To become a priest, pastor, or minister in Christianity today involves quite a lot. Although I’m sure Catholicism, the state churches, the denominations, and any number of free groups all have different qualifications for their clergy, there are probably a few general things they all have in common…
I would imagine that some sort of salvation experience would be necessary. A sense of divine calling, preferable. Some sort of biblical or seminary training. How about having an upright character? Leadership skills are needed. A knack for keeping people happy. Marketing saavy for church growth. We surely can’t forget being a good speaker. Prior experience in the field would also be nice.
To put it into an equation might look like this:
Man + Testimony + Calling + Degree + Character + Charisma + Politics + Communication + Advertising + References = Priest
Ok… I definitely went too far. But I think you get my point. Our concept of serving the Lord has warped to such an extent that it can only be done by a few spiritual supermen. And let me honestly say that those people simply don’t exist.
I would like to offer a much more biblical equation:
Man + Faith in Christ = Priest
Every believer in Christ (regardless of title, degree, or natural ability) is a priest of the most high God!
“you yourselves…a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2:5)
God’s intention from the beginning was for all His people to intimately serve and commune with Him as priests, seen with the children of Israel (Exo. 19:6). However, because of their corporate idol worship of the golden calf at Mount Sinai, the priesthood was taken from the whole of Israel and given to the tribe of Levi only. From that point on, anyone who wanted to have fellowship with God or offer something to Him had to do so through them.
What God desired to have with all of the children of Israel in the Old Testament, He now has with the church in the age of the New Testament. This is known as the universal priesthood of the believers. Every Christian can directly serve and dwell in the presence of God because of Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:19-22).
This may be a revolutionizing thought for some, but the universal priesthood has been known and taught among Protestants for hundreds of years. It was actually a foundational truth of the Reformation fought for and propagated by the likes of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and many more. To many who are reading this it may even be considered common knowledge, something “everybody” knows, or even “old hat.”
My question is this: Why hasn’t this truth practically affected the way churches meet?
What I mean is that most Christian gatherings still look like the Old Testament… A consecrated few serving, praising, and contacting God on behalf of everyone else.
If all believers really are priests, why aren’t they given the opportunity to be priests on Sunday Morning?