Normally whenever someone talks about the Trinity of God they represent it by showing a triangle that had the Father at the top with the Son and the Spirit in the lower positions. This creates the appearance of a hierarchy, with the Father as primary with the Son and Spirit as subservient to Him. This example has been used a justification for the hierarchical structure of the institutional church.
Instead of a triangle, what if we used a circle to represent the Trinity of God? Than we don’t have hierarchy, we have the Community of God. The circle conveys the relationship that exist between God and us. Where fellowship and mutual Love flowing around and throughout this Community. We see the essence of this community expressed in different and unique ways that we call Father, Son, and Spirit. We may experience Him in different ways, but God is One.
To get a better understanding of how the early Jewish community of Jesus’s time. I have been studying the Arabian Bedouin tribes / communities that were around then and are still around today. I have learned that the main focus is the perseverance of the community, not the individual. Things are done to benefit the community not the individual.
Within the community there are men who have leadership roles in different areas. One man is the attributor who he settles disputes. Another is the religious who interprets dreams and other spiritual matters. Yet another would be the ambassador for the community to other communities (wars, treaties).
When there is no dispute to be settled the attributor, no dreams to be interpreted, or no treaties to be signed then these men function as just another member of the community. There is no permanent hierarchy, within the community.
Jesus came to reconcile to the Community of God’s Love. He even supplied the Love. He said I am the way, the entrance into the Community. It was not who He was but what He was doing that was the way. He loved those He came into contact with (washing the feet of Judas before he betrayed Him), and, yes, He was loving the religious ones by speaking harshly to them. Ask any parent.
People talk about wanting to meet like the early church, but they are looking for a fixed structure, set of rules, and a hierarchy. They miss the point that a community / a body is not stagnant, but is alive. The body does not have rigid laws that promote one part over another. The body has order and structure which is for the benefit of the whole body (community), they are in a constant state of flux. When you hungry, tried, or sick the rules for the body change. It is the flowing of the blood that provides life to the body is the same as the Love flowing within the Community of God.
Ephesians 4 is a much abused section of scripture, with many of the words or phrases left out to shape the desired message. Why were some given the gift of Pastor or Teacher? For profit? For $7 million dollar homes? For $70 million dollar jet?
They have left out verses 17 – 20
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts
Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
That, however, is not the way of life you learned
These gifts were given not to benefit the induvial but to benefit the body, to the building up of the body. Verse 15 is a key “ speaking the truth in love ”, the community lives by the flowing of love between members. There is no hierarchy in the body, the community.
At the end of Acts 2, you have
“ Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved . ”
Too many think that work and strive to add to the Community of God, but our responsibility to just demonstration the Love of God and let Him do the rest.