6:45 PM I have a very good friend named Jon Glass. He’s served with us in Ethiopia on several occasions. He and his wife Matthea are super people. Jon was even kind enough to review my latest book over at his blog (Why you should read “Why Four Gospels?”). Yes, I like Jon Glass! But have you ever heard of John Glas? This “Glas” lived from 1695 to 1773. He was an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland. That is, until he was stripped of his ordination in 1727. His misdeeds?
1) He called for a plurality of local church elders instead of leadership by a single pastor.
2) He taught that the Lord’s Supper should be observed weekly instead of monthly or quarterly.
3) He said that ministers should be chosen on the basis of their character and Bible knowledge rather than because of a degree from a theological institution.
In short, Jon Glas was defrocked because he attempted to establish a church along the lines of the New Testament. He also called for other Christians to join him in the restoration of primitive Christianity. Later on, in the nineteenth century, the weekly observance of the breaking of bread and the ministry of all believers became the foundation stones for the Brethren movement.
So, what do you think of John Glas? Is the modern church in America ripe for new religious formation? I have a hunch that it is, and that men like John Glas are tragic heroes from whom we have much to learn. Incidentally, in case you’re interested in studying the history of restoration movements in the Western church, there are no better resources than Donald Durnbaugh’s The Believers’ Church and Donald Kraybill’s The Upside-Down Kingdom. Wait a minute – I wrote a book on this subject myself!