All Christ-followers are called to be networkers–to help people connect personally with the living, resurrected Jesus and to have an intimate, direct relationship with Him that doesn’t depend on a special, religious man to lead them. This biblical concept is what the Protestants called “the priesthood of the believer.”
However, instead of demonstrating the priesthood of all believers, the Protestants set up a hierarchy similar to the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Martin Luther even called this special group of Christians “priests,” although most other Protestant groups called them by other names: “pastors,” “ministers,” “preachers,” etc. Thus, they separated the people of God into two distinct groups (or classes) of Christians–clergy and laity.
The biblical concept of the priesthood of the believer is powerful. It’s such an exciting thing to fellowship and interact with all Christins as equals, with no hierarchy–following the living Jesus instead of men, organizations, and religious programs. Everybody should try it. It’s truly awesome. “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” “As many as are led by the Spirit (the living Jesus), these are the children of God.”
I once went through the New Testament and read every verse that contained the word “called.” I couldn’t find one mention of the very popular Christian phrase, “called to preach.” However, I did find the words, ‘called to be saints.” I concluded that all Christians are called to fully follow and obey the living Jesus. There are no part-time Christians in the Bible. It’s a full-time calling to all.
Now what about preaching? The New Testament does ask this question: “How can anyone preach unless they be sent?” Once we’re called to follow Jesus, we are “sent” (not called) to preach and testify about Him. Let’s do what Jesus said and all “go” preach. The Great Commission must stop being hindered by the clergy/laity misunderstanding!
I recently saw these words, “the concretized, mystical union between Jesus Christ and His people.” Unless we have that union with the living, present-day Jesus, we’re merely blowing spiritual smoke.
A google search indicates that there are more than 40,000 Christian denominations in the world. What an unimaginable amount of divisiveness that directly contradicts Jesus’ prayer that all His followers be one!
If Christians would center on and get fixated on the risen Jesus, we’d long for and seek out personal, open-hearted connection with every other person that we meet with that fixation. We might get so carried away that we begin to pray, worship, share scriptures, and give testimonies house to house and wherever we encounter such people. We might grow to such spiritual maturity that we no longer need to be lectured by a man every week, but instead begin to rejoice in God’s teaching that flows directly from Jesus through our heart.