The preacher looked out over the large congregation and said “Are there any priests here today?” The people were surprised and fidgeted in their seats. Many looked around to see if there were any men with the telltale clerical collar.
The pastor continued “Will all the priests present this morning please raise your hands.” Again the people wondered if the pastor thought a busload of Catholic priests had mingled in with the congregation.
Then some of the men and women cautiously raised their hands. The pastor chuckled and said “Every hand should be raised. If you are a born-again Christian you are a priest! The Bible says in First Peter 2:9 we are a royal priesthood!”
The above illustration shows how uncomfortable we are with the term “priest.” We associate it with Catholicism or high church Protestantism. All born-again Christians are priests.
A priest is someone who approaches God on behalf of others. A priest is an intercessor. Whenever you pray for others you are fulfilling a priestly function. In the 1500’s during the Reformation, Martin Luther trumpeted the biblical truth of the priesthood of the believer. Luther had to counter the unbiblical Catholic concept of a limited priesthood ordained by Rome.
The Reformation of the 1500’s brought great spiritual freedom but the political reformation of the 1600’s brought Bible truths into the political arena. The Bible teaches not only the priesthood of the believer but also the royalty of the believer. First Peter 2:9 says that we are a royal priesthood and Revelation 1:6 says that Christ has”made us kings and priests unto God.” It’s bad enough that Christians are uncomfortable with the term “priest” but Christians are almost completely ignorant of the fact that we are kings!!!
I have written several articles showing that it was the Bible that provided the basis for western civilization’s concepts of human rights and democracy. The Bible’s teachings on the sanctity of life, its teaching that man is created in God’s image, the dignity of man and the biblical concept of the freedom of the believer (Romans 14:2-6) are the very basis for the freedom and prosperity we enjoy today.
In the 1600’s the Protestant Reformation was well established in northern Europe. It is precisely in northern Europe, especially the British Isles, where the greatest strides were made in the advance of freedom. The English civil war with the triumph of parliamentary forces and the overthrow of King Charles, the formation of the Cromwellian Republic, the bloodless revolution of 1689 all advanced the Biblical concept that the people, not a wealthy elite, should rule.
Consider the example of Thomas Hooker (1586-1647). He was a Congregational preacher with strong Puritan and non-conformist views. He taught that the spiritual reformation under Luther should be extended into the civil government. Not surprisingly Hooker was summoned to the Court of High Commission in 1630. He fled to Holland that year and in 1633 sailed for Massachusetts. He pastored a church in Newtown Massachusetts for three years and then in 1636 migrated with his congregation to the Connecticut River valley and founded Hartford in the new colony of Connecticut.
Hooker was largely responsible for writing and securing the adoption of the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (The Connecticut constitution) in 1639. He also worked to form the New England Federation in 1643. Thomas Hooker’s teaching of the biblical concept that Christian people should govern themselves and their communities as co-regents served to promote and clarify the concept of the royalty of the believer.
The concept of the royalty of the believer compellingly leads to democracy because a community of co-equal kings must vote in a democratic process to pass laws. Rather than having one all powerful king ruling by decree without consulting the people, the people themselves are kings who must consult and confer with each other.
More than a century later it was Protestant, Calvinistic New England that was the hotbed of the American Revolution. New England in the mid 1700’s was the Bible belt of the colonies.
The theology of the New England churches was Calvinism. Calvinism is a form of Christian Fundamentalism. Calvinism is a very conservative understanding and application of the Bible. The secular version of the history of the American Revolution is that it had to do with taxation issues. That is a gross oversimplification. Of the more than twenty formal causes of war listed in the Declaration of Independence only a few had to do with taxation. The real causes of the Revolution were much more compelling.
Slavery was one issue. Massachusetts wanted to abolish slavery but was forbidden to do so by the Crown. It is interesting that one of the first acts of the Continental Congress was the resolution passed on April 9th 1776 calling for an end to the importation of African slaves into the colonies.
Massachusetts abolished slavery immediately after the war. Slavery continued in the new nation only to hold the South. Time will fail me to discuss the biblical concepts and Christian activism that led to the ultimate abolition of slavery at the time of the U. S. Civil War. Let’s jump ahead now to our own times, to America in the early 21st century. Theologically conservative Christians are well aware of our priestly role as intercessors and worshippers. We are, however, hugely divided when it comes to our role as kings (and queens).
The truth is we cancel out each other’s votes!!! Some of us vote for the liberal who promotes abortion but makes empty promises to help the poor. Others of us vote for the pro-life candidates.
If we voted as a bloc we would be a reliable rudder that would steer America to righteousness! The church’s confusion on politics and the refusal by many Christians to even discuss politics is what I call the scandal of the neglected crown.
The compelling political issue of our time is the mass murder of the unborn called abortion. I believe abortion is the greatest abomination of our time. Over one million human beings, created in God’s image, are murdered by abortion every year in the united States alone.
For this reason the issue of abortion is weightier than all other domestic issues put together. We Christians should certainly be able to 100 percent agree on this issue! Abortion is the top domestic policy issue but we should also agree that the protection of Israel is the weightiest foreign policy issue. The liberals claim to have compassion on the poor but abortion disproportionately devours the poor and the minorities. Most abortion clinics are located in the inner city in poor and minority neighborhoods. I rejoice to hear much needed teachings on Christians making a difference in the marketplace. The concept of a Joseph company of Christian believers restoring the land is one of God’s priorities.
We must not forget that Joseph was a civil servant and not a businessman in the pure sense. Joseph was the highest ranking government official beside Pharaoh.
Entering government is one of the purest forms of Christian activism. Why limit ourselves to marching in the streets with placards when we can sit on the town board or city council or Congress and make the decisions? In revelation 12:14 the woman (the church) was given the two wings of a great eagle. I believe these two wings are left wing politics and right wing politics. Leftists have a burden of compassion on the poor. Rightists are more concerned with law and order and are pro-business. Both wings are needed. Christians are needed to manage welfare reform to end the secular false philanthropy that traps the poor in utter dependence. Christians are needed on the right to empower business and job creation and end the ungodly tendency of secular business to exploit workers and pollute the environment.
Left and right must unite in voting the pro-abortion people out of office!!! We should not be reluctant to preach against abortion from the pulpit.There have been many prophecies and many teachings about kingdom prosperity to finance the harvest of souls. Christ has made us kings and priests. We should boldly enter into public service, public office and the business arena and not be ashamed to talk politics. We’ve been good priests, it’s time we become good kings.