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God's People


"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Philip. 4:13 (KJV)  

 In Laos:  All the People of God, Owen Cooper writes, "I believe that the greatest heresy among Southern Baptists is that we have divided the people of God into two groups:  First:  pastors, teachers, missionaries, and others 'ordained' to fulfill their call in Christian work; while the second group, denominated as 'lay persons,' are considered as without a call, without a ministry, largely exempt from the Great Commission, and relegated to a second class position among the people of God." (p. 6.)

 Cooper's language is very strong, but I believe it is merited.  It is a heresy to imply that any of "the people of God" are excluded from useful ministry.  Did you know the Greek word for laity doesn't appear in the bible?   The word is  laikoi, which means laity, not as the whole people of God, but in contrast to the clergy.  Clement of Alexandria used the word in On Marriage (Stromateis, III), in the following context.  "And indeed he entirely approves of the man who is husband of one wife, whether he be presbyter, deacon, or layman, if he conducts his marriage unblamably." (p. 82) 

 Laos, which means "the people of God" is the Biblical word used to refer to the masses in the New Testament Church.  Kittle comments on the meaning of Laos,   "Laos = the Christian Community . . . specific national sense for the Christian Community." (P. 54) This word is not a synonym for the English word layman.  It does not contrast the clergy with the laity.  Rather, it is an inclusive term denoting the Christian community.

 What's my point?  The authors of the New Testament were guided by the Holy Spirit to use the inclusive word laos rather than the exclusive word laikoi.  So if you ever use the excuse "I'm just a layman" you are being unbiblical.  Instead, you should say, "I'm one of God's representatives ready to do whatever He wants me to do."

 For more information on "every member a minister" go to:  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0966177819/freshministry

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