Guardians of a Gift (#682)

"A power structure that is accountable only to itself will always end up abusing the powerless." So says James Carroll in an article in the June 2019 Atlantic Monthly entitled, "Abolish the Priesthood." As a former priest and Catholic reformer, Carroll concludes the only way to save the Catholic church is to abaondon the priesthood and give it over to be run by the people themselves. His words sound a note that ripples far beyond the Catholic Church and give Brad and Wayne plenty to reflect on and discuss as they talk about how the clerical system is a holdover from the Roman Empire, not the teachings of Jesus or the example of the early believers. A new expression of the church is taking shape out of those who "loved him at the first and didn't let go of their affection."

Podcast Notes:
The Atlantic Monthly Article on Abolishing the Priesthood
If You Can Help Us in Kenya


  1. After reading John 21 this morning and then listening to the podcast it was a confirmation for me….
    John 21 verse 15 to 17 this morning. The story of Jesus asking Peter do you love me. The words of Jesus struck home.
    15 “Tend My lambs.”
    16 “Shepherd My sheep.”
    17 “Feed My sheep.”
    Notice whose sheep they are.
    Notice that Jesus uses a verb to describe what He wants Peter (us) to do for the sheep.
    Our work on earth is about loving, caring and feeding His sheep.

  2. Dear Wayne, I like listening to your podcast, but I was wondering about all the chit chat that goes on before you really get started? I would like to share your podcasts, but there are times I hesitate because your podcasts are plenty long and I don’t haven’t a lot of extra time.

    • Hi Jerry. I’m sorry you don’t enjoy the chit-chat. For some people, that’s the only reason they listen, and then they get hooked into the conversation. In fact, this is the first complaint I’ve heard from anyone about it. I know we all of have different tastes, though and I know it isn’t for everyone. But friendly banter and catching up on life is a critical part of healthy relationships, which is what we hope to demonstrate here. Most podcasts players have a fast forward button, though, so you can easily skip to where the conversation interests you…

  3. Another good conversation guys. Wearing my ‘glass half empty’ persona I think that despotic pastors can only exist if the saints let them (cue your observation that it goes back to Moses). Thus they are more the symptom than the disease. You can see it all over Scripture. Jeremiah said “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. ” Paul said in II Timothy 4 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather round them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” And of course, he also castigated the saints in II Corinthians 11 for their tolerance of false apostles who would exploit them. “You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face.”
    With my ‘glass half full’ persona I can happily agree with you that the disease is actually loss of Holy Spirit power. I am reminded of what happened in the Welsh Revival of 1904/5; “The extraordinary thing about these meetings is their unconventional character. There is no organisation, no program, no precentor, no presiding elder! Everything is left to the direction of the Holy Spirit. Preaching, in the usual acceptation of the word, has, for the time being, been entirely discarded, and is superseded by singing, prayer, and general testimony.” What a time that must have been! it was reported of the revivalist Evan Roberts at the time “When asked for a message for America, he grasped my hand, and gave me the following: The prophecy of Joel is being fulfilled. There the Lord says: I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. If that is so, all flesh must be prepared to receive. (1) The past must be clear, every sin confessed to God, any wrong to man must be put right. (2) Everything doubtful must be removed once for all out of our lives. (3) Obedience prompt and implicit to the Spirit of God. (4) Public confession of Christ. Christ said, I, if I be lifted up will draw all men unto me. There it is. Christ is all in all. ” Amen.

  4. Hey guys, great issue to discuss and enjoyed your discussion on the issue.
    Felt to throw some thoughts on why our attention shifted to having to have the right ‘message’ to be right with God (which, understandably, would always be at the expense of a personal relationship with Jesus himself) – rather than acknowledging that a right message was only a vehicle/means to lead us into a relationship with Jesus himself who, as a gift, personally forgiveness, acceptance and cares for us as one of God’s children I.e. Jesus personally rescues us, a right message does not and cannot rescue us.

    The ‘good message’ in essence (as I understand it) was all about “who Jesus Messiah is” i.e. he is our God (Yahweh in the flesh), our Redeemer (our sinless substitute) and our Saviour (the one we respond to and walk with to be reconciled with God) and “what Jesus requires for us to enter into and remain in an essential gift based saving relationship/friendship with him” i.e. an ongoing heart of repentance (reject believing the wicked one and walking with him in his ways) and belief (personally trusting, adhering to, relying on and being loyal to Jesus himself). And there has always been an undeniable link between the message (good message/gospel) and the saving relationship the message was intended to lead us into.

