I recently attended the “Scripture and Sacraments in Reformation Anglicanism” course at George Whitefield College presented by Dr Ashley Null*. I found the course extremely challenging and very beneficial in thinking about ministry today. The course centred around the Protestant Reformation in the Church of England in the 1500’s, how the Church of England broke from the church of Rome, how God used Thomas Cranmer to capture the essence of the English Reformation and how Cranmer set the glorious Reformation truths before ordinary people with the Book of Common Prayer.
On Sunday I led our church through some set prayers in our REACH SA Prayer Book. Non-conformists, more independent types might want to deride me as being too clinical and stayed, not allowing “the Spirit to move”. “We need to be led by the Spirit in our church services!”, they cry.
I understand the concern, but let me explain why we use the Prayer Book to help us with our liturgy.
I’m sure you know of the couple who woke up one Sunday morning and the wife said to her husband, “Get up or you will be late for church!” Her husband replied, “I really don’t feel like going to church and I don’t like the church people that much anyway. Give me 3 reasons why I should go this morning.” The wife responded, “Number 1: Church is beneficial because your hear God’s Word. Number 2: The people at church actually care for you. 3. And number 3: You’re the pastor!”
It sounds like that church may not be the spiritually healthiest church around – at least not the minister! Of course we should not expect perfect churches because churches are made up of sinful people. We are forgiven, but not sinless. God doesn’t call Christians and churches to perfection, but he does call us to make progress.
Apparently the latest trend is for husbands and their wives to “co-pastor” and “co-lead” churches. On trendy churches’ websites there is most times a picture of the dynamic ministry duo introducing themselves as “pastors so-and-so”. Is this right? Should churches be lead by couples? Perhaps even more controversially, should churches be lead by women?
1 Corinthians 14:33-35 speaks to the role of women in the church. This passage has been a hugely controversial passage over the years and a massive problem for feminists.
As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. (1 Corinthians 14:33-35)
Have you had a prophecy over your life that you’re not too sure about? Did a prophet say you should take a certain course that you don’t really want to? Are you in a church where prophecies are common, but create anxiety not peace because of the added pressure on believers?
What does the Bible say about the gift of prophecy and other “miraculous” spiritual gifts?