Why does our pastor monopolize our worship service? He does and he doesnâ€™t. He leads the whole service, but this does not mean he monopolizes the service. In fact, our service is profoundly more participatory than the run-of-the-mill evangelical service.
â€œYou have gone too far! ForÂ all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and theÂ LordÂ is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of theÂ Lord?â€ So goes the charge by church members who think that the church is a democracy. Well, not really.
Actually, this was Korah and his band of 250 well-known tribal leaders of Israel accusingÂ Moses and Aaron of being the dictator of Israel (Num 16:3). Korah, a Levite, was not satisfied with his position as a priest, but wanted to have a more prominent and authoritative role in Israel’s theocracy. Same old, same old, never-changing human nature. The rest of Numbers 16 tell us about the dire consequences of man’s greed for power, authority and fame.
The church as a democracy? This is what most evangelicals believe the church should be. A typical Sunday “worship” service consists of an unending parade of men, women, and children taking turns doing whatever they deem to be pleasing to them and to the congregation. A typical monthly schedule has the men, women and youth leading the service, the pastor being relegated to the sidelines once a month. Even when it’s his turn to preach, the pastor’s only role is preaching and pronouncing the benediction (if there is any).
Some churches even allow their young teenagers to preach, and their parents are so thrilled watching the talent show! But these are extreme cases because in many churches, the pastor still preaches most often, allowing that the preacher should be the pastor, just as the Westminster Larger Catechism Q&A 158 says,
The Word of God is to be preached only by such as are sufficiently gifted, and also duly approved and called to that office.
as the prophets, apostles, evangelists, and pastors and teachers were, since they were given as gifts to the church (Eph 4:11). “Bishops” (elders) are responsible for teaching (1Tim 3:2,6; 2Tim 2:2). The Old Testament priest is “the messenger of the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 2:7), and the apostles are “ministers of a new covenant” (2Cor. 3:6).
The Larger Catechism states that even the reading of the Word in public worship is to be done only by those who have been duly approved as pastors or elders, as Moses (Deut 31:9, 11â€“13), Ezra (Neh 8:2â€“3; 9:3â€“5), and the Levites were:
Question 156.Â Is the Word of God to be read by all?
A. Although all are not to be permitted to read the word publicly to the congregation…
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