I hear frequent questions from LDS about the Protestant view of the Priesthood. “Who exactly has authority in your church? And Why?” I think those are valid questions and concerns. Particularly from those that come from such a well established hierarchy. Another questions is “Why only paid ministers?”
This week my church’s teaching pastor taught on both of these issues. Bear in mind, he wasn’t approaching the subject to answer LDS objections. He was explaining the role of authority and ministry to his own congregation who are already in agreement with him on a number of other things that LDS would object to. But I think this is a pretty good explanation of the Protestant view of the Priesthood and church authority.
I hope you’ll listen to it and come to a deeper understanding of us.
A Community of Ministers
Hi. I’m new to this forum, but have been reading the articles and comments off and on for the last three weeks and have found this to be the ideal place to discuss differences (or similarities) without hot headed banter and petty name calling that I’ve witnessed elsewhere.
My name is Austin and I’m from the heart of Mormondom- Utah County, Utah- and am LDS.
Dando, I really appreciated the link to the audio from your pastor. I think Mike Erre gave a very good presentation on the topic. In all honesty, I have never heard the explanation that he gave regarding heirarchy, leadership, authority, etc. from anyone.
The similarities from what he described and prescribed for his congregation, and the pleading for his flock to be co-ministers in the service of the Lord seems so remarkably close to the current practice of the LDS congregations. You can’t move to a new “ward” and think you are gonna stay in the shadows for very long without receiving some kind of service “calling”. There’s one for commonality.
I actually have more to comment on and questions to ask, but it’s getting late, so I’ll try to get to them tomorrow.
Welcome Austin. I’m glad you like what you’ve found here.
That makes me sad that you’ve never heard his explanation before. His explanation is what I have understood to be “the way it is” for as long as I can remember. So that makes me sad that we aren’t communicating it loud enough for outsiders to understand.
Send your questions!
I thought our pastor’s explanation of authority was absolutely spot on: Jesus said all authority is given to him. There you have it- Jesus is the one with the authority.
Ok so I’m back (hodex7)- the stomach flu hit the family, so I’ve been out of commission, but did want to comment and ask a couple of questions.
While I think your pastor’s explanation is quite enlightening, and gives a clearer picture on their view of authority, I still have a smidgen of confusion. So far nobody has posted any type of information as far as “authority” goes, really. What I mean by this is:
We know that Christ has all authority. The New Testament is also very clear that Christ indeed set up an “organization”. He “called” and “ordained” Twelve Apostles and gave them this same authority to preach the gospel, administer & minister in holy things (baptisms, bestowing the Holy Ghost, healings, etc.)
We know that the Twelve called and ordained other’s to fill in the vacancies that arose through various reasons. We know that as the church grew, a need for local leadership was required. The Apostles were given the authority to call and anoint men as needed to lead the flock on a local level.
We know that this organization was lead from the top down- Christ lead through direct communication to the Twelve who in turn lead the entire Church. Many times the Apostles had to send letters (epistles) to certain memberships in certain cities to chastize them for preaching/practicing incorrect doctrines. So this authority and organization was critical in leading and directing the Church.
So I come to my questions. Where & how specifically did your pastor (& all pastors and ministers of today’s Protestantism) get his/their authority to organize a church, to baptize, confer the Holy Ghost, to perform miracles in the name of Christ, to call and ordain other pastors and ministers, to guide and direct, to keep the doctrines pure? As far as I know, the Twelve and other leaders did not go to a religious school, nor were they called based on a feeling. They were specifically called by a living person, set apart or ordained, by one who already held the authority to perform such things.
I know this sounds harsh, but that’s the specific authority question I have yet to get an answer on.
In saying this, I want it clear that I have a lot of respect for anyone, be they a member of the clergy or of the membership in general, who believes in Christ and tries to live as He would have them live, regardless of my opinion of whether or not they have authority.
You’re assuming that delegated authority is required in order to do those things. What about Christ’s actual presence, since he has the authority?
Yes, I am assuming that delegated authority is required. I am also assuming Christ would lead the same way he lead as portrayed in the New Testament. If not, then it would have taken some official revelation & direct communication from the Almighty to indicate such a course.
If by “actual presence”, you mean Christ Himself is physically in all of today’s Protestant Churches personally directing their temporal as well as spiritual affairs, then I would have to say I don’t believe that.
But I think you may instead mean His influence is present and is directing these affairs. With this I cannot argue except for what I mention in the first paragraph and also by saying I don’t believe that’s the way it works, supported by and based on both Old and New Testament history. I do believe that man may be influenced by the Holy Ghost and have promptings from Christ Himself. But I believe that having authority given is both a spiritual as well as a physical action.
But I am probably blathering at this point.
But at least I am getting closer to understanding your point of view, which has been my goal.
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