Raised Catholic (Elementary and High School and Catholic Fraternity in college and post grad degree at a Catholic college) I recognize the weakness of the hierarchal structure of the Catholic Church.  However, I also recognize the wisdom of those in power.  They are very good at discerning the gifts of their priests and assigning them titles and roles that make the best use of those gifts.  Even when they disenfranchise an entire sex from participation in management, they do a very good job of utilizing that group's gifts.

During my pilgrimage from Catholicism to Quakerville I was blessed by stays in both Pentacostal and Evangelical communities where I was exposed to bodies that overemphasized the individual importance of  those with gifts cited in Ephesians 4, often cited as the Five Fold Ministry.  The blessing was that they emphasized, unlike the Catholic Church, that anyone could operate in these gifts and they encouraged the desire to do so.

Now that I have spent some time within the Quaker community, I wish to share an observation that I think deserves discussion and prayer and that is the apparent lack of understanding within the community of the role these gifts play in a healthy community.  While I recognize the validity of avoiding establishment of a hierarchy, I believe that all members need to understand there are spiritual gifts that should be utilized and encouraged when recognized.  We members ourselves must understand there is a special spiritual aura that surrounds individuals with these gifts that have nothing to do with the individual's character or intellect.  These people are not special in themselves and it would be a dis-service to give them a title unnecessarily except in extreme cases where the person's character and gift are proven exemplary.  I believe that members sometimes find such gifts as threatening to the Quaker Process instead of welcoming them for what they are.  Ephesians clearly states in 4:11 & 12 the purpose of these gifts:

 Eph 4:11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 
Eph 4:12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 

These gifts are for the community.  Use them or lose them.  Learn from the mistakes of our sister churches without depriving the community of the gifts God provides.

Views: 308

Comment by Forrest Curo on 9th mo. 15, 2017 at 7:25pm

The distinctions don't seem all that clear to me... Your take on them?

Comment by James C Schultz on 9th mo. 15, 2017 at 10:36pm

These gifts are often trivialized and attributed to people who have natural talent but not necessarily what I would call an anointing in a given area.  A prophet would not necessarily be someone who would predict the future though that can happen so much as someone who Quakers would see as having a special gift for vocal ministry.  A Pastor would be someone who's concern for fellow members could be felt or sensed by others and who's concern would continue for fellow members into intercessory prayer whereas an Evangelist would be someone with a gift for encouragement and concern that could be life changing to the member ministered to but which would not necessarily extend beyond the time of personal interaction.  In my opinion the gift of teaching goes beyond just explaining something but imports revelatory knowledge that results not so much in persuading someone of a truth but of opening their eyes to a truth.  The Apostle thing is beyond my ability to explain.  In my opinion I have never met one though many claim to.  George Fox might have been an Apostle in being a major figure in establishing the Quakers and Chuck Smith might have been one in establishing the Calvary Chapel Assoc. as it takes an outsized Charisma to get Christians to worship together in Unity and to one extent or another they did do that as did the founders of most main line Protestant denominations.  On the other hand some denominations might be the mere result of political manipulation of a people unhappy with the religious  status quo.  I hope that helps. 

Comment by Forrest Curo on 9th mo. 16, 2017 at 12:12am

A 'talent' is a gift -- but it would become 'an anointing' when God develops it to better serve 'His' purposes?

---

I'm thinking Paul's lists of Gifts aren't meant to be exhaustive -- but to more provide a loose classification, to make it clear that whatever a person has to offer is Valued. 

---

evangelist: Maybe precisely what it says, a talent for persuading people of God's ultimate power and love -- making them able to put their faith in it, to feel enough justified trust and hope that their lives become a present blessing?

apostle? Hmm: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostle

Comment by James C Schultz on 9th mo. 16, 2017 at 7:12am

I agree it's not exhaustive.  See 1Co 12:27  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 
1Co 12:28  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 

Sometimes an anointing is a God given enhancement of a natural gift.  Other times it can be a one shot energizing of a prayer or act.  I am not an expert on this and there are people who go to great lengths writing on these subjects.  I can only base my explanations on what I have personally been involved in.  There are too many great salesman who claim to be evangelists.  Discernment is needed.  Change talent for gift and I would agree pretty much with your evangelist definition.  God enhanced or God given talent would also work.  The problem with Evangelists is that we have a natural tendency to believe what we want to hear and there are times in our lives when we want to hear that everything will work out for the best and that God loves us.  A true Evangelist is one who serves as a channel for the spirit of God  to reach out and touch us in our innermost parts, our soul, in such a way that Hope (remember Faith, Hope and Love?) is quickened within us. 

Comment by Keith Saylor on 9th mo. 16, 2017 at 10:27am

Ephesians 4:11-14

[11] And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, [12] to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, [13] until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, [14] so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (ESV)

1 Corinthians 14:26

Orderly Worship

[26] What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. (ESV)

