Thursday, June 21, 2007

Why Gregory Came Back

On Tuesday, I talked about how Gregory of Nazianzus bolted when he was chosen a Christian leader. He eventually came back and took up the role to which he'd been ordained. Why did he come back?

In his "Second Oration," also called "On the Priesthood," he openly admits, "I did not, nor do I now, think myself qualified."

However, he also recognizes that God has arranged things so that "those for whom such treatment is beneficial, should be subject to pastoral care and rule, and be guided by word and deed in the path of duty; while others should be pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the church, those, I mean who surpass the majority in virtue and nearness to God."

In other words, Christian leadership is divinely ordained. It's God's idea, and it's vital for the church.

Yes, leaders should and must be godly. They must be well acquainted with and have taken on the mind of Christ. But when there are such people in the body Christ, and when they are recognized by the community as having those qualities, then the candidate should take on the role that God has intended. And the purpose of it all? Gregory answers:

"But the scope of our art is to provide the soul with wings,
to rescue it from the world and give it to God,
and to watch over that which is in his image, if it abides
to take it by the hand, if it is in danger,
or restore it, if ruined,
to make Christ to dwell in the heart by the Spirit:
and, in short, to deify, and bestow heavenly bliss upon,
one who belongs to the heavenly host."

1 comment:

Matt said...

I have heard people say you should only be a minister if there is nothing else you could do but that. I don't think I agree with that unless they mean that the person feels so called to it that nothing else seems to be an option. Somehow I don't think that is what they mean.