The priesthood of all believers is a core Protestant belief. But what does it actually mean?
Uche Anizor and Hank Voss set the record straight in this concise treatment of a doctrine that lies at the center of church life and Christian spirituality. The authors look at the priesthood of all believers in terms of the biblical witness, the contribution of Martin Luther and the doctrine of the Trinity. They place this concept in the context of the canonical description of Israel and the church as a royal priesthood that responds to God in witness and service to the world.
Representing Christ is much more than a piece of Reformation history. It shows that the priesthood of all believers is interwoven with the practical, spiritual and missional life of the church.
"The title says it all: representing Christ to one another in the church and others outside it—which is to say, participating in the royal priesthood of believers—is the great privilege and responsibility of every Christian. Anizor and Voss rightly call attention to this important theme, explaining its Christocentric-Trinitarian grounding, its biblical unfolding from Adam to Christ and its historical development, especially its recovery by Martin Luther at the time of the Reformation. They also call for a recovery of the royal priesthood in the contemporary church and the seven priestly practices that are vital to the church's ministry and mission. This is a fine example of theology retrieval for the sake of church renewal."
"Having fallen precipitously from watchword to buzzword, 'the priesthood of all believers' is in dire need of recovery today. Anizor and Voss rescue it from disuse, misuse and abuse and restore it to its proper place: under the high priesthood of Christ, in relation to the Triune God and in service to the world. This book guards a precious doctrine against hierarchical errors on one side and democratic errors on the other. Readers who have come to think of priesthood as a marginal topic or none of their business will find the theme expanding here to such vast and comprehensive proportions that it begins to seem like the main thing the Bible is about."
"Representing Christ provides both a historical and theological framework for understanding this almost forgotten concept, the priesthood of all believers. Anizor and Voss offer a masterful analysis and application of priesthood that is rooted deeply in the Scriptures. Their reflections of both clerical and lay priesthood situate this idea as a connection between liturgy as worship and mission. Their christocentric-trinitarian paradigm also provides practical suggestions for local churches to live out the call to priesthood in the fullest sense of missio Dei. Representing Christ will be required reading for my students and should be for all those committed to participating in the work of Christ's priesthood in the church and world."
"The priesthood of all believers is a phrase that is often cited but a doctrine that rarely receives sustained attention. Representing Christ provides this attention and does so in a way that brings needed theological reflection to this important though neglected subject. It does so with clarity, constructive purpose, and in a manner accessible to all believers."
"Uche Anizor and Hank Voss have taught me a great deal about the biblical doctrine of royal priesthood—not only in their theoretical work but also in their personal churchly practice. I'm excited to see their respective insights brought together and made more widely available in this new book. The ideal result would be an enacted Protestant ecclesiology that, having been reformed through recovery of its own heritage, strengthens Christ's entire body with this distinctive gift."
"This is an excellent and much needed redemptive-historical and Trinitarian-theological reflection on the ministry of the people of God."
1. Exalted Clergy or Egalitarian Priests?
Potential Priesthood Problems
A Common Priesthood?
A Theological Vision for the Doctrine
A Brief Note on Authorship
2. A Royal Priesthood: Scripture?s Story
Royal Priesthood in the Garden Sanctuary: Adam the Priest-King
The Founding of a Priestly People: Exodus
Royal Priesthood Rooted in David?s Son: Psalm 110
Restoration Through the Priestly Servant: Isaiah 52-66
The Great High Priest: Christ?s Eschatological Priesthood
The Royal Priesthood of the Church: 1 Peter 2
The Service of the Gospel: Paul?s Letters
Priesthood and New Covenant Worship: Hebrews
A Suffering and Victorious Priesthood: Revelation
Conclusion: The Biblical Vision of a Royal Priesthood
3. Priesthood Reformed: Luther?s Burden
Setting the Stage: The Medieval Priesthood
Luther and the Sacrament of Ordination
The Biblical Doctrine of the Priesthood of Believers
Seven Ministries of the Priesthood
Luther?s Unique Contributions
4. Life in Communion: The Trinity and the Priesthood of All Believers
Does the Trinity Make Any Difference?
The Royal Priesthood Is Christocentric-Trinitarian
The Best of Songs: The Royal Priesthood Responds to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
Three Inadequate Protestant Versions of the Priesthood of All Believers
Summary: Mystery and Maturity
5. Worship, Work and Witness: The Practices of the Royal Priesthood
How Do Members of the Royal Priesthood Respond to God?
What Is a "Central Practice" of the Royal Priesthood?
The Seven Practices and Spiritual Sacrifices
Seven Practices of the Royal Priesthood
Conclusion: The Unity of Worship, Work and Witness
6. Representing Christ
Mature in Christ: The Great Priest-King
One Vision: Four Perspectives
Name and Subject Index