One Pet Doctrine?


As was pointed out on another thread

I know there are Charismatics here.

I’d like to know how Charismatics view ordination, what role the laying on of hands plays in the ordination of their clergy, and what they believe is signified by the laying on of hands?

Would it be correct to say that they believe the ministry of the Church has come down to us through the centuries by the free operations of The Holy Spirit (and sometimes outside the visible hierachy)?

Would some perhaps even quote this passage?

Meanwhile two men, Eldad and Medad, had stayed in the camp. They were listed as leaders but they didn’t leave camp to go to the Tent. Still, the Spirit also rested on them and they prophesied in the camp. A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!” Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ right-hand man since his youth, said, “Moses, master! Stop them!” But Moses said, “Are you jealous for me? Would that all GOD’s people were prophets. Would that GOD would put his Spirit on all of them.” Then Moses and the leaders of Israel went back to the camp. (Num. 11:26-30.)

I’m not charismatic, so I don’t know.

But I’ve asked questions about The Church on other threads that I thought charismatics might actually have some answers to.

Was that a total misconception on my part?

I thought Evangelicals had some thoughts on the validity of their clergy and sacraments, was that a misconception?

Are the Catholics, the Orthodox, and the Anglicans the only Christians with any defensible claim to a valid ministry?

Must I conclude from this silence that “Evangelical Universalists” are only interested in one pet doctrine, and really don’t believe in Christian sacraments, a Christian clergy, or the Christian Church?

Please, someone, tell me what you believe todays minister is, what connection he has to the first century Church, and what principles you believe underly a valid ordination.



I’m not a Charismatic, so I’ll leave those questions to someone better qualified than me :slight_smile:

In regards to EU’s perspective of the validity of their clergy and sacraments, well, I’ve only been an EU for 6 months so I’m still trying to figure out how EU relates to everything else. Hopefully a more mature EU could help here :confused: I’m guessing it would be whatever the mainstream protestant Baptist/Anglican/Presbyterian view is (if there’s agreement between them)?


Hi Michael,

Not charismatic, but here’s my perspective…

I believe in the sacraments of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism–as symbolic but not salvific. I do not equate the institutional church with the Church. That is, the Church may be found within the institutional church, but the institutional church does not consist entirely of the Body of Christ.

I believe there is potential power in the laying on of hands, just as there is potential power in prayer. But just the act of praying does not mean one is automatically tapping into the power of God. Neither does the mere act of laying on hands convey power or authority.

I believe there have been people of true faith continuously throughout all the ages who have made up the body of Christ–just as God always has kept a remnant of the faithful in every age.

I believe the institutional church serves a good purpose and was established for good reason, and I also believe it has been sown by the enemy with tares. I believe God allows the tares to exist alongside the good crop for good reason.

I believe our faith, first and foremost, must be in the living Christ Himself–not in church, professional clergy, pastors, ministers, priests, or any other thing besides God. We have one God and Father, one Lord Jesus Christ, one Spirit, one Teacher, one High Priest.

Hope that helps.


That does answer some questions (and could go a long way towards answering the rest.)

Thank you Sonia.


I hope so.

Thank you Alex.


Well said Sonia, though I suspect there’s more to the sacraments than meets the eye… (Remember Ramandu and the fire berries?)


Thanks Sonia, I agree :slight_smile:

Maybe, I believe Catholics think that’s the case.


As a [soft] Charismatic, I can speak from a place of knowledge. Charismatics believe that laying on hands is very important for those with the effective power of the Holy Ghost able to impart that power to others both as recipient of the gifts and the operation of the gifts both in Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and His blessings. **We [Charismatics] know God is omnipotent and the Holy Spirit moves like the wind, and therefore can impart His Will without the help of men and therefore it is not exclusive or necessary for the laying of hands to impart such gifts and His blessings. **


I consider myself charismatic, but then again I’m no typical charismatic, as I’m also an EU. :slight_smile: I agree with everything Sonia said, as well as Studentoftheword. But I guess overall I’m a little bit confused with your question, because I see no clergy - laity division in the NT. So I’m not sure how to address the questions which you asked above. In my experience, charismatics see the Holy Spirit as very democratic, and the HS can give anyone any gift to bless anyone else. They’d also say that anyone operating in the power of the Holy Spirit and bearing the gifts of the Spirit has a “defensible claim to a valid ministry” (still not sure what YOU mean by that, though :slight_smile: ).

Anyway, hope that helps. Let me know what questions/ comments you have…

Grace and peace,


Thank you Neal.

That does help.

Thank you.

You wrote

Was there no difference between Peter, Paul, Timothy, Titus, those they commissioned to teach, and those who were taught under their ministries?

But don’t Charismatics believe there are different gifts, and that the laying on of hands can be used to bestow different blessings?

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ… For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. (1 Cor. 12:5-20.)

Wouldn’t that mean that not everyone has the anointing to be a teacher, or to Pastor a Church (and doesn’t that leave us with a clergy and a laity)?

Perhaps Charismatics don’t see as hard and fast a division between clergy and laity as other traditions, but don’t you still see some division (or am I mistaken here)?