    And so we all understand that getting aspects of the message wrong will, as history well attests, always impact adversely in one way or another on the actual relationship Jesus would want us to walk in with him. Most often a wrong message is identified as establishing a ‘works’ based relationship with Jesus (and each other) rather than a ‘gift-based’ relationship with Jesus and each other. And because Jesus himself is the one who saves (makes safe/rescues), not a message, and he does so only in and through a relationship of personal trust of himself, almost all attempts to undermine that saving relationship are aimed at distorting or denying elements of these two areas of the ‘message’ i.e. “who Jesus Messiah/Christ is” and “what he requires of you to enter into and remain in a saving relationship/friendship with him”.

    Those entrusted to be guardians of a right message and guardians of the type of relationship that message would lead us into with Jesus (i.e. a gift-based relationship), expressed that role through being ‘guardians of the gift’ of our being forgiven (redeemed), accepted (adopted) and cared for (as one of God’s kids) by Jesus himself i.e. Jesus takes personal responsibility for you and your reconciliation/justification, your restoration/sanctification and your serving him and his redemptive purpose is in this life/good works – it is not your responsibility or anyone else’s responsibility and he does all of this for you as a gift/favour.
    In other words, it is only through our trusting and cooperating with Jesus himself and what he is doing in our lives that he can ‘restore’ the basis for a family based relationship with him and each other and ‘release’ us into walking with him and each other as a family i.e. he rescues us – and so all we can do for others is to encourage them to trust Jesus and cooperate with him and what he is doing in their lives also i.e. Jesus (Yahweh) has the ability to create the entire universe and everything in it so perhaps he might also have the ability to rescue you by bringing you back into a ‘right’ relationship with him and with each other?

    To ‘fix’ the problem of dissension and subsequent division over what the good message was, Ignatius wrote letters to major cities on his way to Rome to be martyred around A.D. 110. In his letters, Ignatius elevated humble shepherds into ruling controlling position of power were trust, loyalty and submission to them equalled trust submission and loyalty to God/Jesus himself. It was Ignatius’s intention that by God’s family submitting to this position of power itself, and what was determined to be ‘sound doctrine’ by those in this position that the division within God’s family could be resolved. However, such a position established the shepherds as the experts, the gurus, the answer guys who now would compete with Jesus as our only source of truth and paternal care in this life. Also, this role gave these brethren ‘position’, ‘power’ and ‘prestige’ within God’s family, something which rightfully belonged to Jesus alone – however, position, power and prestige in the hearts of men always corrupts our hearts, becoming the 3P’s of pride.

    It appears that once we accepted Ignatius’s solution to maintaining orthodoxy and unity against heresy and division, we found ourselves focusing on a ‘right message’ causing us to compare, contend, offend and divine both over whose ‘good message’ establishes the correct terms to receive God’s forgiveness, acceptance and care (to be reconciled to him) – and over what is required for our ongoing peace and assurance that we are accepted, approved and pleasing God as one of his children – an approach which ironically ends up undermining rather than reassuring us of where we stand with God.
    Whereas, focusing on Yahweh’s loving kindness and mercy which we receive in and through a personal, individual, unique saving relationship with Jesus himself, and expanding on how he works to establish us in his kingdom family through his restoring ‘trust and love’ between himself and you and between those who love him, releasing us to be family, is the whole point of the ‘good message’ and fulfils the ‘good message’ ….

  5. Wow Guys! What interesting conversations are going on. So many Christians are so willing and wanting to please God. I attended church from toddler to adulthood, my church life experience eventually left a bad taste in my mouth, the feeling of being exploited, you either felt warmly rejected or coldly accepted. What can you do about it? I guess it’s like trying to change politics by becoming a politician – that’s insane, so is trying to influence the ‘Priesthood’ to change their ‘corporation’ into a Jesus family. It seems the priesthood power grid has been set for far too many years. The only option for me and like minded people who love Jesus has been to walk away from the Power grid, as you cannot change it, the pattern is set. What is left ? Leaving? (some can even curse you for leaving, very hurtful). Christians like myself leave the church corporation power grid and looking to Jesus alone, take the responsibility for their salvation on their own shoulders not depending on anyone but Jesus. That is so hard to do, shoving the doubts away every day and truly trusting in the goodness of Jesus towards you, every day. God bless you guys for asking the hard questions, doing the hard yards, pushing the boundaries and pressing forward. Yes we are in desperate need of Guardians who will protect the Gift.

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