The Priesthood of All Believers
by Chuck Burkeen & Gary McLain
The Oregon Conference invited Dr. Russell Burrill to speak at eight locations throughout the Conference, talking on “The Priesthood of all Believers”.
Dr. Burrill began by outlining God’s original plan before sin—speaking face-to-face with Adam and Eve. God’s plan after sin is explained in Exodus 19:6, “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation….” After Israel’s sin at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 32), God initiated the priestly system through the Levites.
The governing verb of the Old Testament is “come”—come and see God’s plan for humanity in the nation of Israel. The governing verb of the New Testament is “go”—go into all the world and preach this Good News. This is the Missional Model of church. Our Adventist churches should be functioning on this Missional Model. Just as God originally planned (before the incident at Mt. Sinai), Jesus proclaimed that every member today is a priest before God. How do you become a priest? You are purchased by the blood of Christ. In 1 Peter 2:9, Peter applies Exodus 19:6 to the chosen ones. How are you chosen? By being purchased by the blood of Christ.
Ministry does not belong only to the pastor. “The work of God in the earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church membership rally to the work and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers.” (Gospel Workers, 351- 352). There is no status difference between clergy and lay people—only a functional difference. You became a minister when you were baptized. Ministry is the job of all God’s people!
Dr. Burrill shared from the book Every Believer a Minister, by Dr. Rex Edwards, “But the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers indicates that for the Christian the climax is what is done in the world during the week! What happens on Sabbath is to prepare him for this ministry in the world during the week (p. 114)” The church should be a training center. Ministry should be a way of life outside the church doors.
We all, as Christians, have a duty to share the Good News with others, using the God-given gifts we were born with. Jesus is coming again soon! Let's get the work done together so we can go home.