Thursday, May 7, 2009

Still Thinkin' Through This

From the Luderan Josh:
Both anti-clericalists and clericalists tend to exalt the role of the high priest in the OT as some kind gatekeeper to God's house. But this inverts things--in his sacrificial role, the priest represents the people, not God. The sacrificial priesthood is superseded by Jesus because there is no one more qualified to offer sacrifice to the Father than he is, nor is there anyone more qualified to represent us than him.

Now, the author of Hebrews sees the priesthood as being fulfilled in Christ. And it is. But remember, the entire people is called "priestly" in Leviticus. It's not that in the bad old days, people had to go through priests, it's that certain priestly roles that could only be executed in a hamstrung, halfway manner by the people because of sin have been completely superceded by Jesus. The priestly role of the people of Israel has expanded to the Church. The role of the ordained ministry most resembles that of the non-priest Levites, whose primary role was to assist in the distribution of the sacrificial gifts and the day-to-day care of the people. Viewing the Levitical structure as a hierarchical ladder of mediators streching from the people to God is a projection of pagan, neoplatonic categories onto the text and results in either a tyrannical, sacerdotal priesthood or chaotic anti-clericalism. [source]
This sounds very similar to Dr. Swain's discussion of ordination as being an appointment to a position of "Servant of the House of God."