitled " "The Power of the Spirit." This book, almost every page of it, scorches like fire. I just opened it at random and this is what I immediately found:

"Now as surely as Christ never told His disciples to tarry at Jerusalem until the power of education or learning should come upon them, so surely did He not refer to the completed letter of Scripture when He said, "He shall give you another comforter, that HE my abide with you forever;" and "He will guide you into all truth." The letter of Scripture can only direct to the doing of that which it cannot perform, and give notice of a living reality that it cannot supply. It is the coming of Christ Himself as the fulfiller of the Law and the Prophets; and of His Holy Spirit, as the fulfiller and powerful inward and outward working of Christ's gospel, that alone can give the possession and life of all that to which the Scriptures direct us."

And then there is Thomas Kelly:

"Protestant emphasis, beinning so nobly in the early Luther, has grown externally rationalistic, humanistic, and service-minded. Dogmas and creed and the closed revelation of a completed canon have replaced the emphasis upon keeping close to the fresh upspringings of the Inner Life. The dearth of rich Protestant literature on the interior aspect of Christian living, except as it bears on the opening experience of conversion, bears testimony to its emphais being elsewhere."

The signature that you have on your page regarding the "searching of scripture" is one of my favorites as well in telling us that the scriptures are not a testimony of themselves but of our Lord and are written to guide us into this living relationship with Him.

You know about my site here regarding the "praying of scripture" (shameless plug). That is my favorite way of handling scripture, with prayer and nothing has enriched my life like that particular discipline. In praying scripture, we are going beyond reading as an academic exercise to, as you say, encounter the sacred, the divine in authentic fellowship and communion with Him through His words to us.

It is amazing that we have been doing this for quite awhile now and there hasn't been a single sharp dispute or quarrel over something said. I really do think that is a miracle in itself of no small account.

Anyway brother,

Don't worry about responding to this. I won't be disappointed cuz this is a lot of work and time addressing all of these things. I just wanted to give you a comment on this and all is well.