Ministry is at the heart of churches but since the 1950s it has been a field of vigorous debate.
Gateway to Renewal is John N. Collins’ fifth book on the leading issues and builds from his groundbreaking research into ancient Greek terminology for ministry. Strangely, this area remains widely misunderstood at administrative and even scholarly levels of church life. Collins exposes the dynamics at play in this damaging scenario where the impact falls not only upon those commissioned to traditional ministries but also upon those who are disbarred from commission – principally women.
Collins takes up basic and timeless questions: What is the specific nature of ordained ministry today? What should it be? Have the ‘ordained’ more than once misunderstood and misused their ‘power and authority’? In the case of attempts to establish a modern diaconate, Collins provides a disturbing critique of how a key motivator for this development rests on a misunderstanding of the very first Christian pastoral initiative. He is also critical of the priority currently given in pre-Reformation churches to a sacerdotal character in priestly ministry. This occurs at the expense of its presbyteral character as projected by the Second Vatican Council, and obscures the centrality of the Ministry of the Word.
With their critical edge and pressing claims, these studies offer community leaders and pew-sitters alike incentives to reassess their priorities and to step out together towards renewal.
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