"Failure to understand and implement Scripture’s teaching of the “’priesthood’ of all believers” thwarts the carrying out of Christ’s Great Commission Command – Why Christian churches end up, stooping to gimmickry" -- 1/7/11
Christ’s Great Commission Call
Christ’s Great Commission Call is that call to all Christian believers of all ages to make [Christian] disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). Note that in Christ’s Words, He promised to be with his own, until the end of the age [world]. By stating this, Christ’s call to His disciples, implicitly applies to future generations, years and centuries, until His Second Coming. [Acts 1:1-11 ; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ; Matthew 28:18-20] Note that in Christ’s Words, He promised to be with his own, until the end of the age [world].
Priesthood of believers
The "Priesthood of believers" is the Lord God’s call to all Christian believers, to be his disciple, “priests.” Principle source Scriptures: Matthew 28:18-20 ; 1 Peter 2: 7-9 ; Acts 8:1-4 ; Revelation 1:4-6.
Note: ".......All who by faith in Jesus Christ as their Redeemer and Mediator have forgiveness of sins are priests before God. Since sin no longer separates them from God, they have free access to Him. They may approach Him personally. Thus the name "priest" belongs to every believer. It is no longer reserved for any particular order within the Church. And this name is not a mere empty title; it gives expression to the rights and powers of Christ's people. It also reminds them of their duties and responsibilities........" --
["The Universal Priesthood of Believers" by L.W. Spitz; Centennial Series: "The Abiding Word" -- CPH; St. Louis, 1958]
Exodus 19:5-6a: Please note, regarding this Exodus Scripture --"Because of unbelief Israel failed to realize the promise of God, and the nation forfeited its place as God's own people. During the present age, the church occupies the favored place that Israel lost through disobedience."
[William MacDonald, "Believer's Bible Commentary, commenting on 1 Peter 2: 7-9]
God’s "'mediate' call" to an individual Christian, through a local “church” body [assembly of believers] is for the purpose of the [formal] public preaching and teaching of the Gospel [God’s Word] and administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, to a specific body (congregation) of believers. In today’s culture, this particular call’s requirement is the prerequisite of some type of formal academic Bible [or, seminary] training. Once completed, and the individual suitably “certified,” the candidate for a local congregation’s call, is beholden to a church body’s ecclesiastical structured, authority. Once, finally, placed [and / or, “called”] to a local congregation, the pastor finds himself functioning as servant to the local congregation, beholden to their particular needs – but also, [sadly and pathetically] beholden to the larger [controlling] ecclesiastical church body, which often becomes manipulative and domineering, rather than [strictly] functioning as an advisory body to local churches and their pastors.
God’s "'immediate' [specific] call" are to certain individual Christian disciples to fulfill by their life, vocation, circumstance, example and daily ministrations, the Great Commission of Christ. This includes preaching and teaching the Gospel vis-à-vis daily interactions in the workplace, community and culture. All Christian believers are called to function in the “priesthood of believers,” but not all Christian believers possess an “immediate call.” The immediate [personal] call from the Lord can be a call for a moment or for a long duration of time –- always, dependent upon the Holy Spirit’s leading and guidance.
Also, it should be stated, that the “immediate call” can be a "prelude" to those individuals seeking to be pastors of local churches, -- where, after a given amount of time, after having fulfilled certain ecclesiastical requirements, are then "given" [offered] a "mediate" call to serve a particular local church (fellowship of believers).
Note: Although ecclesiastical (church) authority and individual pastors of congregations are vaguely aware of the “priesthood of all believers” and the “immediate (personal) call,” -- their awareness, generally, only pays lip service to both these Scriptural realities in [and for] the rank-in-file, Christian’s life. Hence, there sometimes, [and, oftentimes] ensues, misunderstanding, paranoia and even subtle persecution of Christians in their exercise of the “priesthood of all believers,” and the “immediate call,” its ministrations and activities.
An important distinction:......"A Priest is not identical with Presbyter or Minister -- for one is born to be priest, one becomes a minister." All are priests, not all are ministers. There is priesthood and there is a ministry. They are not the same, yet both are God-given, and there exists between them a contrapuntal relationship........
[Above distinction, taken from the chapter on "The Ministry," -- "The Church and Her Fellowship, Ministry, and Governance," by Professor Kurt E. Marquart; Published by The International Foundation for Lutheran Confessional Research, Fort Wayne, Indiana]
"Difference between the personal priesthood of all Christians and the public ministry:"
"Whenever Christians perform the rights and duties of their royal priesthood, they act as private persons and not as public officials of the Church. As we distinguish between a private citizen and a public official, so must we distinguish between an individual Christian and the called minister of the congregation. What both do may in a given case be exactly the same thing; the one acts as an individual Christian on the basis of his royal priesthood, which may not be curtailed in any manner; the other acts on the basis of the call he received from his fellow-Christians. One acts, under God, in his own name; the other acts, under God, in the name of the congregation which has called him.
This very distinction limits the sphere of a Christian as a royal priest to such things as he can do as an individual Christian, and it excludes those things in which many Christians act jointly as a congregation. Thus the public preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments, church discipline, and the excommunication of the impenitent sinner from a congregation no individual Christian may claim for himself on the basis of his royal priesthood. In these matters the entire congregation acts, and it acts through its called minister."
[Above taken from: "A Summary of Christian Doctrine" by Edward W.A. Koehler -- Second Revised Edition; Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 1952]
1 Corinthians 1:26-29: "For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence." 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
If He was a man of the world, Yeshua would have chosen the elite of His day to accomplish His mission -- however He used simple fishermen. These men were considered uneducated, lacking "social status", wealth or worldly distinction of any kind -- yet these "simple" men were the ones the Lord selected to build the Kingdom of God.
When the children of Israel were slaves in Egypt, God didn't send an army to deliver them, He sent a single man. But a single man of God was shown to be greater than the most powerful kingdom on Earth. Throughout the Bible, we read of the Lord choosing and using the weak things of the world to confound and shame the wise and powerful. God seems to love revealing His awesome power through humble vessels, so that no flesh can glory in His presence.....
......don't allow the enemy to convince you that God cannot use you because you are "flawed", weak, or seemingly inconsequential. No, instead, remember that He uses the base, despised, nonentities of this world, ordinary, often broken, people...to do extraordinary things. Our God is not looking at your wealth, your social status or your education -- He's looking at your heart! If your heart is willing and your life is available, then He is more than able to perform miraculous work through you for His Kingdom's sake. With so much work to be done, don't allow the enemy to stifle or steal the Lord's vision for your life –- He has a plan to use you to confound the wise of this world, and to bring to naught the things that are!
Source of above -- Taken from: "Worthy News Brief - Monday, July 26, 2010" --http://www.worthynews.com/