James,
I appreciate this discussion.
To the extent that their are people who find it helpful and needful to establish and participate in the process of the institutionalization of the Spirit, there will be the need for outward teachers, apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds. Outward institutions and leaders are needful because there are people who need (by their own admission) these outward forms for purpose, meaning, and identity, in their lives and spiritual support. Participating in the process of identification with and participation in outward forms in itself to help establish, guide, and inform, personal and group meaning and purpose nurtures and feeds upon itself, causing people to be carried about by doctrine, human cunning, and deceitful schemes. So Paul’s recommendation here is that for those who are not come into the fullness of Christ (the direct experience of the Life itself in itself as sufficient guide in all things), that is, for those who have not attained “mature manhood” (Paul’s words not mine[1]) spiritually and need the help of outward institutions and leaders, Christ anoints outward leaders, images, or types so that the spiritually immature (not my label, it is Paul’s) may have an outward structure to guide, inform, and support them spiritually. I do not deny this. However, as Paul here indicates, there is another way. I’m not sure, but I may be in disagreement with Paul on something here. He seems to be suggesting that Christ’s “giving of gifts to men” is helpful in resolving the issue of people being tossed to and fro by the waves of doctrine, human cunning, and deceitful schemes. If that is the case, I do not share his assessment. It is the participation in the process of identification with outward forms and leaders that is the cause of the spiritually immature (or those who identify with and participate in outward forms and those leaders who profess those forms) being tossed to and for. Outward prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers, and the institutions they nurture will not resolve disunity, their very existence is the source and manifestation of disunity. As long as there is a need for participation in and identity with outward formal constructs and leaders who nurture those constructs, there will be people “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness on deceitful schemes. The promotion and establishment of outward formal institutional constructs and the act of looking to those prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers, built up through those institutional processes, is the manifestation or mark of a lack of fullness of Christ. It is, in itself, the acknowledgment and experience of not knowing the spirit of Christ itself in itself as sufficient to guide and inform. So, while I do not deny the needfulness of outward forms and persons, the paradox of such is it is the mark of not knowing or coming into the fullness of the inshining Light. There is another way.
There are those who are come out of and lay down all formal institutional constructs and processes (not merely hierarchy) and are come into the sufficiency of the inshining Life itself in itself. We are come into knowing the inshining Light itself in itself as our sole and sufficient guide, apostle, shepherd, evangelist, teacher, institution, Meeting House or Church, in our conscience. Through the appearance of the inshining Light, we are come into and it is discovered to us no regard for set times and places and buildings, and gatherings, and communities, to know and support the fullness of our measure of the inshining Light upon our conscience. You have labeled this coming into the direct and immediate experience of the inshining Life itself in itself as sole and sufficient guide without regard for outward institutional constructs and persons as a lack of “understanding” the role of these outward gifts in a community context. This is not completely true. As I have indicated, I understand the role they play in a community gathered around formalized or institutionalized constructs and processes. I even concede they can be as healthy as they can be unhealthy. I am come out of participation in and identification with any community gathered around formalized constructs and processes and the leaders who profess them and I am gathered into the community of Life itself in itself. It is not that I am “threatened” by those who have been anointed in the context of institutionalized process, it is that I am anointed in and by the Life itself and, in that anointing, I am come out of valuation of and regard outward gifts and I am come into the anointing itself in itself in my conscience without regard for outward leadership and in regard for the different way and the sufficiency of the inshining leadership of the spirit of Christ itself in itself to guide my conscious and inform my conscience. It is mine to share a witness with all those who (by there own admission) identify with and participate in outward formalized constructs and processesand no longer find value in them, that there is another way … a way out of identification with communities gathered under outward formalized constructs and leadership and gathered into an invisible community that is come into identification with the inshining Light itself in itself as sole and sufficient guide in all things and circumstances in their lives.
————
1. The label “mature manhood” is a distraction. There are those who need outward formalized communal constructs and there are those who are come out the the need for outward forms and who are come into the sufficiency of the Life itself in itself to guide and inform their conscious and conscience. The contrivance “mature” vs. “immature” really doesn’t get at the issue and only serves to distract from a more full understanding of the dynamic.

Comment by James C Schultz on 9th mo. 16, 2017 at 10:40am

I am not a church person and I agree that as soon as we name ourselves Quakers, Baptists, Evangelical, Pentacostal, etc., we have broken unity.  Having said that Jesus did not die that we may bask in the fullness of His Light.  I believe our whole purpose is to populate the world with little Christs.  We are the light of the World and the salt of the earth.  I believe this view is supported by many scriptures but will present just one.

John 12:20  And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 
John 12:21  The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 
John 12:22  Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. 
John 12:23  And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 
John 12:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 
John 12:25  He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 
John 12:26  If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. 

Comment by Keith Saylor on 9th mo. 16, 2017 at 11:05am

"I believe our whole purpose is to populate the world with little Christs.  We are the light of the World and the salt of the earth.  I believe this view is supported by many scriptures but will present just one."

Are you suggesting I am in disagreement with these words?

Comment by James C Schultz on 9th mo. 16, 2017 at 11:11am

Sometimes you come across that way or at least you fail to describe how you bring the fullness of Christ within you to those around you.  Do you agree with Paul's analogy of the Body of Christ being made up of many parts - a toe, a head, etc. ?

Comment by Keith Saylor on 9th mo. 16, 2017 at 11:31am

I have said many times, I bring the fullness of Christ within me to those around every day in the act of living the Life itself in itself it in all things an circumstances even in this discussion with you. 

Okay, I’m typing this while waiting for a client, so I cannot check my memory, correct me if I am wrong. Is it not the case that either in chapter 13 or 14 of 1 Cor. after Paul sets out his analogue he say something like: “There is another way or may he say there is a better way” and goes on to talk about love? If I am correct, as he did in Ephesians he here speaks of another way. I will say again. To the extent that people are needful of outward forms, Paul’s analogue is valid. However, I am no longer of the nature that which is needful of outward forms and therefore Paul’s analogue is of no value to me. The condition to which his analogue speaks I am come out of and into a different way.

Comment by James C Schultz on 9th mo. 16, 2017 at 12:11pm

First I want to make it clear, this is a discussion nothing more.  We have never met so all I can do is try, and I emphasize the word try, to relate to what your words are expressing.   I would love to do the Bill Cosby thing and say "You and me God, you and me" when he imitates Noah.  But it doesn't work for me.  I see our role as more of the Suffering Servant of Isa 53.  Having said that, I take note that you have clients.  If you find a bond with your clients isn't that a community of sorts that you are a part of?

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