Complementarianism is Out of Harmony With the Priesthood of Believers



Complementarianism is out of harmony with the Priesthood of Believers, as the light of the New Testament reveals:

(1 Peter 2:4-5,9) – 4 So as you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen and precious in God’s sight, 5 you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ…..9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  (NET)


In this passage Peter is quoting Exodus 19:5-6:


(Ex 19:5-6) – 5 And now, if you will diligently listen to me and keep my covenant, then you will be my special possession out of all the nations, for all the earth is mine, 6 and you will be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you will speak to the Israelites.”  (NET)


The nation of Israel was a kingdom of priests, which was a type of the Church—the Body of Christ. Thus, we as the Church are a “kingdom of priests.” That is, we are a kingdom made up of priests, with Jesus as High Priest (He 4:14)—just as Aaron was a high priest of Israel under the Old Covenant (OC). The priests of the OC served God on behalf of the people of Israel. The people presented themselves to God through the priesthood. The high priest made atonement for the sins of the people once a year (Ex 30:10; Lev 16:29-34; He 9:7), and was a type of Christ, who would make atonement for His people once for all time (He 9) as the High Priest of the New Covenant (NC). The other priests of Israel served God in other ways, making various other offerings to God on behalf of the people (Nu 29:39).

In Christ of the NC, we are individually priests unto God, as members of the Body of Christ. All believers in Christ serve God as NC priests—both male and female. We no longer need to approach God through the Old Testament priesthood, because we ourselves are priests in Christ, with Jesus as our High Priest, as Head of the Church. We now have direct access to God through Him (Eph 2:18; He 4:16; He 10:19-23). The OC priests were ministers of God, who served God on behalf of the people. Likewise, we as NC priests are ministers of God, offering ourselves as a “living sacrifice” (Ro 12:1).

What we’re to learn from this is that the priests of the OT were all males. However, in Christ both male and female are priests unto God. All the duties and privileges of the male priesthood are given to all believers in Christ, both male and female. As members of the Body of Christ and as servants of the Lord, there is no distinction between us, as Paul tells us in Galatians 3:28 and Ephesians 2:11-22). We are all “one in Christ” (Ga 3:28). Male and female distinctions as ministers of Christ are done away with in Him. We serve God as NC priests who are equal in every way.

The OT priests served equally, and were subordinate to no other priest, except to the high priest. The high priest was over all the others, as Christ is over all of us as our High Priest. The picture that the OT priesthood presents couldn’t be any clearer. How it applies to us as a NC priesthood, couldn’t be any clearer.

For complementarians to squeeze subordinate roles out of all this – male ministers in authority over female ministers – is inconsistent to the extreme. That’s not the picture that is given to us. That’s not what the Bible reveals. Patriarchy is completely out of harmony with the priesthood of believers. How does one see such a division between us except through a patriarchy lens? Because the only way for that to be true is if the priesthood of believers consisted only of males. The reality is, the only hierarchy of authority is between us (male and female) and Christ our High Priest. Complementarianism divides us where there is no division in our service to the Lord.