If everyone participates in the gatherings of the church then how do we avoid people teaching heresy? That seems to be a common question posed to me about every member participation. It is a good question, and it makes sense. The problem is that I believe it is based on some faulty assumptions. I will discuss these over the next few days.
The first faulty assumption is that the pastor is a professional. If you were to go to a data architecture seminar you would want professional data architects to be doing the teaching. You would want someone who has education and experience in data architecture teaching you how to improve your data models and structures. If I were to get up at one of these conferences with my minimal education and experience I wouldn’t have anything very helpful to say and it would be very likely that I would say some things that were flat out wrong. It makes sense that when you view the gathering of the church this way you would want a professional (pastor) to do the teaching. He has usually had the education and the experience and has spent more time learning the truths of the faith. Is this the way that we should view the gathering of the church and the role of a pastor? Probably not. Scripture clearly teaches that the church should minister to each other when they gather and the role of a pastor is to care for people, not to be the “go to” professional on issues of the Bible and faith. As Christians we are all equipped with the Holy Spirit, we all have access to the Father through the intersession of the Son, so there are no professionals, we are all equally submitted to God and equally equipped by him to minister to each other.