Q- You make a unique connection in your portrayal of Melchizedek. How do you predict it will go over with the public?
A- I don’t think “unique” is helpful in this context. I prefer something in the order of “discovery.” I see it as a rich vein of gold that perhaps no human ever laid eyes on. No one would say the gold is unique, but the discovery is without precedent—at least as far as I know. Mysterious is often how Melchizedek is described, so I wrote about him in the style of an investigation. First, I laid several chapters of groundwork for the priest, and his God-given role, so we could identify them by their actions. The mine is the Old Testament and its history, so that’s where we did the biggest share of the digging. The Lord directed not only our curiosity, but he led us to the unveiling of Melchizedek and of his order of priests as well.
Q- How do you think it will be received by Christians?
A- Hard to say. I am not optimistic that those who share my faith will see this book for what it is. I see it as transformational, but, most are not to the point where they see anything wrong with the traditional way we are doing things. Reform must come from the outside, and this has that potential. What I write is solid from a Biblical standpoint, but lies outside the accepted boundaries of what we call “the church.”
Many will look at the title and go “Ho-hum,” though “priest” is a common Bible term and common to our faith. Some may be somewhat intrigued by the sub-title, but, after seeing it doesn’t confirm their belief about Melchizedek, they will likely dismiss it. (I ran into this already.) Others will ask their trusted church leaders or teaching elders what they think, and will meet with a negative caution such as “You must be careful about books like these! I heard it was written by a Mormon,” or something else absolutely false. Whatever enthusiasm there is, then has water poured on it. I understand, believe me. I used to do the same thing. With all of that said, I’m hopeful there are believers who will trust the Scriptures, trust the Holy Spirit and read with a Christian mind—sort of like a non-prejudiced juror charged with hearing and weighing objectively all the evidence before rendering a decision.
The first time we saw the house we live in today, nothing on the outside sparked my interest. My wife suggested we look, since it had a “For Sale” sign and was across the street from the church. We had an accepted contract on another house, but were dealing with some big obstacles. I listened and we toured it. It had a lot of things we didn’t like—they were style things like carpeting and paneling—but the price was right and buying it made a ton of sense. From the street, it is still not an eye-catcher. Inside, there are big pluses. It’s the backyard, the gardens, and all that, that have made it great for us. The thing I’m saying is if we were only subjective we wouldn’t have given it a serious look. We would have missed out on a fine home. Subjectively, this book may appear uninteresting but it is anything but–if you love God’s Word that is.
One other obstacle I should mention, keeping Christians from picking up The Priests of God and saying “Wow!” is how we receive our information. Book reading is not exactly what many are spending time doing these days. Looking at our devices and monitoring our social network is more the norm. So, if there is no buzz on Facebook or Twitter about The Priests of God, then, for those on social media, it might as well not exist.
Rank-and-file Christians are conditioned: They rather be told what to think, then how to think. That’s what our culture has become. Reading this series is work. It challenges people to use Scripture to determine what is true–which is a superb concept. God gave us a mind for figuring out things. I love to make people think about important matters. Once thinking begins, there are fabulous rewards. There is a niche-market of Christian thinkers that will absolutely love The Priests of God–if they hear about it.
(Next week’s Part 6 of this interview with John Finkbeiner will be the last in the series.)