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These two papers raise significant issues and questions that are before the church. I'll comment on four areas: the nature of church order, language, the ministry of the baptized, and the needs of the church.
First, the church's order has been shaped and formed by the church over centuries. It represents the wisdom of those who have preceded us and the working of the Holy Spirit in the councils of the church. It would be at our peril that we set it aside as a relic of the past. We need to be on guard, lest pride and contemporary arrogance blind us and cause us to stumble. The order, albeit without prooftexting, does express our theology and covenant for the way we live together. It provides the structure for the church to organize itself and, thereby, serve God's purposes in the world. Our order and procedures also protect the church from manipulation and inappropriate control. Often those most frustrated by order are those whose attempts to manipulate and control are thwarted by orderly process. Our structures protect us from improper manipulation.
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