Ask A Pastor
By Rev. Beverly Kahle
St. Paul UCC, Nashville
How do you understand and practice the protestant doctrine of the "priesthood of all believers" (I Peter 2:5)?
As a pastor and member of a reformed protestant church, steeped in the traditions of Zwingli, Luther, and, yes, Calvin, the idea that we are all part of a priesthood of believers is part of the core of my understanding of faith. For me, this understanding drives the practice of faith. We are responsible for our worship and our actions. When we gather as a body, all that we do lifts up and points to the God who created us and holds us together. With the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit – God’s Spirit – was released to dwell in us and with us so that a human intermediary to sacrifice and plea for us was no longer needed. Instead, as it reads in Romans 8.15 ,”the Spirit himself testifies that we are God’s children.” With God’s Spirit leading us and guiding us, we are responsible for our own confession and restitution as “the Spirit himself intercedes for us,” (Romans 8.17). Our relationship with Jesus Christ, then, as our Savior, Lord, and brother, makes us into “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (I Peter 2.9-10). This comes with all the privileges and responsibilities of being part of the family of God. Our practice calls us to these duties – Reflect and Represent God. Each of us is to reflect the glory of God and the grace of Jesus Christ as we represent God and God’s love to the world through our actions and deeds.