This past November, at the gorgeous St. Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne, I was ordained as a priest in the Anglican Church of Australia. When the archbishop laid his hands on me and prayed for me, I was overwhelmed with feelings of joy and divine pleasure.
This journey into the priesthood has been significant for me in two ways.
First, it was the culmination of a long denominational journey from Baptist to Presbyterian to Anglican. I have fond memories of all the churches and traditions I have been involved with. I tell folks that the Baptists taught me to love Jesus, the Presbyterians taught me to love theology, and the Anglicans taught me to love the church. That said, Anglicanism feels like home with its liturgical worship, evangelistic proclamation, and charismatic affections.
Second, ordination helps me fulfill what I regard as my calling to be a mediator between the church and the academy. As a priest-scholar, I have one foot set in the lecture hall, and the other foot set in the sanctuary. I speak from both the podium and the pulpit. Plus, I get to engage people as diverse as unbelieving professors in secular universities and ordinary churchgoers in the pews.
Throughout my journey, Paul’s discussion in Romans 15 of his own ministry has been crucial. There, in verses 15 and 16, the apostle writes:
Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
For me, this passage shows that my calling to preach the gospel is the calling to a priestly ministry. ...