Is the distinction between clergy and laity biblical?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Neither the word clergy nor the word laity appears in the Bible. These are terms that are commonly used today to refer to "the person in the pulpit" versus "the people in the pews." While believers...

July 01 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Lawrence wong Disciple of iEsou ("Yeh-sou") christou
The division between Priest/clergy and Laity comes from the Church system. 
Jesus used the word Ekklesia three times only in the future tense, once in Matt 16:18 and twice in Matt 18:17. Matt 16:18 has been translated "You are Peter and on this rock I will build My Church." This is a wrong translation. What Jesus said was "You are Peter, and on this the Rock (Myself), I will rebuild the homes or households (oikodomeso) of those I will call out of the assembly (ekklesian)." 

This happened on the Day of Pentecost, when the GOD poured His Holy Spirit out of heaven into the disciples in Jerusalem (Acts 2). It is in Acts 2:47, at the end of the Chapter that we are told that God added to the Ekklesia daily, those He was calling out of the Jewish Temple. They were called out of the world into The Ekklesia, the exalted and glorified Body of Christ Jesus of which the disciples became the lively stones or various of parts of His Body (1 Cor 12, Rom 12, Eph 4:16). 

On that Day, the disciples 3,120 or so, became the heavenly men and women, a new race of people together with their households (oikoi), created by the Second Adam, Jesus the Christ who were filled with or in God's Holy Spirit (1 Cor 15:47-48).

This fulfilled the prophecies by Jer 31:-34 and Ezek 11:19; Ezek 36:26-27, and Joel 2:28-32, as Peter reminded the listeners in the first Spirit inspired proclamation of the Gospel. 

The wrong translation of Matt 16:18 is followed by a wrong interpretation of the verse 19 about the keys of the kingdom, which are are about the ministry of healing and deliverance from unclean spirits,demons which performed by Jesus in His brief earthly ministry and continued by the spirit-filled disciples. Vs 19 is not about reinforcing Peter's Apostolic seal where He is pictured as holding the church door keys forcing all who might be saved go into the church, before they can go to heaven. 

The Great Persecution, unleashed immediately after Stephen's stoning, caused the disciples to flee Jerusalem into all parts of the Roman Empire and beyond. The apostles had to remain in Jerusalem. Gentiles were added to the definition of "The ones called out" from the idolatrous pagan temples. 

Various Ekklesia were created by the Holy Spirit in various towns and cities by each household (oikos) of the disciples ruled or overseen by the apostles. When this became unmanageable, they appointed Elders and deacons, who were holy, married men, spirit-filled, (their wives were submitted to their husbands and each to another as unto the LORD Jesus), with obedient children as household role models for the local Ekklesia (Eph 5, Eph 6), and who lived their lives exhibiting the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12) as well as the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). See 1 Tim 3:1-13 and Titus 1 for the strict criteria for the qualifications for such leaders. 

Teachers were singled out for "double honour" (financial support by the Ekklesia, as Elders worthy of honour as full-time "fathers") to combat the various false doctrines peddled by false disciples." -attacks against the Body, the Ekklesia. 

There were at least five natural gifting ministries by the various Elders which included apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers to ensure that the Body of Christ stayed healthy and pure in the word, 

Nowhere in he New Covenant do we find the division between Clergy and laity and a church system which was hierarchical in its governance - this was strictly forbidden by Jesus (Matt 20:25). The Ekklesia had a slave- serving ethos as commanded and shown by Jesus in His brief earthly life (Matt 20:26-28).

The living and dynamic Body of Christ, Ekklesia, was created by the Holy Spirit and described for us in Acts 2. Imagine changing totally the way we live and interrelate with brothers and sisters - selling all we own and living together in perfect harmony, bonded in agape love as a healthy body, controlled by Christ who hold all things together (Col 1:17).

April 13 2015 8 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Danny Hickman Supporter Believer in The Gospel Of Jesus Christ
The distinction between clergy and laity is not biblical but is in fact anti-biblical, leading the church in ways to abstain from the teachings of Scripture. 

Paul tells the church that all who have been baptized into Christ has put on Christ.There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are ALL one in Christ Jesus Gal 3:27-28. And again to the Colossians: there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all Col 3:11. To the church at Rome: For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to ALL who call upon Him Rom 10:12.

The central point of these scriptures is often overlooked in favor of focusing on race or ethnicity or gender instead of the practice of persons being ranked one above the other, a pecking order of sorts. This is what Paul is preaching to prevent, the ongoing and persistent customary process of people lording it over other people. 

Pride is the reason for this, the guilty party. The church is infected with a variety of personal problems, sins that linger long after repentance and rebirth, but none of them robs the ministry of spiritual power the way this miscreant does.

Humility, maybe the least flamboyant or colorful profession of faith, is the power that 
encourages and stimulates the truth, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul told the Romans he wasn't 'ashamed of the gospel of Christ, it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek' Rom 1:16. 
The humility of Christ IS the good news of the Messiah who 'being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross' Phil 2:8.
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted Luke 14:11 Matt 23:12 Luke 18:14.

These life-changing words of truth are grossly overlooked by the church and is the soft spot that needs to be addressed. No, there should be no big I's and little U's in the family of the Lord, because in fact, the distinction doesn't exist.

June 29 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Ken Love
While there is an equality, there are also positions of leadership. 

1 Tim. 3:1-7 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

2. 1 Tim. 3:8-13
Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. 11 Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

3. Titus 1:5-9
For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you -- 6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

3. James 5:14
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

In this case, elders could counsel the sick person to see if there was a cause for the sickness that needed to be addressed - behavior, sin, attitude, food issue, etc. (see also the next two verses).

June 30 2016 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Add your Answer

All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.

What makes a good answer? ▼

A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.

  1. Adhere to the eBible Statement of Faith.
  2. Your answer should be complete and stand-alone.
  3. Include supporting arguments, and scripture references if possible. Seek to answer the "why".
  4. Adhere to a proper tone and spirit of love and understanding.
  5. For more info see The Complete Guide to eBible
  1. 4000 characters remaining