Differences in the Church and the Church’s Office

After wrestling with the blessings of a multifaceted church community and all the struggles it brings, I sat down yesterday afternoon and read a bit of Patrick Fairbairn’s Pastoral Theology.
Didn’t read through much, but a few sentences shot directly into my heart, resonated in my mind as to the situation in my local body. Here’s what Fairbairn wrote in the Introduction, “Offices and Duties of a Christian Pastor”, Part I, section 2:

“In each Christian community the offices and ministrations, the government and discipline, should be such as may through the Spirit most effectually serve to diffuse the saving knowledge of Christ, awaken and sustain the love of those who receive it, form, nourish, and draw forth the spiritual and holy graces, which are the very life and glory of the elect society that are there in training for the kingdom and presence of God. So that every individual, when as a believer he connects himself with the membership of the Church, should feel as if entering a society that holds of heaven rather than of earth, a society in which all should drop, as they enter, the selfishness and corruption of nature, that they may mingle in the blessed harmony and communion of redeemed souls.”

What struck the hardest, the heaviest, was the following:

“…when as a believer he connects himself with the membership of the Church, should feel as if entering a society that holds of heaven rather than of earth, a society in which all should drop, as they enter, the selfishness and corruption of nature, that they may mingle in the blessed harmony and communion of redeemed souls.”

For an old, long dead, dour Scottish Presbyterian, this hit home. As we deal with each other in the church, it is sometimes easier to clobber, be curt, hostile, self-serving, rather than Christ-like. This is even easier when you worship with a group of people from different backgrounds, traditions, proclivities, etc. It is a blessing to worship among them, but it is also hard. It is hard in the sense that I am constantly being sharpened, both spiritually and intellectually, being challenged to articulate what I say more clearly – avoiding buzz and key words that are familiar to me, but alienating to others. I am challenged more and more to let others lead as I worship, even when the style is one for which I do not care. I must put away my own sinful and non-essential scruples regarding how it should go, and follow. For another insight into this, check out Karagraphy here.

Solo Deo Gloria,
jason

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About javajeb

Full time dad and IT guy. Part-time preacher/teacher. Full-time follower of Christ.
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2 Responses to Differences in the Church and the Church’s Office

  1. hello, javajeb. just finished off some cold kona coffee and could really use some more, so your blog theme isn’t helping me right now. =}
    hey, just recently came across this entry and noticed you’d pinged me (joy at karagraphy). i didn’t realize it right away–sorry. i’m honored to be on your blogroll, but forgive me–i can’t remember if we’ve talked yet. would welcome some contact: joydriven @ gmail com

  2. javajeb says:

    Don’t know that we’ve had much contact before. I’ve commented a bit on
    your blog, but not frequently. Mine is rarely updated, as you can see. A
    job, a wife, three children, and church responsibilities have me stretched
    thinly. And then add the java, roasting for myself and friends….

    I appreciate your contribution to the blog world. I inhabited the
    neighboring state of MO, in St. Louis for five years. Never made it up to
    Chicago-land, though. I was there while I attended Covenant Theological
    Seminary. Now, I’m back closer to family, living a bit more slowly, when
    possible.

    As for the Kona, I’ve not had a great deal of Kona. What I have had, I
    must say, is quite good. I’ve had more Jamaica Blue Mountain when it
    comes to island coffees. If you are into cold cups, you might also try
    some Ethiopian or Yemeni. Both have interesting flavor profiles as they
    cool – quite spicy. How did you brew the Kona (if you made it yourself)?–>

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