Monday, August 20, 2012

Church Governance (14)

Christians should stop using the word “ministry, as it has now totally changed its meaning from when it was first used.

In the modern world, the word minister is used for the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence or Finance Minister. The United States calls them Secretaries (which dramatically changes the meaning of another word), but in the rest of the world they are called ministers. The word minister refers to a position of power.

A government minister exercised control through a ministry: the ministry of defence or the ministry of internal affairs. A ministry is a bureaucracy. I presume there was a time when political power pretended to be servants of the people, but those times are long gone.

When the word minister is used by the church, it refers to a paid professional or the CEO of a local church, which is not much better.

The modern words minister and ministry have no connection with the gifts listed in Ephesians 4. The word the King James Version translated as minister or ministry is “diakonos”, which is the Greek word for “servant”. It is used to describe an attendant, who runs errand for his master. This is the total opposite of the modern meaning of the word.

The English word minister comes from Latin word “minister” which means 'servant.' It derives from a Latin word meaning “minus” or “less”. It actually refers to a lowly position. We have lost that understanding of the word, so Christians can no longer use to describe roles in the church without creating confusion or justifying power and control.

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