Peter Wagner is stirring the waters again in this guest commentary for Ministry Today. He says: "Let's do away with the term 'theologian'. Why? The idea that certain members of the body of Christ are theologians while the rest are non-theologians is traditional thinking embedded in the old wineskins of the church. [...] The theologians often see themselves as the elite guardians of the truth." I appreciate C. Peter's effort to do away with the unhelpful clergy-laity divide, and his approach to teach healing and deliverance by application on theological seminaries is excellent. But I would also place two comments:
1. Wagner says the term theologian is not in the Bible, and so we better stick to the equipping ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4. I agree with that, but obviously - and he points that out later - the function of explaining and guarding biblical truth is certainly valid. There are two approaches to that: the legalistic approach of the pharisees and sadducees that lacks the Spirit of God and creates a distance between clergy and laity, and the teacher-apostle role that is recognized by the body and combines a (Spirit-led) revelation dimension with spiritual maturity. There's a lot of confusion these days about the labels, but what's important is that we recognize people's function in the body, no matter whether they happen to have a so-called theological degree or not.
2. I don't think Wagner is really consequent in his argumentation and practice. He says theologians often disagree and (apparently) apostle-teachers don't. This is obviously not true (put Wagner, Wolf Simson and Neil Cole in one room and you know what I mean), and he runs the risk of just reforming a few definitions and labels instead of church practice. I guess he would mainly like to see theologians replaced by apostles, and the vertical apostolic hierarchy he is suggesting is in fact creating a new clergy-laity divide, where the apostles are considered the 'elite guardians of truth'. Please let's not call that 'new wine' or a 'new wineskin', that's just a new label on an old practice. I could easily imagine a group of real apostles being a better deal than a group of theologians, but I doubt whether most New Apostolic Reformation guys would fit that criterium. See earlier conversations here and here.