Read an Excerpt
The PietistsSelected Writings
By MacKenzie HarperCollins Spiritual Classics
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 MacKenzie HarperCollins Spiritual Classics
All right reserved.
The Spiritual Priesthood
Briefly described according to the word of God in seventy questions and answers
What is the spiritual priesthood? It is the right which our Savior Jesus Christ purchased for all men, and for which he anoints his believers by his Holy Spirit, in the power of which they may and shall bring sacrifices acceptable to God, pray for themselves and others, and edify themselves and their neighbors.
Is anything concerning it recorded in the Scriptures? Yes, certainly: Revelation 1:6, 5:10; 1 Peter 2:9.
Why is it called a spiritual priesthood? Because they are to bring not bodily, but spiritual sacrifices, and in their office have to do with spiritual acts (1 Pet. 2:5).
From whom has such a spiritual priesthood come? From Jesus Christ, the true High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek (Ps. 110:4), who has no successor in his Priesthood, but remains High Priest alone and forever. He has thus made his Christians priests before his Father; their sacrifices however are holy and made acceptable to God only by his holiness (Heb. 8:1-6, 7:23-28; cf.Question 2, 1 Pet. 2:5).
How do Christians become priests? As in the Old Testament priests were not elected, but were born to the office, so also the new birth in Baptism gives us the divine adoption as sons and the spiritual priesthood connected with it (James 1:18).
Does not anointing belong to the priesthood? Yes, and just as the ancient priests were consecrated with holy oil (Exod. 28:41), and as Christ also was anointed with the oil of gladness (Ps. 45:7), the Holy Spirit, and therefore is called Christ, that is, the Anointed; so he has also by grace (John 1:16) made his believers partakers of this anointing, but in a lower degree (Ps. 45:8; Heb. 1:9).
Are then all believing Christians partakers of the anointing?
But for what was Christ anointed? To be a King, a High Priest and a Prophet, these being the classes of persons in the Old Testament who were anointed.
For what are his believers anointed? Likewise to be kings, priests, and prophets, or, since the prophetic office is embraced in the priestly, to be kings and priests. (Cf. Question 2.)
Who then are such spiritual priests? All Christians without distinction (1 Pet. 2:9), old and young, male and female, bond and free (Gal. 3:28).
Does not the name "priest" belong only to ministers? No. Ministers, according to their office, are not properly priests, nor are they so called anywhere in the New Testament, but they are servants of Christ, stewards of the mysteries of God, bishops, elders, servants of the Gospel, of the Word, and so forth. Rather, the name "priest" is a general name for all Christians and applies to ministers not otherwise than to other Christians (1 Cor. 4:1, 3:5; 1 Tim. 3:1, 2, 5:17; Eph. 3:7; Acts 26:16; Luke 1:2).
But are not ministers alone the spiritual? No. This character also belongs to all Christians (Rom. 8:5, 9).
What are the offices of a spiritual priest? They are manifold. But we can divide them into three chief offices: (1) The office of sacrifice; (2) of praying and blessing; and (3) of the divine Word. The first two are always called priestly offices; the last is also called a prophetic office.
But what must spiritual priests sacrifice? First of all themselves with all that they are, so that they may no longer desire to serve themselves, but him who has bought and redeemed them (Rom. 6:13, 14:7, 8; 2 Cor. 5:15; 1 Cor. 6:20; Ps. 4:5, 110:3; 1 Pet. 3:18). Therefore, just as in the Old Testament the sacrifices were separated from other animals (Exod. 12:3-6), so they must also separate themselves from the world and its uncleanness (Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; James 1:27). For this reason they are called the chosen generation (Lev. 20:26; 1 Pet. 2:9).
How in particular must we offer our bodies and their members to God? By not using our bodies for sins, but alone for the glory and service of God (Rom. 12:1, 6:13; cf. Question 14), accordingly by keeping them in subjection (1 Cor. 9:27) and by suppressing evil desires which wish to work evil through our members, what the Scriptures call cutting off our members (Matt. 5:29, 30; 18:8, 9; 19:12).
How shall we offer our souls to God? By letting them as well as our bodies be holy temples and abodes of God (1 Cor. 3:16, 17); by allowing our reason to be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5); by surrendering our wills to the divine will in true submission and obedience (1 Sam. 15:22; Matt. 6:10, 26:39; Heb. 10:5-7); and by making an acceptable sacrifice of our spirits and souls in true repentance (Ps. 51:16, 17).
How else shall we offer ourselves in sacrifice to God? By being willing to receive the cross from his hand; by submitting ourselves to him, that he may send us what is pleasing to him (2 Sam. 15:26), and by being willing to lay down our lives for his glory, if it be his will (Phil. 2:17, 18; 2 Tim. 4:6).
Shall we not also offer up our old man to God? As in the Old Testament a devoted thing was killed, sanctified to God, and so offered to him (Lev. 27:28, 29), in like manner we should also slay our old man, and in this sense sacrifice him (Rom. 6:6; Gal. 5:24; Col. 3:5).
Yes, all have received the anointing, and as long as they continue in the way of God, it will abide with them (1 John 2:20, 27).
Excerpted from The Pietists by MacKenzie HarperCollins Spiritual Classics Copyright © 2006 by MacKenzie HarperCollins Spiritual Classics. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.