Here's my 13th Point in My 95 Theses. Another topic I'd love to see the church dialog around is our view of special places of worship, special people who lead the worship, and special actions done as worship.
When you look at the Old Testament model it is easy to identify the temple, priests and sacrifices of worship. There are specific holy places, holy people, and holy actions.
When you look at the modern church practices and beliefs it is a bit confusing.
Some may see similarities between the Old Testament Temple and our current Church buildings.
Some may see similarities between the Old Testament Priests and our current clergy who go by a variety of titles (Bishops, Priests, Pastors, Ministers...).
Some may see similarities between the Old Testament sacrifices made for worship and our current practices of worship music (or for others the Eucharist or sacraments).
But lets be clear.
According to the New Testament...
What/who is the temple?
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. " (Acts 17:24 NIV)
"Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?" (1 Corinthians 3:16 NIV)
"you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Pet 2:5 NIV)
"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;" (1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV)
"What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16 NIV)
"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. " (Ephesians 2:19-22 NIV)
Who are the priests?
"you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.What are the sacrifices of worship?
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."
(1 Pet 2:5,9 NIV)
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Rom 12:1-2 NIV)These ideas are not new. The protestant reformation included the belief in the priesthood of all believers. Yet I know many people practice a form of Christianity that elevates special buildings, special people, and special worship activities.
"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:15-16 NIV)
I fear there are many who get confused.