On November 12, celebrating the 500th Birthday of the Reformation, Immanuel Church senior pastor, Dr de Vries, shared one of the core Reformation/Presbyterian teachings: the literal priesthood of all believers from the text I Peter 2:5-9. He encouraged believers, who have received the salvation grace from God, to be His priest in each of our own field.
You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the excellence [ἀρετή] of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)
"One of the most common abuses of power in religious organizations - both Christian and otherwise - is the restriction of priesthood to the few who are especially selected, trained, and ordained by the powerful religious establishment," said Dr. de Vries. "By God's amazing grace, none of this power-hungry hierarchy is taught in the Bible. Not in the Old Testament. Not in the New Testament. As God's children, and by his grace, we all have (1) direct access to God and (2) the calling to represent the Lord lovingly and boldly."
"The role of Biblical ministry is to help call and equip every man, woman, and child to each have their vibrant relationship with God and service for God." Having been in the teaching field of training and equipping Biblical leaders, Dr. de Vries shared his reflection."God desires this and the Lord equips and empowers this vital, redeemed human role. Our Priesthood is a restoration of our original divine design as Images of God. By grace, we can return to the original design, deep within us as Children of God, the Lord's vital Images. Therefore, our calling to restored priesthood is radical - by amazing radical grace, a calling penetrating to our very roots as humans."
"We are God's vital priests in church and in our families, professions, education, homemaking, friendships, labor, leisure, struggle, and fun. There are two wonderful responsibilities of priests - (1) full of grace to be in vibrant relationship with God and (2) faithfully to represent God to others and others to God. Moreover, these are the two chief responsibilities of being Christians, by grace the redeemed images of God. For good reason, Martin Luther 500 years ago openly desired that the proper term 'priest' would become our term of self-description as common as 'Christian.'"
"Thank the Lord for this wonderful, awesome, radical, grace-filled calling on each of us - men women and children - to be an active 'Priest of the Living God'," proclaimed Dr. de Vries as he exhorted NY Immanuel members to praise God's woderful grace and be his faithful priest.