Original Research

A rediscovery of the priesthood of believers in Ephesians 4:1–16 and its relevance for the Missio Dei and a biblical missional ecumenism

George Lotter, Timothy Van Aarde
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 51, No 2 | a2251 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v51i2.2251 | © 2017 George Lotter, Timothy Van Aarde | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 March 2017 | Published: 31 August 2017

About the author(s)

George Lotter, Faculty of Theology, Potchefstroom campus, North-West University, South Africa
Timothy Van Aarde, Department of Humanities, Vanderbijlpark campus, North-West University, South Africa


This article is dedicated to Professor Sarel van der Merwe as missiologist and what he had done for the cause of the missio Dei in South Africa. The role of the laity in the missio Dei was one of the most significant developments followed by most church denominations. The priesthood of believers was the reformational perspective rediscovered by Martin Luther. The reformed tradition rediscovered the role of the laity in missions, which the Baptist church tradition has now developed most extensively in terms of missions. The Catholic Church has recognised the apostolicity of the laity in a decree called ‘Apostolicam Actuositatem’ at the Second Vatican Council in response to the crises of the church. The charismatics gave recognition to the role of the laity through the spiritual gifts of each believer. The role of the laity and of the priesthood of believers has its biblical precedent and foundation in 1 Peter 2:5, 9 and Ephesians 4:1–16. The contribution of Ephesians is that it provides the church with a missional mandate for the ordinary believer to participate in the missio Dei –, a mandate that has to be rediscovered in every age. The priesthood of believers provides an orientation for a biblical missional ecumenism.



priesthood of believers; Ephesians; biblical missional ecumenism; missio Dei; soul competency; new evangelization; Newfrontiers; access to God; Apostolicam Actuositatem rite vocatis


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