Quotes from Elton Trueblood's Your Other Vocation

The following quotes are from Elton Trueblood's Your Other Vocation. You might not completely get it from these quotes, but he takes the stance that a pastor needs to train up and work alongside of an active laity. The paid pastorate does not need to disappear. With that in your head, let's begin.

"Our chief gains now come from the courageous ways of reacting to our losses. The strategy of wisdom consists in knowing so well the location of the points at which we are hard pressed that we concentrate our forces on these points and thereby actually turn defeat into victory."

"The Christian faith cannot survive and be effective unless it can present a coherent picture of reality which faces all of the serious difficulties and surmounts them better than does any alternative system of belief."

Those were just two good quotes that have nothing to do with what we have been discussing. Now let the games begin.

A quote from Henry T. Hodgkin: "Every great religious awakening has been a revolt against authority."

Now that one is powerful. I would love to just let it speak for itself, but I can't. Three great leaders of the church pop to my mind: Martin Luther, John Wesley, and Alexander Campbell. All of them had to become in rebellion to the church in order to remain faithful to the calling God had placed on their lives. The church is much better because of the faithfulness of each of them.

I'm sure the stories of countless servants who faithfully followed God's leading into rebellion to local churches or denominations have not been written. Following God into rebellion is a dangerous place to be, but every reformer has been there. We need to constantly check that we are really following God's calling and not just our own desire, whether we are in rebellion or not. Just as Ryan Dobson said in the interview I had with him, "It is never wrong to do the right thing. It's never right to do the wrong thing, yet we tend to do that all the time." If we are in a church that is not passionately going after God's will, that is not an excuse for us to be lazy and join in the apathy. If following God's will means we have to be in rebellion, then that is what we must do.
"The general assumption, all the more powerful because unstated, is that the position of the layman is the same in each of these situations (medicine, law, and the church) and that the important work in each field is nearly always done by the professional. The movement of lay religion in our time is, in essence, a conscious and widespread revolt against this tacit assumption."

I do believe some of the clergy/laity problems of our time stems from the desire of our clergy to be more legit in the eyes of the public around them. They have spent a lot of time on education to learn their profession. The difference, however, is that their practice can be done without a lot of education.

"If, by the ministry, we mean the religious service of our fellow men, it soon becomes clear that this vocation is potentially universal."

"Just as one man may be both minister and merchant another many be both minister and physician and there is no conflict between the two vocations. The vocation of the ministry is thus different from most others in its lack of exclusiveness."

"Whatever a person's ordinary vocation in the world, whether salesmanship or homemaking or farming, the ministry can be his other vocation and perhaps his truest vocation. Most vocations are mutually incompatible, but the ministry is compatible with all others, providing they are productive of human welfare."

"A second way in which the ministry is unique is that, in performing it, the amateur often has advantages which are denied to the professional practitioner."

"In many fields, such as natural science, the increased professionalism of the individual makes him more trustworthy whereas in the life of religion the increased professionalism may make him less trustworthy. In various succeeding centuries it has been necessary for the religious pioneer to oppose the professionals who had been made less sensitive to religious truth by the very acceptance, on the part of others and themselves, of their authoritarian positions."

"The amateur has certain definite and marked advantages of his own. The first of these is involved in the fact that the lay minister does not have to bear the stigma of being a clergyman. ..Most words of a clergyman are minimized simply because he is supposed to say them. A pastor's convictions are discounted because he is supposed to have a professional stake in the effort to make them prevail...The contrast in effect is often enormous when a layman's remarks are taken seriously, even though he says practically the same words. His words are given full weight, not because he is a more able exponent, but because he is wholly free from any stigma of professionalism."

I felt this minimization of my words and actions when I was a paid minister. People would just disregard what I had to say because I was paid to say that. They would disregard loving service because I was paid to do it. I have seen that response go away since I am no longer paid. It's amazing. I do think it is silly that people don't take the word of paid ministers as seriously as their fellow peers, but it is a reality we have to learn to accept and adjust to.