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 who have been appointed (ordained) to perform religious duties, rituals and tasks which the common people (lay people, laity) aren’t considered qualified to do or aren’t expected to do. Some terms that are commonly used to refer to clergy within Christianity 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 they are not gifted for. Sometimes this is allowed to go unchecked because of a reluctance to question someone’s “right” to serve. In reality, it isn’t about rights, but about finding a way for them to apply their gift in the correct role.

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Priesthood