Home > Christianity, Jesus, Quakers > Quakers and Inclusive Ministry – A Quaker Apology, part 4

Quakers and Inclusive Ministry – A Quaker Apology, part 4

One of the aspects of Quaker belief and practice that I find to be particularly refreshing, especially in light of the larger Christian context’s belief and practice, is the commitment to inclusive ministry. I know the word inclusive conjures up many different images when used, and there are perhaps many ways this post could go. But for the sake of space and focus, I want to particularly focus on two areas of inclusivity that are essential, and a bit unique, to the Quaker movement that is rooted in Christ:

1) Females in ministry

2) Youth in ministry

Inherent in the biblical message, especially in Christ’s message, is that all people who follow Christ as a disciple are called into ministry. As Anderson has written, “Every follower of Jesus is called also to minister on his behalf; a non-ministering Christian is a contradiction in terms” (28). The gifts of the Spirit, as described by the apostle Paul, are not specific to any one gender – as though certain genetic structures are more prone to joy and others to kindness. The apostle Paul’s gender specifications for teaching are contextual – and one can only take them literally if they are also willing to take all of his teachings literally – something I have not seen yet. It’s time for the Christian church to realize that God does not exclusively give gifts based on gender. The Spirit of Truth moves independent of gender, and to contest otherwise, or to claim that its movings are somehow gender specific is placing a limitation on the Creator of the universe.

What naturally follows the above argument is that the truth of Christ, and the exposition of it to others is also not limited by age. The Christian church too often limits the sharing of leadership to those who have the right amount of “experience.” The Quaker movement was begun by young adults, aflame with a message for the church and for the world. Their receptive hearts to this message, and willingness to share it created a mini-reformation the church sorely needed.

Thus it is not by gender or by age that followers of Jesus, sharers of Jesus’ life-saving message will be known, but “by their love will authentic followers of Jesus be known” (John 13.35).

Categories: Christianity, Jesus, Quakers
  1. Alice Y.
    January 2, 2011 at 12:14 AM

    Hi Jamie – I am loving these posts! Nice work.

    I would add – nor are ministers excluded by intellect or education or their lack – I have heard wonderful ministry through people with little education, who don’t read, and who are not easy with spoken words in general. Anyone who dwells in the Holy Spirit, has the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, and it is the nature of that spirit to reach and gather and reconcile and teach.

    One of my learnings in the past year has been to look at the flavour of the motivation, the spirit that is moving me if I feel a prompting to speak in a situation or to act for God. If it’s not the Holy Spirit prompting that, which we can know by the characteristic and wonderul flavour as we get to know the gospel, then I believe it is not going to be a useful intervention.

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