Sunday, May 31, 2009

The New Paradigm

About two days ago, I started discussing the false analogies as presented in Rebecca Merrill Groothuis’s chapter on “Equal in Being, Unequal in Role.” The first false analogy Groothuis describes is the Levitical priesthood. We’ve already seen that Christ is our High Priest, who does away with the Levitical priesthood because He is of a different priestly order, “The line of Melchizedek” (the name “Melchizedek” means “King of Righteousness”).

But in today’s post I wanna look at a conclusion Groothuis draws from what she has studied regarding false analogies:

“In the new covenant, physical distinctions such as race and gender NO LONGER DEMARCATE UNEQUAL LEVELS OF RELIGIOUS PRIVILEGE (Gal. 3:26-28). No one in the body of Christ is excluded from the priestly responsibilities of representing God’s holiness to the world, offering spiritual sacrifices to God, representing God before other believers and interceding for others before God. THE FAILURE TO PERCEIVE AND HONOR THE PIVOTAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRIESTHOOD IN THE OLD COVENANT AND PRIESTHOOD IN THE NEW COVENANT IS A FUNDAMENTAL THEOLOGICAL FLAW OF EVANGELICAL PATRIARCHY” (Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, “Discovering Biblical Equality,” page 329).

Groothuis hits the nail on the head with this last statement: the fact that complementarians (patriarchalists) cannot understand New Covenant Theology because they tend to see the New Testament priesthood as an EXTENSION of the old. I’ve already argued (in my series on “Justifications for a Patriarchal Hermeneutic”) that God intended for ALL of the nation to be priests and appear before God. Exodus 19-20, though, tells us that, before Moses went up on Mount Sinai, the people were afraid of the fire and smoke coming from the mountain; but after Moses brought the commandments down from Sinai, the people were afraid to come up the mountain (as God had directed them to do). They were supposed to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation; but, instead of accepting their priestly duties, what did they do? They told Moses that they wanted HIM to speak to God on their behalf!

The people did not want to talk to God because they feared death (“lest we die”). And by so doing, they gave up their priesthood that believers now receive in the New Testament.

This shows us that, IF God extends the idea of the priesthood into the New Testament (and does not break with it completely), then the idea of the priesthood extended is THE PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS!

Here is what Peter writes regarding the spiritual priesthood:

1 So rid yourselves of (A) all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. (B) 2 Like newborn infants, desire the unadulterated spiritual milk, (C) so that you may grow by it in [your] salvation, [a] 3 since you have tasted (D) that the Lord is good. (E) (F) 4 Coming to Him, a living stone—rejected by men but chosen and valuable to God— 5 you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God (G) through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture:
Look! I lay a stone in Zion, (H)
a chosen and valuable cornerstone, (I)
and the one who believes in Him
will never be put to shame! (J) [b] (K)
7 So the honor is for you who believe; but for the unbelieving,
The stone that the builders rejected—
this One has become the cornerstone, (L) (M)
8 A stone that causes men to stumble, [c]
and a rock that trips them up. (N) [d] (O)
They stumble by disobeying the message; they were destined (P) for this.
9 But you are a chosen race, (Q) [e] (R) a royal priesthood, (S) (T)
a holy nation, (U) (V) a people for His possession, (W) (X)
so that you may proclaim the praises (Y) [f] (Z)
of the One who called you out of darkness
into His marvelous light. (1 Pet. 2:1-9, HCSB)

The priesthood of all believers is for everyone. And I wish the complementarian could see it…

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