The Clergy


    "Clergy" is commonly defined as, "The group or body of ordained persons in a religion, as distinguished from the laity" (Random House college Dictionary, pg. 251). 

   The scriptures do distinguish between the preacher and those to whom he preachers.   Timothy was to "put the brethren in remembrance of these things...."   In so doing, "...thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ..." (I Tim. 4: 6).  Timothy was charged with the responsibility of preaching to the brethren at Ephesus (I Tim. 1: 3, 2 Tim. 4: 1-5).  The teaching that an evangelist is one who only preaches to the lost (not the church) is fallacious:  " the work of an evangelist..." (vs. 5, cf. 2-4).  Preachers have requisite qualifications to meet (I Tim., 2 Tim., Tit., etc.).  Preachers who so labor are to be respected and financially supported (I Cor. 9: 6-14).  Let it be clear, therefore, that I am not referring to "preachers" in the scriptural sense as clergy.

    Clergy, as used in the scriptures. As a matter of fact, "clergy" in the sense of a group of ordained persons (preachers) enjoying a lofty position over the "laity" is not in the vocabulary or concept of the Holy Spirit (not in scriptures). However, the Greek word kleron (plural of kleros) is found. Kleron is translated "God’s heritage" in I Peter 5: 3. Peter is instructing elders (not preachers, as such) not to be lord’s over God’s heritage, the church. The interesting point is our English word clergy derives from kleros, the word the Spirit used to designate the people of God in general (what man calls "laity") and not a select, distinguished group.

    The spirit of exaltation and ascendancy is condemned. One of the main problems with religion in Jesus’ day was "the clergy." Many of the religious leaders "loved the uppermost rooms at feasts…and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi" (Matt. 23: 6, 7). They especially enjoyed religious titles which exhalted them over the "laity," titles such as "father," Jesus explained (Matt. 23: 8, 9, how about common titles today such as "Reverend"?). They "shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in," Jesus further stated (vs. 13).

    Jesus compared the "clergy" of his day to "blind leaders of the blind" and said "both shall fall into the ditch" (Matt. 15: 14). Indeed, the scriptures recognize men who have dedicated themselves to the proclamation of the gospel, but the scriptures condemn the modern "clergy/laity" concept so common in denominationalism and, too often, in the Lord's church (2 Tim. 2: 2-26, cf. Jas. 3: 1).