Is The Clergy/Laity Distinction Biblical?


One of the few things that most religions have in common is a clergy/laity distinction. The clergy are people appointed (ordained) to perform religious duties, rituals, and tasks. Some do not consider common people (lay people) qualified to do these tasks. Some terms commonly used to refer to clergy are priest, reverend, minister, preacher, bishop, pastor, father, etc. In short, clergy are the people behind the pulpit and laity are the people in the pews.

Opposite views of clergy and laity

Although in the minority, there are some movements and denominations that have rejected the notion of a clergy/laity distinction. While this is a more biblical approach, it isn’t without its problems. The emphasis upon equality among believers may result in people serving in a capacity which God has not gifted them for. Sometimes this goes unchecked because of a reluctance to question someone’s right to serve. In reality, it isn’t about rights, but about finding a role where they can apply their gift.

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Church Leadership, Priesthood