Brian Brock argues that the church’s diversity of gifts should not be understood as a “division of labor.” That conforms the church to the social models of technological society in which “individuals [are] so organized that they can productively live out the fully formed gifts (skills) they bring when joining the social group.” That suggests a notion of gift as a form of “expertise.”
Rather, in Paul’s model, each individual member of the body is only whole “in delighting in and taking part in the expression of others’ gifts.” No one brings pre-formed gifts to the body, but is equipped by the Spirit with gifts that are perfected in union with the whole body.
Paul’s conception also differs because he emphasizes the delight that members of the body should take in their own weakness, weakness that allows other members to exercise gifts in service to them.
This means that leadership in the body is “precisely not to assemble an all-star cast from those who have proved to have skills valuable in the secular world, or who possess naturally authoritative qualities.” Rather, gifts are discerned in “prayerful seeking after the work of the Spirit who raises up those who will learn properly to render the service of authority.”
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 3:48 am
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