Follow by Email

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Culture of Honour

Reflecting on Romans 12:1-8, I suggested in my last post that we have to replace hierarchy with humility and honour, or we are left with anarchy. Let me say a little more about honour.

I understand honour to be about recognising and celebrating the grace of God in and upon others. In this passage it is relevant to 1) Paul's appeal to them to receive his word on the basis of  'the grace given me' (v.3); and 2) his encouragement for all of them to confidently exercise their various gifts 'according to the grace given to each of us' (v.6). It was important for them to honour his apostolic leadership (which was truly charismatic i.e. according to grace gifting; not just positional). But he also wanted to release the grace gifting among the whole body (vv.4-6). That will mean that we not only confidently exercise our own gifting but that we honour others - see and help draw out the the grace of God within them. We recognise the grace gifting in others, we celebrate it, rejoice in it, open ourselves to receive from it, and in doing so we draw out the gold that God has placed within each person. This is really what it means to be a truly 'charismatic' church. (I will need to do another post soon on the nature of gifting as I think, historically, the charismatic church has actually had quite a narrow view of grace-gifting!).

One last point, which has been made well by Bill Johnson in his writings and ministry (see here for example). Honour releases blessing, life and power. When we honour parents we get long life (Eph.6:2-3); when we receive/honour the prophet, we get his/her reward (Matt.10:41). And I think that this is what Paul is getting at in Ephesians 5:21 where he says 'submit to each other out of reverence for Christ' as one of the actions that we should continually engage in in order to stay continually filled with the Holy Spirit (see Eph.5:18-21). If I'm right, then honouring others is a key to staying full of the Spirit!

Next post: more on who do we honour?

11 comments:

  1. Trevor - I agree that apostleship, the other ascension gift ministries, and all ministry, is discharged through charisma. But what are we to make of the fact that the gifts of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher are 'doma' and not 'charisma' (Eph 4:8)?

    I also like the fact that all descriptions of position in ministry, such as '1st, 2nd, 3rd' in 1Cor 12:28, 'foundations' in Eph 2:20 and 'over' in 1Th5:12 & Heb 13:17 are actually describing function more than position. Position only exists to facilitate function and position is illegitimate without right function.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for that, Matthew. I agree with what you say about position and function.
      I am not sure we should make too much of the use of 'doma' in Eph.4:8. It is just making the point that these are gifts from God to his church (rather than anything about how they function).
      The main thrust of what I am saying in relation to leadership (and indeed all ministry) is that it should be because the grace of God is obviously upon the person for the task/role/function. And not because they are relying on an official position or title; or even an historical role. I know I only want to be doing what I am doing while I know the grace of God is upon me to do it.

      Delete
    2. Which Matthew is this, by the way?

      Delete
    3. Hi Trev,

      it's Matthew Ling - I signed in with my google account so I presumed it would display my full name!

      Delete
    4. Hi Matthew,
      No it was only giving your first name, but I thought and hoped it was you. Glad to still be interacting with such a fine mind and full spirit!! Are you still blogging too?

      Delete
  2. A quick point about the link to grace and honour. If honour is the recognition of the grace on someone else then surely this would mean that you paid less honour to people who evidenced less grace, and potentially little or no honour to those who appear to demonstrate no grace on their lives - such as non christians.

    I would suggest that honour flows from the grace in our lives, not just the grace on someone else's life....? The grace God has shown us is the same grace that flows to others??

    Just my take..it is not necessarily anyone elses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have a look at my next post, Deane. I hope that will address your questions and concerns.

      Delete
  3. Also... I too am convinced that Eph 5:21 is of central importance. Especially with the ESV's (and others) punctuation, which gives us

    "Be filled with the Spirit... submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I understand the grammar and punctuation correctly (I may not!), the imperative is to 'go on being filled with the Spirit' and then there are four 'present continuous' verbs indicating the key actions that need to be continually engaged in for us to fulfill the command:
      - speaking to one another
      - singing and making melody in our hearts
      - giving thanks
      - submitting to one another
      As my Greek is a little rusty (for that read non-existent)I may not be quite right but I have found this way of understanding it helpful for years now. These four 'activities' are crucial to the Spirit-filled life.

      Delete
  4. That's exactly what I meant Trevor. I also tried to respond a few days ago, but the comment wouldn't post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great that we are still on the same wavelength. Matthew. Sorry that you had trouble with posting the comment!

      Delete