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Priesthood, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

55- Are all brethren equal?

 

It is abundantly clear that, biblically, all brethren are not equal.

[1] Jacob And Esau

(Gen 27:29) Let peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, And let your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, And blessed be those who bless you!"

Elijah who shut the skies from raining and subsequently opened it, was still under the same yoke of human weakness.

[2] Brothers Are Not , By Necessity, Equal, But Some May Be Superior To Others

For example the tribe of Levi were related to the other eleven tribes, but because of the priesthood they were different.

Image: Question mark صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: علامة استفهام

Image: Question mark

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: علامة استفهام

[3] Furthermore The Superiority Of Levi Was Directly Related To The Priesthood.

So we ought not take brotherhood to mean equality, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. The Scriptures never propagated such equality and it never was a biblical teaching.

The Plymouth (the Brethren) denomination emphasise this teaching to the extent of leading the young to disrespect not only the elders, but also the prophets, the apostles and the saints.

Before us we could see a much bigger and deeper example.

[4] Christ The Lord Is Still Our Lord And Master Even thou He Was The Same As His Brethren In All Things, And Was Not Ashamed To Call Us Brethren

(Heb 2:12) saying: "I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You."

(Heb 2:17) Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

And in great humility the Lord told Mary Magdaline

(Mat 28:10) Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me."

(John 20:17) Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say

to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'"

Out of humility, the Lord calls the disciples brethren, but this did not entitle them to call Him a brother in return?

Based in brotherhood, would the apostle, or any one else dare to claim equality with Christ?

In spite of Christ calling them brethren He still said:

(John 13:13-14) "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. {14} "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

Christ’s brotherhood to them did not preclude Him from being a High Priest.

(Heb 2:17) Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Hence brotherhood does not institute equality.

[5]Brotherhood Does Not Preclude Difference In Roles

This is very clearly stated as follows:

(1 Cor 12:28) And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.

Are all the above equal? Are the prophets and apostles on the same footing as their teacher or the one endowed with gifts? Certainly not!

[6] Hence As Much Are The Brethren Are Unequal In Roles And Gifts So Are The Shepherds And The Flock

Here we reiterate what is uttered by the Holy Spirit:

(Eph 4:11) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

We also add that each brother should recognise his limitations and calling.

(Rom 12:3) For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

Here we note that “God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.


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