Saturday, November 22, 2008

The priesthood of all versus reality

The Assembling of the Church: Priesthood of the Few or Priesthood of All?

Very interesting post on a blog I have come across that really has gotten my attention. Alan Knox is adjunct professor of Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, so he isn't some crazed rube from the backwoods who doesn't know anything. Some of the questions he raises really tips some of the most sacred cows in the church, some sacred cows that need to be tipped and turned into hamburger.

Can we truly believe in a priesthood of all believers when we say that some men are more priestly than others? We all have equal access to God, just some men have more access? Is leadership in the church a position or a function? Mr. Knox suggest that what we have today is not much different than what we had before 1517...

I do not think it is possible to maintain the priesthood of all while requiring a priesthood of the few at the same time. Since the Reformation, it has been clear that the doctrine of the priesthood of the few has worked to maintain the clergy/laity divide with which the magisterial reformers disagreed. According to Scripture, all believers are priests.

Sound words. I encourage you to check out his blog. But be warned, the corpses of sacred cows litter the landscape. Don't trip!


LisaM at ThoseHeadcoverings said...

This looks very interesting!

Joe said...

So is paying the pastor wrong?
Should there not be an ordained group of elders/bishops in every church who meet the qualifications who shepherd the flock?

I do not dispute the need for Reformation in the church, but the Bible is not silent on these issues. The return needs to be to Scripture, we cannot respond to wrong practices in the church by moving to a reactionary position just as much in conflict with biblical teaching.

Arthur Sido said...

Joe, those are two seperate questions.

Should there be qualified elders (plural) leading in every church? Absolutely.

Should those men be paid to be elders? Not can we pay them, should we pay them. That is a different question and one I have been working on a post about for several weeks. I hope to post it later tonight.

My goal is to do just that, return to a Biblical model of the church. I am not sure that tinkering around with the church as it is going to get us back to a Biblical model.

Alan Knox said...


You've asked some good questions. I especially appreciate your statement that we cannot respond to wrong practices in the church by moving to a reactionary position. I agree completely, which is why I try to begin with Scripture to define my ecclesiology. I think that most begin with their ecclesiology and then justify it from Scripture.

For example, where do you think the idea of "ordained" elders/bishops came from? From Scripture? I find elders there, but "ordination"? I can't find it.


Joe said...

how about here?

Titus 1:5-7 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: 6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

And isn't it implied here:

1Ti 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

I think ordination is nothing more than the recognition of God's call on a man's life. Recognized by the Holy Spirit through the church and the existing elders/church planters/ evangelist.

I would say more but I am sure every mouth will be stopped when Arthur submits his blog on the subject. :)

Alan Knox said...


If by "ordination" you mean nothing more than recognizing how God is already using someone, then I would agree. But, that's not the way the word is usually used, at least its not how I've seen the word used. In fact, in many cases, people are not allowed to use their gifts in the meeting of the church until they have been ordained... that is, backward from the scriptural examples.

I think every mouth will be stop when Christ returns. That will include Arthur's, mine, and yours. We're all wrong in some way in our understanding of God and Scripture.


Joe said...


I agree, it means recognizing how God is already using someone.

right on about giving account for every idle word.

Let every man be fully convinced in his own mind.