Does the Iglesia Ni Cristo have priests?
The "Iglesia Ni Cristo" teaches that we should not have priests like the Roman Catholic church, but could it be the case that INC ministers put themselves in the role of the priest?
When we look at what a priest is, and what the Bible teaches about the current priesthood, we see that the INC does treat its ministers as priests and goes against the Bible's prescriptions.
The duty of the priest is to offer salvation from God.
A priest is one who mediates between God and man, and serves as a necessary channel through which God provides salvation to man.
In Levitcal law, the priest had to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people in order that they could be saved. It was impossible for the people to do this on their own, and therefore they needed the priesthood in order to be saved.
In Roman Catholicism, a priest is needed to give forgiveness through confession and to explain the Bible since Roman Catholic laymen are not permitted to interpret the Bible themselves, similar to what the INC teaches.
INC ministers consider themselves necessary conduits of God's salvation.
In the INC, a minister is needed in order to explain the Bible. They are needed because the INC teaches that man cannot understand the saving gospel of Jesus Christ without one of their ministers explaining the Bible.
Though they call this individual a "minister", the INC minister attempts to perform the role of a priest. They are not merely ones who shepherd, but they claim to provide the necessary mediation between God and man so that man can have salvation. Therefore, despite the naming, the INC has priests just like the Roman Catholic Church.
Jesus is our high priest.
It is not the duty of mere man to mediate between God and man, but the duty of Jesus Christ, our perfect mediator.
Hebrews 5:14 (ESV) - 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
When the INC teaches that their ministers are a necessary conduit of the gospel, they replace Christ as our high priest, the only mediator between God and man.
All Christians are part of the priesthood.
The Bible teaches that Jesus is the only necessary mediator between God and man. Additionally, the Bible teaches that all Christians are also a part of the priesthood. They are not a necessary channel of salvation, but all Christians are giving the task of proclaiming the gospel.
1 Peter 2:9 (ESV) - But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
The INC teaches that only ministers have the authority to preach the gospel and that church members share the message by inviting others to Bible studies and worship services. In other words, the INC teaches that only ordained ministers have such a role in our royal priesthood. This teaching contradicts what the Bible says about our priesthood. All Christians are to proclaim his exellencies and direct the lost directly to Christ, our great high priest.
Though the INC doesn't use tho word "priest", they treat their ministers as priests. First, it replaces Jesus as the sole necessary mediator in our salvation. Additionally, it replaces the priesthood of all Christians - that priesthood which has the authority to preach the gospel to all creation.