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Many protestant versions of believers’ royal priesthood, including the Christian Reformed Church in North America, are missionally inadequate: priestly functions are often monopolized by the Ministerial Priesthood,[1] which leads to the defrocking of the ministry of the priesthood of all believers.

In essence, the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers is treated as though it is a true, factual, and fascinating piece of Christian doctrine, but is not always practically lived out in local congregations. We believe in it in theory, but not in practice.

A biblical and missional understanding of the church must root the priesthood of all believers in baptism, the initiatory rite that ordains all people into priestly service in the world.

A proper re-framing of the priesthood of all believers will serve as the catalyst for a more robust ecclesiology and will be the impetus for the royal priesthood to commit to their earthly vocation to be witnesses of Christ in the world.

[1] In the case of the CRCNA, there are four offices of the Ministerial Priesthood: Minister of the Word, Elder, Deacon, and Commissioned Pastor.

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Doctor of Ministry

First Advisor

Rylaarsdam, David

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Church, Priesthood, Priesthood of all believers, Christian Reformed Church, Reformation, Doctrinal Theology


Missions and World Christianity | Practical Theology


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