New American Standard Bible (NASB)
27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is [a]neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
In my time alone with God, He has laid these verses on my heart as I have considered the part I am to play in carrying out the Great Commission. I have been considering becoming part of the Organic Church movement as I am a Christ-follower who has become disappointed in traditional church settings—where there is such a wide chasm between our church leaders and the overwhelming majority of the laity. I see too many pastors claim to be God’s gift to the local church. As a young Believer back in the mid-80s when I was born again, I thought that full-time Christian service was the next step in personal discipleship–something I realized I was not ready for then. I felt like I had to make a public decision to proclaim that I was led into full-time vocational ministry or missions work (which I did several times out of emotion). I even had my home church confirm my desires by giving me a piece of paper (a license) that confirmed my desire to preach. But after a long struggle, I do not feel I can best fulfill God’s plan for my life and for the nations by shepherding a local congregation. I feel that He wants me to use this blog to reach my Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. And with the first anniversary of this blog forthcoming, I appreciate any feedback, prayers, and support on how I can do this.
Getting back to the verses, all Christians have a part in sharing what God has done for them–along with what He is currently doing for them. This is regardless of denominational (Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Assembly of God, et al–or no denominational background) or theological (Reformed, Fundamentalist, Evangelical, Charismatic, Pentecostal, Calvinist, Arminian, Wesleyan, Free Grace, Landmark, Mainline Protestant, etc) convictions. And it is not just the professional ministers and missionaries who share this status; every man and woman who has believed on the Lord Jesus for eternal salvation have equal status before God at the foot of the cross. In fact if I were proclaiming these verses in public all dressed up, I would probably take off the coat and tie I’d be wearing, throw them off to the side, and depending on the time of year either roll up my shirt sleeves or put on something warm & comfortable like a cardigan or windbreaker to symbolize that there needs to be no difference between who is behind the pulpit and who is in the pews.
What are you doing to show unity in Christ? What can be done to bridge the unhealthy divide between clergy and laity?