Heart Question on the Issue of Priesthood Authority

Jumping ahead in Hebrews in my own personal study, I am thinking of the question posed in Hebrews 7:11,

Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? (NASB)

Does the extensive organizational structure of the LDS Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood permeating every aspect of our religious culture follow closely the line of authoritative reasoning set forth by the author of Hebrews?


  1. “Does the extensive organizational structure of the LDS Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood permeating every aspect of our religious culture follow closely the line of authoritative reasoning set forth by the author of Hebrews?”

    Not so much.

  2. Yes, I don’t understand why there are men in Southeastern Idaho, acting in the Melchizedek High Priesthood, whereas they themselves are beset with weakness and in need to express repentance for their own sin.

    One of so, so many heart issues.

  3. Nope, not all. But then, you can’t take Hebrews in isolation.

    The real Christian priesthood goes back, without interruption, for 2,000 years to Christ himself via the apostles and something called “Apostolic sucession.”

    Nice to be back. Been spending too much time on FB.

  4. The author of Hebrews surely doesn’t put his content in isolation from the rest of the Bible.

    And I have been thinking of apostolic authority this week as a I continue the resurrection series on Sunday mornings in John 20. This Sunday, we will be meditating on Jesus’ words in John 20:21-23.

    “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”

    Hmm . . . there seems to be stark contrast between Catholics and Protestants in understanding this verse.

  5. “Hmm . . . there seems to be stark contrast between Catholics and Protestants in understanding this verse.”

    Uh, yeah…. Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, and many Anglicans understand it one way, the way in which it has been understood since they day it was written, and Protestants? Well, unfortunately, they’re pretty much just trying to explain it away.

  6. Greg, do you think that some of those Anglican KJV translators understood John 20:23 like you? I see Matthew 16:19 as a cross reference.

  7. Todd, it’s hard to know WHAT those Anglican translators thought. You will notice I said “many Anglicans” above. The problem with Anglicanism is that when you have four Anglicans, you will probably have at least five opinions on any given theological subject. So yes, I would imagine that SOME of the KJV translators understood John 20:23 in the historical way.

    And yes, John 20:23 is related to Matthew 16:18-19 and 18:18. John 20:23 is a specific enumeration of a more general authority.

  8. Greg, I like what the anglican, John Stott, says on the matter: “The Apostles understood that the authority the risen Lord had given them was the authority of a preacher and not that of a priest.”

  9. Todd, I’m sure that Stott would take that position, but history doesn’t back him up on this (although I’m not sure that from a general, non-Christian POV, the role of the bishop or presbyter in retaining or binding sins is specifically priestly; however, it is also not the role of a preacher per se).

    Historically, the role of, first, the bishop, and then, as the bishop’s delegate, the presbyter, was to bind or retain sin in reconciling penitents (at first, only in dealing with public sins, such as lapsing under persecution) with both the Church and God and doing so, not as preacher, but as the leader of the Church and as one who has the delegated authority to do so from Christ (God) Himself.

  10. Well, Greg, I am one of those men who jumps off the bandwagon with some and their historical consensus.

    I agree with Luther: “The ministry of the Word belongs to all. To bind and to loose clearly is nothing else than to proclaim and to apply the gospel. For what is it to loose, if not to announce the forgiveness of sins before God? What is it to bind, except to withdraw the gospel and to declare the retention of sins? Whether they want to or not, they [the Roman Catholic Church] must concede that the keys are the exercise of the ministry of the Word and belong to all Christians.”

    And I know that this sounds radical and extreme.

  11. “And I know that this sounds radical and extreme.”

    No, it just sounds Protestant. 😉

    Y’all would have a case, perhaps, if this were a question of RC “innovation” (such as in the area of papal authority) over against the other iterations of the Apostolic tradition, specifically, the Byzantine (Greek, Russian, etc.) Orthodox, the “Oriental” Orthodox (Syriac, Coptic, etc.) and the Assyrian Church of the East. However, it is not. All of the Apostolic Churches have received the same thing in regard to this (as with so much else, over against the various iterations of Protestantism).

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