At the most recent Verge: Missional Community Conference, one of the speakers challenged his fellow pastorsÂ to “ordain every Christ follower.” He invited all those who felt God’s calling to come forward and “ordained” and “anointed” them to whatever ministry they felt God was calling them.
This is a gross misunderstanding of Peter’s call to Christians to be “a royal priesthood” (1 Pet 2:9) and the Reformation’s “priesthood of all believers.” Did Peter and the Reformers ordain every member of their churches to be a Minister of the Word and Sacrament? Would you go to your auto mechanic to diagnose your back pain? Would you pay your lawyer to fix your fridge? Yet, this is what churches do today: call untrained, Biblically-illiterate men and women to preach, “lead” Bible studies, and head all kinds of “ministries” because they have “leadership” and “transformational” skills.
What is this “priesthood of all believers” that I’m talking about? If we read 1 Peter 2:9, he calls all believers to serve God daily by proclaiming His “excellencies” to His glory, just as priests served God in the temple. Whether we’re auto mechanics, lawyers, chimney sweeps, or doctors, all Christians are to serve God in our vocations. No vocation is superior or more “sacred” than any other. We are to work our vocations “as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man” (Eph 6:6-7).
Speaking of training for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament, many evangelicals might be loathe to the idea of seminary, but John Piper says he prefers seminary training over church-based training. Did you ever notice that most heretics (if not all) such as Montanus, Charles Finney and Benny Hinn did not have formal seminary training? Not that seminary training guarantees orthodoxy, but many who are attracted to false teachings are the ones without training.
Some will argue that the apostles were not seminary-trained, but who trained them? It was the greatest seminary teacher of all, our Lord Jesus Christ! He taught them for three years before they were sent out into all the world to preach and teach.