Is There Any Real Difference Between Elders & Priests?

by minimus 61 Replies latest jw friends

  • FlyingHighNow

    We just had a Greek Orthodox man in to tell us about Eastern Orthodoxy. I wasn't impressed. Wine and bread from a spoon? Anglicans cannot share in communion with them. Women cannot be ordained. The icon thing? I will stick with the Episcopal Church, or even progressive RC, but not interested in doing Orthodox. I have to say that it creeped me out. Learned a lot about the early church and how the Roman bishop was made a pope.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    Well, confession time. My neighborhood had about two Orthodox rite churches per block. All different Slavic nationalities. I would attend the Ukrainian and Russian churches. I loved the liturgy. When people received communion, it was so joyous rather than somber. The sermons were not my favorite parts. Very conservative. I marched up and received communion. Perhaps b/c it was the city and anonymous, I felt brave.

    Mt. Athos allows no women. Women are not clergy. Greek Orthodox was never hot. It was the Russians that were hot.

    Also, there was Celtic Christianity phase. Maybe people are more adventurous when no one knows you. I am.

    Some Orthodox attend Anglican seminaries.

  • cantleave

    Haven't read the other post - but yes there is a major difference.

    Priests are educated!

  • elderelite

    Cantleave, i also have pointed out that elders dont receive financial renumeration for their time. If an elder is really doing what he is "supposed too" by org standards, its a 20 -25 hour a week job. And you are expected to be greatful and do it for free... Preists get paid, understanding the commitmnt of time and energy pastorial duties take. And org braggs that elders are unpaid.....

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    You specifically asked about priests so hmmm

    Tyndale College which is a seminary has a pretty intensive program which an ordained priest must take to become a priest.. Here is a sample of one program

    Major Requirements

    • [RLGS 101] Old Testament Scriptures Survey of the redemptive story in the three major divisions of the Old Testament (the Law/Torah, the Prophets and the Writings), including an orientation to the historical backgrounds, religious context, literary forms, apocryphal dimensions, prophetic elements, matters of canon, text, interpretation and critical issues.
    • [RLGS 102] New Testament Scripture Survey of the redemptive story in the literature of the New Testament, including an orientation to the historical backgrounds, religious context, literary forms, matters of canon, text, interpretation, and critical issues
    • [RLGS 201] Hermeneutics Provides an orientation to the different types of literature in the Bible, with a practical study of relevant methods used in their interpretation. Prerequisites: RLGS 101, 102.[NOTE: This is a second year course. You must have take the 2 previous courses in your first year before taking this course.]
    • [RLGS 360] Introduction to Christian Theology Provides an orientation to the central teachings of the Bible as revealed in the flow of redemptive history, including a focus on various theological traditions, methods of doctrinal reflection and the nature of biblical authority. Prerequisites: RLGS 101, 102.
    • RLGS Electives (300- or 400-level) (12 credit hours) [Any combination of courses at the 3rd or 4th level that will equal 12 credits]
    • RLGS Elective (400-level) (3 credit hours) [One more course at the 400 level]
    • RLGS Electives (any level) (9 credit hours) [any combination of courses in the RLGS program]
    Core Requirements

    • [ENGL 101], [ENGL 102] Survey of English Literature I, II Provides a foundation for the study of English literature by examining major works of literary importance to the Western tradition from ancient Greece to the twentieth century. The second course is a continuation of the first. Together they equal 6 credits.
    • [HIST 101], [HIST 102] History of Western Civilization I, II [Hist 101 Traces the development of Western civilization. Begins with the rise of civilizations in the ancient Near East. Assesses the Hebrew, Greek, Roman and Christian contributions to Western thought and culture to the seventeenth century. Hist 102 Explores Western civilization from the age of the Enlightenment to the present. It will examine the key events and ideas of the last 300 years that are essential for an understanding of Western culture today.]
    • [INDS 475] Christianity and Culture [This interdisciplinary course draws on theology, philosophy, literature and history in order to provide students with an opportunity to reflect on the problem of how Christianity relates to culture. It examines both the ways in which various Christian traditions have sought to relate to culture and also some of the prominent methods of analyzing these types of relations from H. R. Niebuhr to Lesslie Newbigin. Open only to BA students in their final year.]
    • [PHIL 101], [PHIL 102] History of Philosophy I, II [Study of major philosophical works in the Western tradition from the beginnings of philosophy in ancient Greece to the twentieth century. Phil 102 is a continuation of 101]
    Breadth Requirements

