I recently visited the building where a local church regularly gathers. In the lobby outside of their awkwardly named “sanctuary” was a plaque which read — “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’ (Ps. 122:1).” Did I miss something? This room with pews and hymnals (remember those?) is the temple of God?! I hear this kind of language consistently infiltrating Protestant churches.
What about the New Testament? The promise of the new covenant is that God will be among us (Ez. 37:27) — we are the temple (2 Cor. 6:16, Eph. 2:21)!
Not only have we equated the physical meeting place of the church with the Hebrew temple we have equated the leadership of the local church with the Levitical priesthood! The Israelites had their professional ministers, so we must have ours. Just like the Israelites we pay them to do the ministry. As such, most of our Protestant churches are functionally Catholic. The paid staff are the professional Christians.
We need to reclaim the priesthood of the believers. As the book of Hebrews reminds us, we have one high priest — Christ. Under that great high priest, all Christians are a part of the priesthood (1 Pt. 2:9-10). As such, every person who has been united to God through faith in Christ should fulfill their ministry duties to “declare the praises of Him who called [them] out of darkness (1 Pt. 2:9).”
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