Egalitarianism and the pursuit of excellence

Many today have left authoritarian churches where blind obedience is expected. We have seen in the scripture that the greatest in the kingdom is to be the servant of all, rather than one who controls others. Even in cases where leaders are not arrogant and controlling, there can still be this air of superiority. Paul emphasized that we are all essential members of the one body of Christ. He described gatherings where various gifts were expressed. We no longer want all of our gatherings to be focused upon one individual to the expense of everyone else.

If egalitarianism means we all have equal value in the sight of God and that we should see that value in one another, I can agree with that concept.

On the other hand, this can be taken in a direction that concerns me. Is it just me, or does anyone else see how some might tend toward equal levels of mediocrity? If someone has a greater zeal for evangelism, do others become uncomfortable? If some have a great passion to share what they have learned from God recently, do we rejoice with them? Or do we attempt to dowse the flame so they do not dominate the time? What if some of us feel the Lord's calling to leave their secular calling and enter the full-time mission field? Would we support them, or assume they think they are better than the rest of us? What about holiness? What of those who feel the need to a greater separation from the world? Are we threatened or inspired by this?

When I think about the dedication we see in the lives of great men and women of God in the past, I hope that we are all inspired by them. What would the world be like without the memories of Paul, Peter, John, Martin Luther, John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, William Booth, D.L Moody and countless others? Can our insistence on our egalitarian concepts actually discourage those of our day to rise above what is concerned "normal" in our Western culture?

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Replies (2)
    • I have to admit I Googled "egalitarian" to understand what you were talking about. I once had a disagreement with a pastor who was trying to change the church he just moved into. I told him what he was trying to do was throw all of us into a big blender and make us one uniform soup. What he really needs to do is embrace the idea that we are a hearty beef stew. A place where potatoes are still potatoes and the chunks of beef are still beef. He didn't get it.

      The reality is, a legalist mind tries to control all aspects of faith to please itself. And when that mind is in a position of leadership, problems grow like weeds in the congregation.

      If the only thing that matters is faith expressing itself in Love, Gal 5:6 then how can a person express themselves if they are trying to live according to another person's faith? This can not be how the Son of man will find faith when he comes. Because if it was, then how would he judge? On a curve? sliding scale? Pixy dust???

      Authoritarians who redefine everyone's faith I feel risk a great danger before the Lord. We need to give God's kids the room to explore and make mistakes. Deep faith comes from a deep walk, and if people gain a limp along the way, well then they will have something in common with Jacob.

      • Robert, thanks for the comments. Sorry about the big word. I have found that I need to look up meanings almost every time I read these days. It is hard to keep up. Then when learn a new word I can still use it in the wrong place.

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