    • Fine Arts Elective (3 credit hours)
    • Language (GREE or HEBR only) (6 credit hours)
    • Natural Sciences Elective (3 credit hours)
    • Social Sciences Electives (6 credit hours)
    Electives (45 credit hours) [pretty much whatever you want. I did not go to seminary college but colleges work the same way. If you have a particular goal in mind then you can choose courses that will help you attain that goal. So if you wanted to be a priest then you would take courses that will help you become one.]

    3 credits = 1 semester. A 6 credit course is 2 semesters. Elective courses can be anything including psychology, sociology, history, more language courses, etc. 45 credits of Electives could be as much as 15 more course of 3 credits each or fewer if mixed with 6 credits (2 semester) courses. A full-time student would need to get through the program within 3 years. And that is just the Bachelor level. To get a doctorate you have to take at least another 3 - 6 years of intensive programs.

    All that is just in your first 3 years. Then there is the Masters Level.

    The Master of Divinity is a three-year professional ministry degree that provides you with knowledge and skills to be an effective and holistic ministry leader. The MDiv blends academic study, mentored learning and practical experience in a comprehensive program that will prepare you for ordained ministry or for Christian leadership in its various forms.

    MDiv students will acquire foundational preparation for ordained ministry and for Christian leadership in congregations and other settings. Students will:

    1. develop breadth of knowledge and critical understanding of the theological disciplines;
    2. acquire capacities for understanding and engaging the cultural, social, and global context of God’s mission in the world;
    3. experience personal and professional growth through a process of intellectual, spiritual and ministry formation;
    4. develop and hone skills for theologically reflective ministry practice in its various forms.

    Program Requirements

    Biblical Studies (5):

    • [BIBL 0501] Biblical Interpretation: Interpreting and Applying the Biblical Text
    • [OLDT 0511] Old Testament Theology and History
    • [NEWT 0522] New Testament Theology and History
    • One Old Testament Elective
    • New Testament Elective

    Biblical Languages (3):

    • [NEWT 0321] Elementary Greek I or [OLDT 0611] Hebrew Grammar I
    • [NEWT 0322] Elementary Greek II or [OLDT 0612] Hebrew Grammar II
    • [NEWT 523] Greek Exegesis I or [OLDT 0711] Hebrew Exegesis I

    Theology (3):

    • [THEO 0531] Systematic Theology I
    • [THEO 0532] Systematic Theology II
    • One Theology Elective

    Christian History (2):

    • [HIST 0561] History of Christianity I
    • [HIST 0562] History of Christianity II

    Ministry Formation (7):

    • [LEAD 0510] Leadership Development
    • [MISS 0782] Gospel, Church, and Culture
    • [SPIR 0700] Spiritual Formation
    • One Christian Education and Formation Elective
    • One Pastoral Care or Counselling Elective
    • [SPIR 0710] Spiritual Direction Practicum I
    • [SPIR 0711] Spiritual Direction Practicum II

    Courses for Major in Spiritual Formation (4):

    • [SPIR 0609] Prayer and the People of God
    • [SPIR 0610] Protestant Spiritual Traditions
    • [SPIR 0601] Finding Your Way: Principles of Spiritual Direction
    • One other SPIR course

    Electives (3)

    Note:Those seeking CSD designation must use one of these electives for an additional SPIR course (see CSD program description below).So there you have a total of 6 years of study and you aren't done yet.

    To get a Doctorate in Divinity you have more to go.

    The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) is the professional degree designed to help bring your leadership to the next level in the Church and in Christian organizations. In this 3-year, in-ministry program, you will learn how to effectively combine academic research with applied ministry strategies in a cohort-based community of learning. Explore solutions for your ministry needs and the needs of the missional church in Canada and around the world. You will experience personal, professional, and spiritual growth leading to greater effectiveness for ministry leadership in the 21st century church.

