Catholic Priest or Protestant Pastor


I had someone very dear to me ask the question "How can someone other than a Catholic Priest be the leader of a church?" I thought I would post my answer.

In the old testament a priest was needed to mediate between man and God. It was thought that man was sinful and therefore separated from God so people would take their best lamb and give it to the priest to be sacrificed. After traditional rituals the priest would sacrifice the animal as a representation of the appropriate consequence of sin against a Holy God was is death (eternal separation from God not immediate death). Therefore through the sacrifice of a perfect animal, sin was erased, and man was considered righteous before God. However, that was before God came down to earth as Jesus. John 1:14 says this "The Word (God) became flesh (Jesus) and made his dwelling among us."

In the New Testament, Jesus came and was called the "Lamb of God." This title represents Jesus being the final sacrifice for sin and our high priest. Jesus lived a perfect life. He lived the life that we could not live, died the death that we should have died, and established a relationship with God that without him we would not have or deserve (aka Grace)

Hebrews 7 puts it like this "Such a high priest (Jesus) meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests (in the Old Testament), he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself (on the cross)."

A christian is someone who believes that their faith in Christ is what allows them to have eternal life and live life to the fullest on earth in relationship with God. John 3:16 says "God loved the world so much that he sent Jesus, and if you believe in him you will have eternal life" and John 10:10 says "Jesus has come that you may experience life to the fullest".

Now when someone accepts Jesus for who the bible declares he is, the Holy Spirit (3rd person of the trinity) comes to live in the believer; which means that God comes to live in us.

1 Corinthians 6:19 says that "Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in us because we are bought with a price. Everyone who has been purchased (redeemed) by the blood of Christ also has the Spirit of God dwelling in him."

So what does this have to do with a priest? This is what this means.....There is no longer a need for a priest. Jesus came to be our final sacrifice so that we do not need to go through another person (Priest) to connect with God. Instead through a relationship w/ Jesus who is always interceding for us (Hebrews 7) we can now go directly to God. So now, since you do not need a priest, the bible calls elders (aka pastors) to lead the church.

The qualifications of a pastor is found in 1 Timothy 3 in which I believe I am qualified. Here is what it says "Now the overseer (pastor, elder, church leader) must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap."

So that is the case for not having a need for a priest anymore. With that being says, most catholics don't look to the bible as the reasoning of their beliefs instead they look to traditions. So eventually what you end up with is a faith or works argument.

Here's what I mean. Is someone justified by their good works or faith in Jesus? In other words; to know God (or have a relationship with him) do you need to go to church, have a priest talk to God for you, be nice to people, take the sacraments (wine and bread at church), be baptized, feed the poor, be nice to your momma, etc? The answer is that you dont need to do anything to know God except accept Jesus and have faith in him. However, if one knows Jesus and lives in relationship with him, the works will happen. A Christian who is intimate with Jesus will naturally Go to church (because they desire to worship God and learn about him), be nice to people (because the fruit of knowing Jesus is Love, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, and self control...Galatians 5); be baptized (because baptism is a public declaration of your allegiance to Jesus), read their bible (because it is the Word of God); be nice to their momma (no need to explain that one; I love your bones)the list can go on forever.

Anyway, I thought I would write this to you so you know why I believe what I believe pertaining to the priest thing. It is a pretty straight forward biblical argument and typically if a catholic believes the bible (which most do, but they just dont read it or know what it says) than they feel the same way. For example, my Grandma Alice believes everything that I wrote, however she is accustomed to catholic church because that is what she grew up in and the catholic traditions is how she connects with God on Sunday's. However if you talk to her, you can tell that she is a women who often connects with God throughout the week and she does not need a priest to connect with God or to go to confession, instead she can always go directly to God for anything.

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