What is the doctrine of vocation?


You remember that one of the key doctrines
that was taught by Luther in the 16th century was the priesthood of all believers. Now in that, that’s an often misunderstood
concept because it sounds as if Luther was saying that with the advent of Protestantism,
the idea of an ordained clergy is no longer necessary, and we do away with it. Well, Luther did not do away with an ordained
clergy. He understood that there was this particular
function established in the New Testament for the ministry of what we would call full-time
Christian ministry or pastoral ministry and so on. But what he was saying by the priesthood of
all believers is that every believer is called to participate in the establishing and building
of the kingdom of God, and that every believer, whatever work he’s engaged in, banker, you
know, lawyer, Indian chief, baker whatever it was, his work should be done to the glory
of God and that he should be subjecting his talents and his gifts to live Coram Deo, before
God, before the face of God, under the authority of God, and to the glory of God. And that we should be wrestling with the biblical
principles that teach us how to use our gifts and talents in a way that is serviceable to
God and to humanity. And the idea was that in the medieval church,
vocation was restricted, for the most part, to the clergy. And in the Reformation it was said, “No, the
farmer has a vocation, the banker has a vocation.” God calls all of us to do different aspects
of different parts in developing His kingdom.


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