Thursday, December 17, 2009

We are all priests

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 4 of 4 - External Means by which God Invites Us into the Society of Christ and Holds Us Therein

Chapter 19 - Rome's five other "sacraments"
22-33 - Holy Orders not a sacrament
22. Rome tries to make 7 sacramentlings out of this one, with 7 grades of priesthood. But their writers don't even agree among each other about the number or definitions or of each grade.

23. Their theory that Christ fulfilled all 7 grades of the office is too ridiculous to respond to. I can't read it without laughing, and can't believe they were written seriously. They say He was doorkeeper in cleansing the temple (John 2:15; Matt21:12) and in John 10:7, reader (Luke 4:17), exorcist (Mark 7:32-33), acolyte (John 8:12), subdeacon (John 13:4-5), deacon (Matt 26:26), and priest (Matt 27:50; Eph 5:2).

24. Those in the lower offices don't do their duties at all. Others do, or they go undone. Once they are ordained, they stop doing it! They are ordained "just to do nothing." The exorcists "cannot persuade the demons that they are endowed with such power, because the demons not only do not yield to their commands but even command the exorcists!"

25. They shave the top of the head, leaving a "crown" of hair, since we are kings and priests - 1 Pet 2:9. But this is true of all believers, not to be claimed only for the ordained priesthood. They say they do this to take vows of poverty, meditation and chastity, "but is there no class of men more greedy, stupid, and lustful?"

26. They say Paul did this in Acts 18:18, but he did this out of love for weaker brethren, not in worship to God [I'm not sure about this]. When they try to imitate the Nazirite vows of Num 6 today, they are "raising up another Judaism." [true]

27. This haircut began to distinguish from effeminate long hairstyles among men in the culture of Europe.

28. They ordain priests with all kinds of crazy ceremonies, giving the power to perform sacrifices, when Christ was the once-for-all sacrifice. Christ gave ministers to preach and feed, "not to sacrifice victims." We are all priests, in Christ - Rev 1:6; 1 Pet 2:9. This is a Scriptural command, to ordain elders, but not a sacrament since "it is not ordinary or common with all believers."

29. They breath on priests being ordained, as Christ breathed on the disciples in John 20:22. But this was not an example for us to follow. They "dare affirm that they confer the Holy Spirit."

30. Rome claims to get its priesthood from Aaron. But the Aaronic priesthood was fulfilled and done away with in Christ! "While they long to emulate the Levites, they become apostates from Christ."

31. The oil of anointing does not alone make a priest. As Augustine said, "it is the word that makes it a sacrament." Calvin: "What word will they show to accompany their grease?" If they point to Ex 30:30, then why don't they keep the whole Levitical law, of which it is a part?

32. They anoint deacons to the task of assisting priests with sacraments, liturgical service, "to dust images, to sweep churches, to catch mice, and to chase away dogs.... Is there one word here of the true ministry of deacons?" They are similar to the OT Levites, but Rome dresses deacons "in the plumage of others."

33. Subdeacons are ordained by receiving chalices, cruets, towels, manuals "and trash of this sort." There is no promise of God shown forth in the ceremony, which is what makes it a sacrament.

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