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Are all Christians Ministers?

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Are all Christians Ministers? INTRODUCTION John Collins' book "Are all Christians ministers?" attempts to examine the historical basis for the term ministry, to discover it's nature, scope and significance for the kind of church he believes, we have inherited from our traditions, in an endeavour to answer that all Christians are not ministers. MAJOR THEMES Combining a New Testament and historical background, Collins attempts to examine the original meanings and usage of the term ministry in the endeavour, contrary to the new dominant and popular stance held by many Protestant churches today, which is that all Christians are not ministers. [Collins,1992, p 1-3,13,22,51] Collins confides the exclusive rights to ministry to those officially commissioned to ministry in their churches in the role of an office. [Collins,1992,p 2,38-39] He argues that from the earliest tradition that "authentic" Christian ministry can only be a restricted role, unavailable to all, a historical succession of the sacrament of ordination, instituted and hierarchically structured by Christ himself. [Collins,1992, p 2-3,7-8, 26,38-40] Collins claims it holds power, creates a new being, involves preaching the word, leadership, dedication, trustworthiness, being a mediator and reconciler between God and humanity.. [Collins,1992,p 7-8,9,44-45] Collins appeals to Pope John Paul the seconds definition of lay ministry as ground in baptism and confirmation while ordained, grounded in the sacrament of order. ...read more.


[Collins,1992,p 1] Collins fails to name them and does not acknowledge authors such as Richard McBrien, Paul Bernier, Leonard Doohan, Brian Lucas and Thomas O'Meara of the Roman Catholic tradition who uphold an opposing view to hom when he makes this statement. [McBrien, 1987, p 21-22] [Bernier, 1992,p10] [Doohan, 1984,p 27] [Lucas, 1991,p p35-41] [O'Meara, 1983, p3] Collins also asserts that it is the "vanguard of that people of God whom historically the great church failed to make really part of the church" who are the ministerially conscious and applying pressure on church authorities. This assertion implies it is the outcast and perhaps bitter and vengeful people who only question the role of ministry. Collins fails to acknowledge those whom seek to be included, who search for truth, equality and want to grow in their Christian faith. [ Collins, 1992, p13] Collins identifies the confusion and risk of lessening of the distinctive role of the minister and threat of the commonness of one condition encroaching upon the exclusiveness of the other felt by the leaders of the Catholic church. He quotes the reformers stating that they believed that the lay person could not do the task of ministry. ...read more.


[O'Meara, 1983,p5-8] The history of ministry is not a set of norms to be maintained to the detriment of the changing needs of the church., rather it is located in God's grace and needs to be flexible in order to serve. [O'Meara,1983,p 13-14,44] PERSONAL RESPONSE & CONCLUSION Collins informative book arguing form traditional Catholic convictions has enabled me to appreciate the reasons the Roman Catholic Church highly esteems the role of the priest above all in the church. I can understand the threat the more broad usage of the term ministry causes to those whom so long have had a exclusive hold on ministry. However in the history of Nursing, roles previously having belonged to the profession of nursing became so specialistic that no one nurse could master them all. Other people took over various aspects such as Dietitians, wound therapists, that while grieved over for a time, allowed for the Nursing profession to focus clearly on its valuable contribution to the health care system. I believe this is also the case for the Catholic priesthood. I view the broad term of ministry in a positive sense as it is inclusive of all to build up the church through ministry, while maintaining the importance of the church as a priestly people still requiring it's own particular priests. -5- ...read more.

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