Ordained by God
Years ago when Rodney Howard-Browne first started out in ministry, he was frequently asked to present ordination papers he didn’t have. Ironically once the revivalist got his papers and offered to show them to pastors interested in him speaking at their churches, Rodney was told they weren't necessary.
People occasionally ask if I’ve been ordained or licensed as a minister. Certainly there are advantages to having such credentials. One would need them to legally conduct weddings and funerals. However, I haven’t sought this for myself. As an evangelist, my focus has been preaching the gospel on the streets and through the Internet. Nevertheless, I still receive invites to minister in churches.
Nowadays anyone can show off a certificate declaring themselves a minister. An organization called the Universal Life Church has instantly ordained over 20 million people free of charge. They include celebrities such as Conan O'Brien, Kathy Griffin, Queen Latifah, and Lady Gaga. Even the infamous atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair once received ordination through this so-called church, which has only two tenets:
1. Do only that which is right
2. All should be free to worship as they see fit
This reminds me of what Judges 17:6 says, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” A piece of paper does not make anyone a minister in the eyes of God if they don’t know Him.
Jesus said in John 15:16 (KJV), “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain...” The Greek word here for ordain is tithēmi, which means “set”, “put”, “lay down”, “make”, and “appoint.”
The New Oxford American Dictionary lists these two definitions for ordain...
1 make (someone) a priest or minister; confer holy orders on
2 order or decree (something) officially
The Bible talks about God ordaining things such as “the moon and the stars” (Psalm 8:3) and other positions of authority. Romans 13:1 says, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” Just like in John 15:16, the King James Version uses the word “ordained” in place of appointed. Ordain can also be defined as “set apart.”
Near the end of 1995 after having been a Christian for almost five years, I perceived the Lord was calling me to full-time ministry. That was soon confirmed through this prophetic word I received from a pastor I hadn’t met before: “I have chosen thee and I have ordained thee...not man...before the foundations of this earth.” A short time later I went to work for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association until the Lord directed to step out as a traveling missionary.
I haven't officially received ordination by man but will do so if and when the Lord leads me to. In the meantime, I will continue obeying the Great Commission which doesn't require the approval of man. Every believer is a minister of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18).
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” - Jeremiah 1:5