Laity and credentials
"How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying." (I Corinthians 14:26)
In light of what we read of the New Testament church, I am amazed at the sharp divisions that continue to exist between the 'leaders' and the 'laity' in so many "churches" — divisions created through means of education (seminary), position (pulpits and staging), power to control the program of events, and literally the control of the microphone. How many barriers existed for those gathering in the early church to step out and proclaim what God had placed on their hearts by comparison? Very little. And yet ironically the one crucial element that spurred those early believers is the very thing that cannot be ensured through seminary, careful planning, power or position — that of the absolutely essential — revelation by the Holy Spirit. And that cannot be educated into a man. It must be experienced into a man. And that experience was first gained by fishermen:
"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption." (I Corinthians 1:26-30)
If Paul were to walk into your church today, having only the credentials of spending many years in the desert, learning from God, and claiming to have seen the risen Christ in a vision, would he be permitted to preach? Was not Christ Himself a layman?