Of course there’s a difference, but it’s not a clergy-laity distinction like most churches today have, where one man goes to a special institution for several years to acquire all the answers, then everyone sits around and lets him solve all the problems while they come passively listen every Sunday and put their coin in the plate. I’m sorry for the caricature, but even in the 1 Cor 12 passage you quote, a diversity of gifts are listed in the context of a unified body with no hierarchy, and no distinction is made between anything like “laymen’s gifts” and “those who teach” or “those who lead” or “those whose livelihood is pastoring” or anything like that. In fact “pastor” is very ill-defined in the Bible, and there’s certainly no connection to “vocational minister” to the word translated “pastor.” In fact, the only ministers who came close to being vocational are frontier church-planters like Paul and his apostolic band (who made a practice of working for their own support, in order not to hinder the gospel). There’s no record of anyone else being supported entirely by donations from the church.

You’re agreeing with my quote… :slight_smile:

Having different gifts in the body does not imply a hierarchy, nor does it imply vocational ministers. I think the NT is clear that all who are in Christ are given gifts to encourage each other, and gifts that are more influential require more accountability to God. There are “elders” (or “overseers”), but they are defined by what they do (“eldering” or “overseeing”) rather than having an irrevocable (or even payable) office. The NT idea of leadership is very flexible and based on the Spirit’s manifestation instead of a once-and-for-all ordination or something. Eph 5:21 says to submit to one another, but this is not an unquestioning or willy-nilly submission–it’s as we all imitate Christ (Eph 5:1-2). I feel no need to submit to a church elder if he’s obviously going against the example of Christ (eg, Terry Jones burning Qur’ans in Florida–he’s not imitating the Jesus I know! I’m disinclined to listen to him in any pastoral capacity.)

The more I’ve looked into the NT, the less I see to justify our current hierarchical institutions. Reading Frank Viola helped me see a lot of this. There are a lot of good resources there, including ones that discuss just these issues, I think… :slight_smile:

Grace and peace,


Sorry, missed this one. Charismatics are really all over the map with this one–some are very organic (like me), but others are very hierarchical (like the Church of God), or they belong to “one man runs the show” independent churches where one vocational minister (the “pastor,” whom everyone just addresses as “Pastor” and dare not criticize for fear of going “against the Lord’s anointed”) calls all the shots. I grew up in a church similar to the latter, and I grew to hate that ecclesiastical organization… :frowning:


Thank you Neal.

Paul seems to have commissioned Titus and Timothy to teach, and to appoint others to teach, but he also warns against teachers who had made shipwreck of their faith, were disturbing the faith of others by their false teaching, and who he had “turned over to Satan” till they “learn not to blaspheme.”

If these latter individuals had previously been elders (or overseers) it would seem the office is not irrevokable, and ordination isn’t “once and for all.”

And I think most Christians (Charismatic and non-Charismatic) would agree with that.

Wasn’t Jimmy Swarggert excommunicated?

Pedophile priests are (at least sometimes) defroked and excomunicated.

The Pope excommunicated Luther, and Luther would have argued that the Pope had previously excommunicated himself (by departing from the faith.)

So I don’t think many really believe the office of “elder” or “overseer” is irrevokable.

Thank you Neal.

If I understand you correctly, the Charismatic view ranges from a hard, to a soft (and somewhat flexible) distinction between clergy and laity (and your “organic” view is interesting.)

May I ask how you (or Charismatics) would view a few passages that baffle me?

He said to them, But you, whom do you say Me to be? And answering, Simon Peter said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And answering, Jesus said to him, Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood did not reveal it to you, but My Father in Heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter (stoney), and on this rock I will build My assembly, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against her. And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. And whatever you bind on earth shall occur, having been bound in Heaven. And whatever you may loose on the earth shall be, having been loosed in Heaven. (Matt. 16:16-19.)

…if your brother may sin against you, go and reprove him between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not hear, take one or two more with you, “so that on the mouth of two” or “three witnesses every word may stand”. But if he fails to hear them, tell it to the assembly. And if he also fails to hear the assembly, let him be to you as the nations and the tax collector. Truly I say to you, Whatever you bind on the earth will be, having been bound in Heaven. And whatever you loose on the earth will be, having been loosed in Heaven. Again I say to you, If two of you agree on earth as to anything, whatever they shall ask, it shall be to them from My Father in Heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst. (Matt. 18:15-20.)

And saying this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. Of whomever you may remit the sins, they are remitted to them. Of whomever you hold, they have been held. (John 20:22=23.)

I don’t know If Jesus was speaking only to the original Apostles here, if His words extend to some succesors, or who those succesors would be (bishops in episcopal succession, any Christian elder who has some kind of non-episcopal succession, or any “anointed” teacher who has the same anointing the Apostles had.)

I’ve never really known how to interpret these passages, and I’d be interested in any thoughts.


Thanks for the questions, Michael. As it’s late tonight, I can’t get as much into this as I like, but, as an organic charismatic-type guy, I think the key to understanding these passages is the last one you quote–the principles contained in these promises (if not the promises themselves) extend to all who have been taught by the Apostles. Not just receiving the words of the teachings, though, the students of the disciples much receive the Holy Spirit, breathed by Jesus, in an experiential, life-transforming way. In other words, no one can expect to have any “keys” or to do any loosing or binding or forgiving without a personal Pentecost (at least figuratively).

Anyway, maybe I’ll try to answer more tomorrow if I get time. Blessings to you, brother!


Thank you Neal.

That actually makes some sense to me, and I’m interested in your thoughts here.

If you’re at all interested, Origen (one of the earliest commentators on Matthew 16) once said “anyone who has the faith of Peter is a Peter.”

Blessings to you (and if you’re able to share more tomorrow, I’ll look forward reading it.)



Yes, but it is not exclusive as God is Spirit and does not require such action if it is His Will.