    Program Requirements

    Year 1

    • [DMIN 0908] Formation of the Leader I*
    • [DMIN 0910] Context & Change I*
    • [DMIN 0901] Applied Research Project I
    • [DMIN 0905] Project Design Seminar**

    Year 2

    • [DMIN 0911] Context and Change II*
    • [DMIN 0912] Implementation and Evaluation*
    • [DMIN 0902] Applied Research Project II
    • [DMIN 0906] Project Implementation Seminar**

    Year 3

    • [DMIN 0913] Implementation and Evaluation II*
    • [DMIN 0909] Formation of the Leader II*
    • [DMIN 0903] Applied Research Project III
    • [DMIN 0907] Project Reporting Seminar**

    * Includes summer residency.
    ** Includes winter residency.

    So 9 years of intensive studies to get a doctorate. Now not all priests might go that far. Various religions would require different types of education. Some may think that the Bachelor level is sufficient. Others may require the Masters program.

    Students are required to write exams, do research, make presentations, do internships where they are working in the community and in churches under the supervision of others. This is a lot of work.

    And no where no how does this equal what the JWs teach. In fact in 22 years as a JW I did not learn 1/10 of what I learned in just a couple of Religion courses that I took at university.

  • tec

    Thanks for that Lady Lee.



  • cedars

    Thanks Lady Lee. After reading your post, I now feel justified for all those times that I was terrified at the thought of bumping into a priest during the preaching work. Telling JWs to be fearless in speaking to priests is like sending lambs to the slaughter. They don't stand a chance!


  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    I should add that for every 3 credits of the bachelor you are sitting in a classroom for 3 hours twice a week for 13 weeks. Or you might be working on your internship which means working in a church or community group for those 6 hours a week.

    Final exams are nothing like those piddle little tests JWs got every so often. They often contain pages and pages of questions often which require essay type responses. Final grades are often based on the exams but would also include individual or group presentations about a particular subject. It could also include designing a research project and then implementing it. These projects take hours and hours of time to implement over and above the classroom hours.

    A couple of examples from my years:

    I did one course where I was an assistant teacher for autistic children. That course involved going to the classroom for those 6 hours. It was opretty straightforward with a bit of reading to orient myself regarding autism.

    In a Reseach Methods course I and 2 other students designed a questionnaire regarding physical discilpine and whether the respondents identified the discipline as abuse. We had to design the questionnaire in a way that was ethical and would follow the guidelines of ethical research. We had to find our study group (we chose college students) and get permission from the professors to get the participation of the students. People could opt out and we had to give them information on where to get help if they found the questions triggering.

    Once we got the questionnaires back we had to analyze the data and write a report and make a presentation. The only part of that research project that was in-class time was the presentation. It took hours and hours outside of class time to write the questionnairs, find our subjects, do the study and then analyze the results.

    One more example from one of my internships. My supervivor game me a project to do. Actually she gave me a couple of projects. The first was to design a presentation to be given to the parent sof dear children on the expectations they needed to have about the future of their children. I had to find and invite hearing-impaired adults who had careers to come and speak to the parents to show them what was possible. I found 1 teacher, one aeronautics expert who helped design the Canada Arm on the space shuttle and a couple of other people (forget what they were doing).

    The second project she gave me was to write a sex education manual for hearing parents to use with their deaf children. Sex ed is a very sensitive topic but these kids are vulnerable and they need to know about sex, what is and isn't appropriate. The parents also need to be comfortable talking to their children about sex. Too many people think that people with disabilities are not sexual beings. No parent wants to think about their child having sex. But they have to teach their children something. And the manual had to be respectful of cultural and religious differences and on top of that a langyage barrier. The manual was a tool to help the parent talk about sex with their children.

    These two projects were over and above the 6 hours a week I spent in the office.

    Any other program will be very similar. A certain amount of class time and then double or even triple the time outside of the class working. And that is over and above mountains of texts, books and journals that had to be read for each course. And I was only at the BA level.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee


    I used to live right around the corner from a big Catholic church. JWs who were working the territory would love to catch the priest out doing his morning walk-about. They would gloat at how they had stumped him. I always thought ti was weird. Now I know why. He was probably silent because their arguments were so incredibly naive.


    Yes, priest get college educated on how to listen, and offer advice and counsel. Elders get told to rely on holy spirit and tell people to read the bible and go to meetings and all your problems will be solved.

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